As stand up paddle boarding grows ever more popular, more beginners are looking to purchase a SUP board. But with all the options out there, it can be difficult to choose the best paddle board when you’re first starting out. Luckily, there are plenty of good options first time SUP enthusiasts, so with a little information, it’s easy to make a good choice.
What’s the best stand up paddle board for beginners? The best stand up paddle board for beginners is the Roc Inflatable Paddle Board. It has fantastic reviews, is affordable without being cheap, and is great for all-around beginner use. It also comes packed with accessories to get you started paddling on the water immediately.
When choosing a paddle board as a beginner, it’s important to look for a great combination of stability, affordability, and portability. Read on to see the top 10 paddle boards that combine all of these important factors.
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What is The Best Paddle Board for Beginners?
The best paddle boards for beginners are stable, maneuverable, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. And for those of us who don’t have huge garages or SUVs to haul giant 10′ long SUP boards around, inflatables are both easy to store and convenient to transport.
There are three main aspects that dictate how much weight a paddle board can hold which directly affects its stability. And if you’re a beginner, stability is key to learning how to paddle board both quickly and efficiently.
Those three things that affect paddle board stability are:
The wider a board is, the more stable it will be. Keep in mind, stability comes at the cost of speed. Thickness falls into the same sort of category, offering increased buoyancy and stability at the cost of extra drag in the water. The longer a board is, the more buoyant it is, and that comes at the cost of maneuverability.
Finding a middle-ground on all of these dimensions is important for a beginning paddle boarder. Thanks to the advent of modern technology, it’s easy to find a board that’s fun and agile while still being stable enough to account for a beginner’s initial lack of balance in the water.
The best starting paddle board will be one that you can keep for some time; even the cheapest paddle boards are still an investment, so it is best if you don’t outgrow or regret your choice within a few seasons.
Every board on this list will be able to grow with you as a rider and help you learn more about the sport and your preferred style.
Stand Up Paddle Board for Beginner Resources
We’ve written extensively about factors involved in finding the right paddle board to fit your personal needs. If you want to delve deeper, take a look at these articles on choosing the right sized paddle board:
- Different Types of Stand Up Paddle Boards
- Dimensions of a Paddle Board
- How Much Weight Can a Paddle Board Hold
Top 8 Stand Up Paddle Boards for Beginners
Any “top” list is biased from the outset, so this is our heavily bias list of favorite SUP boards to help beginners get into paddle boarding without spending too much money, learn the balance and paddling skills necessary to get started quickly, and are durable enough to help you enjoy the sport for years to come.
As I mentioned above, all of the SUP boards on this list are inflatables. I’ve found that for people just starting out, inflatables offer:
- Ease of storage
- Ease of transportation
- Good stability and ease of use
- Great bang for your buck
- And new inflatables are relatively durable
1 – ROC Inflatable Beginner Paddle Board
This board is one of the most popular paddle boards and is regularly commonly recommended by a host of different paddle boarding veterans. It has a lot going for it, including:
- It’s affordable
- It comes with a full set of accessories
- It’s a great size for beginners
- It comes in multiple color options
- And it’s highly durable
The value that comes with this beginning SUP board is hard to beat. The board is incredibly stable, especially for an inflatable (the majority of most modern boards and the best option for beginners). This is largely due to its dimensions; the board is 32” wide and 6” thick.
That width provides a wide surface for beginners to get their footing on and balance while standing up on the water. But due to that extra width, this board isn’t the fastest. However, it’s a great option for all but the most speed-seeking beginners. Additionally, this extra space provides a 300lb. weight limit—an extra person, additional gear, and even your dog can likely come on this paddle board with you.
The thickness of the board provides great stability and even more flotation. Most inflatable boards are only 5” thick, with some even going down to 4”. So the extra thickness here makes this board more stable for beginners. Though, admittedly, it causes more drag and rides lower in the water.
What truly sets this board apart as a great beginner option is the inclusion of quality accessories. A paddle, an air pump, a wrist strap, and a backpack to store it all in come with the SUP board itself, you are ready to hit the water immediately with your purchase.
Because the Roc is inflatable, it’s much easier to transport than a solid board, making this option great for people who only have a small car and very little storage space for the off season.
You can get the ROC in several colors on Amazon.
2 – SereneLife Inflatable SUP for Beginners
SereneLife’s beginner paddle board is highly versatile and shares many of the positives seen in other SUPs on this list; highly stable, good price point, great sizing. What sets it apart is its slightly longer length and ability to do a little bit of everything for a beginning paddle boarder.
Unlike some other beginner options, the SereneLife board is meant for use across a variety of conditions. Whether the water is calm or choppy, or you intend to go fast or use the board for yoga on the water, this beginning SUP board can handle it all.
At 10’5”, this SUP board is slightly longer than many other all-around boards, providing increased buoyancy and stability. This makes this board one of the best options for activities like yoga and slow touring.
This paddle board comes with three fins for extra stability across a variety of conditions. These fins set the SUP apart from other beginner level paddle boards, as fins are often a feature reserved for more expensive boards. This board also comes with a full accessory kit to help you hit the water immediately.
This board was particularly created with beginners in mind, as evidenced by many of its features. The no-slip top in particular is a nice draw for many who are new to the sport, as the slightly tacky grip will help to stop you from falling down.
This board comes in a variety of colors and styles, with some truly unique looking options. If style is important to you, this board may be your best option.
You can find SereneLife’s beginner paddle board on Amazon.
3 – iRocker 10’6 Cruiser Beginner SUP Board
iRocker’s beginner SUP board may be the best on the list to topple Roc’s offering. With a full accessory kit, great size, and plenty of high-quality features, this is one of the best beginner paddle boards on the market.
The largest draw of iRocker’s offering is the board’s fantastic capabilities; with so many features usually left to higher-quality boards, you are sure to love your decision to buy this board. As your skills advance, this board will grow with you, possibly better than most other SUPs on this list. If you have slightly more money to invest in a paddle board, the iRocker’s hard to beat.
Like the SereneLife board above, this board has removable fins. All three fins can be taken off and put back on easily. This not only makes this board versatile, but quick to break down for transportation and storage.
The accessory kit that comes with the iRocker is similar to other beginner paddle boards. And they’re high quality and should last you for many seasons if you take care of them. There are some slight enhancements to the iRocker kit that are worth mentioning.
For instance, most other accessory kits come equipped with an aluminum paddle, while the iRocker kit that comes with this board has a fiberglass option. A seemingly small difference, fiberglass SUP paddles are much lighter, making them better for long touring and all day paddling. It speaks to the quality that iRocker has built into the entire board.
iRocker’s Nautical SUP comes in multiple sizes, but the recommended paddle board length for most beginners is a 10’6 board. This size allows for high maneuverability while maintaining buoyancy and stability in many water conditions. It can be purchased from iRocker’s website for customizing the kit, or off of Amazon.
4 – TOWER Inflatable Paddle Board for Beginners
TOWER paddle boards are some of the most durable SUPs on the market. If you plan on using the board across rough conditions, don’t want to stress about storage, or just prefer an inflatable that can take a beating, this board’s made for you.
Crafted with military-grade PVC, this paddle board can withstand pretty tough conditions. Rocks, course sand, rough surf, and all the other rough parts of the ocean are handled in stride by the TOWER. It also comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty to back that up.
TOWER SUPs come in a variety of sizes, with the most popular choice being a 10’4 board. While slightly shorter than other beginner paddle board choices on this list, the loss of two inches makes the board a little more sporty and slightly quicker on turns. This is a great option for those who are interested in a more fun, if slightly less stable, ride.
TOWER makes up for the shorter length in width, as the board measures a full 32” wide. This makes it great for multiple people or loading gear without the worry of it falling off the edges.
As far as inflatable paddle boards go, the TOWER may feel closest to a regular hard body thanks to the materials used in its construction. This means that the board also weighs a bit more than other inflatables, but it still retains high portability, weighing in around 20 pounds.
This board can be a bit hard to find, but it’s worth looking for if durability is your main concern. It’s occasionally available on Amazon.
5 – PEXMOR Beginner Inflatable Paddle Board
PEXMOR’s offering on the beginner paddle board space is a great all-around board that’s incredibly durable and comes with many additional accessories. Utilizing military-grade construction materials, PEXMOR is so confident in the board’s durability that it comes with a 3-year warranty, one of the best available for beginner paddle boards.
The PEXMOR board is stable and runs pretty standard in thickness. Although it’s not leading the pack in any of our categories, it’s still high quality and a great choice for a first paddle board.
Where this board really shines is with accessories.
Like almost every other board on this list, the PEXMOR comes with additional accessories to get you started. However, unlike some other options, this board’s accessories are meant to last for the long haul. Included in the kit is a high-quality pump, a repair kit, floating paddle, removable fin, and a strap to tie it all down in the provided backpack. This is a kit that is meant to be highly portable and last a long time, even after you’ve outgrown it and moved on to another board.
For those interested in general use, this is a fantastic beginner paddle board option. However, for those who want a bit more sport to their paddle boarding, this board may feel too slow or sluggish to really keep up with other entry-level SUPs.
The PEXMOR’s available on Amazon.
6 – Red Paddle Co’s 11′ “Beginner” SUP
Red Paddle Co is well-known in the paddle boarding space, and for good reason. They produce some of the most high-quality and well-made boards available today, and their beginner level products are no different. Although this board is quite a bit more expensive than others on the list, the quality step up is incredible. If you have the extra cash to spend initially and are serious about paddle boarding, this is far and away the best option.
This board is meant to be sportier than most others on this list while still retaining the ability to be used for all-around purposes. This is most evidenced by the board’s dimensions, coming in at a long 11’ and a wide 32”. This is a slightly longer inflatable that still packs down well. Including high-quality accessories, the whole package weighs about 30lbs.
Ultimately, Red Paddle Co’s board is the best available for someone who wants a board that they can grow with. With other options, a beginner rider may start to feel bored or held back as they gain skill, balance and agility. That’s simply not going to happen with this SUP. With the smooth ride and high-quality build, it is feasible to use this for years without complaint.
However, the price tag on this paddle board begins to leave “beginner” territory, clocking in at over $1,000 USD. The Red is really meant for more serious beginners, and could even serve as a great step-up from some of the less expensive boards on this list.
The Red SUP board is available for direct order from Red Paddle Co’s website, as well as at many local retailers.
7 – THURSO Surf Paddle Board for Beginners
Thurso Surf Paddle Board is a great option that blends together the benefits of an all-around board with a touring board, creating an incredibly stable and fun ride. It also combines the usefulness and easy transportation of an inflatable board with the positive attributes of a soft-top.
This board is another that is slightly more expensive than some other options but still solidly a great beginner paddle board option. For the slight price increase, you get higher quality materials, better build design, and fantastic accessories.
This board will carry you from the beginner stages of paddle boarding to intermediate and advanced techniques.
One of the most touted features of this board is its double-layered construction, creating a highly durable product that feels closer to a soft-top board than many other beginner options. This durability is reflected in its high weight capacity; 330lbs. To highlight this, it comes with a unique look mimicking those boards, resulting in a surprisingly stylish option.
The accessories that come with this board are among the highest quality seen in beginner kits, with a top of the line carbon fiber paddle and quick working pump.
For those who want the look and feel of a soft-top board without the space to store one, this is a fantastic option. It is available on Amazon.
8 – ANIMA is a Great Soft-Top Board For Beginners
The vast majority of paddle boards now, especially at the beginner level, are inflatables. They take much less space, weigh less, and are easily carried around. However, the feel of a soft-top board is still unique and unequalled at higher levels of paddle boarding. For those who want to tap into that feeling and have the space to store a soft-top board, the Anima is a fantastic beginner paddle board option.
The Anima sacrifices very little. It’s highly durable and glides wonderfully through the water. And it has a higher weight capacity than most, supporting up to 350lbs. of weight.
Utilizing a highly stable shape and three fin design, this board was made with beginners in mind. It’s a 10’4″ board, so it’s highly maneuverable and even easy for kids to learn on.
The biggest reason to choose this board over others is for the soft-top feel. Although inflatables are wonderful and constantly getting better, there’s a reason why soft-top boards haven’t gone away. They’re high-quality options for those who live near the water or can easily transport them. In some ways, under those circumstances, these boards provide a higher quality ride on the water and are easier to use.
Before purchasing a soft-top paddle board, consider your options for storage and moving the board to the water. If you decide to go through with a soft-top, this Anima is a great option and can be found on Amazon.
Choosing the Right SUP for You
No matter which of those SUP boards you choose to start out with, you’ll be able to get out on the water more easily, learn faster, and enjoy paddle boarding more often. Remember to wear a Coast Guard approved PFD and bring a friend along to enjoy paddle boarding to the fullest.