Paddleboarding, also known as stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), has gained immense popularity in recent years.
This thrilling water sport combines balance, strength, and serenity, offering a unique experience for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Before I share the best paddle boards to use, I’ll share the numerous benefits of paddle boarding, from physical fitness to mental well-being, and highlight why it has become a beloved activity for many open water enthusiasts.
One of the most significant benefits of paddle boarding is its ability to provide a full-body workout. Balancing on the board engages your core muscles while paddling strengthens your arms, shoulders, and back.
Your legs work to maintain stability, and the constant movement on the water engages various muscle groups. Without even realizing it, you’ll be improving your overall strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Unlike high-impact activities like running or contact sports, paddle boarding is a low-impact exercise that puts minimal stress on your joints. The buoyancy of the water reduces the impact on your knees, ankles, and hips, making it an ideal choice for individuals recovering from injuries or those seeking a gentler form of exercise.
Paddleboarding allows you to enjoy a rigorous workout without putting excessive strain on your body.
Paddle boarding is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart pumping and blood flowing. As you paddle against the resistance of the water, your heart rate increases, boosting your cardiovascular endurance and strengthening your heart and lungs.
Regular paddle-boarding sessions can improve your overall cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help manage weight and cholesterol levels.
Stress Relief and Mental Well-Being
Immersing yourself in the tranquil surroundings of nature while paddle boarding has significant mental health benefits. The rhythmic paddling and gentle movement on the water create a soothing experience that helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Being out in nature, surrounded by water and fresh air, promotes a sense of calmness and relaxation, allowing you to unwind and rejuvenate your mind.
Balance and Coordination
Maintaining balance on the paddle board requires constant adjustments and coordination of your body movements. The practice of finding stability strengthens your core muscles and improves your balance and proprioception.
Over time, you’ll develop better coordination and body control, which can enhance your performance in other sports and daily activities.
Connection with Nature
Paddleboarding offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature in a profound way. Gliding across the water allows you to explore lakes, rivers, or coastal areas while immersing yourself in the beauty of the surrounding environment. You can observe marine life, enjoy breathtaking views, and experience a sense of serenity that only being on the water can provide.
This connection with nature has a positive impact on your overall well-being and fosters a deep appreciation for the natural world.
Paddleboarding is more than just a recreational activity; it’s a transformative experience that brings numerous physical and mental benefits.
So, grab a paddle board linked below, hit the water, and embark on an adventure that will nourish your body, mind, and soul.
10 Best Stand-Up Paddle Boards Under $500
To help you find the best stand-up paddleboards, I’m sharing the best ones under $500 on Amazon. These are all inflatable paddle boards at a lower price range. There are no hard boards on this list, but don’t worry because they don’t take a long time to inflate.
Some of the links shared are affiliate links.
1. SereneLife Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
This paddleboard measures 10’6” long and 32” wide, so balancing and stabilizing on top of this SUP board is a breeze. It’s perfect for beginners with a no-slip soft top that cushions your fall when slips or accidents occur. They happen to the best of us, so might as well be prepared!
It’s outfitted with triple bottom panel fins and offers exceptional surf control, so steering and handling the stand-up inflatable paddleboard is incredibly easy.
It is 100% travel-friendly and comes with must-have paddleboard accessories like a 10′ board, coiled ankle cuff safety leash, upgraded Aluminum paddle, and a manual air pump and storage bag.
2. Roc Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
This inflatable board is made of the highest quality military-grade material. The company claims it provides the most durable lightweight boards on the market using the same materials as boards costing twice as much.
The extra-wide design creates an incredible all-around board for riders of all skill levels. These kits can be used in the ocean, freshwater lakes, and rivers. The board is an industry-leading weight of only 17.5 pounds. Board dimensions are 10 feet long by 33 inches wide and 6 inches thick with a maximum weight limit of 350 pounds.
All boards come complete with everything you need to get out and enjoy the water right away including your board, collapsible aluminum paddle, removable fin, coil safety leash, hand pump, waterproof bag for essentials such as cell phone and keys, and an upgraded backpack to hold everything.
3. FBSPORT Premium Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
The size of this stand-up paddleboard is 10.6” long and 31” of deck width for improved stability and balance while standing. The maximum load on this stable board is 280 pounds.
This package comes with paddling essentials including the board, a premium alloy paddle that floats,a coiled ankle cuff safety leash, a pump, and a premium carry bag.
4. DAMA Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
Something that makes this paddleboard unique is that the brand has added a sports camera bracket mount where you can install your sports camera on the paddleboard directly to take great pictures and videos on the water. If you like to document your adventures, this is a good option.
In addition to the grip handle, the unique extra steel D rings on the paddleboard bring extra convenience to carry. You can also use these rings to connect your board with your friends and enjoy traveling together. A kayak seat can also be installed on the paddleboard with these rings – another unique aspect you won’t find on other inflatable stand-up paddleboards.
It comes with everything you need to start paddling: The 10.6-foot inflatable paddleboard, the sports camera bracket mount on the SUP board, a 3-piece length adjustable floating paddle, a hand pump that has an air pressure gauge, a safety ankle leash, a repair kit, a removable fin, a 5L waterproof bag for essentials such as keys and food, a transparent waterproof cell phone bag, and a large comfortable backpack to hold everything. That’s an important factor!
It takes 10 minutes to inflate and five minutes to deflate, so it is very convenient to set up and travel long distances.
5. Cooyes Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
With this extra-wide design, the paddleboard is easy to stand up and balance on for all skill levels. The board features include an EVA foam deck pad, bungee straps, and grab handles. The max load is 330 pounds.
The accessories package has everything you need to enjoy your day on the water including a removable fin, a leash, a waterproof bag, a repair kit, a 3-piece aluminum paddle, a paddleboard pump, and a backpack carrying bag.
6. Intey Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
This board’s extra-wide design creates an incredible all-around board for people of all skill levels. Inside the board is a composite drop-stitch so balancing and stabilizing on top of our inflatable paddle board is a breeze. It has a 320-pound capacity.
The paddleboard is composed of thickened PVC and a large area of EVA foam deck. The EVA deck is designed with diamond lattice patterns to prevent slipping. The brand also adds extra four steel D-rings on the surface so you can add a seat on it or connect the paddleboard with others, like the DAMA brand mentioned above. (This is a good reason to compare the two.)
There is a large removable fin and two fixed bottom panel fins helping the paddleboard improve overall speed, steering, and handling for easier use by kids, teens, and adults.
Every board also comes with paddling essentials including an aluminum paddle, paddle rope, coiled ankle cuff safety leash, air pump with gauge, repair kit cup, and portable storage bag.
7. FunWater Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
This quality board is 35% lighter than other comparable models. Inflated, it’s 10’6″ long, 33″ wide, 6″ thick, and weighs 17.6 lbs. The maximum capacity is 330 pounds making it stable and great for all skill levels and conditions.
This particular paddleboard is constructed with an additional PVC layer of board rails that highly strengthen the board’s durability.
In this package, you receive the board, adjustable aluminum paddle, high-pressure pump, travel backpack, coil leash, waterproof bag, and 3 removable fins.
8. DRIFT Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
This is the most expensive board on the list. At 10’8″ by 33″ by 6″, the wide board and performance shape make for fast, fun paddling for all skill levels. The board includes an EVA foam deck pad, bungee straps, grab handles, and a 250-pound capacity.
It quickly inflates or deflates for easy storage, packing down to just 38″ by 18″ by 12″ and 19 lbs. So, this will travel comfortably in its high-quality carrying bag backpack.
It also comes with all essential paddleboard accessories including a removable fin, repair kit, 3-piece aluminum paddle, paddleboard pump, and backpack carrying bag.
9. Runwave Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
This stand-up paddleboard is made of high-quality PVC material, is lightweight, and contains a high-intensity layer specifically manufactured for superior air holding.
The Run Wave stand-up paddling board is 11′ long and provides 33” of deck width for improving stability and balance while standing. Its non-slip pattern provides a nice performance for beginners and the foot leash makes it safe to surf and avoids the chance of you losing your paddleboard.
It easily inflates and deflates in only five minutes making it a good choice and a great board for easy transport. With a simple roll, you can take the wider board wherever you want to go with a backpack, foot leash, high-pressure pump, three fins, paddle, repair accessories kit, and instructions.
10. Streakboard Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
These boards are built for recreational use and provide both newbies and seasoned paddleboarders with good-quality inflatable stand-up paddleboards.
It is easy to fold so that you can take or store it anywhere you want. The valve provides only five minutes to inflate or deflate the board with a dual-action manual pump. Four D-rings on the nose can be used for custom rigging. You can also use the included bungee cord, plus three additional D-rings, for a water bottle, leash, and shoulder strap.
This particular board includes a complete package of a five-piece adjustable paddle, coil leash, backpack, repair kit, shoulder strap, valve wrench, removable center fin, and heavy-duty dual-function pump with pressure gauge.
Inflatable vs. Hard Paddle Boards
When it comes to paddle boarding, choosing the right board is essential for an enjoyable experience on the water. Two popular options are inflatable paddle boards and hard paddle boards.
Each type offers its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, I focused on inflatable boards, but want to share some information about hard paddle boards too.
Inflatable Paddle Boards
1. Portability and Storage
Inflatable paddle boards are incredibly portable and convenient. They can be deflated and rolled up into a compact size, making them easy to transport in a backpack or car trunk. This portability is ideal for travelers, those with limited storage space, or anyone looking for a hassle-free setup.
2. Durability and Safety
Contrary to initial assumptions, inflatable paddle boards are constructed with durable materials that can withstand rough conditions and impacts. They often feature reinforced layers, making them resistant to punctures and abrasions. Additionally, the soft surface of inflatable boards is considered safer, reducing the risk of injuries in case of accidental falls or collisions.
Inflatable paddle boards are versatile and can be used in various water environments, including lakes, rivers, and even small waves. They are suitable for different activities, such as yoga, touring, and recreational paddling. Some models even have the option of attaching a kayak seat, further expanding their functionality.
1. Performance Limitations
Compared to hard paddle boards, inflatables may have slightly less rigidity, which can affect their overall performance. They may not glide as smoothly or efficiently through the water, especially in choppy conditions. However, modern advancements in inflatable technology have significantly minimized this difference.
2. Setup and Deflation Time
Inflatable paddle boards require inflation and deflation before and after each use, which can take some time and effort. Although most inflatable boards come with manual or electric pumps for inflation, the process can be time-consuming, especially if you’re eager to get on the water quickly.
Hard Paddle Boards
1. Performance and Speed
Hard paddle boards generally offer superior performance and speed due to their rigid construction. Their sleek design and solid structure allow for efficient paddling, making them ideal for longer distances, racing, and surfing. Experienced paddlers often prefer hard boards for their enhanced maneuverability and responsiveness.
Hard paddle boards typically provide a more stable platform, especially when standing or performing yoga poses. The solid surface offers better balance and allows for precise foot placement. This stability is particularly beneficial for beginners or those interested in SUP fitness activities.
1. Transportation and Storage
Hard paddle boards are less portable and require more space for storage and transportation. They are bulkier and often necessitate the use of roof racks or dedicated storage areas. If you have limited storage options or frequently travel with your board, the transportation aspect may be a challenge.
2. Durability and Maintenance
While hard paddle boards are generally durable, they can be prone to scratches, dings, and damage from impacts. Repairing these damages may require professional assistance or specialized equipment. Additionally, exposure to prolonged sunlight or extreme temperatures can affect their structural integrity over time.
Choosing between an inflatable paddle board and a hard paddle board depends on your specific needs and preferences. Inflatable boards excel in terms of portability, durability, and versatility, making them the best choice for travelers and those with limited storage space.
On the other hand, hard boards offer superior performance, stability, and speed, making them a favorite among experienced paddlers. Assess your priorities and consider the pros and cons outlined above.
How to Take Care of an Inflatable Paddle Board
Now, here are essential factors to consider when buying the best inflatable paddle boards and provide valuable tips on how to care for and maintain them, ensuring years of paddling enjoyment.
Buying an Inflatable Paddleboard
Board Size and Shape
Consider your weight, skill level, and intended use when choosing the size and shape of your inflatable paddleboard. Longer and wider boards offer better stability, while narrower and shorter boards provide increased maneuverability and speed.
Determine if you’ll be primarily paddling on flatwater, exploring rivers, or riding small waves to guide your decision.
Board Construction and Material
Look for inflatable paddleboards constructed with durable and high quality materials. Most boards are made from military-grade PVC or similar puncture-resistant materials. Opt for boards with multiple layers and reinforced stitching for added strength and longevity.
Good quality construction ensures that your board can withstand rough conditions and occasional impacts without compromising performance.
Inflation and Deflation System
Check the inflation and deflation system of the paddleboard you’re considering. Look for models that offer efficient and quick inflation, either with a manual or electric pump. A high-quality pump that can reach the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) quickly will save you time and effort.
Additionally, look for boards with reliable and secure valve systems that prevent air leaks during use.
Accessories and Features
Consider the additional accessories and features that come with the inflatable SUP board. Some boards may include a backpack or carry bag for convenient storage and transportation. Look for models that come with a paddle, ankle leash, repair kit, and removable fin(s) for added value.
These accessories can enhance your overall paddleboarding experience and save you from purchasing them separately.
Caring for Your Inflatable Paddleboard
Cleaning and Maintenance
After each use, rinse your paddleboard with fresh water to remove any salt, sand, or debris. Use a gentle, non-abrasive soap or paddleboard-specific cleaner to clean the surface, and rinse thoroughly. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing tools that may damage the board’s material. Dry the board completely before deflating and storing it.
Store your deflated paddleboard in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Ideally, keep it in a ventilated area, such as a garage or dedicated paddleboard storage space. Avoid storing the board in a tightly rolled or folded position for extended periods, as this can lead to creases or damage. Instead, loosely roll or fold it to prevent unnecessary stress on the material.
Handling and Transportation
Handle your inflatable paddleboard with care to avoid punctures or tears. Avoid dragging the board across rough surfaces and be cautious when setting it down on hard or sharp objects. When transporting the board, use a padded roof rack or a protective board bag to prevent damage from road debris or friction.
Repair and Maintenance Kit
Invest in a paddleboard repair and maintenance kit to address minor damages promptly. The kit should include patches, adhesives, and instructions for repairing small punctures or leaks. Familiarize yourself with the repair process, and keep the kit accessible during your paddling adventures.
By following these tips, you’ll ensure that your inflatable paddleboard remains in excellent condition, allowing you to enjoy many memorable moments on the water.
Benefits of Using a Paddle Board
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle seems to be getting harder by the day. However, stand-up paddleboarding has shown that keeping fit can be enjoyable.
Paddleboarding is a fun and great activity for the entire family. A good alternative is budget-friendly yet durable inflatable paddleboards like the 10 best paddleboards listed here. Inflatable SUPs are adaptable and fun. They also offer a helpful way for any paddler to get out on the water.
These boards can paddle lakes, seas, and waterways and can even surf. When you’re completely done, they effectively roll up and pack into any car trunk or roof rack. The convenience of carrying it anywhere makes them a good buy!
If you’re in the market for a kayak, make sure you check out this post about the best sit-on-top kayaks under $300.
Find me on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay and let me know how your paddle-boarding adventures are going.
Share a pic of you on-one in a yoga pose. I want to see your good balance, but if you need some help in the department, I have you covered!
How to Get Started Paddleboarding
If you’ve never tried paddleboarding before, fear not! This beginner’s guide will walk you through the essential steps to get started and help you embark on a thrilling paddleboarding adventure.
1. Choose the Right Equipment
a. Paddleboard: Opt for a stable and beginner-friendly paddleboard. Look for wider boards with more volume, as they provide better stability and balance.
b. Paddle: Select a paddle that is adjustable to your height and comfortable to hold. A lightweight paddle made of aluminum or carbon fiber is recommended for ease of use. c. Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Always wear a PFD for safety while paddleboarding.
2. Find a Suitable Location
Look for calm, flatwater locations to practice paddleboarding as a beginner. Ideal spots include lakes, ponds, or slow-moving rivers without strong currents or waves. Check for any local regulations or permits required for paddleboarding in your chosen area.
3. Basic Techniques
a. Start on Your Knees: Begin by kneeling on the paddleboard, positioning yourself in the center with a wide stance. Practice finding your balance and getting comfortable with the board’s movements.
b. Standing Up: Once you feel stable on your knees, slowly rise to a standing position, one foot at a time. Keep your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent to maintain balance. c. Paddling Technique: Hold the paddle with one hand on the top (the T-grip) and the other hand on the shaft. Extend your arms, dip the paddle blade into the water, and pull it towards the tail of the board. Alternate sides with each stroke, using your core and back muscles to generate power.
4. Maintain Balance
To maintain balance on the paddleboard:
a. Look Forward: Focus on the horizon rather than looking down at your feet or the board.
b. Engage Your Core: Keep your core muscles engaged and your body centered over the board.
c. Distribute Weight: Shift your weight slightly forward or backward as needed to adjust for changes in speed, wind, or waves.
5. Practice Falling and Getting Back On
As a beginner, it’s essential to learn how to fall safely and remount your paddleboard. Practice falling away from your board to avoid injuries, and learn how to climb back on from the side or the tail of the board.
6. Start Slow and Progress
Begin with shorter paddling sessions to build your endurance and confidence gradually. As you become more comfortable, challenge yourself with longer distances, and different water conditions, or even try out paddleboard yoga or fitness exercises.
7. Safety First
a. Check the Weather: Before heading out, check the weather conditions and avoid paddleboarding during thunderstorms or strong winds.
b. Use a Leash: Always attach a leash to your ankle or calf, securing it to the board. This prevents the board from drifting away if you fall off.
c. Be Aware of Others: Be mindful of other water users, such as boats, kayakers, or swimmers, and maintain a safe distance.
Not a beginner and looking to improve? Keep reading.
Tips to Improve Your Paddleboarding Skills
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, there’s always room for improvement. Here are some valuable tips to help you become a better paddle boarder, enhancing your technique, confidence, and overall experience on the water.
Master Your Stance and Balance
Maintaining a proper stance and balance is fundamental to paddle boarding. Stand with your feet parallel and hip-width apart, centered on the board. Distribute your weight evenly, engaging your core muscles for stability. Keep your gaze forward, focusing on the horizon rather than down at your feet.
With practice, you’ll develop a strong and balanced stance, ensuring better control and maneuverability on the water.
Learn the Proper Paddling Technique
An efficient paddling technique is crucial for effective propulsion and minimizing fatigue. Hold the paddle with one hand on the top grip and the other hand on the shaft, ensuring that the blade is facing away from you. Submerge the paddle fully into the water, reaching as far forward as possible. Engage your core, rotate your torso, and pull the paddle back, smoothly exiting the water near your feet.
Practice proper techniques to maximize your stroke power and minimize strain on your muscles.
Start with Calm Waters
When you’re starting out or trying to improve your skills, it’s best to begin on calm, flat waters. This allows you to focus on your technique without the additional challenge of navigating waves or currents. Find a tranquil lake, calm bay, or protected inlet where you can practice and build your confidence.
As you gain experience and proficiency, gradually venture into more challenging water conditions.
Perfect Turning and Maneuvering
Being able to turn and maneuver your paddle board effectively is essential for navigating various water environments. To execute smooth turns, use a sweeping motion with your paddle, keeping your strokes on the opposite side of the board from the direction you want to turn. For sharper and quicker turns, use a reverse sweep by planting the paddle in the water at the tail of the board and pulling it towards the nose.
Practice different turning techniques to become adept at maneuvering your board in any situation.
Embrace Proper Safety Practices
Safety should always be a priority when paddle boarding. Wear a properly fitting personal flotation device (PFD) at all times, regardless of your swimming ability. Familiarize yourself with local rules and regulations regarding paddle boarding, including any required safety equipment.
Check the weather and water conditions before heading out and be aware of potential hazards such as strong currents, submerged obstacles, or boat traffic.
Paddle with a buddy whenever possible and inform someone on land about your planned paddle route and estimated return time.
Embrace Challenges and Continue Learning
Paddleboarding is a journey of continuous improvement. Embrace challenges and push yourself to try new techniques, explore different water environments, and expand your skills. Take lessons from experienced paddle boarders or participate in group outings to learn from others and gain new perspectives.
Becoming a better paddleboarder is a rewarding and fulfilling process that takes time, practice, and dedication.
With patience, persistence, and a passion for the sport, you’ll enhance your paddle-boarding abilities, elevate your overall experience on the water, and create unforgettable adventures in this exhilarating water sport.
Best Paddleboarding Destinations in the World
Whether you prefer tranquil lakes, scenic rivers, or breathtaking coastlines, there are incredible destinations worldwide that offer unforgettable paddle-boarding experiences.
Let’s go on a virtual tour of some of the best places to go paddle boarding, showcasing diverse landscapes and waterways that will leave you awe-inspired and eager to plan your next adventure.
Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada, USA
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe is renowned for its crystal-clear waters surrounded by breathtaking alpine scenery.
Paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe provides a serene and majestic experience, with the opportunity to explore hidden coves, paddle along the rugged shoreline, and marvel at the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its towering limestone karsts and emerald-green waters.
Paddleboarding in this otherworldly destination offers a unique perspective, allowing you to navigate through narrow channels, explore hidden caves, and soak in the surreal beauty of the karst formations rising dramatically from the water.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is renowned for its dramatic cliffs, vibrant towns, and azure waters.
Paddleboarding along this stunning coastline provides an extraordinary experience, allowing you to glide past colorful cliffside villages, secluded beaches, and iconic landmarks like the picturesque Positano and the enchanting Isle of Capri.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Embark on an unforgettable paddle-boarding journey in the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system. Navigate through shallow turquoise waters, marvel at the vibrant marine life beneath you, and explore hidden lagoons and sandy cays.
Paddleboarding here offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and witness the mesmerizing beauty of the underwater world.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Known for its turquoise lagoons, lush tropical landscapes, and overwater bungalows, Bora Bora is a paradise for paddle-boarding enthusiasts.
Glide over the crystal-clear waters, surrounded by vibrant coral gardens and schools of tropical fish. Explore the intricate network of small islets called “motus” or paddle towards the iconic Mount Otemanu, creating unforgettable memories along the way.
Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden
Discover the beauty of the Stockholm Archipelago, an enchanting maze of over 30,000 islands and islets. Paddleboarding through this picturesque landscape allows you to immerse yourself in unspoiled nature, navigate calm waterways, and witness the tranquility of the Swedish countryside.
Enjoy the serene atmosphere, spot wildlife, and discover hidden beaches and charming fishing villages.
Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or a connection with nature, these places provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable paddleboarding adventure.
So pack your paddle board, explore these incredible destinations, and create lifelong memories as you glide across the water, surrounded by the beauty of the natural world.