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Best Paddle Boards For Beginners – 7 Hands-on Reviews of Beginner Paddle Boards in 2024

best paddle boards for beginners - best beginner SUP boards

Welcome to the world of paddle boarding! You’re most likely here because you want to dip your toes in the water and buy your first SUP board. You want a paddle board that’s suitable for beginners but won’t limit you as your skills improve.

When I first started, I felt completely overwhelmed by the choice of beginner paddle boards. Then, I tested several on the water and began to understand the differences between them.

You might not have that luxury, but I can share my experiences to help you find your perfect board. Each of the paddle boards in this review is a great option for beginners. The Atoll 11’ is my favorite due to its performance and longevity – it really is a board for life.

Read on to discover the best paddle boards for beginners!

Best Stand Up Paddle Boards For Beginners

Best All Around

Atoll 11’

Atoll 11’

Top-Quality SUP Board for Beginners—and Pros

With the perfect balance between speed and stability, this is a SUP board that’ll take you from beginner to pro. It’s lightweight, durable and strong enough to take the whole family!

Sizes11′ x 32″ x 6″
Weight21 lbs
Capacity550+ lbs

Most Popular

iRocker All Around 11

iRocker All Around 11

Great Build Quality and Performance

A popular alternative to the Atoll 11, the iRocker SUP has great build quality, tracks well, but just be aware – the fin box isn’t universal (so you can’t use aftermarket fins).

Sizes11′ x 32″ x 6″
Weight24 lbs
Capacity435 lbs

Most Versatile

Gili Komodo

Gili Komodo

Lightweight SUP Board That’s Great for Families

The Komodo SUP is super versatile. It’s stable, glides nicely, and is easy to handle. A great SUP for families!

Sizes10’6 x 33″ x 6″
Weight21 lbs
Capacity340 lbs

Most Stable

Gili Meno Yoga Board

Gili Meno Yoga Board

Very Stable SUP Board with Some Nice Features

This 35-inch wide SUP board is rigid and stable. What it lacks in speed it makes up for in versatility; great for yoga, fishing and family rides!

Sizes10’6 x 35″ x 6″
Weight23 lbs
Capacity450 lbs

Best Budget SUP

iRocker Nautical

iRocker Nautical

High-Quality Board for Beginners On a Budget

It isn’t the cheapest SUP on the market, but you get a lot for your money with the iRocker Nautical. This lightweight board is a great choice for smaller paddlers.

Sizes10’6 x 32″ x 6″
Weight20 lbs
Capacity240 lbs

Best Lightweight

Gili Air 10’6

Gili Air 10’6

A Great-Value SUP Board with Lots of Features

The Gili Air is lightweight and budget-friendly. It’s fun to paddle and you get a lot of features for your money. I’d suggest taller paddlers opt for the 11’6 model over the 10’6 version.

Sizes10’6 x 32″ x 6″
Weight19 lbs
Capacity280 lbs

Best For Kids

Bluefin Cruise Junior

Bluefin Cruise Junior

High-Quality SUP Board for Beginners On a Budget

It isn’t the cheapest SUP on the market, but you get a lot for your money with the Bluefin SUP. This lightweight board is a great choice for smaller paddlers.

Sizes8′ x 29″ x 5″
Capacity264 lbs

Best Inflatable SUP Boards for Beginners

Read on for my reviews:

1. Atoll 11’ Inflatable SUP: Highest-Rated All-Around Paddle Board for Beginners (Full review)

atoll 11 aquamarine beginner stand up paddle board is the best paddle board for beginners Pin

Paddlers love the Atoll SUP. They speak highly of it in every SUP boarding forum you will find online. And I have to agree with them.

Read on to find out why.

Build Quality

The Atoll 11 inflatable SUP board is constructed using Korean Drop Stitch technology. It features machine-laminated, dual-layer PVC. It is tough and durable. You can run it over with your car and it won’t get so much as a scratch.


This paddleboard measures 11 feet by 32 inches. The paddle board is wide enough for stability but not too wide to make the SUP board bulky.

The impeccable construction and six-inch thickness promote rigidity. This paddleboard will not flex or sink leading to a wobbly ride.


The good thing about the Atoll SUP is that it finds a balance between stability and performance. A wider SUP board is more stable. But it also has more resistance. So in gaining stability, you lose speed. The 32-inch width ensures that you get both.

It has a three-fin system; one large fin and two side fins. They help with tracking and maneuverability.


The Atoll 11 paddleboard is available in four gorgeous colors: aquamarine, desert sand, light blue, and army green. The army green SUP board seems to be most people’s favorite. 

The SUP has two carry handles and 15 D-rings for attaching your gear. There is a bungee storage area at the front.


You will get everything you need to start paddling with the Atoll 11 paddleboard. Its package includes a paddle, bag, leash, and a pump. The travel bag has been redesigned. It is heavy-duty with high-quality zippers and padded straps. The paddle is lightweight, with a carbon fiberglass shaft and nylon blade.

What I Like
  • Stable and speedy: The Atoll 11 SUP offers the perfect balance between speed and stability. It’s a paddle board that’ll take you from beginner to advanced paddler.
  • Exceptionally durable SUP: Premium materials and construction mean the Atoll 11 paddle board can take a beating without getting damaged.
  • Large weight capacity: Atoll SUP has tested this paddle board on the water with 550 pounds of weight on board. You can SUP with your partner, child, dog, or all three!
  • Lightweight: At 21 lbs, the Atol 11 paddle board is one of the lightest SUP boards I’ve reviewed. It has by far the best weight to capacity ratio.
  • Universal fin box: Experiment with aftermarket fins, or carry a low-cost replacement.
What I Don’t Like
  • No carry handle at the nose: Most SUP boards sport 3 handles, but the Atoll 11 paddle board only has 2, which may make it harder to launch the SUP or carry between two people.
  • Side fins are not removable: You can’t remove the side fins, so it’s less compact when packed down than other SUP boards.

Check Price of the Atoll SUP

2. iRocker All Around 11 Paddle Board: Most Popular All-Around SUP for Beginners

irocker all around 11 sup board is one of the most popular stand up paddle boards for beginners Pin

iRocker is a well-known name in the SUP community. Their SUP boards are among the best-selling inflatable SUPs globally. The iRocker All Around 11 SUP is a great beginner paddle board. Let’s look at its features.

Build Quality

The iRocker All Around 11 stand-up paddle board is built using triple-layer composite PVC construction. They started using this instead of their quad-layer construction. However, the SUP board is just as durable as before, only 20% lighter. 

The SUP is quite sturdy and can hold up to 435 pounds.


The All Around paddle board is 11 feet long and 32 inches wide. Like the Atoll, the iRocker paddle board has a stable platform but is not too bulky and hard to control.

The construction makes the iRocker inflatable SUP stiff, preventing it from bending in the middle and wobbling.


Because it is neither too wide nor too short, the iRocker 11 inflatable paddle board glides with decent speed. It has a large central fin that helps with tracking, especially in flat water.

Paddlers of all sizes will find it maneuverable.


You can now choose from nine beautiful iRocker colors: teal, green, grey, orange, white, and seafoam green. Whether you like bright SUP boards or more chill colors, you will find something you like.

The iRocker 11 paddle board has 20 D-rings and four action mounts for your gear. There are two bungee storage areas, at the front and back. 

And if you plan on paddling with a child, the inflatable SUP has safety handles for them to hold on to.


The iRocker All Around 11 SUP package includes a backpack, paddle, pump, and ankle strap. The bag is compatible with a wheel tray for easy traveling. The paddle has a carbon blend shaft.

What I Like
  • Great build quality: iRocker uses triple-layer PVC for added strength and durability.
    Good all-around performance: The large center fin and slim design means the All Around 11 SUP tracks really well, especially on calm water.
    D-Ring attachment points: 12 have bungee cord rigging attached and you can use the others to secure personal items or add a kayak seat.
    Lots of color options: Choose from 4 colors, including a bright orange that will make your SUP board stand out on the water!
What I Don’t Like
  • Fin box isn’t universal: This means you have to buy specific iRocker fins. On the plus side, there aren’t any screws to lose!

Check Price of the iRocker All Around 11 SUP

3. Gili Komodo Paddleboard

gili komodo 106 paddle board is another great beginner paddleboard that needs to be on our list of paddle boards for beginners Pin

The Komodo SUP is Gili’s most versatile paddle board. It’s a great choice for beginner paddlers who want to try different SUP activities and for families.

Stability is a big factor for beginner paddle boarders. At 33-inches, the Komodo SUP isn’t the widest paddle board, but it feels really stable, even for larger paddlers like me. I usually discount 10’6 SUP boards as being too short for me, but when I tried it out, I was pleased with the Komodo’s stability.

The Gili Komodo 10'6 paddle board is another great beginner paddleboard that needs to be on our list of paddle boards for beginners

It’s hard to find a paddle board that both adults and kids can use, but I think the Komodo paddle board is a great all-around family SUP. It glides nicely and is reasonably fast in the water (though not as fast as the Atoll 11 paddle board). Gili’s construction method makes the SUP board both rigid and lightweight – this makes the paddle board easier to maneuver, especially for shorter adults and teens.

The oversized front bungee maximizes your storage space. I like that it’s removable, but it’s a bit fiddly to get it through the D rings. If you don’t need the storage space, I’d leave it off so you can make use of the full-length deck pad for yoga (or sunbathing!). There are extra D rings you can attach a kayak seat to, and a built-in action mount for your phone or camera.

I also really like the paddle holder feature. It’s simple, but so useful, especially if you want to try SUP yoga.

The Komodo paddle board comes with everything you need to get started, but the accessories aren’t as high-spec as other SUP boards. They’re functional and fine for beginners, but I’d suggest considering buying an electric pump and upgrading to a carbon fiber or hybrid paddle if you’re serious about stand up paddle boarding.

What I Like
  • Versatile design: If you want one SUP board that does it all, this is a great choice. It has great performance in the water and is easy for people of different shapes and sizes to handle. The 340-pound weight capacity means you can carry multiple people – or dogs!
  • Good stability: I was surprised at how stable the Komodo paddle board felt given my height and weight. There aren’t many 10’6 SUP boards I recommend for taller folk, but this is one of them!
  • Full-length deck pad: The Komodo’s large deck pad gives plenty of space for SUP yoga or carrying kids and dogs. If you don’t need storage space, you can remove the front bungee cord.
  • Great features: As well as the two bungee storage areas, you get an action mount, mounting points for a kayak seat, and a paddle holder. It’s easy to adapt the Komodo paddle board for any activity!
What I Don’t Like
  • Entry-level accessories: The SUP accessories you get with the Komodo are fine, but you may want to upgrade at some point. Fortunately, Gili gives you the option of upgrading your paddle when you buy the paddle board.

Check Price of the Gili Komodo SUP

4. Gili Meno Yoga SUP Board: Best Yoga Paddle Board for Beginners

gili meno 116 inflatable paddle board for beginners Pin

You don’t need to be a SUP pro to start exploring SUP yoga paddle boarding. All you need is determination, calm water, and a good paddle board, like the Gili Meno SUP board.

Gili Meno best paddle board for beginners for SUP Yoga

Build Quality

The Gili Meno SUP is built using triple-layer fusion-laminated PVC material. The rails are reinforced with carbon fiber for extra rigidity. It is remarkably durable and comes with a two-year warranty. The 10’6 Meno paddle board can hold 450 pounds while the 11’ Meno SUP can hold 485 pounds.


The Gili Meno paddle board comes in two sizes; a 10’6 long and an 11′ long SUP. Both of them are 35 inches wide and six inches thick. As you can see, it is a wide paddle board, ideal for all kinds of SUP yoga poses.


As mentioned earlier, a wider SUP board is more stable but slower. The Gili Meno paddle board will have more resistance than narrower SUP boards so don’t expect much in terms of speed. The shorter paddle board is likely to be even slower. The good thing is that beginners and SUP yoga enthusiasts are more concerned with stability than speed.

The SUP boards are maneuverable.


You can get the Gili Meno paddle board in two colors: green and teal. It has three grab handles: at the center, tail, and nose. There are two bungee storage areas at the front and back for your luggage. 

The SUP also has extra D-rings and three Scotty mounts for action cameras and other gear.

The large traction pad acts as a comfortable yoga mat.


On top of the usual accessories in most SUP packages—a bag, pump, paddle, and leash—the Gili Meno paddle board package includes a five-piece fin kit. It has two side fins, a 3-inch river fin, a 4.5-inch speed fin, and a 9-inch center fin. The paddle has a carbon-fiber shaft and nylon blade while the backpack is wheeled.

What I Like
  • Very stable: The Gili Meno SUP is 35 inches wide and 6 inches thick. This makes it an exceptionally stable paddle board—perfect for those tricky tree poses!
  • Comes with 3 fins: Switch between a short river fin, a speed fin, and a long center fin depending on your preference and water conditions.
  • Large traction pad: The brushed EVA traction pad makes a great SUP yoga mat.
  • 5 action mounts: Attach your GoPro to film your routine or follow a workout on your phone. Don’t forget a cup holder for your coffee!
  • Integrated paddle holder: You don’t need to worry about losing your paddle on the water and you can stash it safely when transporting your paddle board.
What I Don’t Like
  • Slow (but steady): The extra width makes the Gili Meno paddle board slower than other SUP boards and it can be tricky to handle in rough water.

Check Price of the Gili Meno SUP

5. iRocker Nautical: Best Budget Paddle Board for Beginners

irocker nautical 106 2021 among the best beginner paddleboards Pin

What if you are on a tight budget? Well, there is something for you too—the iRocker Nautical SUP. And it is not a cheaply made paddle board that will come apart in a few months.

Build Quality

The iRocker Nautical SUP is built using dual-layer military-grade Drop stitch construction. It is super tough and you can’t dent or ding it. When fully inflated, the paddle board can hold up to 240 pounds. It comes with a 60-day guarantee and a one-year warranty.


The Nautical SUP is 10’6 long and 32 inches wide. Its size ensures stability without hindering maneuverability.

The paddle board is six inches thick and made using high-quality materials. This make the SUP board very rigid and prevents flexing. It can actually handle more than its rated weight capacity.

If you are a larger paddler, the Nautical 10’6 paddle board won’t be that stable for you. Consider the iRocker Nautical 11’6 SUP instead.


The iRocker Nautical paddle board is of medium length and width. Paddlers of all sizes and skill levels will find the SUP board easy to control. You won’t have trouble making quick sharp turns. Its speed is decent and it tracks amazingly. The paddle board glides smoothly and is so much fun to ride.


You can get the Nautical SUP in three colors: white, blue, and aqua.

It has three grab handles, bungee straps at the front, and extra D-rings for gear attachment. The deck pad is large and you can use the paddle board for SUP yoga.

Like the other iRocker paddleboards, the Nautical SUP has a tri-fin system. All of them are removable.


The iRocker Nautical inflatable SUP package includes a paddle, pump, backpack, and a leash. The paddle is made of fiberglass and is adjustable. The bag is heavy-duty, comfortable to carry, and versatile.

Read my full reviews: iRocker Nautical 10’6 | iRocker Nautical 11’6

What I Like
  • Excellent value for money: You get high-quality design and construction for a budget price. You even get a lightweight fiberglass paddle.
  • Lightweight: The Nautical SUP weighs just 20 pounds, making it easy to carry and transport.
  • Comes as a complete package: The SUP comes with a paddle, pump, leash, and travel bag, so you have everything you need to get started.
  • Very maneuverable: Shorter, lighter paddleboards are easier to maneuver. The Nautical SUP is snappy to turn, making it a fun paddle board to learn on.
What I Don’t Like
  • Low weight capacity: The 240-pound capacity is significantly less than other paddleboards, but in optimum conditions, the Nautical SUP can handle a bit extra weight.

Check Price of the iRocker Nautical SUP

6. Gili Air 10’6 Paddle Board

gili air 10'6 best budget beginner paddle board Pin

The Gili Air is a great budget paddle board. It’s similar to the iRocker Nautical SUP in terms of performance but has a higher weight capacity and a few additional features. At the time of writing, it’s a little more expensive than the Nautical paddle board.

the Gili Air 10'6 is one of the best budget beginner paddle boards and deserves a place on our list of best beginner paddleboards

There are two versions of the Gili Air SUP: the 10’6 model is best for smaller paddlers and the 11’6 model is a great budget choice for larger paddlers. Both SUP models are 32 inches wide and have the same features.

The 10’6 Air paddle board felt a little sluggish in the water when I tested it, but that’s because I’m a little heavy for it. I’m well under the weight capacity (280 pounds) but having the weight concentrated in one spot can affect performance. If you weigh more than 175 pounds, I suggest you get the 11’6 version for better performance!

For a budget SUP board, you get a lot of features. There are two bungee storage areas (both removable), a paddle holder, and extra D rings for attaching a kayak seat. You also get three mounting points for attaching rod holders, cameras, and other accessories. I love that the paddle board has four safety handles and the grab handles – these are great if you have kids on board.

You get a choice of six designs, and each SUP board has a cute turtle graphic on the underside. Gili Sports donates a portion of its profits to charities that protect our oceans, reefs, and endangered sea creatures, which is another reason to feel good about your purchase!

The accessory pack is fairly basic. You get an aluminum paddle, though you do have the option to upgrade – an option I suggest you take. The pump requires some effort and I’d generally recommend getting an electric pump. However, it does pack down pretty neatly. The backpack is decent enough for a budget board and as the Gili Air paddle board is nice and light, it’s comfortable to carry without needing wheels.

What I Like
  • Very lightweight: The Gili Air 10’6 SUP weighs just 19 pounds, and the longer paddle board isn’t much heavier either. This makes it easy to carry to and from the water and a breeze to maneuver when paddling.
  • Great choice of colors: You can choose from 6 colors and the accessories match the color of your SUP board. I particularly love the turtle graphics!
  • Lots of features: There are plenty of D rings, mounting points, and storage space, so you can customize the paddle board for your needs.
  • Good performance: The Gili Air SUP tracks well and is nice and stable. It’s not as fast as some higher-spec paddleboards, but it’s still fun to paddle!
What I Don’t Like
  • Aluminum paddle: The standard package includes an aluminum paddle, but you can upgrade to a fiberglass paddle when you buy on Gili’s website.

Check Price of the Gili Air 10’6 SUP

7. Bluefin Cruise Junior: Best Kids Paddle Board for Beginners

bluefin cruise jr is one of the best beginner paddle boards for younger kidsPin
The Bluefin Cruise jr is one of the best beginner paddle boards for younger kids

All the above-mentioned paddleboards are great for beginners. But they may be too big for younger newbies. The Bluefin Cruise Junior SUP is designed for youth paddlers.

Build Quality

This Junior paddle board is built using 1000D exo-surface laminate PVC and Pro Weave Dropstitch. The construction is so tough, the SUP board can be inflated up to 28 PSI. The double side rails have been heat-welded to make the SUP board even more rigid.


The stand-up paddleboard is 8 feet long and 29 inches wide. For a newbie rider under 5’3, the SUP board is stable enough and it will not wobble. The state-of-the-art construction makes this youth inflatable SUP rigid and it can handle up to 265 pounds.


The Bluefin Cruise Junior SUP board has a kickpad feature that allows it to make quick, sharp turns. Its maneuverability on the water is excellent.

The stand-up paddle board is responsive and tracks impressively too.


This inflatable SUP has a four-point bungee storage area at the front for luggage. It has extra D-rings for attaching a kayak seat and other gear. There are three grab handles: at the front, center, and rear.

It comes with three fins. The large center fin is removable, the side fins are not. The croco-diamond pad is large and covers most of the deck to offer comfort and traction.


The Bluefin Cruise Junior paddle board package includes an adjustable paddle, pump, backpack, leash, and kayak conversion kit. The paddle has a fiberglass shaft and polyurethane blade. The backpack straps are wide and padded for ultimate comfort.

What I Like
  • Top-Quality Construction: Kids shouldn’t have to compromise on quality. The Bluefin Cruise Junior SUP has the same build quality and rigidity as their adult paddleboards.
  • Decent weight capacity: This SUP board actually has a higher weight capacity than the iRocker Nautical SUP. It’s a great option for smaller adults as well as kids and teenagers.
  • Good performance for its size: An 8-foot SUP is never going to perform as well as a sleeker model, but the Cruise Junior SUP is exceptionally nippy and tracks pretty well.
  • Easy to convert to a kayak: Just clip a padded seat into the D rings and switch the SUP handle for a kayak blade and you have a sit-on-top kayak.
What I Don’t Like
  • No wheels on backpack: The Bluefin Cruise Junior SUP is relatively lightweight, but it’s still a bulky, heavy bag for a young person to carry. Wheels would have been a nice addition to help smaller paddlers transport their paddle board independently.

Check Price of the Bluefin Cruise Junior SUP

Best Beginner Paddle Boards – How to Choose a Starter SUP Board

If you are a beginner in the world of stand-up paddle boarding, choosing the right beginner paddle board is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience. Paddle boarding is a fun and exciting activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.

However, if you choose the wrong type of SUP board, you may end up with a frustrating and disappointing experience.

Stand Up Paddle Boards for Beginners – Understand The Different Types

Before you can confidently decide what SUP you should purchase, you first have to understand that there are different types of SUP boards, each with its own benefits and disadvantages. Let’s go through them:

atoll best paddle board for beginners Pin
For an all-around SUP, the Atoll paddle board has a more pointed nose which gives it more speed

All-around inflatable paddle boards

You can recognize all-around paddle boards by their more rounded noses and tails. All-around paddle boards are typically between 10’6 and 11’6 in length, and 32” – 34” in width. All-around SUP boards are the most versatile type of SUP board. As the name implies, they are great in all kinds of conditions. Unless you have good reason to go for another type of SUP board, an all-around paddle board is the type of SUP board you should look for.

touring stand-up paddle board for beginners Pin
The Bluefin Sprint Carbon SUP is a good example of a longer touring SUP for larger paddlers (like me)

Touring or racing SUPs

Touring paddle boards are longer than all-around paddleboards and you can recognize them by their more pointy nose, and sleeker design. Touring SUP boards are typically between 12’6” and 14′ in length, and 30” – 32” in width. Touring SUP boards often have a displacement hull, where the nose splits the waves, instead of a nose with more rocker, that rides above the waves.

The benefits of the longer and narrower design of touring paddle boards are that they track better and are faster than all-around SUP boards. The downside is that touring SUP boards are less stable.

Touring paddle boards are great if you know you’ll spend your time cruising your lake, river, or even open ocean touring.

A more extreme version of a touring SUP is a race board. Compared to touring SUP boards, paddle boards for racing are even narrower, giving them even less drag and more speed on the water. The downside is that race SUP boards are even less stable and much more difficult to stand on.

yoga paddle board for beginners Pin
The Blue Aura Fit paddle board is a good example of a yoga SUP. See how wide it is?

Inflatable Yoga and fitness SUP boards

Doing your SUP yoga routine and pilates on a stand-up paddleboard is a fresh trend called Yoga-on-Water (YOW). It’s a perfect opportunity for people who want to do yoga while enjoying the calmness of the waters. As you try to balance on your SUP board, you are actually training your muscles and core strength.

Paddle boards for yoga are generally wide for more stability and balance. A typical yoga SUP board is between 34” and 36” in width and about 10’ to 11’ in length. This extra width gives them more stability on the water, but don’t expect these SUP boards to be light and fast to paddle.

isle vector single wing surf sup stand up paddleboard Pin

Paddle boards for surfing

If you want to ride the waves, a SUP surfing board is your best choice. Generally meant for intermediate and advanced paddlers, SUP surfing boards are typically shorter (max. 10′), narrower, and have a narrower nose and tail than all-around models.

Paddle boards for surfing are built for maneuverability. The downside to this is that they aren’t the most stable or fast. Unless you know that you’ll primarily be SUP surfing, this is not the type of paddle board you should purchase as a beginner.

irocker nautical kids paddle boards for beginners Pin
The Nautical Kids SUP is 9′ long and perfect for children

Paddle boards for kids

Stand-up paddle boarding is a great activity for you and your children. If you know that you’ll frequently bring your children along with you when paddleboarding, consider getting a slightly larger paddle board to accommodate the extra weight.

Many children will also enjoy paddling by themselves or with friends. When they are teenagers, they can use an adult-size paddle board. But for younger children, there are special paddle boards for kids. Kids’ SUP boards are typically between 7’6 to 9’ in length. These shorter SUP boards are lighter and more maneuverable and perfect for young paddlers.

Inflatable vs. Solid Paddle Boards

If you are new to paddleboarding, you may be wondering whether to get an inflatable SUP or a solid paddle board. Both types have their pros and cons for beginners, but here are some factors to consider:

Stability: Inflatable paddle boards are more stable than solid SUP boards, because they are thicker and have more volume. This makes them easier to balance and stand on, especially for heavier riders.

Durability: Inflatable paddle boards are more durable than solid SUP boards, because they can withstand bumps and scratches without getting damaged. They are made of military-grade PVC material that can bounce off rocks and obstacles. Solid paddle boards can easily get dented or cracked if you hit something hard. This is especially important for beginners who want to paddle in more challenging environments, such as white water or rocky shores.

Portability: Inflatable paddle boards are more portable than solid SUP boards, because they can be deflated and rolled up into a backpack. This makes them ideal for traveling and hiking with your paddle board. You don’t need a car roof rack or a large storage space to transport or store them. Solid paddle boards are bulky and heavy, and require more equipment and space.

Performance: Solid paddle boards have better performance than inflatable ones, because they are faster, more responsive, and more agile on the water. They glide smoothly and have less drag, which makes them suitable for surfing, racing, and touring. Inflatable paddle boards are slower, less maneuverable, and more affected by wind and waves. They are better for recreational paddling and yoga.

Read more about inflatable vs solid paddle boards

Considerations When Selecting a Beginner Paddle Board

The first thing you need to consider when choosing a paddle board is your skill level. If you are a beginner, you should look for a SUP board that is stable, easy to maneuver, and forgiving. A wider and longer all-around beginner SUP board will provide more stability and balance, making it easier for you to stand up and paddle.

Another factor to consider is the type of water you will be paddling on. If you will be mainly paddling in calm and flat water, a touring or all-around SUP board is a good choice. However, if you will be paddling in rougher water, such as in the ocean or in windy conditions, you may want to consider a SUP board with more rocker and a pointed nose for better maneuverability.

The size and weight of the SUP board are also important factors to consider. A paddle board that is too short or too narrow for your weight and length, will be unstable. A SUP board that is too heavy or too big can be difficult to transport and maneuver, especially for beginners. Look for a paddle board that is lightweight and easy to carry, and that fits your size and weight.

Finally, consider the materials and construction of the SUP board. A high-quality SUP board made of durable materials will last longer and provide a more enjoyable experience than a cheaply made SUP board. Invest in a paddle board from a trusted brand like Atoll or iRocker, to ensure that your SUP will be of good quality.

Best Paddle Boards for Beginners – Beginner SUP Accessories

Once you have chosen your beginner SUP, you might want to consider some accessories that enhance your paddling experience. Some of these accessories are essential for safety and convenience, while others are optional for fun and comfort. Here are some of the most common beginner SUP accessories that we recommend:

  • Paddle: A paddle is obviously a must-have for any beginner SUPer. You want a paddle that is comfortable, durable, and adjustable to your height. Some beginner SUP boards come with a paddle included, but you can also buy one separately if you want a better quality or a different style. Some of the best paddles for beginners are the iRocker Carbon Blend Paddle, the Blackfin Carbon Shaft Paddle, and the Atoll Carbon Fiber Paddle.
  • Pump: If you have an inflatable SUP, you will need a pump to inflate and deflate it. Most inflatable SUP boards come with a manual pump that works fine, but it can be tiring and time-consuming to use. If you want to save some energy and time, you can invest in an electric pump that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or battery. Here are some of the best electric pumps for inflatable SUPs.
  • Leash: A leash is a cord that attaches your SUP board to your ankle, so you don’t lose it when you fall off. A leash is essential for safety, especially in windy or choppy conditions, or when paddling in open water. See this article for some of the best leashes for SUP boarders.
  • PFD: A PFD (personal flotation device) is a vest or belt that helps you stay afloat in case of an emergency. A PFD is required by law in some areas when paddling on certain waterways, so make sure you check the local regulations before you go out. A PFD can also provide some warmth and storage for your essentials. Some of the best PFDs for beginner SUPs are the Onyx M-16 Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket, the NRS Ninja PFD, and the Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket.
  • Dry Bag: A dry bag is a waterproof bag that keeps your belongings dry and protected from water damage. A dry bag is useful for storing your phone, keys, wallet, snacks, or anything else you might need on your paddle. You can attach your dry bag to your SUP board’s bungee cords or carry handles, or wear it as a backpack or waist pack. Read more about the best dry bags for beginner paddle boarders.
  • Cooler: A cooler is an insulated bag or box that keeps your drinks and food cold and fresh. A SUP cooler is optional for fun and comfort, but it can make your paddle more enjoyable and relaxing. You can attach your cooler to your SUP board’s bungee cords or carry handles, or wear it as a backpack or shoulder bag. Some of the best coolers for beginner SUP boarders are the iRocker Backpack Cooler, the BOTE Kula Cooler, and the Gili Cooler Deck Bag.

These are some of the most common beginner SUP accessories that we recommend, but there are many more that you can explore depending on your preferences and needs. For example, you might want to get a waterproof speaker, a waterproof phone case, a sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water shoes, gloves, or a wetsuit. The choice is yours!

Beginner Paddle Board FAQs

What are the best beginner paddle boards?

The best paddle boards for beginners are all-around, inflatable paddle boards. These paddleboards are between 10’6 and 11’6 in length and 32″ – 34″ in width and offer the best mix of stability, maneuverability, and speed. Some of the best paddle boards for beginners are:

  • Atoll 11’: This is a durable, stable, and speedy inflatable paddle board that can handle up to 550 pounds of weight. It has a three-fin system, a large bungee storage area, and a universal fin box. It comes with a carbon fiberglass paddle, a heavy-duty backpack, a leash, and a pump.
  • Gili Komodo: This is a versatile inflatable paddle board that can be used for different SUP activities and for families. It is 10’6″ or 11’ long and 33″ wide, offering good stability and performance. It has a full-length deck pad, two bungee storage areas, three action mounts, a paddle holder, and a kayak conversion kit. It comes with a fiberglass paddle, a pump, a backpack, a leash, and a five-piece fin kit.
  • Gili Meno: This is an inflatable paddle board designed for yoga and fitness. It is 10’6″ or 11’ long and 35″ wide, making it exceptionally stable and comfortable. It has two bungee storage areas, three Scotty mounts, an integrated paddle holder, and a large traction pad that acts as a yoga mat. It comes with a carbon-fiber paddle, a pump, a wheeled backpack, a leash, and a kayak conversion kit.
  • iRocker Nautical: This is an affordable inflatable paddle board that is suitable for beginners on a tight budget. It is 10’6″ long and 32″ wide, offering decent stability and maneuverability. It has three fins (all removable), a bungee storage area, extra D-rings, and a large deck pad. It comes with an aluminum paddle, a pump, a backpack, and a leash. Heavier paddlers (over approx. 175 lbs), should consider the Nautical 11’6.

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Good for Beginners?

Inflatable paddle boards are excellent for beginners due to their stability, versatility, and ease of storage and transport.

Inflatable paddleboards provide a forgiving surface for falls, often come as part of an all-inclusive package with essential accessories, and are more affordable than hard boards.

Ideal for those exploring various SUP disciplines, their soft surface and portability makes inflatable paddleboards a great choice for beginner paddlers.

How to choose the best paddle board for beginners?

Choosing the best beginner paddle board depends on your personal preferences, goals, budget, and skill level. However, some general guidelines to follow are:

  • Choose an inflatable paddle board over a solid one for convenience, portability, durability, and affordability.
  • Choose an all-around stand up paddleboard over a purpose-specific one for versatility, ease of use, and value for money.
  • Choose a medium-length (10’6″ to 11’6″) standup paddleboard over a shorter or longer one for balance between speed and maneuverability.
  • Choose a wider (32″ – 34″) paddle board over a narrower one for stability and comfort.
  • Choose a thick (6 inches) paddle board over a thin one for buoyancy and rigidity.

How to use a paddle board for beginners?

Using a paddle board for beginners is not as hard as it may seem, but it does require some preparation, practice, and patience. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  • First, you need to inflate your paddle board properly using the pump that comes with it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure the board is firm and rigid. Then, attach the leash to your ankle or calf and to the D-ring at the back of the board. The leash will keep you connected to your board in case you fall off.
  • Next, you need to carry your board to the water using the center handle or with another person using the front or rear handles. Choose a calm water spot with no waves or currents and place your board in the water. Make sure it is floating well and not touching the bottom.
  • Then, you need to get on your board and start paddling. Stand next to your board and hold your paddle with one hand on the handle and the other on the shaft. Place your paddle across the board and use it as a support to get on the board. Start by kneeling on the board near the center and get comfortable with your balance. Hold your paddle with both hands and start paddling gently to move forward. To turn, paddle on one side of the board or make a sweeping motion with your paddle.
  • Finally, you need to stand up and paddle. When you feel ready, stand up by placing one foot at a time on each side of the handle. Keep your feet parallel, shoulder-width apart, and slightly bent at the knees. Keep your back straight, your head up, and your eyes on the horizon. Hold your paddle with one hand on the handle and the other about halfway down the shaft. Paddle with smooth and steady strokes, alternating sides every few strokes. To stop, drag your paddle in the water or reverse your stroke direction.

Paddle boarding for beginners can be a lot of fun and a great way to exercise and explore nature. However, it also requires some basic skills and safety precautions that you should learn before you go out. Follow these steps and tips and you will be able to enjoy paddle boarding for beginners in no time.

Beginner Paddle Boards – Are Inflatable or Solid Paddle Boards Better for Beginners?

When it comes to choosing between inflatable and solid paddle boards for beginners, both options have their own set of advantages.

Inflatable paddle boards are often recommended for beginners due to their superior stability and buoyancy. The inflatable design provides a more forgiving surface, making it easier for beginners to maintain balance and control while learning the basics of paddle boarding. Additionally, inflatable paddleboards are lightweight and portable, allowing beginners to easily transport and store them.

On the other hand, solid paddle boards offer a more rigid and responsive experience, which can be beneficial for those looking to progress quickly in their skills. Ultimately, the choice between inflatable and solid paddle boards depends on personal preference and intended usage.

What size stand-up paddleboards are best for a beginner?

For beginner paddleboarders, the ideal size paddleboard typically ranges from 10 to 12 feet in length and 32 to 34 inches in width. This size of stand up paddleboards provides the necessary stability and balance, making it easier for beginners to learn and enjoy paddleboarding. The wider and longer design helps new paddleboarders feel more secure on the water, allowing them to build confidence and improve their skills effectively.

What is the average cost of a good beginner paddle board?

A quality beginner paddle board typically ranges from $300 to $700. The price of paddleboards can vary depending on the brand, materials, and included accessories. Investing in a well-made beginner paddle board ensures better performance and durability, making the paddling experience more enjoyable and safe for novices.

How do I maintain and care for my beginner paddle board?

To maintain and care for your beginner paddle board, rinse it with fresh water after each use to remove salt, sand, and debris. Store the paddleboard in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent UV damage. Regularly check for any signs of wear and tear, and repair any minor damages promptly. Additionally, ensure that inflatable paddleboards are properly deflated and stored in their carrying bags when not in use to maintain their longevity.

What are some common mistakes that beginner paddle boarders make?

  1. Choosing the wrong board: Many beginners choose a paddleboard that is not suitable for their skill level. The best paddle board for beginners is usually wider and more stable.
  2. Ignoring safety gear: Beginner paddle boarders often overlook the importance of wearing life jackets. Life jackets are essential for safety, especially for those new to stand up paddle boarding.
  3. Poor paddling technique: Beginners often use incorrect paddling techniques. Learning proper paddling form is crucial for efficient stand up paddling and avoiding fatigue.
  4. Skipping lessons: Some beginner paddleboarders skip lessons, thinking they can learn on their own. However, taking lessons from an instructor can provide valuable tips and techniques for beginner stand up paddle boarding.
  5. Not checking weather conditions: Beginners frequently neglect to check the weather and water conditions before heading out. Paddling in rough or windy conditions can be dangerous, especially for stand up paddle board beginners.
  6. Overestimating abilities: Many beginner paddle boarders overestimate their abilities and venture too far from shore. It’s best for beginners to stay close to the shore until they gain more confidence and experience.
  7. Incorrect stance: A common mistake among beginners is standing too far forward or backward on the board. The best stance is usually with feet shoulder-width apart, centered on the paddle board.
  8. Neglecting to use a leash: Beginners sometimes forget to use a leash, which can lead to losing the board in the water. Using a leash ensures that the paddleboard stays close by, even if you fall off.
  9. Using a damaged paddleboard: Beginner paddleboarders might use an old or damaged board, which can affect their balance and paddling efficiency. It’s best to use a well-maintained paddleboard.
  10. Paddling with a poor grip: Beginners often hold the paddle incorrectly, which can cause strain and reduce paddling efficiency. Learning the correct grip is essential for effective stand up paddle boarding.
  11. Forgetting to check the fin: Many beginner paddle boarders forget to check if the fin is properly attached. A secure fin is crucial for stability and steering while stand up paddling.
  12. Ignoring the importance of board size: The best beginner SUP’s are often larger and more stable. Choosing the right size board can make a significant difference in the learning process for beginners.
  13. Not practicing balance: Balance is key in stand up paddle boarding, and beginners often underestimate its importance. Practicing balance on the board can help beginners gain confidence and improve their paddling skills.
  14. Choosing the wrong paddle length: Using a paddle that is too short or too long can make paddling difficult for beginners. The best paddle boards for beginners usually come with adjustable paddles to accommodate different heights.
  15. Skipping warm-ups: Beginner paddleboarders often skip warm-up exercises, which can lead to muscle strain. Warming up before paddling can help prevent injuries and improve performance.
  16. Paddling in busy areas: Beginners sometimes start paddling in crowded areas, which can be overwhelming and dangerous. It’s best for beginners to find a calm, less crowded spot to practice stand up paddle boarding.
  17. Ignoring the importance of weight distribution: Proper weight distribution is crucial for stability on a paddleboard. Beginners should practice keeping their weight centered on the board.
  18. Using a hand pump inefficiently: When inflating their boards, beginners often struggle with a hand pump. An electric pump can make this process much easier and faster.
  19. Not considering a board’s versatility: The best paddle boards for beginners often allow for multiple uses, such as yoga or fishing. Choosing a versatile board can enhance the paddleboarding experience for beginners.
  20. Skipping post-paddle maintenance: Beginners might neglect to rinse their paddle boards with fresh water after use. Proper maintenance can extend the life of the paddleboard and keep it in good condition.
  21. Ignoring the benefits of certain brands: Brands like Gili Air and Blackfin offer some of the best paddle boards for beginners. Researching and choosing the right brand can make a significant difference in the paddleboarding experience.

Wrapping Up – What Are The Best Paddle Boards For Beginners?

Choosing your beginner stand-up paddle board can indeed be an intimidating task. You want to get it right. The nine stand up paddleboards discussed above are some of the best stand up paddle boards for beginners. They have been tried and tested by other paddlers—and they approve.

When picking out a beginner stand-up paddleboard, consider construction quality, stability, and utility. If you are looking for a beginner SUP that you can travel with, an inflatable would be perfect. Lastly, make sure you get the right SUP size.

Do you have any questions about choosing the best beginner paddle board? Feel free to ask us below.

Happy stand-up paddling!

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