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7 Best Paddle Boards For Beginners in 2024

best inflatable stand up paddle 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.

I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the choice of paddle boards when I first started. Then I tested a bunch 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 Board for Beginners—and Pros

With the perfect balance between speed and stability, this is a 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 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 Board That’s Great for Families

The Komodo 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 Board with Some Nice Features

This 35-inch wide 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

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 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 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.

Sizes8′ x 29″ x 5″
Capacity264 lbs

Best Inflatable SUP Boards for Beginners

Read on for my reviews:

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

Testing the atoll paddle board Pin

Paddlers love the Atoll iSUP. 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 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 platform is wide enough for stability, but not too wide to make the 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 is that it finds a balance between stability and performance. A wider 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 board seems to be most people’s favorite. 

The iSUP 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 offers the perfect balance between speed and stability. It’s a board that’ll take you from beginner to advanced paddler.
  • Exceptionally durable: Premium materials and construction mean the Atoll 11 can take a beating without getting damaged.
  • Large weight capacity: Atoll has tested this 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 is one of the lightest 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 boards sport 3 handles, but the Atoll 11 only has 2, which may make it harder to launch 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 boards.

Check Price of the Atoll SUP

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

irocker all around 11 2021 paddle board Pin

iRocker is a well-known name in the SUP community. Their boards are among the best-selling iSUPs globally. The iRocker All Around 11 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 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 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 iSUP 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 boards or more chill colors, you will find something you like.

The iRocker 11 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 leash. 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 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 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

3. Gili Komodo

gili-komodo-106-2022 Pin

The Komodo 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 isn’t the widest board, but it feels really stable, even for larger paddlers like me. I usually discount 10’6 boards as being too short, but when I tried it out, I was pleased with the Komodo’s stability.

gili komodo paddle board

It’s hard to find a paddle board that both adults and kids can use, but I think the Komodo 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). Gili’s construction method makes the board both rigid and lightweight – this makes it 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 comes with everything you need to get started, but the accessories aren’t as high-spec as other 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 paddle boarding.

What I Like
  • Versatile design: If you want one 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 felt given my height and weight. There aren’t many 10’6 SUPs 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 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 for any activity!
What I Don’t Like
  • Entry-level accessories: The 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 board.

Check Price of the Gili Komodo

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

gili meno yoga paddle board

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.

Build Quality

The Gili Meno 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 can hold 450 pounds while the 11’ Meno can hold 485 pounds.


The Gili Meno 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 board, ideal for all kinds of yoga poses.


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

The boards are maneuverable.


You can get the Gili Meno 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 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 is 35 inches wide and 6 inches thick. This makes it an exceptionally stable 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 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 board.
What I Don’t Like
  • Slow (but steady): The extra width makes the Gili Meno slower than other boards and it can be tricky to handle in rough water.

Check Price of the Gili Meno

5. iRocker Nautical: Best Budget Paddle Board for Beginners

irocker nautical 106 2021 Pin

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

Build Quality

The iRocker Nautical 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, it can hold up to 240 pounds. It comes with a 60-day guarantee and a one-year warranty.


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

The board is six inches thick and made using high-quality materials. This makes it 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 won’t be that stable for you. Consider the iRocker Nautical 11’6 instead.


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


You can get the Nautical 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 board for yoga.

Like the other iRocker paddleboards, the Nautical 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 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 boards are easier to maneuver. The Nautical is snappy to turn, making it a fun board to learn on.
What I Don’t Like
  • Low weight capacity: The 240-pound capacity is significantly less than other boards, but in optimum conditions, the Nautical can handle a bit extra weight.

Check Price of the iRocker Nautical

6. Gili Air 10’6

gili-air-106-featured-2022 Pin

The Gili Air is a great budget paddle board. It’s similar to the iRocker Nautical 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.

gili air cheap sup board

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

The 10’6 Air 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 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 board has four safety handles in addition to the grab handles – these are great if you have kids on board.

You get a choice of six designs, and each 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 is nice and light, it’s comfortable to carry without needing wheels.

What I Like
  • Very lightweight: The Gili Air 10’6 weighs just 19 pounds, and the longer 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 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 board for your needs.
  • Good performance: The Gili Air tracks well and is nice and stable. It’s not as fast as some higher-spec boards, 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

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

bluefin cruise jr 8

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

Build Quality

This Junior board is built using 1000D exo-surface laminate PVC and Pro Weave Dropstitch. The construction is so tough, the 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, this platform is stable enough and it will not wobble. The state-of-the-art construction makes this youth iSUP rigid and it can handle up to 265 pounds.


The Bluefin Cruise Junior board has a kick pad 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 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 has the same build quality and rigidity as their adult boards.
  • Decent weight capacity: This board actually has a higher weight capacity than the iRocker Nautical. 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 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 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 board independently.

Check Price of the Bluefin Cruise Junior

How to Choose a Starter SUP Board

If you are a beginner in the world of paddle boarding, choosing the right 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 board, you may end up with a frustrating and disappointing experience.

Understand The Different Types of Paddle Boards

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:

For an all-around SUP, the Atoll has a more pointed nose which gives it more speed

All-around SUP 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 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 board is the type of paddle board you should look for.

The Bluefin Sprint Carbon 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 boards 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 SUPs 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 SUPs 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 boards, paddle boards for racing are even narrower, giving them even less drag and more speed on the water. The downside is that race SUPs are even less stable and much more difficult to stand on.

The Blue Aura Fit is a good example of a yoga SUP. See how wide it is?

Yoga and fitness SUP boards

Doing your 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 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 boards to be light and fast to paddle.

isle vector single wing surf sup 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 board Pin
The Nautical Kids 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’ boards are typically between 7’6 to 9’ in length. These shorter 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 or a solid paddle board. Both types have their pros and cons, but here are some factors to consider:

Stability: Inflatable paddle boards are more stable than solid ones, 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 ones, 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 ones, 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 board that is stable, easy to maneuver, and forgiving. A wider and longer all-around 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 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 board with more rocker and a pointed nose for better maneuverability.

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

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

Beginner SUP Accessories

Once you have chosen your beginner SUP, you might want to consider some accessories that can 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 SUPer. You want a paddle that is comfortable, durable, and adjustable to your height. Some beginner SUPs 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 iSUPs 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 iSUPs.
  • Leash: A leash is a cord that attaches your 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 beginner 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 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 a insulated bag or box that keeps your drinks and food cold and fresh. A cooler is optional for fun and comfort, but it can make your paddle more enjoyable and relaxing. You can attach your cooler to your 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 SUP FAQs

What are the best paddle boards for beginners?

The best paddle boards for beginners are all-around, inflatable paddle boards. These boards 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.

What are the benefits of paddle boarding for beginners?

The benefits of paddle boarding for beginners are manifold. Paddle boarding is a fun and healthy activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Here are some of the advantages of trying this sport:

  • Paddle boarding improves your balance and core strength by engaging your muscles to stabilize yourself on the board. This helps you develop better posture and prevent injuries in your daily life.
  • Paddle boarding gives you a low-impact cardio workout that burns calories and improves your heart health. You can adjust the intensity of your paddling according to your fitness level and goals. Paddle boarding can also improve your endurance and stamina over time.
  • Paddle boarding allows you to explore nature and enjoy the scenery from a different perspective. You can paddle on lakes, rivers, oceans, or any other water body that suits your preference. You can also discover new places and wildlife that you might not see otherwise.
  • Paddle boarding reduces stress and boosts your mood by releasing endorphins and connecting you with the water element. Water has a calming and soothing effect on the mind and body. Paddle boarding can also help you relax and meditate in a peaceful environment.
  • Paddle boarding offers you variety and challenge by allowing you to try different SUP variations such as touring, racing, surfing, yoga, fishing, etc. You can choose the type of paddle boarding that matches your interest and skill level. You can also learn new skills and techniques from other paddle boarders or instructors.

Read more benefits of paddle boarding for beginners.

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.

They 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 make them a practical choice for new paddlers.

How to choose the best paddle board for beginners?

Choosing the best paddle board for beginners 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 paddle board over a purpose-specific one for versatility, ease of use, and value for money.
  • Choose a medium-length (10’6″ to 11’6″) paddle board 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.

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 boards 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 is the best season for paddle boarding?

The best season for paddle boarding is the summer, when the air and water temperatures are warm. With the right preparation you can paddle board year round.

Conclusion – Best Beginner SUPs

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

When picking out a 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 paddling!