- Best All Around Stand Up Paddle Board
- Best Surf Stand Up Paddle Board
- Best Race & Touring Stand Up Paddle Board
- Best Hybrid Stand Up Paddle Board
Best Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)
Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) can be a fun and exciting way to spend time on the water. The first step to finding the best paddleboard for you is to determine what type of paddleboarding you are most interested in.
Beginning paddleboarders should consider an all around stand up paddle board or a hybrid stand up paddleboard. Both types of boards are versatile enough to paddle flat water and light surf. If you’re looking to go on longer expeditions, you will want to look for longer boards with a greater volume capacity and excellent tracking. These boards are most often great racing paddle boards in addition to their touring capabilities. The surfing paddleboards have their Hawaiian surfing roots at heart, and are shorter and very agile.
Whether you are going to take on large waves or flat water, you will want a stand up paddle board that is stable, maneuverable, tracks well and is built from durable materials. We've provided a helpful buyer’s guide below loaded with useful information to help you in your search for the perfect SUP.
Best All Around Stand Up Paddle Board:
Stand up paddle boarding can be an exciting way to spend time paddling on the water, surf ocean waves or coasting river rapids. Determining the type of stand up paddle board you’ll want depends on the type of activity you plan on using it for the most as well as your skill level. These paddle boards are often longer and wider than surfing or touring boards.
All around paddle boards are great for beginners and individuals looking to get into shape because they’re versatile enough to paddle lakes, calm rivers and can even surf smaller waves. They’re also stable and agile with multiple fins and advanced rails for easy turning as well as made from durable and lightweight materials like carbon, wood veneer and fiberglass over EVA foam cores. Lastly, these selections are very versatile, combining the best of surfing, flat water paddling, and touring SUPs.
Ideal for beginners or families looking to invest in an all around stand up paddle board that everyone can enjoy, the Classic 11’2 by SUPCO is the best. Made from lightweight materials that can take a beating in the sun and surf, the Classic is a board that can last you a lifetime. Read Full Review
The NALU 11.6 GT by Naish Surfing is the all around stand up paddle board that’s perfect for the paddler who wants to quickly advance to a surfing SUP. This SUP comes standard with a comfortable EVA foam deck pad which makes longer paddling trips a viable option. Read Full Review
The Starboard 12'6" Cruiser All Round Stand Up Paddle Board is a great board for beginners who want to try a little bit of everything and hope to quickly advance. The AST Electric Blue version of the Cruiser has the option to have additional fins near the rail for better tracking when windsurfing, making this SUP a truly versatile all around paddle board. Read Full Review
The latest version of the YOLO Original Sunrise Stand Up Paddle Board is more durable than in previous years. The 2015 model isn’t just stronger, it’s also lightweight at just around 30 pounds. The YOLO Original is comfortable enough for light touring and tracks well enough to surf small waves. Read Full Review
While the Classic All Around SUP is a great beginner board, intermediate and advanced paddlers would feel right at home in calmer ocean waters and light surf. The Focus SUP 10'0" Classic All Around Stand Up Paddle Board excels in small to medium surf and is comfortable enough to paddle on longer trips. Read Full Review
Best Surf Stand Up Paddle Board:
Surfing Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP) have many of the characteristics of a surf board. They are much shorter than other stand up paddle boards and most have a tapered tail. Surfing on a Stand Up Paddle Board takes a significant amount of strength and endurance, especially if you have your heart set on riding larger waves. Beginners should try a shorter, stable board because it will be much easier to maneuver than a longer board. These best surfing paddle boards are made from lightweight and durable materials like carbon or fiberglass with a high quality foam core. These picks also feature advanced fin systems, making them highly responsive and they’re also easy to maneuver in almost any surfing conditions.
The 2015 Hokua 9.0 GT Stand Up Paddle Board by Naish is has amazing stability because of the wider design and rounded nose. Easy to maneuver in any surfing conditions, the Hokua is an affordable and long-lasting Surfing SUP. The Hokua 9.0 GT is a performance SUP for any surf conditions. Read Full Review
The 9’2 Turbo Carbon Nugg Surf SUP by Riviera is known for its durability and speed as well as being easy to accelerate with perfect traction. While made for surfing, the Turbo Carbon Nugg tracks well enough to paddle flat water with ease. Read Full Review
The Element Surfing Stand Up Paddle Board by Starboard SUP is a highly reactive surfing SUP with a perfect rocker line and rails. This is a great board for a beginner to tackle light surf or for an intermediate to advanced paddler to take on large waves. The Element still tracks well enough to paddle flat water with the greatest of ease. Read Full Review
The 9.0 PRO Surfing Stand Up Paddle Board by Starboard SUP tracks well enough to be a short all around board. For the hybrid SUP lovers, the AST version of this board has a windsurfing option. This SUP is truly one of Starboard’s finest and versatile surfing paddle board offerings. Read Full Review
The 9’6 Torpedo by Focus SUP is a surfing stand up paddle board the whole family can use. Made with a scratch and UV resistant outer coating, this is a surfing stand up paddle board that can take a beating and still look like new. The latest version of the Torpedo also features a GoPro Camera mount.GoPro Camera mount. Read Full Review
Best Race & Touring Stand Up Paddle Board:
Taking an expedition or participating in a race on a stand up paddle board takes a certain level of fitness and ability. For intermediate and advanced paddlers, an overnight trip on a stand up paddle board (SUP) can be a great way to see the wilderness. Racing and touring SUPs are designed to quickly cut through even the roughest surface waters. They’re also some of the most stable stand up paddle boards on the market because of the need to maintain balance over long distances or at high speeds.
These best racing and touring stand up paddle boards are designed to be fast and made from light weight materials like carbon or fiberglass. They track well thanks to squared off tails, sleek rocker and advanced fin designs in addition to having comfortable decks which ensure a secure stance while paddling.
The 2015 Glide 14.0 GS Touring and Racing Stand Up Paddle Board is a great choice for an intermediate to advanced paddler who wants a high quality and comfortable ride. The Glide has an ergonomic grip handle that makes the SUP easy to carry single handedly. Both the 29 and 30 inch versions of the 14 foot Glide have a 230 pound capacity. Read Full Review
The Wing ACE-TEC Stand Up Paddle Board by BIC Sports is a durable and affordable touring paddle board perfect for either cruising the ocean or cutting across flat water. This paddle board is stable and easy to maneuver because of how the displacement bow with a highly buoyant core is designed to cut through rough waters. Read Full Review
The 14.0 Cali by Focus Stand Up Paddle Boards is a durable racing board that excels in both flat water as well as open ocean racing. The EVA foam traction pad is very comfortable and there is plenty of room to keep gear dry on this highly buoyant board for weekend expeditions. Read Full Review
Made from super durable PVC with a carbon or fiberglass skin, the All Star Stand Up Paddle Board by Star Board SUP is a racing board that is rigid, light weight and made to last. This board has extra lift over ocean swells and chop because of the added buoyancy in the tail. Read Full Review
The 11' Ray Racing and Touring SUP by Fanatic is a fast racing paddle board with diverse uses. The Ray is a truly versatile SUP, making it a perfect pick for the intermediate paddler who wants to a little bit of everything from racing to surfing and everything in between. Read Full Review
Best Hybrid Stand Up Paddle Board:
The evolution of the stand up paddle boarding since the sport’s inception in Hawaii has been rapid. The These paddle boards offer a little something for everyone, making it an ideal choice for families because of its versatility. These best hybrid stand up paddle boards are wider for their length, making them very stable, as well as being made from high quality EVA foam cores with a tough carbon, fiberglass or wood laminate outer shell. The fin systems on these hybrid SUPs allow them to comfortably track in small to medium surf as well as on flat water.
Versa Board by Liquid Logic is a hybrid the entire family can enjoy. A perfect beach toy, this SUP is very lightweight and easy to launch. The 12’3 Versa weighs 58 pounds while the 10’ version weighs 50 and is a favorite with recreational paddler’s because of its versatility and stability. Read Full Review
The Hybrid by East Coast Paddle Boards is built to endure years of sun and salt water exposure. Each board is American made and can be custom designed to suit your specific needs, giving you the chance to make it the perfect hybrid stand up paddle board for you. Read Full Review
The Odysseus by Naish Surfing is a hybrid stand up paddle board the whole family can enjoy. Wood reinforcements in the core where the paddler stands give the Odysseus the stability beginning paddlers need and the flex that surfers want. Read Full Review
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The latest version of the YOLO 2015 Coastal Cruiser 12' SUP tracks extremely well in light surf and choppy water conditions. The 2015 model is stronger and weighs just over 31 pounds. The Coastal Cruiser is comfortable enough for light touring and tracks well enough to surf small waves. Read Full Review
Easy to maneuver with little effort, the Lynch Hybrid stand up paddle board by Surftech is a paddle board made for individuals wanting a great surfing SUP without sacrificing flat water tracking capability. This hybrid is affordable and built to last through years of wear and tear making it perfect for intermediate to advanced paddlers. Read Full Review
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Standup Paddleboard Buyer's Guide
When choosing a stand up paddle board, the first thing you will want to do is determine the type of paddling you will be doing the most. If you plan to be out on the water for exercise or recreation, then you will want to find a stable, maneuverable model like an all around paddle board or a hybrid.
If you’re planning on paddling long distances or at fast speeds, a racing or touring SUP may be a better fit because they’re built to track efficiently and cut through the water quickly. Weight capacity, length, width, fin design and construction are the main features that you will want to consider in addition to the type of stand up paddle board.
Types of Stand Up Paddle Boards
All Around Stand Up Paddle Boards
All Around Stand Up Paddle Boards are the most common of all stand up paddle boards and are ideal for beginners. All around SUPs are wider than touring and surfing paddle boards, making them more stable.
The increased width of the all around SUP is a standard feature of the planing hull, a flat-bottom design with a rounded bow allowing the board to ride on top of the water. These boards are versatile and can be paddled in flat water and even small surf.
Surf Stand Up Paddle Boards
Surfing stand up paddle boards have many of the same features as a regular surf board. These SUPs are typically much shorter than other paddle boards and have a pointed bow and tapered stern. The shorter the board, the easier it is to maneuver in surf. Fin configurations can vary but the most common is the 3-fin set up.
Race and Touring Paddle Boards
Stand up paddle boards made for racing and long-distance touring have a pointed bow and are designed to displace water instead of riding on top of it. This displacement allows the longer, narrow board to cut through the water thus increasing speed and tracking. These SUPs are less stable than their wider counterparts, but are far more efficient.
Hybrid Paddle Boards
Hybrid paddle boards combine some of the best features of the other board types. Each hybrid design is different, depending on the manufacturer. These boards are versatile which make them a great board for beginners who want to paddle in any conditions. Many hybrid SUPs incorporate the advanced fin systems of racing or touring boards to make the hybrids track well in surf and flat water.
Part of choosing the right SUP for you is making sure it’s built for the type of water you want to paddle and can support your weight. The volume of the board is usually measured in liters and tells you how well the board will float with added weight. In general, the greater the volume of a board, the more weight it can support. The thickness of a board has just as much impact on the volume as the length and width.
Weight capacity is measured in pounds or kilograms and gives you a weight range possible for a SUP. Riding a board with the appropriate weight capacity is crucial to safety and comfort while on the water. Boards which don’t have enough capacity for the rider are hard to paddle and ride lower in the water.
When looking at the weight capacity for a board, be sure to take into consideration any gear you may want to take with you on the water such as coolers, fishing rods/tackle, camping gear, etc.
The length of the standup paddle board you choose should depend on where you will paddle the most. Boards made for paddling in the surf are shorter so they’re easier to maneuver. These boards are typically less than 9 feet in length while mid-range boards between 9-12 feet are common for all around paddle boards suited for calm conditions. Longer SUPs measuring 12+ feet made for touring or racing track extremely well.
Width and Stability
Sometimes referred to as tippiness, the stability of a stand up paddle board is largely determined by the width of the board. Wider boards are more stable, but tend to sacrifice speed and tracking; however, they're great for beginners because you can balance on them easily and ideal for paddlers who plan to carry extra gear for fishing or overnight excursions. The wider SUPs range from 31-36 inches while narrower boards measruing less than 30 inches wide are faster and track well, but may be more difficult to stand on.
Once you determine the type and size of stand up paddle board you are looking for, fin set up are the next things to take into consideration. The fins on an SUP make the board track and maneuver easier. There are a number of fin configurations, the three most common are the single fin, 3-fin, and racing fins.
The single fin set-up usually has a mechanism for the fin to be raised or lowered as desired. The 3-fin set up is common on surfing SUPs and also allows for better tracking in flat water. Racing fins are more rigid and help the SUP track well in rough weather, large swells, or surf.
The core of an SUP is what gives it its buoyancy. Paddle boards are typically made using a core made from a lightweight material and then covered with a fiberglass, carbon fiber, plastic or wood skin. The three main types of cores are EPS foam, hollow core and Polyurethane foam.
The most common core for a SUP is EPS foam. EPS foam boards vary greatly in weight, depending on the manufacturer’s technique and the material used for the skin. Hollow cores are most often found in racing and touring SUPs because they’re lightweight and faster; these designs are more often the more expensive SUPs on the market. Polyurethane foam cores are heavier than EPS cores, making them the least expensive and most common type of core for use by beginners.