The Best SUP Boards of 2018: Our Reviews Guide

Top Rated paddleboards reviewed

Here at Paddler's Way we've taken the time to put together this behemoth guide to help you with your next paddle board purchase. Before we dive in, let's make one thing clear: Paddleboarding is addicting!

If you're looking for a sport that's not only a great workout, but loads of fun, you've come to the right place.

Comparison of the Best Rated
Stand Up Paddle Boards

SUP Board

Reason to Buy

Type

Length

Ratings

Price

Tower Adventurer 2

tower adventurer 2

Top Overall Pick
for the Money

All-Around -
Inflatable

10' 4"

4.9 / 5

$$

BIC Sport Performer

bic sport ace tec performer

If you're planning on surfing,
this is the paddleboard for you

Surfing -
Solid

11' 6"

4.7 / 5

$$$

PEAK Inflatable

peak inflatable

An absolute must if you're planning on using it for Yoga

Yoga -
Inflatable

10' 6"

4.8 / 5

$$

Tower Xplorer

tower xplorer

Highly recommended as a racing board for the average user

Racing -
Inflatable

14'

4.7 / 5

$$$

Solstice Bali iSUP

solstice bali

Solid runner up for an
all-around SUP

All Around -
Inflatable

10' 8"

4.5 / 5

$$

Naish Hokua GS

naish hokua gs

Another great option if
you plan to use it to surf

Surfing -
Solid

9' 10"

4.4 / 5

$$$$

Naish Mana

naish mana

Very popular pick for fitness
and yoga enthusiasts

Yoga -
Inflatable

11' 6"

4.3 / 5

$$$

BIC Sport Wing

BIC Sport ACE-TEC Wing

Runner up in the racing department

Racing -
Solid

12' 6"

4.5 / 5

$$$

If you’re new to SUP boarding though, there’s always the question of how and where do I get started? What kind of board do I need? How long does it need to be? What are the price ranges? Well lucky for you, we’ve got the reviews you need to get your feet on that board as soon as possible. Let’s break down the top choices so you can get out on the water as soon as possible!

See, I’ve become a little obsessed. After hitting the water on a SUP my first time a few years back, I’ve tried to paddle board as much as possible. Whether it be at the lakes, on a pond, in the ocean, or at the river – I’m always trying to take it out on the open water.

And throughout my slight obsession, I’ve found what SUPs work best for every activity. So I’m bringing you this website full of the best stand up paddle board reviews to make life easier for fellow paddlers.

No matter what you want to do on your board – whether it be yoga, racing, surfing, floating, or just paddling around, you’ll find a number of great board options below and throughout this site.


Breaking Down the Basics

Before we get to the reviews, it's important to take a quick look at some basics. SUPs seem simple – until it's time to buy one. Then we quickly realize all the different options one has when selecting a great paddle board.

Inflatable vs. Hard Paddle Boards

First, it’s important to note there are two different classes of paddle boards. There are inflatable boards and hard boards. Hard boards are clearly not inflatable and are also known as rigid or solid SUPs. (See our guide to the best inflatable SUPs here)

Everyone has their personal preference. Some like hard SUPs and other prefer inflatable boards. Hard boards tend to be better for speed and waves, but inflatable SUPs offer easy storage, ideal base for practicing yoga, and are often perfect for the budget conscious.

Board Length

You’ll quickly notice stand up paddle boards vary in length. While 10-foot SUPs seem to be most common, you’ll find boards from around 9-foot up to 12-foot. The reason for differing lengths often stems from the different activities that can be performed.

Longer paddle boards are ideal for surfing and paddling over waves. Shorter boards tend to do just fine in flat water and can be light in weight. Typically, people just starting out will prefer a shorter SUP. Longer SUPs can also hold more weight, although every board will have a weight limit. For larger people, you need to pay attention to these limits before buying a board that works for you.

What Activities You Want To Do

Outside of hard boards, inflatable SUPs, and length, you’ll want to decide what you’ll be doing with your board before you buy one. There are paddle boards designed for a number of activities on the water, including:

  • All around
  • Paddling around
  • Touring
  • Racing
  • Fitness
  • Yoga
  • Surfing

Once you know what you want to do with your new board, our reviews will be of more use to you.


Types of Boards

Flat Water / All-Around Paddle Boards

If you’re new to paddle boarding, then a flat water board should be perfect. These all-around paddle boards are great for people new to the sport, as they offer a lot of stability. This means more time out on the water and less time landing in it. Flat water SUPs are great entry level boards for all ages.

Flat water boards are perfect for learning. Even if you’re a paddling veteran, you can still find great fun on an all-around SUP. These boards are perfect for paddling around and can also be used for fishing.

Try to find all-around SUPs that fall between 30″ to 34″ in width. This ensures maximum stability out in the water and the ideal space to find your balancing stance. By buying a stand up paddle board with 10′ to 11′ in length, you’ll also enjoy great maneuverability.

Surfing SUP Boards

surfing

There’s nothing like surfing on a paddle board. For some, it trumps regular surfing by a mile. Typically, a shorter stand up board made specifically for surfing offers the best chance to catch some waves. (See our surf SUP reviews here)

If you’re looking for surfing paddle boards, try to buy one that’s under 10′ in length. This will ensure the SUP can turn on a dime and maneuver easily. Longer boards won’t be able to cut like this.

For Yoga & Fitness

yoga

One of my favorite things to do is practice yoga on my SUP. While you can do yoga on an all-around paddle board, you’re much better off with a SUP specifically designed for yoga.

Stand up paddle boards for yoga are created with a wide base to ensure users can do a number of yoga poses and positions. They’re also constructed with grip padding that ensures you won’t slip while practicing. On top of that, the padding won’t bother your knees or legs like some other paddle boards.

Many prefer an inflatable SUP when they want to do yoga, as the surface is more of a soft top. Most of the top yoga paddle boards can also be used as all-around boards, so we recommend looking at these types of boards first – if you want to do any yoga at all.

Racing / Touring Boards

racing and touring

If you’ve been stand up paddle boarding for some time now, then there’s a chance you’re looking to race and tour on your SUP. While racing boards are not designed for beginners, they can be great for intermediate to advanced boarders who have a need for speed. 

When buying touring or racing stand up paddle boards, you’ll want a longer and skinnier board. Racing paddle boards are not as wide as other types. Often, these SUPs are thicker, too.


The History of Boarding with Paddles

history lessonThe history of paddle boarding isn’t all that known. In fact, many argue about when and where the sport originated. To see where stand up paddle boarding began, we have to take a look way back.

While not a “sport” until recently, stand up paddle boarding has been taking place for thousands of years. Cultures all around the Americas and Africa have been paddling through the ocean on boards, boats, and canoes since the start of civilization.

While this was activity was more survival than sport, many credit the invention of stand up paddle boarding to these ancient civilizations. However, modern paddle boarding stemmed from surfing.

Starting in Hawaii, people all over the island have been surfing without a paddle since the 1700’s. In the 1940’s a surfing aficionado began taking a paddle out to the ocean with him. He did so to stand up and keep an eye on the waves and other surfers.

Then he got in a car accident. He could no longer swim or kneel, but he still wanted to ride waves. And he did just that by inventing stand up paddle boarding. The sport laid stagnant until the 1980’s when travel photographers showed the world all about stand up paddle boarding.


The 2018 Top SUP Board Reviews & Rankings

Below you’ll find our 2018 picks for best stand up paddle board in each category.  Once you know what type of board you want, use our reviews to select what fits your needs:

1. Tower Adventurer 2

tower adventurer 2 all around
  • Type: All-Around
  • Length: 10’4″
  • Construction: Inflatable
  • Price: $$

The Tower Adventurer 2 is not one of, but the best selling SUP on the market today. And there’s good reason for this fact. This stand up paddle board is exceptionally user-friendly.

For individuals just starting out paddle boarding, this model offers great stability. This means less time in the water and more time enjoying your paddle session. The board is fairly long for a flat water device and can be used for more than just paddling around. Many enjoy doing yoga on this model as well.

2. BIC Sport ACE-TEC Performer

bic sport ace tec performer
  • Type: Surfing
  • Length: 9’2″, 10’6″, and 11’6″
  • Construction: Solid
  • Price: $$$

The BIC Sport ACE-TEC Performer series are some of the best surfing SUPs on the market. Known for quality construction and materials, these surfing SUPs are created with an epoxy composite that ensures the board is incredibly durable and very lightweight.

The rocker profile of the BIC Sport ACE-TEC Performer offers easy navigation, while the long board shape ensures great maneuverability around other riders and in all water types. Many review this board quite highly.

3. PEAK Inflatable Paddle Board

peak inflatable
  • Type: Yoga
  • Length: 10’6″
  • Construction: Inflatable
  • Price: $$

As one of the most popular yoga paddle boards for beginners, this model from PEAK is ideal for those just starting to stretch out. The inflatable SUP features a rigid structure sure to feel comfortable while doing yoga and paddling around.

Yogis also love the non-slip grip bottom that ensures perfect poses – even when wet! Not only is this board great for beginners looking to do yoga, but the SUP comes with a full accessory bundle. It’s not a cheap board, but it’s definitely more affordable than others as well.

4. Tower Xplorer 14'

tower xplorer board
  • Type: Racing
  • Length: 14′
  • Construction: Inflatable
  • Price: $$$

The absolute fastest inflatable paddle board I’ve ever seen – the Tower Xplorer was designed for speed. If you’re looking to race around on your SUP, then this could be the perfect board for you.

While this paddle board won’t compare to the SUPs the pros use, it does offer people looking to race great value. Coming in under $1,000, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a faster board at a better price.

5. Solstice Bali iSUP

solstice bali isup
  • Type: All-Around
  • Length: 10’8″
  • Construction: Inflatable
  • Price: $$

If you’re looking for a cheap, yet high quality stand up paddle board, then the Solstice Bali iSUP is absolutely ideal. This model is one of the best boards on the market that won’t break the piggy bank, especially when you take into account the SUP is made by the leading manufacturer, iSUP.

The board is sturdy once blown up, has solid length at 10’8″ and is ideal for cruising around the flat waters of lakes and bays. However, you won’t want to take this device out on a choppy day or to surf. Doing yoga on this device has gotten mixed reviews, as well.

6. Naish Hokua GS

naish hokua gs board
  • Type: Surfing
  • Length: Varies, 9’10” common
  • Construction: Solid
  • Price: $$$$

For people who cannot surf “well” or are learning to surf, the Naish Hokua series is the ideal paddle board for catching waves. The slim design and varying lengths ensures ideal maneuverability.

One of the best aspects of these surfing paddle boards is the varying lengths. Depending on your height, weight, and surfing ability, you’ll be able to find the perfect Naish Hokua board for you.

7. Naish Mana Air

naish mana
  • Type: Yoga
  • Length: 10′ or 11’6″
  • Construction: Inflatable
  • Price: $$$

There’s nothing like a little yoga on the water, and the Naish Mana Air is the ideal SUP to enjoy the activity on. As this paddle board is long, wide, and inflatable, it makes the ideal yoga SUP.

If you’re interested in yoga paddle boards, it’s important to pay attention to sizing. The small version of the Naish Mana Air is ideal for people under 5’8″ in height. People taller than 5’8″ should stick to the longer version of this SUP. You want ample room to get bendy when doing yoga on the water.

8. BIC Sport ACE-TEC Wing SUP

BIC Sport ACE-TEC Wing SUP board
  • Type: Racing
  • Length: 12’6″
  • Construction: Solid
  • Price: $$$

While you won’t find the BIC Wing Ace-TEC in professional paddle boarding races, you’ll see a number of people racing them at amateur events. The board isn’t quite long enough to be pro-level, but it sure is fast – especially when compared to other types of SUPs.

If you’re looking for a hybrid SUP that can be raced and tour, but still offers a decent all-around appeal for the experienced paddler, then the BIC Wing Ace-TEC may be just what the doctor ordered. When I go out for a quick spin, I love to take this board.


Ultimately, our stand up paddle board picks and reviews only offer you so much. You have to decide what type of board you need and what you value. Some may want an all-around SUP while others want to get as much speed as possible riding the waves.

Use the guide above to ensure you find the perfect board for your needs, and get great value for your money. Happy paddling!