What To Look For In An Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Are you in the market for an inflatable stand up paddle board, also known as an iSUP?

You’re not alone, as these boards sell by the thousands every season and they are some of the most popular types of SUPs.

Whether you’re looking for a board to introduce you to stand up paddle boarding or something that’s cheap, fun, and easy to store, these boards are perfect.

How to Choose an Inflatable SUP

When shopping for an inflatable SUP, there are a few things that you must consider:

The Size

As always, the size of the stand up paddle board has a massive impact on its speed, stability, and ease of use.

Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind:

  • Longer Boards = Better Gliding
  • Shorter Boards = Better Turning
  • Wider Boards = More Stability
  • Narrower Boards = More Speed

Naturally, if you’re a complete beginner who struggles with balance and control, it makes more sense to shop for a longer and wider board, providing you with speed while also giving you plenty of control and drive.

Of course, we didn’t mention thickness, and that also needs to be considered.

Most stand up paddle boards are either 5 or 6 inches thick.

A 5″ inflatable SUP will be a little more stable than a 6″ one, but the 6″ will have more volume and so the weight capacity will be much greater.

If you’re a little on the heavy side, you may want to opt for the 6 inch. If not, it’s not really something that you need to worry about.

Just focus on the width and length and you’ll be okay.

Fin Systems

An inflatable stand up paddle board will typically have permanent fins or snap-lock fins.

The former are locked in place and should be much more durable as a result.

The latter are designed to be easy to remove and replace, but they are not as tough or durable as a result.

iSUP Accessories

Are you going to be using your inflatable stand up paddle board for fishing?

Will it be used for touring or traveling?

Will you be riding it yourself or with someone else?

All of these things need to be considered, and your chosen inflatable SUP must have the accessories that you need.

Look for mounts, cargo areas, bungee cords, and other accessories that signify your inflatable SUP is fit for the purpose needed.

Extras

Many inflatable SUPs come with paddles, as you would expect.

These paddles can range in quality, length, and material, so it’s something that also needs to be considered.

It’s not just about the paddle, either.

Some inflatable SUPs come with other accessories, including a backpack/storage bag and a manual or electric pump.

Price

Last but not least, the price of inflatable paddle boards can vary greatly.

It’s important not to spend too much when you’re buying your first board (just in case it gets discarded after your first session) but at the same time, you don’t want something cheap and nasty.

Just remember that price doesn’t always equate to value.

There are some very high-quality inflatable paddle boards available at Costco for just a few hundred bucks.

At the same time, you could spend over $1,000 on something that isn’t as strong or capable and is just priced high because of the brand or retailer.

The Brand

Are you buying from a reputable brand?

Is the brand known for producing high-quality paddle boards or is it a no-name that’s just ripping off better-known manufacturers and selling cheaply-made Chinese boards?

Believe it or not, some of those cheaply made boards are actually really good, but if you’re buying from a brand you have never heard of and it’s on Amazon, we recommend checking Amazon reviews, doing your research, and checking the returns policy just in case.

What is the Best Inflatable Paddle Board Brand?

There are many great inflatable paddle boards on the market.

To make it easier for you when you search, we have listed some of the best inflatable SUP brands below:

  • Blackfin
  • NIXY
  • Thurso Surf
  • Wavestorm
  • Honu
  • Nautical
  • Bluefin
  • GILI
  • iRocker

This is just a snapshot of the many great brands selling stand up paddle boards, just remember to check the above specifications when shopping for your board.