Best Paddle Boards of 2022: Full-Body Summer Cardio

paddle board on open water


Go to almost any boat launch these days and you'll find folks launching paddle boards. They're arguably the easiest personal watercraft for beginners and even the best paddle boards on the market are quite affordable compared to some kayaks and canoes.

When the weather is beautiful, stand up paddling sure beats sitting at home on one of the best water rowers or using the weight machine at your local gym. Plus, paddle boarding is a full-body workout that can help you gain muscle and improve your balance.

Additionally, if you decide to incorporate paddle boarding into your regular fitness routine, try using a personal training app to track distance, speed, and calories burned. Some apps even allow you to track your route, which is a fun way to reminisce on the places you've paddled.

While paddle boards aren't hard to find, there are many to choose from. Fortunately, we've collected six of the best paddle boards for different recreational purposes, and we'll help you decide which model is best for you.

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The Best Paddle Boards - Our Top Picks

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What to Look for When Shopping for a Paddle Board

Fortunately, there isn't quite as much variety between paddle board models as there is, say, in the kayaking world. Still, these factors will help you find a board that is best suited to your skill level and the type of paddling you do.

Length and Width

Your ideal paddle board size is going to depend on your height and weight. Here's a quick chart to provide some direction:

 Paddler Weight  Under 150 lbs.  150-175 lbs.  175-225 lbs.  225+ lbs.
 SUP Length  9'6"-10'9"  10'-11'6"  10'6"-12'6"  10'6"-12'6"
 SUP Width  31-32"  31-33"  32-34"  32-34"

Keep in mind that most popular paddle boards are between 10 and 11 feet long and 32 to 34 inches wide. These board dimensions will serve the majority of beginners, but larger paddlers will need longer boards. As you gain experience, you may upgrade to a longer, skinnier board. Generally, longer, thinner boards can achieve higher top speeds and are more efficient for long-distance paddling.

Fin Design

Most paddle boards offer either a single- or a three-fin set up. With either set up, one or multiple fins will be removable. Generally, a three-fin design provides more maneuverability if you need to make quick turns. Single-fin designs still provide good tracking ability, and they also offer less drag when you're traveling long distances.

Storage Bag and Accessories

Most stand up paddleboards these days come as part of a package that includes a carry bag and several accessories. Let's start by talking about what to look at in that bag, as any old bag won't suffice.

The best paddle board storage bags offer at least one side of mesh that encourages airflow and helps your board and accessories dry after each paddle. They also include backpack straps that make it easier to carry the bag from the parking lot to the water.

When it comes to accessories, things like a dual-action pump, collapsible paddle, and SUP leash are pretty standard. Your goal should be to compare SUP packages to find the right combination of board and accessories for the best price.

In some cases, a slightly more expensive package that comes with more accessories may save you money in the long run once you factor in the cost of buying those accessories elsewhere.

Best Overall Paddle Board - Isle Surf Pioneer 2.0 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Isle surf pioneer 2.0

SPECS

  • Style: Inflatable
  • Material: Double-layer, drop-stitch PVC
  • Dimensions: 10'6"L x 34"W x 6"H
  • Weight: 24 lbs.
  • Paddle included: Yes
  • Maximum load: 285 lbs.

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The second-generation Pioneer SUP is an excellent all-arounder for beginners to experienced paddlers. The board's width provides excellent stability and ample space to secure your paddle gear on the deck. The deck comes finished with a brushed traction pad that provides comfort and grip under your feet. It also comes with a lightweight, three-piece carbon paddle, and there's a paddle holder on the edge of the board to keep it secure when you need your hands free.

PROS

  • Front and rear bungees for gear storage
  • 3-fin design adds maneuverability
  • Comes with an electric pump

CONS

  • Price
  • Long paddle efficiency

BUY: Isle Surf Pioneer 2.0 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Best Paddle Board for Beginners - TAHE Beach Shoreline Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

TAHE Beach shoreline inflatable stand up

SPECS

  • Style: Inflatable
  • Material: Drop-stitch PVC
  • Dimensions: 10'6"L x 33"W x 4.75"H
  • Weight: 23 lbs.
  • Paddle included: Yes
  • Maximum load: 200 lbs.

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The TAHE Beach Shoreline SUP is an excellent starter board if you're new to the sport. It's designed with a planing hull that provides good tracking and efficiency, and it boasts a three-fin design for added maneuverability. Multiple carry handles make it easy to carry and it comes with a high-pressure pump that allows you to fully inflate the board in about 10 minutes. The center fin can also be easily removed without any tools when transporting the board, or when you're paddling in shallow areas.

PROS

  • Comes with a fully adjustable paddle
  • Backpack-style carry bag
  • Good tracking and efficiency

CONS

  • Thin design isn't best for heavier paddlers
  • Durability

BUY: TAHE Beach Shoreline Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Best Inflatable Paddle Board - POP Paddleboards Yacht Hopper Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

POP paddleboards yacht hopper

SPECS

  • Style: Inflatable
  • Material: Drop-stitch PVC
  • Dimensions: 11'L x 32"W x 6"H
  • Weight: 27 lbs.
  • Paddle included: Yes
  • Maximum load: 325 lbs.

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The Yacht Hopper gives you the look of a wooden-decked watercraft while providing the comfort of a textured foam deck pad. That pad reduces stress on your feet while you're using this board to hop from yacht to yacht. It comes with a three-piece collapsible paddle, a dual-action manual pump, a single removable fin, a SUP leash, and a travel bag.

PROS

  • Faux-wood textured deck pad
  • Travel bag with wheels
  • Front- and rear-deck bungees

CONS

  • Single-fin design
  • Price

BUY: POP Paddleboards Yacht Hopper Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard

Best Paddle Board on Amazon - SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Serenelife inflatable stand up paddle board

SPECS

  • Style: Inflatable
  • Material: Drop-stitch PVC
  • Dimensions: 10'6"L x 32"W x 6"H
  • Weight: 19.6 lbs.
  • Paddle included: Yes
  • Maximum load: 275 lbs.

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If you're searching Amazon for a paddle board, it's hard to beat this SereneLife board. It's got a non-slip deck pad, a front bungee strap for gear storage, and a stable design that lends itself well to beginners. It also comes with a collapsible SUP paddle, SUP leash, removable fin, patch repair kit, and storage/travel bag making it great for when you're just getting started in the world of paddle boarding.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Quick delivery

CONS

  • Durability
  • Long-distance efficiency

BUY: SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Best Budget Paddle Board - Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

roc inflatable stand up board

SPECS

  • Style: Inflatable
  • Material: Military-grade Quad Core PVC
  • Dimensions: 10' L x 33" W x 6" H
  • Weight: 17.5 lbs.
  • Paddle included: Yes
  • Maximum load: 300 lbs.

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If you're working with a tight budget but still want a quality board, you should look closely at the Roc Inflatable SUP. It's user-friendly and comes equipped with everything you need to get started. The deck even includes four D-rings that you can clip a kayak seat into for more comfortable seated paddling if you're not quite ready to stand up. This board also offers a three-fin design for added stability and maneuverability.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Not the best for long distances
  • Low-quality SUP paddle

BUY: Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Most Versatile Paddle Board - Isle Surf Cruiser 2.0 Stand Up Paddle Board

Isle Surf Cruiser 2.0 Stand Up Paddle Board

SPECS

  • Style: Rigid
  • Material: Molded EPS foam core
  • Dimensions: 10'5"L x 35"W x 4.5"H
  • Weight: 24 lbs.
  • Paddle included: No
  • Maximum load: 235 lbs.

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If you're looking for a board that doesn't need to be inflated before each use, check out the Cruiser 2.0. It's a soft-top board that's still light enough to compare favorably with many inflatables out there. The central carry handle extends and retracts for more comfortable carrying and the single-fin design provides good efficiency on full-day adventures. This board comes with a two-piece carbon hybrid paddle, a removable center fin, and an eight-foot SUP leash.

PROS

  • Less set-up and breakdown time than inflatables
  • Vent plug lets air escape from SUP core on hot days
  • Low-profile for added efficiency

CONS

  • 1 front bungee for storage
  • Requires roof rack or truck bed to transport

BUY: Isle Surf Cruiser 2.0 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

FAQs About Paddle Boards

For those of you that are brand new to this amazing watersport, you might be wondering about a few of the common questions we've answered below.

What is the best size paddle board for a beginner?

It depends on your height and weight. Most small and medium-sized paddlers start with a paddle board between 10- and 11-feet in length. Taller and heavier paddlers have an easier time balancing on a board that's 11-foot-6 or longer, as the added length distributes weight over a larger surface area and provides more stability.

Is It easier to kayak or paddle board?

This is a topic of much debate. While they are both “paddle sports," there are many differences. Kayakers and paddle boarders use different paddles, different paddling techniques, and use different positions on the water.

For many, there's a higher likelihood of falling off a paddle board than falling off a kayak. The trade-off is that paddle boarders are generally easier to climb back on than climbing back onto a kayak. From a paddling standpoint, most paddle boards are significantly lighter than your average kayak. This means they take less effort to get going, but paddle boards also don't track as well as most kayaks, which means you'll be making more corrective strokes to keep going straight.

Can I sit on a paddle board?

Absolutely! One of the best parts of being a beginner on a paddle board is that you don't have to stand. You can sit cross-legged, sit on your knees with your feet tucked underneath you, or even lie down and paddle like a surfer. Some paddle boards even come with D-rings attached to the deck. These D-rings allow you to attach many paddling accessories, but if there are four aligned in the right configuration, you'll be able to attach a kayak seat for an even more comfortable seated paddling experience.

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