The best inflatable paddle boards 2018: for cruising, touring and surfing

On holiday or a weekend hobby, make paddle boarding convenient by investing in an inflatable one

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People cruising up and down beach fronts on inflatable paddle boards has become an ever popular sight over the last couple of years; that pap shot of Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom casually SUP–ing in the buff is probably an accurate marker for when people started to catch on to the craze. 

Inflatable SUPs are most commonly used to cruise around stunning bays and explore spectacular coastlines. More recently, paddle boards are being used to tour slow rivers and lakes, making them one of the go-to activities for holiday-makers in the UK and abroad. 

Inflatable paddle boards have also become a gateway for aspiring surfers, as they’re lightweight, stable and easy to turn in the water. The paddle also helps beginner surfers to build up decent speed when trying to catch a wave. 

But they’re not only a fantastic mode of transport or a gateway to a popular sport; the core strength it takes to stay balanced on an inflatable paddle board makes them a great toning tool, too, which actually makes the thought of trying to stay fit on holiday not so bad – and you could always book yourself into an SUP yoga class if you fancy it!

How to choose the right inflatable paddle board

These days, inflatable paddle boards come in all shapes and sizes according to the purpose for which you want to use them. 

Cruising paddle boards and good all-rounders will have a wide-bottomed base for stability, while those used for touring, such as the Sea Eagle Needlenose, will have a streamlined shape for gliding through water. 

Surfing paddle boards tend to be lighter in weight than regular boards and a tad wider. 

So where should you head to to find the best inflatable paddle board deals? Amazon is always a safe option, with the likes of our top product, The Red Paddle Co. Ride, readily available at a click of a button. 

To clue you in further to the best inflatable SUPs on the net, we’ve created a list of the top ones below. 

The 6 best inflatable paddle boards

The best inflatable paddle boards

1. Red Paddle Co 10'7 Ride WINDSUP

A sturdy paddle bought with an in-built ‘wind’ option, this is a versatile buy for those looking to dabble in windsurfing, too

Specifications
Best for: WINDSUP
Dimensions: L10ft 6”xW32”
Thickness: 4.7”
Max weight: 100kg
Paddle included: Yes
Reasons to buy
+WINDSUP compatible+Lightweight but strong
Reasons to avoid
- Non WINDSUP version is available if you don’t think you’ll make use of the feature 

If you’re looking to make the most out of all weather situations, this inflatable paddle board comes with inbuilt attachments for seasoned and budding windsurfers, including a mast foot and a removable centre dagger fin system. 

According to experts, it’s a great all-rounder in its own right, being the right shape for cruising, exploring and messing around on. 

The board features an embossed deck for grip on the water and a Titan Pump comes included, so you’re ready to hit the beach, or the lake, as soon as it arrives. 

2. Sea Eagle Needlenose

An ideal inflatable paddle board for surfing

Specifications
Best for: Experts
Dimensions: L12ft 6”xW30”
Thickness: 6”
Max weight: 102kg
Paddle included: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Narrow nose for cutting through water+Wide for stability
Reasons to avoid
-Requires good core strength

The aptly named Needlenose has been designed so riders can effortlessly carve through waves and mild white water, although a certain amount of experience is required to harness the potential of this feature. 

The narrow nose, while good for carving, makes it harder to balance, so good core strength is required. 

With a wide base in the middle, the Sea Eagle Needlenose is perfectly suitable for cruising around bays and lakes, too. It’s good to know that this board is up for taking a ride on the wild-side when the urge takes you. 

The best inflatable paddle boards

3. iRocker 11

The ideal all-rounder for family holidays and leisurely cruising

Specifications
Best for: Value for money
Dimensions: L11ft 6”xW30”
Thickness: 6”
Max weight: 174kg
Paddle included: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Value for money+Incredibly robust
Reasons to avoid
-Takes a while to get your balance right 

Although some users have said they’re a bit wobbly at the start, and there are easier ones out there for beginners, if you’re willing to throw yourself straight in, this will be a great all-round inflatable paddle board once you’ve found your balance. 

iRocker claim that it’s almost indestructible, and it should be relatively easy to inflate, deflate and pack away, with a handy backpack and pump included in the price. 

You also receive a paddle and a repair kit, so for an RRP of around £550, we think this inflatable SUP offers great value for money. 

The best inflatable paddle boards

4. Starboard Atlas Zen 12"

This very stable inflatable board is perfect for family holidays

Specifications
Best for: Stability
Dimensions: L12ftxW33”
Thickness: 4.75”
Max weight: 120kg
Paddle included: No
Reasons to buy
+Wide and stable+Great for cruising
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most agile 

When you’re initially getting to grips with things, it’s a case of the wider the board the better. 33 inches wide, this board is great for beginners, and once you’ve got the knack, its build is ideal for cruising around sheltered bays, flat rivers and lakes. 

With its stable base, the board is good for kids, too, and thanks to the bungee cords, you can stash your picnic gear for a river pitstop or beach lunch once you can reliably balance. 

Due to its wide stable base and long length, it’s not the best inflatable SUP for surfing, although mild waves are perfectly acceptable!

The best inflatable paddle boards

5. Jobe 10’6 Aero Neva

A shorter but just as stable alternative to our fourth pick

Specifications
Best for: Lightweight
Dimensions: L10ft 6”xW32”
Thickness: 6”
Max weight: 120kg
Paddle included: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Very stable+Comes with handy backpack for transporting it
Reasons to avoid
-Take a while to pump it up with supplied kit 

This lightweight, stable board is also a great choice for family holidays. Its stability makes it ideal for beginners, while its lightness makes it an easy one to transport if you’re heading to the beach for the day. 

For extra comfort on the feet, the board comes with an EVA foam pad, while the bunjees ensure dry bags are easy to transport. Supplied with a 10ft coiled leash, it’s ideal for the kids to mess around on while you keep hold of the board and with a mid-range price of around £720, you do get a good package for your money.

The best inflatable paddle boards

6. Starboard Astro Whopper

Short for agility, wide for stability, this is a great one if you’re looking to get the most out of your board

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Dimensions: L10ftxW35”
Thickness: 5.5”
Max weight: 120kg
Paddle included: No
Reasons to buy
+Very wide+For cruising and surfing
Reasons to avoid
-Not particularly streamlined 

Those looking to get the most out of their board should take a look at this offering from Starboard. Short and wide, it’s very stable, yet agile and lightweight enough for you to play around in the surf when the conditions allow. 

Thanks to its extra-wide base, Starboard also suggest that it’s ideal for yoga and fitness, and it also makes a pretty good cruiser. Despite the difference in shape, it comes with the same parts as the Starboard Atlas 12”, so once you’ve used that one to master the basics, you can step-up to this one to make full use out of your newly found core strength.