What’s the Best Stand-up Paddle Board for Ocean Paddling?

Updated: 2/1/2018 Choosing the ideal stand-up paddle board can be tough. Don’t just rush to the shop and buy whatever paddle board you can get your eyes on. Take time to decide. Consider your budget and the perfect type of board that will suit your needs.

See our Top 3 Ocean SUPs Man SUP Boarding on the ocean

Four Types of Paddle Boards

Generally speaking, there are four types of paddle boards. First, there are paddle boards specified for surfing. These ones are shorter and made with a narrower tail and nose. Secondly, a paddle board made for windsurfing. Aside from the main specs, this is made with a mast foot fitting so that a windsurf sailing rig can be mounted on the deck. Then, there are touring boards made for flat water, open ocean, and downwind. Lastly, there is an all-around stand-up paddle board that is popular for its versatility. This type of board is ideal for the beginners since it can be used anywhere.

The Best SUP for Ocean Paddling

When you’ve decided that want to do more of ocean paddling, choose a touring board. This type can be used in flat water and downwind too. These boards are a bit longer than all-around boards to make them faster. For smooth paddling, it is made with a pointed nose. The touring board has rounded rails in front. Touring boards are ideal for ocean paddling because they provide you with speed. It is also optimized for the open ocean because it makes the board slice smoothly through the water. Its shape increases glide and aids in making the board go straight. Now that we’ve narrowed down the selection of boards suitable for ocean riding to touring boards only let’s dig deeper into what kind of board is best for the different types of riders.

My Top 3 Ocean Paddle Boards

Keeper Sports SUP Beginner Package

Keeper Sports

The Keeper Sports  is a beginner SUP that is as cheap as it gets at around $600. It’s perfect for beginners and definitely a great option starting out. It’s light, comes complete with a paddle and other extras and offers good stability with a 32-inch deck. You can check the current price here.
SUP by Tower Paddle

Tower

The Tower Paddle Board is another low-cost option. It’s the best board under $1000 we’ve tested, and it’s also inflatable making it very easy to transport and store. The Tower Board is very stable and performs great on the ocean surfing small waves. Check it out here. Starboard Atlas Zen Review

Starboard

The Starboard Atlas is a slightly more advanced option. It is reasonably priced and offers more stability and maneuverability compared to the cheaper boards. It is designed for taller riders though so keep that in mind. If the Atlas sounds like it might be the board for you check it out here. A stand-up paddleboard is an investment. If you truly love the sport and the ocean, you’ll probably spend a sum of money for it. This is why you need to figure out what the best board is for you. The three options above are all great choices and something you can go wrong with. If you want to invest a bit more money and get a professional board be sure to check out our touring section to read reviews of all boards currently on the market.

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SUP Guide

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12 thoughts on “What’s the Best Stand-up Paddle Board for Ocean Paddling?

  1. I was just wondering what your opinion was of the irocker all around 11′ was for a 6’2″ 180lb person. I mostly paddle lakes but would like to venture into ocean bays (no surf)

    • Hi Douglas,

      the all around 11′ would be a good choice. Great for lakes and bays. You could even surf small waves if you wanted to.

      • Bought the IRocker all around 11′ and couldn’t be happier. I’ve had it out numerous times in local lakes/rivers, and have ventured out one time in the Gulf of Mexico on a calm morning. Thanks for the advice.

  2. I do a lot of paddling all over the Florida Keys. Both, Bay and Ocean side and soon will be paddling the Rim Canals of Lake Okeechobee and surrounding areas.

    I’ve been looking at am pretty well set the YOLO boards but curious what you suggest? Are there any other brands I should look at and try to sea trial? I’m open to other brands I just don’t know where to start

    • That depends. Are you looking for inflatables or hardboards? If you’re interested in an inflatable check out ERS boards. They are not a household name yet but their boards are awesome and super high quality. We’re currently reviewing two of them. For hardboards, I’d take a look at Naish.

  3. I have tried paddle boarding enough times to know I would like to get my own board and get into the sport, mostly as a good work out on the water. However I am not sure what to look at because of the conditions I would be paddling in. There is a lot about surf and flat water but what about in between. I am on a bay that can be extremely calm, or have a lot of chop because of wind/motor boats cruising around the center. Sometimes we can even get some white caps from the wind. I am pretty sure I would like a hard board, but I can’t decide if Displacement or Planning would be a good fit since the conditions. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated

  4. I’m looking for a board that can handle the ocean in Florida. I plan on moving fast and lightweight with a solid board if its good against waves. Just wondering what is the best board type i should get?

    • Hey Noah!

      As a personal preference, Fanatic has always been my go-to for surf related SUPS. Inflatable SUP’s can be surfed, though it’s trickier getting through whitewash as they are much thicker than the standard hardboard. You’re also more wind affected. I’ve taken my inflatables out on the point breaks around here (Byron Bay, Australia) but generally stick to surfing my longboard 😉

      I also have a friend who is a big wave SUP surfer and Fanatic is her choice. The Prowave or Allwave are both great. If you want an inflatable though, look at the 9’8″ Red Paddle Co Ride, it’s the thinnest, it’s got a good thruster setup and super responsive on the turn. They’ve also their a 8’10” Whip that’s advertised for surfing but I’m yet to test it out. Just judging by its shape though, the wide nose would mean you’d really want a precise back foot turn or be taking off pointing exactly where you want to do. Again, great on point breaks, tricky on beach breaks.

  5. I’m looking at either Three Brothers Boards 12′ Jason Ryan or the Pau Hana Big Ez Hawaiian Bamboo. Plan to paddle lakes, rivers and oceans. Any experience with these?

    • Hey Bryan,
      I haven’t, but I’ve just asked my community of SUP friends and good chance someone has!

      I can give you my opinion from just looking at the boards in the meantime though.
      The Big EZ I would suggest is a better board for rougher conditions, waves, rough waters etc as the rocker is bit sharper. However, they look to have very similar body/profile outside of that. I wouldn’t suspect too much difference in performance but you never know!

      Will get back to you soon if I get some answers 🙂

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