After personally paddling, weighing, and thoroughly testing 175+ boards, our expert staff has selected the best beginner stand up paddle board 2020 models. These are designated by the "A" grade and organized by categories (inflatable, all-around, touring, etc). The Supconnect team traveled across 3 states and spent 8 months individually assessing each one of the inflatable 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 standup 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 2020
- Surftech Chameleon
- Body Glove Performer 11
- SIC Maui Tao Surf Air Glide
- Surftech Aleka
- Surftech Hercules
- NSP Hit
- Body Glove Porter
- Surftech High Seas
The Best Beginner Paddle Boards 2020
|Surftech Chameleon||22.14 lbs||$1,050||All Around||Beginner||Non-Inflatable||31 in.|
|Body Glove Performer 11||22.5 lbs||$999||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||34 in.|
|SIC Maui TaoSurf Air Glide||22.3 lbs||$649.95||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||33 in.|
|Surftech Aleka||22.11 lbs||$1,349||All Around||Beginner||Non-Inflatable||29 in.|
|Surftech Hercules||37.8 lbs||$1,399||Touring / Kayak Hybrid||Beginner||Inflatable||36 in.|
|NSP Hit||27.4 lbs||$789||All Around / Rental||Beginner||Non-Inflatable||32 in.|
|Body Glove Porter||20.5 lbs||$999||All Around / Kayak Hybrid||Beginner||Inflatable||31 in.|
|Surftech High Seas||25.11 lbs||$999||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||32 in.|
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
If you’re on the market for an affordable, non-inflatable paddle board that works well as both an all around board and a touring board then check out the updated Chameleon from Surftech. The 2020 edition of this board has received some big updates from previous versions and looks great. The Chameleon is an all-around/touring hybrid board that can be used by everyone with recreational paddling in mind. Its construction and shape combined best fit this board for mid-range distance paddling, up to 3-5 miles max. The board is quite light and weighs just 22 pounds, thus making it pretty easy to carry around. Starting at $1,050, the Chameleon is a stunning board that is versatile in use at an affordable price. Definitely check this one out.
|Price: $1,050||Build: Non-inflatable||Weight: 22.14 lbs|
|Use: All Around / Touring||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10'4", 11'4"|
BODY GLOVE PERFORMER 11
Updated for 2020, the Performer 11 has received a nice makeover. It's not the most premium, but when it comes to value it's definitely among the top ones. The graphics have a really nice color coordination and the traction pad is comfortable on your feet. The shape is fairly good and the board feels incredibly stable and the pulled in nose does give a bit more glide. The fins are permanently attached to the board so keep that in mind since you'll have to be a bit more careful as to not damage the fins or the board. The board also features a carbon reinforced strip which definitely stiffens it up. This comes with a leash and a paddle making it a complete package. The only thing that seems slightly off about the board is the nose is slightly pulled in for my taste but other than that this board seems like an amazing inflatable touring paddle board at a good price point. Excellent job to Body Glove on putting this together.
|Price: $999||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 22.5 lbs|
|Use: All Around
||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 11'|
SIC MAUI TAO SURF AIR GLIDE
Short and simple: be on the lookout for this board. It's got everything you want in an all around paddle board. It has the reinforced stringer in the center, reinforced rails, a very good price point, very stable, a classic and minimal graphic design and a paddle comes included in the package. The board is very easy to carry and comes in a nice package. The bag doesn't have wheels unfortunately but is still relatively easy to carry around on your back. This is a board that will likely last you a long time and if you want to look the part on the water with a brand that is on the more premium side of things then check this out.
|Price: $649.95||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 22.3 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10'6"|
If you’re looking for a board that is designed for women that is a stable, all around board to paddle short to mid-range distances then the Surftech Aleka is something to consider. This standup paddle board (SUP) retails starting at $1,349 and is offered in two different sizes: 10’4” and 11’2”. The Aleka uses Surftech’s Tuflite V-tech construction which makes the board strong and durable. At 29 and 30 inches wide the board is pretty stable and easy to carry, weighing just over 22 lbs. The Aleka is a hybrid all around / touring shape so it can be used in a wide variety of conditions whether you’re looking to go for a quick paddle around the shoreline, catch a few waves, or go on a mid-range paddle the Aleka was designed to do it all.
|Price: $1,349||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 22.11 lbs|
|Use: All Around
||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10'4", 11'2"|
If you’re on the lookout for an inflatable paddleboard that can be converted into a kayak and fit up to two persons, you need to check out the Hercules by Surftech. The Hercules is a very versatile board that allows for multiple paddlers as well as uses for the board. Going on an expedition? The board can lug a ton of gear, no problem. Want to standup paddle with a buddy and try the group SUP route? This board can do it. Want to convert it to a two-person kayak? Say no more. The board suits paddlers of all skills, age and size and is fairly affordable considering all that it can do.
|Price: $1,399||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 37.8 lbs|
|Use: Touring / Kayak Hybrid||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 13'1"
If you’re looking for a non-inflatable, rugged, affordable paddle board that is great for beginners then check out the HIT from NSP. The HIT is a board that can take quite the beating. In fact, it’s name stands for ‘High Impact Technology’ and is a great board for those who want a board that is built to last. The board has an all around shape and is best for short distance paddling around the shoreline. Weighing 27.4lbs, the HIT is at an average weight and isn’t too difficult to carry around and the 32in. width allows the board to be nice and stable. One thing to keep in mind here is that this is a smaller board so if you’re a larger paddler you might want to get something a bit bigger.
|Price: $789||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 27.4 lbs|
|Use: All Around / Rental||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10'2", 11'2", 11'6"|
BODY GLOVE PORTER
If you’re looking for an affordable SUP/Kayak hybrid look no further, this is it. The Body Glove Porter is an awesome choice for someone who is looking for an inflatable paddleboard and kayak in one. The board is meant for a single paddler and is nice and stable in both standing and sitting positions. At 9’6” and 20.5 pounds, the board is really easy to handle and carry around. The downside of this though is that bigger paddlers might not feel as comfortable or stable as a smaller paddler would; however, it’s noted that the board can handle up to 300 pounds. This board should work for paddlers of all skill levels and ages and is best for short to mid-range distances. Priced at $999, the Body Glove Porter is an incredibly affordable package, especially since you’re getting the duo usage and is a great option for those single paddlers looking for just that.
|Price: $999||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 20.5 lbs|
|Use: All Around / Kayak Hybrid||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 9'6"
SURFTECH HIGH SEAS
If you’re looking for an inflatable paddle board that is great for paddlers of all skill levels and ages you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Surftech High Seas. This board is pretty affordable, priced at just $999 and has some nice graphics to go along with it. It’s got dual-layer drop stitch construction making it something that should be quite durable. At 25lbs the High Seas is at an average weight and isn’t difficult to carry, especially with the extra handles on the nose and tail of the board. This board is perfect for cruising around the shoreline and is a great option for a family board that everyone can use and enjoy.
|Price: $999||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 25.11 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 11'|
A Look at Imagery from our SUP Reviews
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- Best Inflatable Paddle Boards 2019
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