Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review: solid all-round

Shark's SUPs Touring package is everything you need to get you on the water in one classy wheeled backpack

Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review
(Image credit: Matt Buckley)
T3 Verdict

Shark goes above and beyond many ‘affordable’ iSUP rivals by offering a variety of board thicknesses, which cover all bases when it comes to rider height and weight. At this price, we can’t help but feel the Shark Touring range represents excellent value for money and is a great option for those looking to take their paddling to the next level but don’t want to compromise the ease of transportation an inflatable offers.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Tough 50 PSI drop stitch material

  • +

    Great paddle feel

  • +

    Easy to transport

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Fin box is fiddly

  • -

    Paddle is basic

  • -

    Bungee cords are a little flimsy

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Navigating the choppy waters surrounding inflatable stand-up paddle boards (or iSUPs, for short) is tricky and often confusing. There are just so many brands out there offering pump-up vessels that claim to rival their EPS and foam core counterparts in terms of performance and stiffness, but this isn’t always the case.

In fact, the market is littered with cheap and cheerful boards that look like they represent great value but often end up in the bin after a couple of uses because they scrimp on materials, flex like a limp banana or just aren’t able to cope with much more than floating around mirror-like lakes.

Shark SUPs are different. They are fashioned from hardy drop stitch and double laminated material, pack innovative features that promote smoother paddling, and offer a triple rail edge for increased stiffness. In short, they are excellent paddle boards for beginners.

The idea is that you pump one of these up to the recommended 20 PSI, and it feels almost as firm as its hard-bodied rivals. This allows users to paddle further and faster with the added peace of mind that the inflatable beneath them won’t implode when the going gets tough.

Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review

Price and availability

Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review

(Image credit: Matt Buckley)

Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle boards are available in a variety of sizes directly from Shark SUPs, with prices from £525/ €625 (approx. $656/ AU$1,008).

The option of both a 5 or 6" profile means a plethora of rider weights and heights are covered. Plus, with plenty of lashing points, a clever - if a little awkward - fin system and a neat stowage bag, this is a sweet all-round iSUP package that doesn’t cost the earth. 

In fact, 2023 models are now heavily discounted at many online retailers, with up to £50 off the original £549 asking price, making it almost half the price of an equivalent board from Red Paddle Co.

Shark SUP ships all orders over £10 with Tracked Next-Day Delivery (DPD or Royal Mail). Shark pre-pays Duties and Taxes for customers in the EU for orders over £150.

For international orders, choose the ‘ Rest of the World ‘ payment option. This allows your order to be placed without any payment details, and Shark SUP will contact you to discuss the best options via email, text or a call.

For more info, visit Shark's delivery and returns page.


Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review

(Image credit: Matt Buckley)
  • Dimensions: 11’8 x 30” x 5”
  • Volume: 260 litres
  • Weight: 10.4kg
  • Package: carry bag, carbon-shaft paddle, pump and coiled leash
  • Max rider weight: up to 80kg
  • Rails: 5 or 6" thickness 
  • Max pressure:  25 PSI
  • Load carrying: D-rings and bungee cords
  • Deck: Grip material, Kick-pad at tail

Design and features

Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review

(Image credit: Matt Buckley)

Like many iSUP rivals, Shark sells its boards in a pack that includes an extra tough carry-bag, made from hardy nylon and packing reinforced zips, clips to keep everything in place, straps for wearing it on your back and wheels for smooth rolling.

Inside this comfortable and well-engineered backpack, you’ll find the paddle board itself, alongside a carbon shaft/nylon blade paddle, high pressure dual-action hand pump, a premium coil leash (perfect for avoiding snagging on watery plant life), plastic quick release fin and a waterproof phone case, should you wish to take your smartphone out on the water (brave).

There’s plenty of room inside this carry bag, making it really easy to slide the iSUP in and out, while the addition of wheels is nice. It’s just a shame the axle for these is so narrow and the bag so tall. We found it toppled over a lot when trying to wheel it around. Like those cheap hand luggage bags you find in airports.

Shark recently overhauled its graphics (again) and the stealth grey with contrasting bright orange looks fantastic. It now easily competes, visually at least, with the likes of Red Paddle Co and other more expensive brands on the market.

On the deck, you’ll find it covered in a high grip pad for the majority of the useable space, with a handy reinforced carry handle in the middle of the board. At the rear, Shark has added what it called the Shark Kick Tail (SKT), which is essentially a raised kick-pad, like those seen on surfboards, to help users initiate a step-back turn technique - unweighting the nose and using the body weight to pivot the board on its tail.

Quality and ease of use

Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review

(Image credit: Matt Buckley)

Overall, the quality of this model feels good. Often, with much cheaper rivals, opening the packages reveals a strong smell of cheap plastic, but not so here. It’s clear Shark uses more premium materials and construction techniques.

Perhaps the only things that let the overall design down are the bungee cords for cargo-carrying, which are fairly flimsy and slack, and don’t inspire much confidence when it comes to keeping precious items tied down. The pricier Red Paddle Co. models, for example, use a neat adjustable cargo system that feels a lot more secure.

The other irritating thing is the fin box system, which can handle Shark’s included cheap plastic option or other standard longboard fins. During testing, it felt overly tight and difficult to remove. 

Getting it in place isn’t so bad, but getting it out requires a lot of striking and wiggling a sharp plastic blade with the palm or butt of your hand to precisely line up arrows before it can be removed. 

It can be frustrating, especially when hands are cold. Top tip: it is easier to do this when the board is inflated, as the tension makes it much easier to deal with the flexible, rubber fin box system.

Performance on the water

Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review

(Image credit: Matt Buckley)

The particular model we tested was the 11’8 x 30” x 5” offering, which is designed for lighter riders and packs a slimmer five-inch profile, compared to the standard six-inch offered by many of its competitors. 

This means smaller riders aren’t faced with extra-fat flanks that sit too high out of the water, catch the wind and generally don't do much for stability or ease of paddling.

With a 260-litre volume, this particular board took a fair amount of pumping to get it up to the recommended PSI, although the provided dual chamber pump did work very well. If you want our advice, invest in an electric pump and save yourself the workout.

Ideal rider weight is pitted at 80kg, although this board will struggle on with up to 180kg perched on its deck. Just don’t expect performance to be razor sharp. However, it's added peace of mind if you want to carry some luggage.

This reviewer weighs around 70kg and sits well within the recommended height and size parameters, which is likely why we found the dimensions to be Goldilocks. 

The narrower profile of this touring model never felt unstable and the paddling experience was relatively effortless. Granted, there wasn’t much chop around on the days we tested it out, but the Shark Touring SUP would glide across the water’s surface with minimal input from the paddle.

It’s also a lot easier to carry down to the water’s edge (especially if you are vertically challenged), while the relatively lightweight 10kg mass is surprisingly easy to drag in and out of the wet stuff. 

There are cleverly-placed D-rings for stashing kit on the deck and one under the nose for towing, although it would be great to see an additional carry handle placed on the nose somewhere, as it would make it easier to drag the board out of the water.

The three-piece nylon/carbon paddle that comes with the kit feels tough and light enough, but some users will want to upgrade to something that has zero play in the joints and generally feels like it is built to last.


Shark SUPs Touring inflatable stand-up paddle board review

(Image credit: Matt Buckley)

There is always going to be some trade-off with performance when it comes to inflatable stand up paddle boards. The bottom line is, you just can’t get the same structural rigidity with a pump-up option than you can with some of the finest EPS and foam core rivals.

But then these are a nightmare to transport to the beach and most novice riders will unlikely notice the difference in performance anyway.

This Shark offering is well-made, easy to paddle and even easier to to set-up and pack away, while the touring outline of this inflatable SUP offers a sharper and more efficient paddle experience for those who want to travel further and faster.

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.