Jump aboard for a paddle board party! You’ve got the cooler, drinks, snacks, and want to have fun with your friends… All that’s left to get is a board. But which multi-person paddle board do you need?
Multi-person SUPs are the giants of the paddle board world. Ranging in size from 12 feet up to 18 feet, you can load them up with friends and family, and even bring your kids, dogs, and gear. Due to their size, they don’t come cheap, so you want to make sure you get the best SUP board first time.
I’ve picked out six of my favorite multi-person paddle boards for this round-up article. My top pick is the Gili Manta Ray. It’s perfect if you’ve got a big family or want to host a party with lots of friends. If you’re looking for a smaller family board, I’ve got some great options for you too!
Let’s get right into the reviews.
Paddle Boards For Groups Compared
Best Multi Person
Versatile Board With Plenty of Features
If you’re looking for a board you can use for fishing, camping trips, and adventures with family or friends, this is it. The Manta Ray has tons of storage and mounts for every accessory you may need.
|Sizes||15′ x 56″ x 8″|
Large Group SUP
A Beast of a Board for Families and Groups
The Mammoth lives up to its name—it’s a beast of a board with a 1,100-pound weight capacity. The deck space, build quality, and 5-year warranty make this a great choice.
|Sizes||18′ x 60″ x 8″|
Premium Board With a Huge Weight Capacity
The Ride XL can easily accommodate 8 adults. It has a sleek, simple design with a huge traction pad and 4 inflation valves.
|Sizes||17′ x 60″ x 8″|
Good All-Around Board That Comes in Two Sizes
Durable, relatively lightweight paddle board with a universal fin box. Comes with two carbon/nylon paddles.
|Sizes||15′ x 56″ x 8″|
Affordable Board for Couples and Families
Great value board that’s the perfect size for couples and small families. It comes with paddles, pumps, and fins so you have everything you need to get out on the water.
|Sizes||12′ x 45″ x 8″|
Small Family Board With a Large Deck Pad
The huge deck pad extends most of the length of the board, making it a great multi person SUP for carrying dogs. Its size and weight make it a good choice for taking on vacation.
|Sizes||12′ x 45″ x 8″|
Best Inflatable Party SUP Boards
Here’s my roundup of the six best multi-person paddle boards.
1. Gili 15′ Manta Ray – Best Multi-Person SUP Board
The Gili 15’ Manta Ray is my top pick for features and versatility. If you want a SUP board for fishing, camping, and having fun with your family or friends, I’d go for the Gili Manta Ray.
There are two large bungee storage areas, plus extra D-rings to mount seats or strap down a cooler. I love that you get both Scotty mounts and Action mounts, so it’s easy to attach accessories such as cameras, fishing rods, and even a waterproof speaker.
These features make the Manta Ray a great fishing platform, as there’s plenty of space and weight capacity for all your kit, plus mounts to add rod holders. It’s also a good choice for overnight trips with family or friends as there’s plenty of space to store your gear.
The downside of having rear and forward bungee storage is that it reduces the usable deck space. Of course, you can stand on the bungee rigging, but that’s not particularly comfortable. That said, you can remove the rear bungee rigging if you decide you don’t want it.
The Manta Ray is 8-inches thick, and with a weight capacity of 1150 lbs, can support 4 or 5 adults. The Manta Ray has a similar weight capacity to the Mammoth, despite being shorter and slimmer. The smaller size does mean there’s less space to pack people on, especially as the traction pad is also much smaller.
Like most paddle boards for groups, the Manta Ray gets top marks for stability and bottom marks for speed. With two paddlers, the tracking is pretty good, though if you’re on your own, you might struggle to keep a straight line.
The Manta Ray comes with everything you need to get paddling, including two paddles, two pumps, fins, and a travel bag on wheels. The included paddles are made from fiberglass with a nylon blade. As an upgrade, Gili offers a carbon paddle with a nylon blade or a full carbon paddle.
As it’s a heavy SUP board (52 pounds), the wheeled bag is handy, but it’s a tight fit to get the SUP board back in. You really have to get all the air out of the chambers, and you may need to roll it a couple of times to get it to fit. It would be nice if Gili had included some pockets on the bag to store the fins and other accessories.
2. Red Paddle Co. Ride XL 17′
Red Paddle Co. is renowned for its quality, premium-priced SUPs. The Ride XL is the largest SUP board in their line-up. It’s as wide as the Bluefin Mammoth and just a foot shorter.
What makes this inflatable paddle board stand out from the rest is its weight capacity. It can easily take 8 220-pound adults with a total weight capacity of over 1700 pounds. The England rugby team have used them for training, and if they can’t sink them, no one can!
Red Paddle boards are renowned for their durability. There aren’t many SUP boards you can paddle away after running over it with a 22-tonne digger, but the 10’6” Ride survived the experience and I’m pretty sure the Ride XL would hold up well too.
The board has a simple, sleek design. I love that the textured deck pad is so big. It extends down to the rear of the board and out to the edges to make the most of the large deck. It’s both comfortable and super grippy. This gives you maximum flexibility to move around the SUP board, for example, if you have lots of paddlers or are trying some SUP AcroYoga outdoors.
Most multi-person boards come with two inflation valves, but the Ride XL has four valves. Theoretically, this makes it faster to inflate, but who takes four pumps out to the water with them? I don’t, for sure! You only get one pump in the package, though it is one of the best on the market.
This top-quality board comes at a premium price, which makes it difficult to recommend to the average paddler. If you don’t mind paying top dollar then it is a pretty awesome multi person SUP board!
3. Bluefin Mammoth 18’– Extra Large Group Paddle Board
The Bluefin Mammoth is the ultimate party SUP board. You can fit up to 10 people on board, with space to spare. This makes it perfect for large families and groups of friends. If you’re looking for a fun activity for a kid’s birthday party or corporate team-building event, this is it!
The Mammoth lives up to its name. It’s the largest paddle board I’ve reviewed—18 feet in length and 5 feet wide—and has a huge 1100-pound weight limit. For context, you could balance a female bison on this giant paddle board without it sinking (though the bison might get pretty annoyed).
I really like the large, non-slip deck pad. It covers most of the deck area, so your kids can run around without you worrying about them slipping. It’s comfortable enough to sit or sunbathe on.
While technically you could fit 10 adults on board, they’d have to be pretty slim and light. I think Bluefin really intends the Mammoth for large families (kids are lighter and smaller than adults) or group parties, where people are jumping on and off the board. If you want to paddle, have fun, or throw some yoga poses, then 4-6 adults is your comfortable maximum. When it comes to kids, just pile them on!
On the subject of paddling, the Bluefin Mammoth is not the fastest SUP board in the rack. Other than that, its performance is pretty good, given its size. There are five detachable fins to help with tracking and it’s maneuverable, as long as you have plenty of space to turn.
It’s perfect for lazy paddling trips downriver with your friends or playing in the shallows at the lake’s edge. You can also take it on the ocean, though I’d be wary about taking it out if there’s any wind as it’ll be a struggle to carry and control it.
As you might expect for an extra large paddle board, the Mammoth is not light. It weighs in at 60 pounds, so you’ll need at least two people to carry it.
The Mammoth comes with a high-pressure, dual-action pump, but it’s hard work inflating it by hand. It doesn’t come with paddles, so you’ll need to purchase these separately.
4. Isle Megalodon – 6 person paddle board
The Isle Megalodon comes in two sizes—a 12-foot version that’s very similar to the Peak Titan and a 15-foot version. The larger version is 56-inches wide and has a maximum weight capacity of 1,050 pounds. This means it can carry 4-8 people, depending on how cozy you want to get.
The Megalodon is constructed using Isle’s Airtech Fusion Lite process. The drop stitch is coated with a special bonding layer, which is then fused to a high-density machine-laminated PVC layer. This process creates a consistent bond that’s both durable and lightweight. You don’t have to worry about damaging the body of the SUP board, though, as always, you’ll need to take care of the fins.
On the subject of fins, I like that Isle uses a universal fin box. I try to be careful with my boards, but accidents happen (especially when kids are around!) and it’s much easier to replace a broken fin if the mount is universal. In fact, these days, I often carry around a spare fin just in case.
The Megalodon is surprisingly easy to handle given its size. It tracks well, due to the deep center fin and 4 smaller side fins, and can be paddled solo. That said, if you’re likely to be using it mainly on your own or as a couple, I’d recommend going for the 12-foot version. The 15-footer is definitely more of a load-it-up party boat!
Onto the downsides. This huge SUP board comes with paddles, a pump, and fins, but no leash and no bag. The leash I can overlook, as they’re cheap to buy and arguably you shouldn’t be wearing a leash if there are several people on board. However, I’m disappointed that Isle didn’t include at least a basic bag to store the SUP board and accessories and help transport it.
5. Peak 12 Titan – Family Paddle Board
If you want an affordable family paddleboard for 2-5 people, I’d recommend the Peak Titan. It weighs just 34 pounds and packs down into a holdall that’s compact enough to sling in the back of your car or store in a cupboard at home.
Fully inflated, the SUP board is 12-feet long and 45-inches wide. It has a weight capacity of 500 pounds.
What does this mean in practice? It’s a perfect size for up to 3 adults, or 2 adults and 3 kids, or 1 adult and a couple of Great Danes. Basically, it’s pretty flexible and because it’s that bit shorter and lighter than the boards above, it’s easier to manage if you’ve got small people helping.
I like that it comes as a complete package, with a pair of paddles, a pair of pumps, fins, and a travel bag. You even get a waterproof phone case thrown in for good measure. However, it doesn’t come with a leash, which seems a bit of an oversight, though cheap enough to rectify.
The board itself is great value for money—constructed from double-layer PVC, it’s robust and rigid. The accessories, not so much. The paddles are aluminum, which does the job, but is heavy if you’re paddling for more than a few minutes. They do match the boat though, so Peak gets style points for that!
The carry bag has plenty of space for the board, which is great, but the design is pretty basic. There are no backpack straps or wheels to help you transport it, so you’ll want to get your vehicle as close to the water as possible.
There’s a bungee system at the front of the SUP board, and a couple of D-rings at the tail, but no other mounts or connection points. This makes it less adaptable for activities such as fishing. However, if you just want a basic paddle board for family fun, that may not be an issue.
6. Driftsun Orka – 4 person paddle board
The Driftsun Orka has a similar spec to the Peak Titan. It’s 12 feet in length, 45-inches wide, and has a weight capacity of 550 pounds—slightly more than the Peak 12.
Its smaller size makes the Orka lighter than other multi-person paddle boards and easier to maneuver on the water. It’s a good choice when you’re looking for a paddle board for 3 or 4 people, or for a family paddle board to take on vacation.
My favorite feature of the Orka is the size of the EVA deck pad. This is split into two sections—a brushed finish for the center of the board and a textured pad at the rear. You can walk almost the whole length of the board without worrying about slipping off. This makes it a really popular SUP board with dog owners.
The Orka has a much smaller bungee cargo area than other boards. I like a decent area of bungee rigging to strap down a large dry bag and other gear, so this is a downside for me, but it may not be an issue for you if you don’t need the storage space.
There is a set of sturdy D-rings at the rear that you can use to strap down a cooler, plus a D-ring on the underside of the SUP board, for attaching it to a dock or anchor. I like this as it means you avoid a trip hazard on the board, but it might be a bit of a hassle to detach when under tension as you have to reach underneath the nose of the board.
The Driftsun Orca doesn’t come with a travel bag. Instead, you get a strapping system that wraps around the rolled-up SUP board. There are a pair of shoulder straps, but it’s not as comfortable as carrying a proper backpack with padded straps. In the accessory pack, you get a fin, two pumps, and a repair kit, but no paddles.
What to Consider When Buying a Multi-Person Board
First things first, if you’re looking for a speedy SUP board that turns on a dime, you’ve come to the wrong place. You don’t buy a multi-person board for its performance in the water—you buy it for fun. The kind of fun that involves calling your friends and family and piling onto an inflatable paddle board for an adventure downriver or celebrating a sunny day with an impromptu party on the lake.
If that’s what you’re in the market for, here’s what to look for when buying a multi-person paddle board.
The size of your board is the biggest factor determining the buoyancy of a SUP board, in other words, how many people you can fit on board. Paddle boards are marketed by length, but that’s not the only measurement to consider.
The width of your SUP board determines how stable it’ll be. If you’ve got lots of people moving around and jumping in and out of the water, you want a wide board for rock-solid stability.
A wide deck also gives you more space, so you can pass each other without having to do a comedy side-shuffle (or falling in).
Of course, wider isn’t always better. The wider the SUP board, the harder it is to paddle and maneuver.
Drop-stitch fabric forms the core of an inflatable paddle board and gives iSUPS their rigidity. However, it’s what wraps around this that determines the quality of construction of one board versus another.
Cheaper iSUPs have a single-layer drop-stitch core sealed with a flexible PVC coating. Better quality inflatable paddle boards incorporate fusion construction, where two layers of fabric are permanently bonded to each other. This offers a balance between rigidity, weight, and cost.
Some manufacturers have their own proprietary construction methods. Red Paddle’s MSL construction is an example of this. They’re arguably the best boards on the market, but they’re also some of the most expensive!
Most manufacturers don’t go into a ton of detail about their manufacturing process, though many fling out phrases such as “dual-layer construction” without explanation to make their products sound technical.
Unless you’re a materials geek, you’re unlikely to be interested in the finer details of how your board is made, so here’s a simple rule of thumb: you’ll pay more for a higher-quality board.
Boards with premium, dual-layer construction, are also a little heavier than boards of a comparable size.
You get what you pay for, but do you really need a board that’s sturdy enough to balance an ox on?
Quick and Efficient Inflation
Most multi-person SUPs have two valves for faster inflation. Some come with two pumps, which is great (as long as you have a friend to help you pump), but bear in mind that pumps vary in quality. One super-efficient pump may be faster than two slow pumps.
To be honest, the one accessory I suggest you get to go with your gigantic paddle board is an electric pump. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy, and exercise, and you won’t end up knackered before you even get on the water!
Large, Comfortable Deck Pad
For SUP parties, I like to have a traction pad that covers as much of the deck as possible. It needs to be comfortable for you and your friends to sit and lay on and grippy enough that you’re not going to slip. Some inflatable paddle boards have a split deck pad with a grippier texture at the rear of the board for you to stand on when paddling.
If you want extra space to store gear, then a board like the Gili Manta Ray may suit you better. This has a smaller deck pad, but you get large bungee cord storage areas at the front and back of the board.
Storage space isn’t an issue for everyone. If you’re tying your party barge up close to shore or playing around in the shallows, then you may not need to carry anything.
If you’re planning on being out for a couple of hours with family or friends, then you’ll probably need somewhere to stash a dry bag, especially if you have kids on board. As any parent knows, if you’re taking kids anywhere, you need water, snacks, sunscreen, spare clothes… The list goes on.
Most boards have space enough for a single bag, but if you need more space for bulkier items such as a cooler or camping gear, then you’ll want a paddle board with multiple cargo areas. Bungee rigging is great for dry bags, but D-rings give you more flexibility to strap down coolers and other large items.
How To Transport Your Board
Unless you’re lucky enough to live right next to a waterway, you need to consider how you’re going to transport your inflatable paddle board. Some people transport them on the roof of their vehicle (fully inflated), but unless your vehicle is set up for this, it’s quicker and easier to chuck your deflated board in the trunk.
You also need to consider how far you need to carry it to the water when you arrive at your destination and whether you’ll be carrying it deflated or inflated.
Most paddle boards (even giant ones) come with some kind of travel bag. A wheeled bag will save your back, but make sure it has straps as wheels don’t work on all terrains. A decent bag can be pretty expensive, so make sure you factor this into your decision-making before you buy your board.
Difference Between Multi-Person and Tandem Paddle Boards
Picture this: You and your seven closest friends, all balanced on a single paddle board, gliding across the water. Sounds like a blast, right? That’s the beauty of a multi-person stand up paddle board (SUP). It’s built to accommodate more than two people, even up to a party of ten. With its increased width and length, it’s a floating island of fun, perfect for families or groups of friends who want to share the paddling experience. And let’s not forget about its potential as a team-building tool or for group outings.
Now, let’s switch gears and imagine a more intimate scenario. You and a friend, or maybe your significant other, paddling in sync on a board built for two. That’s where a 2 person paddle board aka tandem paddle board comes into play. It’s a step up from a solo SUP in terms of size, but a tandem paddle board doesn’t quite match the dimensions of a multi-person SUP. A 2 person board is the perfect choice for duos looking to share the paddling experience.
So, what sets these two apart? It’s all about size and capacity. A multi-person SUP is the larger of the two, designed to carry more people. Its increased size also lends to its stability, making it easier to balance. Plus, it’s equipped with more fins, which helps it track better in the water.
So, when it comes down to choosing between the two, consider your needs. If you’re planning a paddle board outing for a larger group, a multi-person SUP is your best bet. It’s roomy, stable, and can accommodate more people. But if it’s just you and a buddy or your partner, a tandem paddle board is the way to go. It’s the perfect size for two, offering a shared paddling experience without the need for a larger, multi-person board.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best family size paddle board?
It depends on what kind of family paddling you want to do. If you want to fit your whole family on one board, you’ll need one of the multi-person paddle boards listed above. These are large and stable boards that can carry several people and gear. They’re great for group outings, parties, and fun team-building activities. However, they’re also heavy, expensive, and hard to maneuver.
If you want a paddle board that everyone in your family can use individually or in pairs, you’ll need a smaller and more versatile board. A 10’6 board is a good option for most families, as it can accommodate older kids and adults of average size and weight. It’s also easier to transport, inflate, and paddle than a multi-person board. You can find some of the best 10’6 inflatable paddle boards on our best inflatable SUPs page.
If you or your family members are on the larger side, or you want to paddle with your spouse or kids on the same board, you’ll need a bigger and more buoyant board. A 11’6 or longer board is a good choice for heavier paddlers, as it can support more weight and offer more stability. It’s also better for touring, fishing, and camping trips. You can find some of these boards on our best paddle boards for larger paddlers page.
Can 2 People Paddle Board On the Same Board?
Yes, absolutely! You just need to check the maximum weight capacity for the board you want to buy. You may be able to squeeze two small people on some standard-sized paddle boards, but if you want extra elbow room or storage space, then a multi-person board will be more comfortable.
What Paddle Boards Are Good for Two People?
If there are just two of you paddling, then I’d recommend a 12-foot board, such as the Peak Titan or Driftsun Orka. If you want space for more than three people, then you’ll need a larger paddle board.
How Much Weight Can a Multi-Person Paddle Board Hold?
Multi-person paddle boards typically have a weight capacity upward of 500 pounds. Some of the largest boards, such as the Bluefin Mammoth and the Red Paddle Ride XL have capacities of over 1000 pounds.
The Gili Manta Ray is my top pick for the best multi-person paddle board. It’s a top-quality board with a huge deck that’s perfect for a party or leisurely afternoon on the water.
If you have money to burn then the Red Paddle Ride XL is arguably a tougher board, but in my opinion, that doesn’t justify the high price tag. At the other end of the scale, the Peak 12 Titan is an affordable board that’s a great option for couples and small families.
Whichever board you choose, the most important thing is to get out on the water and have fun!