Summer is officially here, meaning there’s no better time than the present to get out and explore your local waterway. Standup paddleboards are the perfect platform on which to explore—they’re easy, fun, and they provide an incredible vantage point. While rigid boards have their time and place to perform, transporting inflatable SUPs is a breeze, and storage is a non-issue. We know there are lots of options out there, so we selected the best inflatable board for every type of standup paddler. Here are seven of our favorites.
Best for Racing
1. Infinity Blackfish Air
If you’re familiar with the standup paddle world, you’ve heard of Infinity. Based out of Dana Point, CA, the brand is well known for its high-end raceboards and a team of talented athletes. Inspired by the popular Blackfish race-board model, the Blackfish Air features a streamlined design that allows it to easily cut through the water. Available in four different size options, and including a pump, repair kit, and fin, the board packs down into a convenient bag, which makes traveling to races across the globe a seamless reality. Although inflatables don’t have a reputation for being the fastest boards in the game, the Blackfish Air is the fastest one I’ve paddled yet.
Best for Duos
2. Body Glove Tandem Inflatable Paddleboard/Kayak
Body Glove’s tandem inflatable was designed to maximize fun on the water. Ideal for families, couples, and friends, the package includes two removable kayak seats, so the board can be used as a tandem SUP or two-person kayak. Designed for quality and performance, the 15-foot board features triple-layer side rails, a wide design for added stability, two patented water bottle and paddle holders, and upgraded carbon stringers that add stability (while simultaneously making the board faster and lighter). Other thoughtful features include an action camera mount, a leash, cargo bungee, cooler tie-down, high-pressure pump, and two adjustable three-piece SUP paddles that convert to kayak paddles. This board is beyond fun, and transitioning between kayak and SUP modes is a breeze, making it an awesome best of both worlds. Like many inflatables, the only challenge was getting everything to fit back into the bag.
Best for Touring
3. SIC Okeanos Air Glide
Ringing in at 14’x 30”, SIC’s Okeanos Air Glide is not only easy on the eyes, but also ideal for a wide range of paddling activities. The board features a displacement touring shape with a good amount of width to accommodate paddlers of varying skills and sizes, plus a 2+1 fin setup, allowing for different fin configurations. Additionally, the board includes a neoprene center carry handle, a leash/leash plug, bungee tie-downs on the fore and aft deck for maximum storage, a honeycomb EVA deck pad, and an action camera mount on the nose. Although this board is marketed as an all-around/touring model, it paddles similar to a raceboard with a little extra stability. The icing on the cake? The board easily packs down into a wheeled travel bag that makes it easy to transport and it’s available at an affordable price. This one’s a winner.
Best for Travel
4. Red Paddle Co. 11’0” Compact
Designed specifically with travelers in mind, Red Paddle Co.’s Compact board is a full-sized touring SUP that packs down into an impressively small backpack (560 x 420 x 320mm). The perfect blend of stability and maneuverability, the board features a quad stringer tensioning system, an embossed deck pad, and a diamond-cut rear for added security.
Key features include a unique flat bungee cargo system, ergonomic tubular handles, twin click-in fins, a leash, five-piece paddle, and the Titan II pump—the world’s first purpose-built, double-chamber SUP pump. The compact backpack was designed for maximum comfort and includes padded handles and padded, adjustable shoulder straps. It travels well, though getting the board and accessories back in proved to be challenging. Setup, however, is easy and the board paddles extremely well in a wide range of conditions, including flatwater and surf. Although the included paddle is well designed, it wasn’t well suited for shorter paddlers, which is something we hope will be modified in the future.
Best for Fishing
5. BOTE HD Aero BugSlinger Echo Inflatable
If fishing from a paddleboard is the dream, BOTE’s HD Aero BugSlinger is designed for exactly that. Measuring 11’6” x 34”, this slinger is incredibly stable with plenty of room for stashing all of your gear. Made with Aero Technology to ensure maximum rigidity and performance, the package includes a three-piece adjustable paddle, a removable 10-inch center fin, hand pump, and a travel bag. Designed with anglers in mind, the board includes sand-spear straps on the deck, a sand-spear sheath for anchoring, plus mounting brackets for your pole and tackle rack. If you don’t have your own kit to carry, BOTE has a solid collection of available add-ons. Although the board is decidedly fish-first, the wide, stable design makes it a solid option for larger or less stable paddlers (remove the sandspear sheath for a better paddling experience). One more factor to note: Due to its size, the board is a bit challenging to carry, so if you’re on the smaller side, consider the Travelink Carry Sling to make for easier transport.
Best for Budget
6. Tower Yachtsman
Featuring a design inspired by the boating world, the Yachtsman utilizes a high-end deck pad with a signature teak wood strip, a 2+1 fin configuration with a removable center fin, three handles and a leash attachment on the tail ring. At 10’4” x 32” x 6”, the board functions as an all-around design with a solid blend of stability and maneuverability—well suited for yoga or simply cruising your local waterway. To keep pricing low, the board doesn’t come with a travel bag or paddle (though available as a package option). There’s something to be said for picking out the specific accessories you want and need, without all the extras. But in the future, we hope they consider adding bungees to the front or rear to make the board more versatile.
7. Isle Pioneer
Isle’s best-selling board, the Pioneer, is designed to accommodate all types of paddlers. As such, it features an all-around shape and extra wide design. The board includes nose and tail grab handles, a rounded carry handle, a four-point rear bungee, six-point front bungee, brushed traction pad, a high-pressure valve, and a convenient paddle holder. Also included in the package are a coil leash, nylon touring fin, travel bag, hand pump, and a three-piece adjustable paddle. Measuring in at 10’6” x 34’ x 6”, the board is incredibly stable, making it ideal for beginners, yoga, fishing, or going tandem with a child or dog. While the wide design did wonders for stability, it proved to be a bit cumbersome for more experienced paddlers, so if you’re looking to go fast, this might not be the best fit.
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