Inflatable paddle boards tend to be popular choices among people first getting into the sport because they’re lower priced, and they’re easy to store and haul. They’re also popular for people who already own a rigid paddle board, and are looking to add an extra board to their quiver. Having an extra iSUP in your quiver can be an excellent option for taking out friends or family, or for when you’re looking for that iSUP friendly adventure where rigid boards don’t permit access – think hiking into Alpine Lakes, or rocky river runs.
Whether you’re a beginner on a budget, looking for an economically priced iSUP or a well versed paddler looking for a top performance iSUP, here’s a few of the best iSUP brands and some of the top iSUPS they offer.
Best Value iSUP Brand on a Budget – Tower Paddle Boards
Over the years, Tower Paddle Boards have made an excellent reputation for themselves. After going on Shark Tank in 2012, and receiving funding, their boards have spread in popularity.
In my opinion, Tower’s iSUPs aren’t the most appealing to the eye. Most of their boards come in a plain white color, with just their black logo stamped on the nose. But, what they lack in sex appeal, they make up for in value and functionality.
Tower likes to continually show off how durable and rigid their iSUPS are by doing things like… driving cars over them.
I personally wouldn’t recommend doing this to your iSUP, but it gives you an idea of just how strong these things are. It also helps answer one of the major criticisms of inflatable paddle boards in regards to their rigidity.
To solve for rigidity issues inherent with iSUPs, Tower developed all of their boards to be at least 6″ thick. They also claim that this helps make their boards four times as rigid as other boards that are only 4″ thick, and that they have twice the weight capacity.
It’s important to point out here – Tower isn’t the only iSUP manufacturer that offers rigid boards. There’s a lot of other iSUP brands where this isn’t a problem. But, Tower stands out here because of it’s price range. It used to be that in order to get a high quality rigid iSUP you had to pay hand over fist. Tower’s done a good job bringing that price point down, and making it possible to get an iSUP that doesn’t ride like a wilted banana, at a decent rate. If you’re looking at other iSUPs in the same price range or cheaper, make sure to check out the thickness.
Here are Tower’s flagship iSUPs:
Premium Paddling with a Slick Design – Naish Inflatable SUPs
Naish is a Hawaii-based company with a good reputation for making high-quality surfboards, kitesurfing boards, and paddle boards. The company was founded by Robby Naish, who’s been credited with making some of the world’s greatest boards, for all three sports.
Naish has applied the design and innovation from his surf and kite boards to develop some of the highest performance paddle boards on the market. The result is a quiver of paddle boards that are sleek, fast and stable. Naish boards are known for being nimble on the water, making them easy to maneuver for beginners or experienced riders. Aside from their premium performance, they’re often recognized for their standout good looks too, making them hard not to notice.
A majority of the boards from Naish are solid rigid boards, but they also offer several inflatable paddle board options, that will not disappoint in performance or beauty. At the top of that iSUP list is the ONE, an all around paddle board with a long slim design. The ONE is considered one of the top iSUPs on the market. Even though it’s considered an all-around general purpose board, it’s long, fast design also make it a good option for racing or touring. Of course, no iSUP is going to be as competitive for racing or touring as a solid board, but Naish leads the pack among iSUPs in this category. The ONE is the perfect choice if you want a racing style board that won’t take up your entire garage space.
People’s Favorite iSUP Brand – Red Paddle Boards
Talk to anyone who owns a Red Paddle board, and you’ll find that they love them, and swear by them. They usually can’t stop saying good things about them. These are some of the best all around iSUPs you can find. They’re built tough with the rigidity of a solid board, and the practicality of an inflatable. By the way, they also look good.
Red Paddle iSUPs can be pumped up beyond 25 psi, which is substantially more than your average iSUP. This gives their boards extra rigidity, and a smoother ride that’s more similar to a solid board. They also tend to use some thicker materials than other iSUPs which also lends to their rigidity and durability. But that also tends to make them heavier than other iSUPs. However, Red Paddle began to remedy that with some design changes in 2016 that have made them noticeably lighter. Regardless of the weight these boards are still highly maneuverable in and out of the water, and their a pleasure to paddle.
Red Paddle offer a number of quality iSUPs, but here are a few of the most popular favorites.
If you do go with a Red Paddle iSUP, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll want a sturdy high-quality pump to get the board up to maximum PSI. A good choice is the patented Red Paddle Titan iSUP pump. This will make it far easier and quicker to pump your board up to the full 25 PSI, so you can get the most of your paddle.
Want a Full SUP Package?
Are you looking to get on the water as quickly as possible, without breaking your budget? Then you might want to get a SUP package, that comes with a paddle and everything you need, so you don’t have to buy everything separately. If that’s the case, check out these 5 best value sup packages.