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Best paddle board 2022: The best SUPs for hitting the water this summer

Nicole Kobie
26 Aug 2021
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Find the best paddle board to hit the water, whether it's an inflatable model for beginners or a hard-body version for taking some waves

Stand-up paddle boarding is often described as the fastest-growing sport in the world, and while we have no idea how to judge that particular statistic, it’s unquestionably increasingly popular in the UK. Trail Outdoor Leisure says it has seen sales of paddle boards increase by 117% this year.

Paddle boarding is an easy way to hit the water for a relaxing float on a sunny day, for a new way to work out, or to explore nature. Lessons aren’t strictly necessary, but taking an introductory course or at least renting a board before buying will give you a better idea of what you actually need. Prices of SUPs have come down, helped by advancements in inflatable technology, meaning even those without a garage for storage or van to transport their board can still take up this relaxing sport.

Regardless of whether you’re hitting the beach to catch a few waves or touring across a calm, crystal-clear lake, here are the best paddle boards for beginners and experts alike – and what you need to know to choose your perfect SUP, whether it's an inflatable model or a hard-body edition for those with advanced skills.


Best stand-up paddle boards: At a glance

  • Best lightweight SUP: Itiwit Beginner’s Inflatable Touring SUP | Buy now
  • Most durable paddleboard: Jobe Titan Kura SUP | Buy now
  • Best all-round SUP: Goosehill Sailor Inflatable SUP | Buy now

How to choose the best paddle board for you

Should you get an inflatable or hard board?

There are two types of paddle boards: inflatable models and hard-body boards, also referred to as rigid, epoxy, composite or standard.

Inflatable models are increasingly popular, as they’re easier to transport and store (hard boards can top ten feet in length), and advances in material technologies mean they work surprisingly well. That said, inflatable models are often thicker than hard models, which makes them more stable for beginners but also slower moving. Alongside not requiring inflation and deflation, hard boards offer more speed and performance, which is helpful if you’re touring longer distances or hitting the waves at the beach.

What kind of paddle board do you need?

Paddle boards are a trade-off between stability and performance. Beginners will want a wider, shorter board with more flotation, which means it’s likely to be thicker – but that means more drag in the water, so you’ll go slower. Those looking for speed or better performance will need a thinner, longer board. When choosing a board, check the weight allowance to ensure that you and any passengers will stay afloat, and that it won’t take too much effort to paddle.

The type of SUP you buy also depends on how you’ll use it. For a few hours out on flat water, a beginner, all-round model with a flatter bottom will be just fine. For all-day touring over longer distances, a displacement hull reduces drag to let you go faster more easily. For choppier water, look for a planing hull, which also works for surfing. For that, you may want a board with a curved nose, called a rocker.

What features do you need?

There are a few other features to consider. SUPs come with tracking fins on the bottom of the board to help keep the board stable. Flat water may only require a single fin, but hitting the surf may warrant multiple fins. Some boards come with camera mounts, which are handy for jealousy-inducing Instagram accounts, and most feature bungee cords at the front to secure necessities.

Storage is another key consideration. Stand-up paddle boards are long and bulky, so think about where you’ll keep it and how you’ll transport it to the water. If you’re short on space, an inflatable paddle board may be a better idea.

How do you choose a paddle?

Aside from the board, to SUP, you’ll also need a paddle – it’s in the name, after all. Paddles can be fixed in length, detachable (so they break down into smaller pieces for easier transport) or adjustable, depending on your height or use.

A paddle should be taller than you, coming to roughly the height of your wrist if you hold your arm over your head. For most of us, that's about 15cm to 30cm above our height, although longer paddles are ideal for faster speeds and shorter paddles are considered best for hitting the surf.

What else do you need?

Ensure you have proper safety equipment, notably a leash that connects your ankle to the SUP so there’s no risk of losing it in case you fall off, as well as a personal flotation device. If you’re paddling at night, bring waterproof lights so you can be seen by boats, and if you’re taking along valuables such as keys or your phone, consider purchasing a dry bag. Paddleboards are big, unwieldy items, so it may be worth buying a strap to make carrying it easier.

READ NEXT: The best inflatable paddle boards

The best paddle boards you can buy in 2022

1. Tahe Outdoor Beach Performer: The best hard-body SUP for hitting the beach

Price: £700 | Buy now from Decathlon

Most of the SUPs at budget sports retailer Decathlon are inflatable, but there is a rigid option: the Tahe Outdoor Beach Performer. Designed for longer-distance touring or surfing, the longboard-style SUP is designed so that it paddles easily with good stability in flat water, but can also handle a few waves, too. That means this all-rounder will let more advanced paddlers pick and choose where they’d like to hit the water, while also providing easy paddling and stability to those new to the sport.

On the downside, it's not the cheapest option, and that’s exacerbated by the lack of paddles or leash, the latter of which is advised on rivers and canals. The 185L/320cm model can support up to 80kg; anyone heavier needs to consider the next model up.

Key specs – Total weight: 14.5kg; Length: 320cm; Width: 80cm; Volume: 185L; How much can it carry? 60 to 80kg, upgrade to the larger model if over 80kg; Accessories? Does not come with paddles or leash.

Buy now from Decathlon


2. Goosehill Sailor Inflatable Stand-up Paddle Board: the best all-round SUP

Price: £330 | Buy now from Amazon

The Goosehill Sailor features an extra layer of lamination that the company calls Super Construction Enhancement Technology, which gives additional strength to the single dropstitch layer without much extra weight. That means this all-rounder works for everyone: it’s light enough for a child to carry, stable and easy to manoeuvre, and solidly supports up to 200kg in weight.

The company says it works well on lakes, calm rivers and even in waves at the beach, but for more advanced conditions, it may not be suitable. Handily, the paddle board comes with all the key accessories you need to hit the water, including an adjustable paddle.

Key specs – Total weight: 9kg; Length: 323cm; Width: 81cm; Height: 15cm; Air pressure: 12-15PSI; Volume: 300L; How much can it carry? 200kg; Accessories? Includes adjustable paddle, pump, leash, fin and carrying bag

3. Fatstick Bamboo Bullet: The best sustainable hard paddle board

Price: £679 | Buy now from SUP Direct

This sustainable British brand not only makes boards from bamboo but plants a tree for each one sold. That won’t help you when out on the water, but get used to fellow paddlers admiring your kit, because the Bamboo Bullet is beautiful.

The longboard design means the Bamboo Bullet is ideal for touring as well as surfing, while the wide shape makes it easy to control, even for beginners, meaning this board works well for anyone. Made from a foam core surrounded by bamboo and coated in three layers of epoxy glass, this is a board that can take a beating. If the materials sound a bit slippery when wet, don’t worry: there's a full-length traction pad on the top to keep feet in place.

Key specs – Total weight: 10kg; Length: 299cm; Width: 76cm; Volume: 185L; How much can it carry? Not available, but there’s a larger model if needed; Accessories? Not included, but Fatstick offers discounted bundles for paddle and leash with board purchase

Buy now from SUP Direct


4. Itiwit Beginner’s Inflatable Touring Stand-up Paddle board: the best lightweight SUP

Price: £250 | Buy now from Decathlon

If you’re going to have to carry your SUP, this is the one to get: it weighs just 6kg and folds up incredibly small into the included backpack, making it easy to take on your travels or to access more remote lakes and rivers. Because it’s so tiny, the Itiwit has a more restrictive weight limit, although larger – and therefore heavier – models are available.

This is unquestionably a beginner’s board for calm water, but if you’re looking for a small, lightweight iSUP to get started with, the Itiwit could be the one for you. Paddling gets harder the closer you are to the weight limit, so beginners may want to upgrade to the 10ft model for an extra £50 to ensure easy manoeuvrability.

Key specs – Total weight: 6kg; Length: 244cm; Width: 76cm; Height: 12cm Air pressure: 15PSI; Volume: 187L; How much can it carry? 60kg; upgrade to the larger models for higher weight limits; Accessories? No paddles or pump, but includes backpack, fins and leash

Buy now from Decathlon


5. Jobe Titan Kura SUP 10.6ft 2021: The most durable hard-body paddle board

Price: £699 | Buy now from SUP.co.uk

Jobe's Titan series SUPs are designed to be extremely strong — the company says these paddle boards are for “intensive and careless use”. Made from a polycarbonate shell wrapped around a durable expanded polystyrene core, the Titan Kura has another benefit: it’s extremely buoyant.

That means this board can not only survive whatever extreme paddling you have planned, but can also support up to 140kg of weight despite weighing just 13.5kg itself. Jobe says this board is ideal for touring as well as freeriding, so if you have some tricks up your sleeve, this could be the SUP for you.

Key specs – Total weight: 13.5kg; Length: 320cm; Width: 81cm; Volume: 210L; How much can it carry? 140kg; Accessories? Not included

Buy now from SUP.co.uk


6. Starboard GO Lite Tech 10.8ft SUP: The best beginners’ rigid paddle board

Price: £899 | Buy now from Poole Harbour Watersports

This all-rounder is designed to be easy to paddle with quick turns, making it an excellent choice for those new to the sport. The board is designed to be used in flat water or in light waves, with a focus on tracking to keep it running smoothly and high stability for reliability and to keep paddlers dry. That’s handy when water is a bit on the colder side, as the company points out.

Starboard’s GO range is much wider than this one board. There’s a variety of lengths and widths, so you can choose the right balance of support and performance to match your skill and weight, as well as a selection of materials and designs. Carbon Top is extra light, Tikhine is decorated with ocean artwork, Starlight supports windsurfing equipment, ASAP stands for “as strong as possible”, and Lite Tech is strong and comes at budget prices.

Key specs – Total weight: 11kg Length: 327cm; Width: 79cm; Volume: 192L; How much can it carry? 100kg; Accessories? Not included.

Buy now from Poole Harbour Watersports


7. SIC Maui RS 14ft SF: The best-performing premium paddle board

Price: £2,850 | Buy now from the SUP Co

This is the paddle board that gets enthusiasts and experts alike excited: SIC is a well-regarded premium brand, and this particular model is an award- and race-winner — the “RS” stands for rocket ship. PVC wrapped around foam, this good-looking board is famously fast in the water as well as remarkably light to carry, despite the 14-foot length.

All of that, alongside the price, mean this isn’t a paddleboard for beginners but for experienced paddlers who are looking for top speeds in waves or flat water. Despite the thin profile and fast design, it’s also known for solid stability. Beyond performance in the water, the SIC has nice touches including easy-to-grab handles and a bungee strap for essentials closer to the middle of the board.

Key specs – Total weight: 11.kg; Length: 427cm; Width: 55cm; Volume: 265L; How much can it carry? Not available, but there’s a range of larger models if necessary; Accessories? Leash and fin included

Buy now from the SUP Co


8. Bluefin SUP Voyage: the best SUP for everything else

Price: £699 | Buy now from Amazon

Bluefin has a wide range of specialist boards: there's the Aura for yoga, the Tandem for two paddlers, and the Mammoth to carry all your friends and family, alongside SUPs focused on touring and beginners. The Voyage piles together everything into one board, making it a water-based platform for all your lake activities.

The board itself is 20% wider than standard, so it's more stable for paddling and yoga. But that also means there's more space for all your kit, including an attachable cooler box that features a seat back, and mounts for kayak seat, fishing rods, and an action camera. Paddle this board out to the lake for fishing, practise a bit of yoga, take the kids or dog out for a spin, use it as a base to keep your drinks cold: the Voyage is the ultimate all-rounder, but all that comes with extra weight and size, so it might be difficult for children to paddle themselves.

Key specs – Total weight: 17kg; Length: 330cm; Width: 99cm; Height: 16cm; Air pressure: two chambers at 3.5PSI each; Volume: 382L; How much can it carry? 130kg; Accessories? Comes with pump, two paddles, carry bag mount, fin, leash, cool box and more

Read more

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