After personally paddling, weighing, and thoroughly testing dozens of boards, our expert staff has selected the best beginner stand up paddle board 2022 models. These are designated by the "A" grade and organized by categories (inflatable, all-around, touring, etc). In its 6th year the Supconnect team spent countless hours individually assessing each one of the SUP boards below, counting a total of 23 metrics per board and consistently applying them across all products. The end result: simply the most comprehensive, consumer-friendly, value-added review platform in the stand up paddle world. Click through each one of the reviews and find a consistent, in-depth assessment of each product listed.
The Best Beginner SUP Boards 2022
- Starboard Touring
- Body Glove Performer
- iRocker Cruiser
- POP Board Co Royal Hawaiian
- Bay Sports Wood Look Original Series
- Thurso Surf Waterwalker
- iRocker Blackfin Model XL
- Bay Sports Mandala Series
- Thurso Surf Tranquility
The Best Beginner Paddle Boards 2022
|Starboard Touring||35.14 lbs||$1,499||Touring||Beginner||Non-Inflatable||30 inches|
|Body Glove Performer||24.6 lbs||$999||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||34 inches|
|iRocker Cruiser||21.4 lbs||$799.99||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||33 inches|
|Pop Board Co||22.12 lbs||$849||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||30 inches|
|Bay Sports Wood Look Original Series||22.7 lbs||$799||Touring||Beginner||Inflatable||32 inches|
|Thurso Surf Waterwalker||24.4 lbs||$849||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||32 inches|
|Blackfin Model XL||25.1 lbs||$1,149||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||34 inches|
|Bay Sports Mandala||26.3 lbs||$999||Yoga||Beginner||Inflatable||34 inches|
|Thurso Surf Tranquility||28.8 lbs||$899||Yoga||Beginner||Inflatable||34 inches|
Beginner Paddle Boards 101
3 Things to Consider to Find the Best Beginner Paddle Board
1. FLOTATION & STABILITY
General Rule: First and foremost, you need a stable board. For most people, a board 11-foot in length and 30-inches wide will offer plenty of stability. Now there are features of the board that can make it more or less stable, even if having the dimensions above. Nonetheless, most boards with those dimensions should fit the bill. The goal of your first paddle session is to have fun. And for that, you can’t be struggling to keep the board stable.
More Precisely: For a beginner SUP board more tailored to your weight, use the volume of the standup paddle board as the guide. The board's volume should be about 2x your weight in kilos. Find your weight in KILOS, multiple it by 2, and replace the unit with LITERS. Say that I weigh 180 lbs (82 kg). Multiple it by 2 (82 x 2 = 164) and replace the unit with LITERS (164L). Your beginner board should be 164L minimum. Keep in mind, though, that simply using volume as a guide is not enough to get you the right board. The board may have enough volume to float you but it could be highly unstable if less than 30 inches wide. Chose the correct volume together with a minimum width of 30 inches, so you have a board that floats you but which also offers ample stability.
The beauty of stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is that there are so many ways and situations where you can participate. Here at Supconnect we break down the different uses of a paddle board into 7 categories: All Around, Touring, Yoga, Fishing, Race, Surf and River. Each category has their own specific purpose and thus, a different shape/design is necessary for each. There are boards that fit into multiple SUP disciplines and can be used in a variety of ways. A brief breakdown of each category is as follows:
- All Around: For multiple purposes but primarily for recreation
- Touring: For cruising paddles beyond the shoreline and for expedition paddling
- Yoga: For optimal stability as a floating yoga mat
- Fishing: For stability to cast the line, with plenty of accessories
- Race: For speed, coming with lightweight build
- Surf: For maneuverability and wave handling
- River: For rapids, river eddies and river wave riding
3. ADD ONS
Add-on’s are accessories for a paddle board that add to your experience on/off the water. The quality of the bag/backpack and the air pump tend to be directly related to the board’s price points. Aside from your paddle, bags and pumps are the most important add-on’s to your board and can drastically improve your overall experience with the board, such as helping you more easily carry the board and/or pump it up more quickly. Other popular add on’s include bungee cords, a minimalist way to haul things; Connexsup, which allows for all sorts of attachments, even fishing rods; and FCS II/Connect, for easy fin instal. Other add on’s could be upgraded handles like the Liftsup & EZgrab and paddle holders for when you aren’t using your paddle.
Best Beginner Paddle Board Reviews
The board we reviewed utilized Starboard’s Lite Tech construction so keep that in mind here. At first glance, the blue graphics had a really nice pattern and look to it. The rest of the board is fairly basic when it comes to graphics and is essentially all white with the exception of the blue band across the deck pad. So, if you’re looking for something that has a very clean look to it, you’ll probably really like this design. Downside of the white though is the potential for it to stain and get dirty so take note of that. Color aside, the deckpad has a really neat feature called the ‘Star Touch’. When it’s wet, the pad becomes more grippy and really helps with stability when moving up and down the board when turning. Now, this board is made from some pretty strong materials so the durability there is nice, but with this durability comes weight. The board weighs in at around 34.15 lbs so it’s definitely on the heavier side. It’s still manageable for sure but heavier than lightweight constructions. However, offset the weight and make the board a bit easier to carry, Starboard includes a shoulder strap with the board that also doubles as a paddle holder so that’s a nice perk. Another nice perk that’s absolutely worth mentioning is that when purchasing this board, or any Starboard SUP for that matter, they plant a mangrove tree that helps absorb CO2 in the atmosphere and they also commit to picking up 1.1kg of beach/ocean trash. Now that’s something to get behind. On the water, the board felt SO stable! The added width in the center of the board mixed with the recessed deck really contributes to that stability. The board was also easy to turn when stepping back towards the tail. When it comes to the glide, if you’ve got the right technique and power behind your stroke you’re going to get a really nice glide and even get some speed just as the designers of this board intended with the thinner sharp slicing nose and deep center channel on the bottom. Because of this, the Touring could make for a great dual-purpose board that is great for both touring and also can be a good transitional board if you’re wanting to get into racing. But, because of the heavier weight, if you’re looking for more of a race board either go with the lighter construction or look at race-specific boards instead. Overall, the Touring is a great option for paddlers looking for a touring SUP that sits in the mid-tier price point, uses quality materials, is stable AND is eco-friendly so it’s a no brainer to award the Touring with Supconnect’s A-grade.
|Price: $1,499||Build: Non-inflatable||Weight: 34.15 lbs|
|Use: Touring||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 12'6", 14'|
BODY GLOVE PERFORMER
Updated for 2022, the Performer 11 has once again received a nice makeover both graphically and for the package as a whole. The first upgrade we noticed was the inclusion of the electric pump which made inflating the board easier than ever before. That alone is a huge value-add. The 2022 graphics are also a really nice upgrade, probably our most favorite to-date. The deep blues mixed with the wood graphics and the pop of Body Glove’s branded yellow really go together nicely. Another subtle but nice feature change was the detail they put into the deckpad. Before, the pad was a standard diamond pattern that you see with many brands on the market but this year their deckpad features their logo etched in in tiny little circles as the pattern and it even has foot placement guides etched in. Big points on thoughtfulness there. Not new for this year but still worth noting, are all the bells and whistles that the board comes equipped with. The bungee on the nose, the reinforced nose bumper, the tow attachment on the nose, the action camera attachment and the center handle that also doubles as a paddle or water bottle holder, all add so much value to this package. On the water the board felt very stable as expected and the pointed nose helped the board glide smoothly. The board even felt stable enough to bring along a first time paddler, Sage the 5-month old Weimaraner puppy without issue. One thing to point out here is that the fins are permanently attached to the board so you'll have to be a bit more careful as to not damage the fins or the board when the board is not in use but other than that we have nothing but praises for the 2022 Performer 11’. Overall, this board and package is very well put together. From the graphics across each touchpoint, the board quality, the add ons and the included accessories all make the value of this packaged unmatched, especially if you’re a Costco member where the package price drops down to an unbeatable $399. Once again, excellent job to Body Glove on putting this together.
|Price: $999||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 24.6 lbs|
|Use: All Around
||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 11'|
At first glance the details put into this package immediately drew our attention. Every piece of equipment in the package was branded and matched across the board. The board, bag, leash and paddle all matched beautifully. Diving even deeper into the details, the deckpad had their logo stamped all over it versus having a standard diamond pattern to it. Nice touch! The Cruiser is also packed with a ton of great features: bungee cords on the nose and tail, a ton of D ring attachment points, extra handles on the nose and tail and more. The bungee cords also feature grab handles on the sides that are incredibly helpful when bringing your kids with you, giving them something to hold onto. Another nice touch! With the D rings all over, you can add a kayak seat attachment, cooler, or something else if you like adding all the more versatility to this board. The roller bag that the board comes in is also very nice and high quality. As an optional add on, you can upgrade and get the iRocker electric pump to make the inflation process even more seamless. We had the pleasure of testing it out and definitely recommend it. Once on the water the board felt very stable and was smooth on the water, easy to maneuver. With the board capacity at 400 lbs this board is a great option for paddlers of all sizes and skill levels so anyone really that wants to get an inflatable board and wants that stability, I think this is a great board. With the thoughtful branding touchpoints, quality of equipment and pricepoint the iRocker Cruiser is well-deserving of the A-Grade.
|Price: $799||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 21.4 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10'6"|
POP BOARD CO ROYAL HAWAIIAN
Details, details, details. The first thing we noticed about this board, and the entire package was the thought and detail that went into each element of the package. From the board, to the bag, to paddle, to the pump and leash this package was perfectly coordinated and had beautiful branding throughout. The color scheme of this board is eye-catching, the black and white stripes with the floral, really just the overall scheme of being on the water, ocean, beach, it is just beautiful. Graphics aside, the board felt and appeared to be very well-made. Same goes for the 3-piece paddle that’s included. The pump was a standard dual-action and worked well. Another perk of this package/board is the universal single fin box so while it comes with it’s own fin, you’re able to swap it out for a different one if you like. Additionally, the backpack seemed to be very good quality with both good straps and wheels for pulling behind you. The board weighed in at 22 lbs which is pretty lightweight considering the heavier construction and carrying it down to the water wasn’t too difficult. Another thing to point out – although the board is 30 in. wide, it still felt very stable and was comfortable to stand on so beginners considering this board shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding balance. While paddling, the board was easy to turn and had a nice glide to boot. The graphics tend to lean more towards a feminine vibe but depending on your taste, this board would be a good choice for just about anyone. Overall, this board was a great experience all-around. The coordinated branding and colors across each item in the package, the construction, the add on’s and the price point all point towards the Royal Hawaiian deserving Supconnect’s A-Grade.
|Price: $849||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 22.12 lbs|
|Use: All Around
||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10'6"|
BAY SPORTS WOOD LOOK ORIGINAL SERIES
Updated for 2022, the Bay Sports Wood Look Original Series definitely got an upgrade. The graphics stayed the same here and kept the basic yet sleek wood graphics but here’s what’s new: there is an additional bungee cord attachment on the tail and the cords are upgraded and feature grips that can be used as handles that are great for kids who want to tag along for the ride and want to hold onto something. You’ll also notice more D-ring attachments on the deck that allow for countless attachment opportunities. Another new feature for the 2022 edition is a multi use action mount with an adapter where you can put a camera or a GoPro. As with the older version, the board is incredibly solid when inflated to the recommended PSI of 15. The board comes with a great fin and a nice bag making the overall package a good value. The graphics on the board give it a nice wood look and the fin system has two built-in rubber fins with the 3rd center fin being a toolless fin system, similar to the FCS II system, making getting your board to the water that much easier. Speaking of getting down to the water, carrying this board was a breeze. It was lightweight and easy which is interesting considering the board can hold up to 396 lbs. Typically, when you have more of a lightweight board it correlates to the durability of the board. Less layers = less durable but in this case the durability of the board didn’t seem compromised. Overall, if you're looking for a board that is affordable and stable that paddles well, the Bay Sports Wood Look Original Series is a good option. It's a good board, great for touring, all around, just a fun day on the bay with friends, you could go long distance if you’d like as well.. Love the rocker, love the stability and love the glide. With these upgrades we’re upgrading this board to an A-grade.
|Price: $799||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 22.7 lbs|
|Use: Touring||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10'6", 11'6"
THURSO SURF WATERWALKER
The 2022 version of the Waterwalker is the 3rd iteration of this board that we’ve reviewed. We first reviewed the model back in 2018 and did another one in 2020. We’re pleased to note that with each update we keep noticing an improvement and this 2022 version is no different. One of the biggest downsides on the earlier versions was the weight of the board but with this version there’s been considerable improvement. The board now weighs 24.4 lbs which makes such a big difference when carrying and paddling. For 2022, the board also got updated on the graphics which is also an improvement. There’s more coordination with the colors of the board matching with the deckpad showing more thought was put into it. Speaking of the deckpad, the material used was really soft, comfortable and easy to grip with your feet. Now here’s the kicker and another great feature we don’t see all-too-often in inflatable boards: carbon rails. The infusion of carbon rails here really help with the rigidity of the board. Well done! As with the previous versions the board does have a lot of add on’s with bungees on the nose and tail of the board, added d-rings, extra handles on the nose and tail, a keyless 3-fin setup and a paddle holder on the rail and comes with a very nice bag with the large wheels that make it easy to transport as a luggage piece and is still one of the best that we’ve seen on the market. Additionally, and this is something we don’t see all too often is the fin setup with 3 removable fins. Typically we see with inflatables either 1 removable center fin or the two sidebites are built in, but here, all 3 fins are removable. Carrying the board down to the water was manageable, especially with the decrease in weight. Once on the board it was nice and stable. Instantly I felt confident; I believe if I was a beginner, this is definitely an inflatable board you would want to learn on. When turning the board it doesn't feel wobbly, it kind of just is a smooth flat surface. Overall, this board is great for beginners and it’s going to last you a long time the way it’s made. It’s beautifully designed with the bright colors, eye-catching. With all the updates, improvements and features this board has, we’re giving it the well deserved upgrade and grading it an A for being an all around inflatable.
|Price: $849||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 24.4 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10', 10'6", 11'|
IROCKER BLACKFIN MODEL XL
The first thing that stood out to us on the Blackfin Model XL was the attention to detail. Everything included in the package: the board, paddle, leash, bag, pump and fins all had the same color coordination across the board. Then, the deckpad even had the Blackfin logo etched in all throughout. You can see the detail and thoughtfulness that went on behind the scenes of this package. The features and add ons that this board has is extensive. The bungee cords on both the tail and nose of the board feature grab handles which is great for kids to hold on to or for better securing your cargo. The added handles on the nose and tail of the board are also super helpful when carrying down to the beach or even using them as attachment points when you’re on the water. Because this board was designed with fishing in mind, you’ve also got a ton of attachment points for fishing mounts, coolers, action cameras and more, making it extremely easy to customize to what you’re looking for. When it comes to durability, the Model XL features a carbon rail that makes the board more durable but it also helps give the board a more rigid feel which does translate into the board being slightly heavier, at around 25lbs. Not too heavy at all but something to keep in mind. For the accessories that are included in the package we were not disappointed. The 3-piece paddle was pretty lightweight and felt comfortable and the 3 lock-in fins included add a nice touch. For the backpack - this was really impressive. The branding was nice, wheels were solid and there were really nice pockets on the front, both zippered and mesh, that are great for any additional items you want to store with your SUP. Additionally, the backpack was really comfortable to carry on your shoulder or back. On the water the XL felt really stable which is what you’d hope for in a board designed for SUP fishing and adventure paddling. It also had a nice glide and felt smooth. Now while this board would be a good option for SUP fishing, don’t let it fool you: it can also double as a great board that the entire family can enjoy when you’re looking for a more chill day on the water. Overall, the thoughtful details on design and packaging, the add ons included and quality of product all point to the Blackfin Model XL earning itself an A-grade.
|Price: $1,149||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 25.1 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 11'6"
BAY SPORTS MANDALA SERIES
Jumping right into the graphics, this paddle board kinda has a really cool bamboo base color and then on the deckpad is an aqua blue with stunning design of mandalas, and it’s kind of cool, they’re actually symmetrically placed in the middle to guide your feet to the center. The deckpad is also pretty comfortable to stand on and is great on the grip. One thing, or the many things, that stand out on this board are all the added bells and whistles. There are a ton of D-rings on the deck that allow for endless attachments and add on’s. Additionally, there are bungee cords on both the nose and tail of the board but one cool feature that is unique here is that the bungees have removable grab handles that are great for kids to hold on to if they’re sitting at the nose, and then part of the bungee strap, there is a multi use action mount where you can put a camera or a GoPro. One key feature to point out that might take some getting used to is the absence of the handle in the center of the deck which is how most paddle boards are usually carried. Instead, the board comes with a shoulder strap that connects to the D-ring attachments on the rail of the board. Alternatively, if you have a second person, there are handles on the deck and tail of the board to allow you to easily carry it down to the water. The absence of this center handle was done with intent by the product designers here to allow you to perform yoga without having that handle get in the way. Once getting out onto the water, the board felt really stable, and with the narrower tail it was easy to turn as well. Another item worth mentioning is the triple action dual pump. It worked really well when inflating the board. Overall, there’s no doubt that a lot of thought and intention went into the design of this board to make it a great multi-use board. It comes in a complete package with everything you need to get on the water. Because of the thought put in here, quality and value, the Bay Sports Mandala Series earns Supconnect’s A-Grade.
|Price: $999||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 26.3 lbs|
|Use: Yoga||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 11'|
THURSO SURF TRANQUILITY
At first glance, the graphics on the board are really pretty with a blue lotus flower, into a bamboo pad with more of a lotus baby blue deck pad. This color coordination also flow into the designs of the included accessories which is a thoughtful touch. To put it plainly, this board comes with a lot of bang for your buck. First, the board comes with bungees on the nose and tail, as well as grab handles on the nose and tail with D rings where you can attach a kayak seat (or cooler) if you’d like on the sides. This board also comes with paddle handles on both sides of the rails, which is really good for anyone doing their yoga and wants to make sure their paddle is secure. Another thoughtful touch. Then when carrying the board, it comes with a shoulder strap, which does help because the board is kind of heavier – it’s about 28 pounds. But really cool, the board comes with two different grab handles, not in the center of the deck but more on the sides, so you can carry it easier either on top of your head, or it helps assist when you have that shoulder strap. As mentioned above, the board is a bit on the heavier side for a board under 11’ but this is likely because the board is incredibly durable with a strong construction and built to last. When getting onto the water the board was very stable which was no surprise since the width was 34 inches. It was a little slower maneuvering throughout the water which was also expected due to the shape but of all the yoga SUPs we’ve reviewed thus far, the Tranquility was honestly one of the most stable inflatables that we’ve tried. There was no need to use the paddle when doing the yoga maneuvers, and I felt really, really confident on it. The thoughtfulness of the design and full package here did not go unnoticed. With all the added attachments and accessories, quality and durability of the board and its accessories, all priced for just $899 it’s a no-brainer that we give this board a well-deserved A-grade.
|Price: $899||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 28.8 lbs|
|Use: Yoga||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10'8"
A Look at Imagery from our SUP Reviews
- Best Standup Paddle Boards 2022
- Best Inflatable Standup Paddle Boards 2022
- Best All Around Paddle Boards 2022
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