Finding the best inflatable SUP for beginners can be challenging due to the overwhelming amount of good options on the market. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have difficulty choosing a beginner inflatable paddleboard that suits your needs.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the range of inflatable boards for beginners, tips on choosing your paddleboard and our recommendation for the best inflatable paddle board for beginners. Let’s get started.
If you are looking for a SUP on a budget, check out our guide on finding the best inflatable SUP under $400.
Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Good for Beginners?
To answer the question above: yes.
There are many reasons why inflatable paddleboards are a great choice over hardshell paddleboards, especially if you’re just getting started with watersports. Here are several reasons why inflatable paddleboards are good for beginners:
You can fold and store an inflatable paddleboard in a small container box or bag (they usually come with one), which gives it an edge over a hard shell paddleboard in terms of portability. If you’re not prepared to install a roof rack or spare some cash on a boat trailer, an inflatable paddleboards’ portability is a godsend.
Better Comfort and Safety
Most modern inflatable paddleboard models have rubbery materials that can provide some extra cushion and absorb impacts while you’re out exploring. The softer surface material also allows you to bump and fall off painlessly.
Since inflatable stand-up paddleboards are made of softer materials, they are more forgiving when you bump them onto hard surfaces like rocks and corals. On the other hand, hardshell paddleboards scratch and break much easier in similar scenarios since the materials have lower shock-absorbing properties.
Tips for Beginner Paddle Boarders
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun activity to play on the water, with the bonus of a full-body workout in the process. But that doesn’t mean you should do it unprepared.
Here are several tips to get started for beginner paddle boarders.
Keep Yourself Safe
While stand-up paddleboarding is a relatively safe watersport, you should prioritize your safety by wearing a safety vest or personal flotation device and helmet. Investing in a high-quality paddle is highly recommended since you don’t want your paddle to break while you’re out exploring.
Wear Proper Clothing
Most beginners ignore this tip – but the difference between wearing regular clothes and a proper swimsuit can be night and day. The water you’re exploring is not always 100% clean; there might be debris in the water that can bring discomfort. It is highly advised to wear a proper swimsuit, board shorts, and rash vest for sun protection.
Get the Basics Right First
Before you start exploring further into the open water, you should get yourself used to the basic techniques like standing up, keeping balance, rowing, and getting back on the paddleboard from the water. It’s best to practice the basics in shallow water since you can repeat the training without much concern for your safety.
The Best Beginner Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP)
Here are some of our recommendations for the best beginner inflatable SUP on the market right now.
The iROCKER Cruiser features a triple-layer PVC material with a wide range of premium features and accessories. With such an affordable price point, the 2-year warranty makes it a no-brainer for a beginner stand-up paddleboard.
This cruiser inflatable SUP has a versatile design that you can take on any kind of paddling activity. If you care about the looks, the iROCKER Cruiser comes with a wide variety of color options.
If you plan to take your children paddling, iROCKER Cruiser also has safety handles at the board’s nose for them to hold. In the retail packager, you’ll get the board, a carrying bag, a paddle, a triple-action hand pump, and an ankle leash.
The SereneLife Inflatable SUP is an excellent choice for beginner paddleboarders that offers excellent value for the price. It comes with a 10-foot long paddleboard, an aluminum paddle, a carrying backpack, a set of repair kits, and an inflation pump.
The SereneLife Board is highly durable and rigid with its 6″ thickness, making it an excellent option for beginners who are more likely to bump onto various objects during their paddling sessions.
At its price point, it’s surprising that the SereneLife paddleboard has a 0.9mm military-grade PVC layer. You also get a non-slip pad on the deck, making it a comfortable board that you can take on long paddling sessions.
Nixy Newport Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard
If you’re on the market for a high-quality beginner inflatable SUP, Nixy Newport is an excellent choice to check.
The Nixy Newport offers comparable performance to a rigid epoxy SUP, possibly due to the laminated outer shell that can stand up to 20 PSI of air pressure. At 33″ wide, this board has excellent stability while on the water, which is suitable for beginners.
While the Nixy Newport costs a little more than other entry-level SUP, it comes with many additional features. These features include additional attachment ports, extra carry handles, adjustable paddle length, and a dual-chamber “Typhoon” pump for a faster inflation process.
Roc Inflatable SUP
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Roc is one of the best-selling inflatable stand-up paddleboards on Amazon, and there are clear reasons for that.
The Roc Inflatable SUP is an excellent choice for a beginner paddleboard with its width (32″), making it a very stable board on the water. It is also made from military-grade PVC and drop-stitch construction, which gives the Roc inflatable SUP incredible rigidity. Higher rigidity means better paddling control, which is suitable for beginners.
Its rounded nose also improves the board’s stability at the cost of a slower-moving board. The Roc inflatable SUP is 10-foot long and can hold up to 300 pounds of weight on the water. This means you can carry a lot of gear or an extra passenger (probably your kid or your dog).
Soopotay Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard
The Soopotay iSUP is one of the best bang-for-the-buck beginner paddleboards in the market. In the retail package, you will get everything you need to start paddling for an entire day.
Considering that it costs less than $300, the Soopotay inflatable SUP offers excellent quality for the price. The board itself is 10-feet long and 6-inches thick, which is the standard thickness for a rigid, maneuverable, and comfortable board.
You’ll also get a 1mm thick deck padding that provides adequate traction and cushion – but it’s an inflatable paddleboard; you won’t feel much shock even if you fall on it.
The Soopotay has a tri-fin design with a removable middle fin that helps with tracking. There are also bungee cords at the nose of the board that you can use to secure your gear. But given that it’s cheaper than other boards on this list, it only has one other attachment point for the ankle leash.
It supports up to 280 pounds of weight when fully inflated, which is enough to carry you and your gears.
Choosing your first inflatable SUP could make or break your interest in this fun watersport. While the choice is entirely yours, we hope that this list can guide you in choosing the best inflatable SUP for beginners.