If you’re new to stand up paddling, it’s common to go through a bit of sticker shock when shopping for your first board. With hard SUPs and even some inflatables costing upwards of $1000, it’s no surprise that people start to look specifically for ‘cheap’ boards, which is likely what led you here. So, take a deep breath, shake some of that sticker shock, and we’ll guide you through our list of the Best Cheap Paddle Boards of 2023.
Full transparency, we don’t like to use the word cheap to describe any of these boards, because it implies lackluster quality. However, we’ll use that language here because ‘cheap’ is the term that is frequently used when our readers ask us for our suggestions on budget friendly paddle boards. With that said, the SUPs below excelled in all of our tests and we can fully attest to their value.
What Makes The Best Cheap Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)?
Before we dive head first into our list, I wanted to provide a bit of background about how we decide a ‘cheap’ SUP belongs on this list. While we are looking to keep the boards on this list below a certain price point, we’re also looking beyond that, to recommend to you boards that are durable, fun to paddle on, and backed by solid companies that care about the SUP community and their customers.
The boards below go above and beyond to fit these criteria and we work personally with the founders of each, so we can attest to the fact that they are doing their best to better serve their customers and our readers. What we love most about each of these companies is that they carefully listen to our and our readers’ feedback and work that into changes on the next model. With that in mind, if you have questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to send them our way to pass along to these brands. We can all play a part in growing and advancing this sport in a way that is accessible to all.
Having said all of that, below you’ll find our list of the Best Cheap/affordable SUPs of 2023!
Best Affordable Inflatable SUPs
- Nautical 10’6’’/11’6’’
- Gili Air 10’6”/11’6”
- Bluefin Cruise 10’8’’
- Outdoor Master Ace 11’
- Gili Mako 10’
- Outdoor Master Voyager 12’6”
- Thurso Surf 120
- iROCKER All-around 10’
- Bay Sports Basix 10’8”
As you go through this list, you’ll notice that several of these SUPs are still in the mid-range price tier and rarely dip into that sub-$400/$500 iSUP category that you will see on Amazon. This is because the quality of those Amazon boards is simply not up to a standard that we’d feel comfortable recommending to our readers. We would argue that it is better and cheaper to buy a quality SUP once than buying a cheap, crappy board twice. We also want to keep inflatable paddle boards out of our landfills as best as possible and one way to do that is by buying a durable board that will last season after season.
With that said, let’s elaborate on our list.
Nautical 10’6’/11’6” by iROCKER
(comes in both 10’6′ and 11’6″ versions)
Read our full Nautical 10’6 Review
Read our full Nautical 11’6 Review
- Durable dual-layer construction at affordable price
- Soft, deep grooved deck pad
- Light paddle with durable blade
- Sturdy snap-lock 2+1 fin setup
- Monthly payment option
- Performance is that of an entry level board, though this is a reach given how inexpensive/accessible this board is
The Nautical 10’6 and 11’6 by iROCKER are going to take the top spot on our list. Admittedly, we were pretty torn between the Nautical 10’6 and 11’6 and the Gili Air 10’6 and 11’6. Ultimately, we decided that the Nautical dual layer PVC construction combined with its 32” width made it a more durable and more stable board for entry-level paddlers.
Now to the specs, both the Nautical 10’6 and 11’6 are a stable 32” wide and 6 inches thick. The main difference between the two is that the 10’6 is more of a true all around, and a lower price, but the 11’6 has a slightly higher weight capacity (240lbs for the 10’6 and 265lbs for the 11’6”), meaning the 11’6 will enable you to bring along more gear or an extra person. For this reason, the 11’6 is our personal favorite if you are willing to spend the extra money, but we truly love both of these boards.
We were also impressed with the Nautical line’s construction at an affordable price. Both the 10’6 and the 11’6 are built with dual layer PVC, making them able to withstand common drops and dings over time. The 2+1 fin set-up is also built to last, as iROCKER chose to incorporate snap-lock technology on all 3 fins instead of flexi fins, which would get bent out of shape quickly. While durable, these boards are still lightweight and easy to carry with you on any SUP adventure, with the 10’6 weighing in at 20lbs and the 11’6 at just 22lbs.
As far as features go, the Nautical line is fully loaded. The 10’6 and 11’6 have a total of 17 d-rings each to customize your board to accessories such as kayak seats or extra gear storage. There are also 2, 6-point bungee cargo areas at the nose and tail of the board, giving you a plethora of options when it comes to strapping down anything you’d like to bring along for the ride. We also really loved the soft, grooved deck that provides comfort for your feet and keeps water off of your standing area. Although they are lightweight, the Nautical boards still have 3 carry handles, one in the center, one at the nose, and one at the tail, so these boards are easy enough for kids to launch into and out of the water (with supervision and life-jackets of course).
If the boards alone were not impressive enough, iROCKER includes everything you need to get started SUP’ing in this kit, including a single chamber pump (though we recommend iROCKER’s electric pump on our list of Best Electric Pumps), a fiberglass paddle, a 10’ coiled leash, 3 snap-lock fins, and a SUP bag with the option of purchasing a roller tray for easier transport. This kit is an overall great value, and each of these accessories is high quality and built to last as you progress in the sport.
In short, if you’re looking for a sturdy beginner SUP for a great value, the Nautical 10’6 or 11’6 are a great option. They feel great on the water, are built durably, and are backed by a great company. As we’ve said before, iROCKER makes a genuine effort to better serve their customers, and offer both a 90 day guarantee and a 1 year warranty on the Nautical line, as well as a monthly payment plan if the upfront cost isn’t feasible.
Gili Air 10’6”/11’6”
- Lightweight/ easy to carry
- Versatile with loads of d-rings and kayak seat attachments
- 2 year warranty
- Donations to Ocean preservation charities
- Single layer construction could lead to performance or durability issues
- We don’t love aluminum paddles, though they do have the option to upgrade to fiberglass for a small additional cost.
The Gili Air 10’6 and 11’6 are a very close second to the Nautical boards on this list. The main reason we ultimately decided to rank these boards in the number 2 slot is simply because the Nautical is a bit more stable with it’s extra inch of width. The Gili Air boards have the classic all-around rounded nose, and are stable at 6” thick and 31” wide for the 10’6 and 32” for the 11’6. Like the Nautical boards, the 11’6 would be more suitable for either a large rider or some extra gear, with its weight capacity of 295lbs, while the 10’6 has a weight capacity of 295lbs.
Gili has been able to keep these boards ultra-light with single layer PVC construction.Though this does detract from the overall durability of the board, this is one the easiest to carry boards on our list with the 10’6 weighing just 19lbs and the 11’6 coming in at 21lbs. Whether you prefer some extra durability over carrying ease just comes down to personal preference, though we’ve yet to have any issues with the Gili Air’s construction. Like Nautical, Gili utilizes snap-lock fins that will hold-up longer over time than flexi fins, allowing for better tracking and maneuverability as you progress.
Both the 10’6 and 11’6 Air have a surplus of features to keep you comfortable on the water. Both have a total of 14 d-rings, including a 6 point bungee cargo area at the nose, a 4 point cargo area at the tail, and kayak seat attachments, along with 3 carry handles, 4 action mounts and a paddle holder. We also enjoyed the soft, deeply grooved deck pad on the Gili Air to provide traction, comfort, and a way for water to drain away from your feet. The diamond pattern deckpad at the tail was a great touch as well, since it helps with some extra grip during a stepback turn.
At an affordable price, Gili also includes a classic starter set of accessories to help you get started. With the purchase of either the 10’6 or 11’6 Air, you will receive a double action single chamber pump, 3 snap lock fins, a 10’ coiled leash, an aluminum 3-piece paddle (with the optional to switch to fiberglass for a small additional price), and a great backpack with plenty of cushioning and organizational pockets.
One last thing that we love about the Gili Air 10’6 and 11’6 is that Gili donates to several charities that focus on protecting our ocean habitats and creatures. While a beautiful touch, the turtle logo on the Gili boards and backpacks carries some serious meaning. Gili also aims to provide support for their customers and offers a 60 day money back guarantee and a 2 year warranty, making your board purchase worry-free.
Bottom line If you’re looking for a lightweight, quality, affordable board, the Gili Air 10’ or 11’6 are your way to go.
Bluefin Cruise 10’8″
- Triple layers, dual chamber, carbon rail enhanced construction for added stiffness under weight
- Great kit value; includes more than enough to get you on the water
- High quality backpack with multiple compartments to store all the accessories
- Raised kick pad= effortless foot placement for step-back turns
- 5 year warranty
- Heavier SUP Slightly higher price point, but an overall great value
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon 10’8 will take the number 3 spot on our list because of its high quality construction, comprehensive list of included accessories for a budget friendly price.
Getting into the specs, the Cruise Carbon sits at a sweet spot between an all around board and a touring board at 10’8” long, 32” wide, and 6.3” thick. It has a great balance between stability and speed and gives you the option to bring along extra gear, a passenger, or a pet with a weight capacity of 330lbs, or a recommended rider weight of 187 lbs.
While it is a heavier SUP, the Bluefin Cruise is also the most well constructed. This board uses a triple layer of PVC to cover their dropstitch core, as well as a UV resistant coating on the exterior to minimize any sun-related wear and tear. Bluefi also utilized a dual chamber inflation system and additional carbon fiber rails for added stiffness, which contributes to this boards higher weight capacity compared to even larger boards. We also liked that Bluefin chose to incorporate a snap-lock fin box for their fully removable 2+1 fin set-up, allowing for added durability.
The Bluefin Cruise 10’8 is also feature rich. We loved the diamond grip deckpad and the raised kick-pad that helps tremendously with step-back turns. This board also has a total of 10 d-rings, including a front bungee cargo area and kayak conversion attachments. Bluefin still managed to make this heavier board easy to carry by incorporating neoprene carry handles at the nose, tail, center and side rails of the Cruise Carbon. There is also an action mount on the nose, which gets you a great angle if you’re attaching a GoPro or other camera to document your paddling adventures.
Perhaps our favorite aspect of the Bluefin Cruise 10’8 is that it comes with one of the most comprehensive SUP kits we’ve ever seen. Included with this board, you receive a kayak seat and kayak blade that attaches to your fiberglass paddle shaft, 3 removable snap-lock fins, coiled leash, double chamber pump, and a SUP backpack. Essentially, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 10’8 is a 2 in 1 SUP and kayak for a great price.
The Bluefin Cruise 10’8” leads the pack in construction, rigidity, and versatility. It’s also backed with a 5 year warranty and a 60 day guarantee. This is a great all-around inflatable SUP that will withstand the test of time and use if you are willing to spend a bit more money. You definitely cannot go wrong with this board.
4. Outdoor Master Ace 11’(See Review)
- Great kit value for a low price
- Roomy backpack comfortably fits the board and accessories
- Board shape makes for some added speed in the water without sacrificing stability
- Lots of storage and attachment options
- Durable construction
- We’d like to see Outdoor Master switch out the aluminum paddle for a fiberglass one
- Would also like an extra zipper pocket on the backpack for organization
Outdoor Master is new to the SUP space, but entered strong with a fleet of affordable iSUPs. One of our favorites is the Ace 11’ Sport iSUP. This board is a balance between an all-around and touring SUP at a stable, but quick, 11’ long, 32” wide, and 6” thick. At 23lbs this board is both easy to carry and get up to a good speed, but will also support up to a 300lb weight capacity; plenty of wiggle room for some gear or a small passenger.
The Ace 11’ is constructed with durable dual PVC layer technology and features a 2+1 fin set-up using a removable slide-lock center-fin and flexi side fins. We would love to see Outdoor Master switch to a fully removable snap-lock set-up, as we’ve seen flexi-fins get bent out of shape after the board is rolled up and have a similar issue with the slide-lock box bending inwards after the board is stored for an amount of time, making it difficult to insert the fin without the use of a rubber mallet to knock the fin into place.
As far as features go, Outdoor Master placed an impressive 18 d-rings all over this board, including a front and rear bungee cargo area. They also incorporated 3 carry handles at the nose, tail, and center of the board, as well as 2 sets of safety handles at both bungee areas for a child or passenger to hold onto. I also liked the grooved deck-pad that seemed more focused on comfort for longer paddles with the addition of a diamond pattern at the tail for extra grip during turns.
Like most boards on this list, Outdoor Master does a great job at including all the accessories you need to get started. With the Ace 11’ Sport, you are given a repair kit, waterproof phone case, optional action mounts, a removable slide-lock center fin, single chamber double action pump, coiled leash, 3-piece aluminum paddle, and a lightly insulated SUP backpack. At sub $600 (at the time I write this), this is a great deal.
Outdoor Master has an excellent reputation of making affordable entry level gear across the outdoor industry. Their SUPs are no different, and the Ace 11’ Sport is a great option if you’re looking to progress into touring and fitness paddling without breaking the bank.
5. Gili Mako 10’
- Light and nimble on the water
- Tons of features to store gear, attach cup holders, etc.
- Organizationally focused iSUP backpack
- Sturdy removable snap-lock fins
- Dual layer fusion technology adds durability without adding weight
- May not be ideal for larger riders (for budget-conscious paddler,though I’d suggest looking at the 11’6 Gili Air)
The Gili Mako is another great option if you’re looking for something a little quicker with a sportier feel. At 10’ long, 32” wide, 6” thick, and just 20lbs, this board is still stable on the water for smaller paddlers but is super easy to maneuver and get up to a good speed. It also is a bit better constructed than the Gili Air mentioned above (though will cost more) and has a weight capacity of 260lbs, which should give a smaller paddler some leeway to bring along some gear or a kid.
Once again, we were impressed with the construction of this board given its great price. Gili built the 10’ Mako using dual layer fusion technology, meaning they used heat to mold two layers of PVC together to conceal their dropstitch. As a result this board is lightweight and durable enough to withstand some heavy use. I also love that Gili uses a 2+1 fin set-up with all 3 snap-lock fins. They’re easy to organize and store in the SUP bag’s fin pocket and contribute to consistently good performance on the board. As a side note, Gili’s hatchet style center fin is my personal favorite on this list. If your paddle technique is on point, it helps a little bit with tracking, which is especially nice on a board this light and maneuverable.
Like all Gili boards the 10’ Mako has tons of features to keep you comfortable on the water. This board has a total of 18 d-rings to include two 6-point bungee cargo areas with safety grab handles at the front and rear of the board, as well as attachment points for kayak seat or extra gear. There are also 4 action mounts to cover the nose and tail of the board, as well as 3 carry handles. While we would have liked to see the 2 rear action mounts moved back, or incorporated into the rear d-rings, we love the option to attach a cup holder, camera, or phone mount that is easily within reach. We also like the grooved deck pad with a diamond pattern on the tail for extra grip when making a tight step back turn on this nimble board. Lastly we appreciate the paddle holders that Gili has added along the rail of the board that frees up your hands while walking down to the water.
Similar to the Gili Air that we discussed earlier on this list, the Gili Mako 10’ comes with an array of high quality features that make this board a great value. Included with your board are the following accessories: 3 snap-lock fins, a single chamber double action pump, 3-piece fiberglass paddle (with the the option to upgrade to a carbon fiber variations with an additional cost), a coiled leash, and a well padded, compartment heavy, iSUP bag. I really love Gili’s backpack due to its cushy padding and the fact that they make it so easy to organize your fins and smaller accessories, though this is mostly just about personal preference.
Overall, the Gili Mako 10’ is a great option for paddlers looking for a quality, sporty board with great accessories that does not do serious damage to the bank account. This board is also backed by Gili’s 60 day guarantee and their 2 year warranty.
6. Outdoor Master Voyager 12’6”(See Review)
- Durable dual layer construction
- Stability with some speed
- Added length allows for more gear or en extra person
- Loads to features for versatility in gear storage or attachments
- Optional action mounts don’t clutter the deckpad if you don’t want to use them
- Would like a lighter paddle material such as fiberglass or a carbon fiber blend (though we recognize carbon fiber is a bit unrealistic for this great of a price)
Like the Ace 11’ Sport, the Outdoor Master Orion- Voyager 12’6” is an all-around board with a bit of a touring element. At 12’6” long, 32” wide, and 6” thick, the Voyager has plenty of stability but a little added speed to keep you going over longer distances. The extra foot and a half in length, compared to the Ace 11’ gives you a bit more space and stability to carry along gear or an extra person, but you do lose a bit in maneuverability, a common trade-off with more touring focused boards.
The Outdoor Master Orion-Voyager 12’6” is constructed with durable dual layer PVC construction to withstand most hard knocks. It also utilizes the same 2+1 fin set up as the Ace 11’ with one removable center fin and two flexi-side fins. While the flexi fins won’t crack under pressure or when bumped and dropped onto hard surfaces, they get bent out of shape over time and hinder your tracking ability. Of course, this is easy enough to fix with heat, but we’d personally rather have 3 snap-lock fins.
Outdoor Master loaded the Voyager up on features as well. It has 3 carry handles at the nose, tail, and center, safety straps on the front and rear bungee cargo areas, a total of 18 d-rings, and a comfortable grooved deck pad with a traction focused diamond pattern at the tail. We would have loved to see Outdoor Master incorporate a paddle holder, as well as inbuilt action mounts, but they did provide optional stick-on mounts.
The kit for the Voyager 12’6” is identical to the Ace 11’ kit, but to recap, it includes a repair kit, waterproof phone case, optional action mounts, a slide lock removable center fin, single chamber double action pump, coiled leash, 3-piece aluminum paddle, and a roomy SUP backpack. Again, this is everything you could need to get started, and while we’d love to see a carbon fiber blend or even a fiberglass paddle, this is a great kit for an affordable price.
Like the Ace 11’ this is a great option for anyone looking to progress into touring or fitness paddling on a budget. The Voyager 12’6” allows for more room to bring along gear or an extra passenger without losing your stability. Outdoor Master also offers a 1 year warranty on this board to cover any damage or defects outside of normal wear and tear.
7. Thurso Surf 120 Waterwalker(See Full Review)
- Nimble and fast board, great for smaller paddlers
- So much room for gear storage
- Carbon fiber rails and reinforced seams add to rigidity and durability
- High quality, lightweight, carbon fiber paddle
- Roller bag
- 2 year Warranty and financing options
- May be too small for larger paddlers, though there are larger options
The Thurso Surf 120 Waterwalker is a one of the pricier boards on this list, and it’s admittedly right on the cusp of not being considered a ‘cheap’ board, but hear us out, because it is truly a great value. At 10’ long, 30” wide, and 6” thick, the 120 Waterwalker is a fast and nimble little SUP. However, due to its quality construction the Thurso Surf 120 still has a weight capacity of 260lbs, which is pretty high for a board this size.
Diving deeper into construction, the Thurso Surf 120 Waterwalker is built with durable dual layer construction and additional carbon rails with the goal of increasing rigidity, and consequently the weight capacity. Thurso also states that they use reinforced seams to help their boards over continuous use, though this type of construction adds weight, as the Thurso 120 is 25lbs despite its smaller size. We liked that Thurso opted for a 2+1 fully removable snap-lock fin set up, which we think contributes to the board’s exceptional performance.
Thurso Surf included a range of features on the 120 Waterwalker including a front and rear bungee cargo area, as well as 4 additional d-rings for more gear storage or a kayak seat. We loved the addition of a paddle holder as well as the comfy, EVA deck pad that keeps our feet comfortable and stable on the board.
Thurso Surf includes some of the highest quality accessories out of the pack. Included with your 120 Waterwalker, you receive a double chamber, triple action pump, 3 snap-lock fins, a 10’ coil leash, a roller SUP bag and a carbon fiber paddle (my personal favorite on this list). As I’ve said, each of these accessories is high quality, and contributes to the overall great value of this board, given the fact that it is on the pricier side for this list.
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker 120 is a fantastic value package for a small, but mighty, all-around SUP. This board is also covered by a 30 day guarantee and a 2 year warranty. If the 10’ option is too small for you, Thurso Surf also offers the Waterwalker line in a 10’6” or 11’ option.
8. iROCKER All-around 10’(See Full Review)
- Small, maneuverable board without losing stability
- Dual-layer construction for durability
- Plenty of features and cargo areas
- Roller back-pack with compartment for fins/smaller accessories
- High quality carbon-blend paddle
- 3 year warranty + great customer care
- Would like the rear action mounts to be moved back towards the cargo area
Like the Thurso Surf 120 Waterwalker the iROCKER 10’ is another fun, fast little iSUP with plenty of features and accessories to get you a bang for your buck. At 32” wide and 6” thick the iROCKER 10’ has a bit more added stability than the Thurso Surf 120 Waterwalker, as well as a higher weight capacity of 370lbs.
As is typical with iROCKER this is a well constructed, durable board. The 10’ all-around is constructed with a triple layer of PVC material, which adds some rigidity and performance to this board, but iROCKER was still able to keep this board a reasonable 24lbs. We also liked the 2+1 snap-lock fin set-up, which adds to the long-term performance of the board in the water.
Where the iROCKER 10’ All-around really begins to stand out on this list is in its features. iROCKER utilized 3 carry handles and 17 total d-rings on this board to include front and rear cargo areas, as well as additional places to attach drybags, water bottles, or any other gear. There are also 4 action mounts to attach GoPro cameras, speakers, or cell phone mounts. I personally loved the logo stamped deck pad that adds some grip and style without sacrificing comfort. Another great addition to this board is the front and rear safety handles for a child or passenger to hang onto during their ride.
Included with the iROCKER 10’ All-around, you are given a 10’ coiled leash, a carbon blend 3-piece paddle, a dual chamber triple action pump, 3 snap-lock fins, and a roller backpack with multiple compartments. Each of these accessories is of great quality; I personally love the carbon blend paddle and the roller bag.
As we’ve said several times before, we love working with iROCKER. They’re a great company that goes above and beyond to take care of their customers and our readers; the fact that they make great boards is an added bonus. You can feel confident purchasing the iROCKER knowing its backed by both a 90 day guarantee and a 3 year warranty. The iROCKER 10’ All-around is a great option for paddlers looking for a smaller board, with quality accessories, that does not sacrifice stability or durability.
9. Bay Sports Basix 10’8”(See Full Review)
- Lightweight, but durable construction
- Super stable at 34” wide
- High weight capacity to bring along kids, gear, or pets
- Lots of storage areas
- Action mount for GoPro, cup holder, or phone mount
- Would have liked to see all 3 fins use FCS II system
The Bay Sport BASIX 10’8 is our widest SUP on this list at 34” wide. Its 10’8” and 6” thickness add to the overwhelming stability of this board. With a weight capacity of 400lbs, the BASIX is a great board for a beginner or someone looking for the option to either paddle solo or bring along a friend, kid, pet, or gear without any balance worries.
For a great price the Bay Sport BASIX is a well constructed board using fusion dual layer technology. While durable, the BASIX is still a lightweight 20lbs, making the 400lb weight capacity even more impressive. We also love the use of the FCS II fin box for the center fin that allows for faster, easier installation and removal than the classic US fin box and the snap or slide-lock fins. This finbox is my personal favorite on the market. Of course, I wish that all 3 fins were removable using this system because it keeps the board’s performance consistent regardless of how many times it’s been rolled up and stored. However, the molded fins can be reshaped with just a bit of heat.
Looking at its features, the Bay Sport BASIX 10’8” has upgraded from just the “basics” that are shown in the above picture (I know that pun was painful but bear with me). It has both a front and rear cargo area, as well as an additional 4 d-rings to attach a kayak seat or a drybag. It also has 3 carry handles and removable safety handles for kids or passengers. The diamond grooved deck pad is comfortable and great for traction focus. I also like that Bay Sports incorporated an action mount, I just would appreciate it being closer to the standing area on the deck pad so I could reach my drink if I screwed a cup-holder in there.
Along with the purchase of the board, Bay Sports does a great job of getting you everything you need to get out on the water. Included in this kit, you receive a 3-piece fiberglass paddle, 9” FCS II center fin, double action single chamber pump, 11’ coiled leash, repair kit, A5 SUP User Guide Booklet, and a comfortable SUP bag.
Again, the Bay Sports BASIX 10’8” is a great value board for beginners or any other paddler looking for stability and durability without overspending. We’ve been so happy to see Bay Sports make some improvements to this board since 2020. They also offer a 2 year warranty to back your purchase.
Other Cheap SUPs to Consider:
1. MOAI 10’6”
- Stable, lightweight board for beginners
- Plenty of standing room with less cluttered deckpad
- Roller backpack included with the kit
- Not a lot of options for gear storage
- Would like to see all 3 removable fins
The main reason the MOAI 10’6” is not on our main list is because at around $600, it just does not offer as much in features and accessories as some other less expensive boards that we discussed above. With that being said, this is still a great option if you like a cleaner deckpad and a lighter iSUP pack. At 10’6” long, 32” wide, and 6” thick, we had zero stability issues on this board. It’s also a light 19lbs despite having a 287 lb weight capacity. Performance wise, the MOAI 10 ‘6 is easy to balance and get up to speed, while also being agile around turns due to its lightweight.
While we have not been able to 100% verify how MOAI constructs their boards, my best estimate based on the 10’6” weight and performance would be that this is a dual layer fusion technology board. Again, this is just my best guess. However, the bottom line is that this board seems well built and durable to hold up to consistent use. I also love that MOAI chose to incorporate a US fin-box for the removable center-fin while building this board to add a bit of customization ability, but I would have liked to see all 3 fins be removable instead of molded flexi side fins.
As I mentioned earlier, MOAI tends to lean towards the less cluttered side of things when it comes to features. The 10’6 has 9 total d-rings including a 4-point bungee cargo area at the nose of the board and 4 extra d-rings for kayak seat attachments. There is also one carry handle at the center of this board, which I found to be sufficient enough, given that this board is only 19lbs. The deck-pad is a comfortable balance between traction and comfort with its soft diamond grooved pattern. Because there is no rear cargo area, there’s plenty of standing room, but I would appreciate it if MOAI extended the deck pad to cover the empty space behind the front cargo area.
MOAI does a great job of including all the basics to get started. Included with the 10 ‘6 is a removable center for a US fin box, 3-piece fiberglass paddle, coiled leash, single chamber double action hand pump, and a roomy roller iSUP bag. The iSUP bag is my personal favorite aspect of the kit. It’s super roomy to easily fit your board and accessories, and I love when companies add wheels to make the walks from the car to the beach or lake a lot more bearable.
Although the MOAI 10’6” is not the best value compared to the boards on the list above, its still a great SUP kit for under $500. MOAI also donates to preservation and research based organizations with each board purchase.
2. SereneLife Inflatable SUP(Read Full Review)
- Affordable price tag
- lightweight/easy to move around
- Not the best performing board
- Less features than similarly priced boards
The SereneLife iSUP is super popular on Amazon. This is a smaller SUP at 10’ long and 30” wide and just 19.6lbs, with a weight capacity of 275 lbs. While we’d recommend any of the above listed boards over this one, it’s still not a bad deal in the sub $400 range.
The SereneLife is constructed durably enough to survive most drops and scrapes. It also utilizes a slide-lock removable center-fin, and molded flexi-side fins. Again, I’m not a big fan of molded fins because they tend to get bent out of shape, but given the price of this board, I’m pretty satisfied with the fin set-up.
Like the MOAI 10’6, the SereneLife 10’ iSUP is lighter on features than the other boards we’ve discussed. It features one 4-point bungee cargo area at the front of the board, and 4 extra d-rings to attach a kayak seat, extra gear, or a drybag. There’s also one center handle to carry the SereneLife, but it is a lightweight board, so it’s easy enough to lug around without nose or tail handles.
Included with the SereneLife kit is a three piece aluminum paddle, a single chamber pump, a 10’ coiled leash, and a multi-compartment travel backpack. Given the affordable price of this board. I’m fairly satisfied with the kit, in that it includes the necessities that a beginner would need to get started.
If money is the most important factor for you and you don’t mind using beginner-only gear, the Serenelife Inflatable 10’ SUP is available now for less than $400 dollars.
3. ROC Inflatable SUP(Read Full Review)
- Affordable price point
- Lightweight for kids
- Included drybag is nice to be able to store your phone/keys/wallet
- Diamond grooved deck pad helps with traction
- Molded side fins limit performance over time
- Not a lot of options to store gear
The ROC Inflatable SUP is another popular, affordable/entry level paddle board, and is the lightest on this page at just 17.5 lbs. Its light weight and small size, at just 10’ long, 32” wide, and 6” thick, make this board great for younger kids to learn or just have fun on. At around $400, it definitely an affordable option, it’s just not as performance or accessory focused as the boards we discussed above.
Because this board is lightweight, it’s not constructed with as many PVC layers as the other boards on this list, and I’d expect it to lack a bit in durability. That’s not to say that it won’t hold up for a few summers of weekend paddling, or even longer if treated with care. The ROC 10’ iSUP is also built with a 2+1 fin set-up with a slide-lock removable center fin and molded flexi side fins.
Features wise, this board is a little light compared to others. It has a 6 point bungee cargo area at the nose, a center handle, and a diamond pattern deckpad. We’d like to see some additional d-rings for the option to bring along more gear, but this board would still be fine to play around with for a couple hours without needing all the extras.
This kit is a decent value for the price. Along with the board, you’ll receive a SUP backpack, single chamber hand pump, 3-piece aluminum paddle, coil leash, slide-lock center fin, and a drybag to store your phone, keys, wallet, or anything else you don’t want to risk getting wet. This should be everything you need to atleast get a start on the water, but I could see the need to upgrade from a lot of these accessories as you progress.
As we’ve said, we would definitely recommend any of the SUPs on our main list over the ROC Inflatable SUP, but at about $400, this is an affordable SUP that would be a good learner or kids board. Past Recommended Cheap/Entry-Level SUP Reviews:
Ten Toes Retrospec Weekender Review
Ancheer Inflatable SUP Review
Reasons to consider a inflatable, entry-level SUP over a hardboard:
- Stability: Inflatable paddle boards have higher weight capacities and stability than a similarly sized hardboard.
- Durability: Inflatables are more durable and less prone to breaking than hardboards.
- Safety for beginners: Inflatables are softer and much more forgiving when you fall than a hard board would be..
- Transportation/Storage: Inflatable paddle boards are much easier to transport, and don’t require a roof rack or board rack to transport or store.
- Included Accessories: Most inflatable paddle boards will have everything you need for the water out of the box. Hardboards typically require you to buy your leash and paddle separately.
- Price: High quality inflatable paddle boards are usually in the same price range as mid-tier hard SUPs.
Beginner SUP Buying Guide
Though we have heavily tested and are confident recommending each board on this list, we realize that there are circumstances that may lead you to a board that we have not specifically covered. Maybe a retailer is having a killer sale, someone is offering you a used board, or a board caught your eye at a local surf shop and you’re trying to determine if it’s the right fit for you. Regardless of the board you’re buying, we want you to be confident in your decision, so below you’ll find the factors that we consider when adding a board to our list and that you’ll want to consider before making your purchase.
- Stability: Stability is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for a paddleboard. The more stable you feel on a paddleboard, the less likely you are to fall in. Most of a board’s stability depends on its width, so typically boards 30” and wider will be stable enough for beginners.
- Maneuverability: Maneuverability refers to how easy it is to turn/change direction in the water. Because cheaper, entry-level paddle boards tend to be shorter and not as bulky as premium paddleboards, they already offer better maneuverability. However, add-ons such as diamond grooved tail deckpads or raised kick pads help with this as well.
- Tracking: Tracking refers to how straight of a path a SUP can keep in the water without having to switch sides as often. Touring SUPs in the 11’6-12’6 size range usually have better tracking than entry level boards. However, tracking depends mostly on your paddle technique than on the board itself.
- Construction: Better construction not only makes a paddleboard more durable, it also tends to help it perform better under more weight or in less than ideal conditions. Good construction does not always have to break the bank either. Most of the boards on the list above are dual PVC layer boards, with the Bluefin Cruise 10’8”, iROCKER 10’ All-around, and Thurso Surf 120 Waterwalker using triple layer construction.
- Features/ Accessories: Just as we talked about with each board on this list, features are an important thing to consider when SUP shopping, but much of it comes down to personal preference. As an example, If you know you like to bring a lot of gear, look for a SUP with lots of cargo areas. Similarly, you’ll also want to consider if a board comes with quality accessories, as the Thurso Surf 120 Waterwalker does, such as a carbon fiber paddle, double chamber pump, etc. It’s more expensive to have to replace all of your accessories within the first couple of months of having your board than to invest some extra money in a board that includes better accessories.
- Overall value: There is no simple formula for calculating the overall value of your kit, as whether something is worth the price tag is dependent on your needs. What we suggest is starting off with your budget cap, and then prioritizing the various factors that matter to you the most from our list
Why We recommend Starting With All-around Shaped SUPs
Looking at our list of the best cheap SUPs, you probably noticed that we almost exclusively recommend boards in the all-around category. In this section, we’ll lay out why we suggest an all-around SUP for beginner riders.
- Versatile Performance: All-around SUPs are jack of all trade paddleboards, meaning that they do nearly everything well, but don’t excel in one specific trait. Buying an all-around gives exceptional stability, tracking, maneuverability, and overall performance without having to spend too much money on a dedicated or performance SUP. Having an all-around is especially great for beginners still trying to find their niche.
- Affordability: Compared to specialized performance SUPs, all-arounds tend to have a more manageable price tag. This is because specialized SUPs, especially in the racing category, are constructed with high quality materials for optimal performance
- Beginner skill-level friendly: All-around SUPs will typically be shorter, wider, and more rounded than specialized performance SUPs. As a result, they’re more stable on the water and are ideal for beginners still learning how to balance and paddle correctly.
- Included gear kits: All-around boards will often, if not always, include all the necessary gear you need to get out on the water. This is especially beneficial for beginners that don’t have an arsenal of paddles, leashes, fins, and pumps as someone moving onto a performance of specialized SUP would.
Important Tips for Buying and Enjoying the Best Cheap SUPs:
When it comes to a cheap/entry-level SUP, there are a few other major factors or tips to consider that will help you make the most out of your paddleboard. Whether you go with one of the SUPs on our list or buy one on your own, consider the following factors:
- Good accessories go a long way. This is especially important for ‘cheap’ paddle boards. Having quality accessories that perform well can make or break your SUP experience. This means keeping an eye out for kits that include a double chamber hand pump, and a carbon fiber or carbon fiber blend paddle, as well as a great backpack (even better if it has wheels).
- Experience leads to better performance: Let’s face it, nothing is fun when you’re struggling to learn. Look for a SUP that won’t work against you when it comes to stability or maneuverability. Look for SUPs that are wide enough (30”-34”) to help you stay on your feet while you’re learning to paddle. As you improve, you’ll be able to make your board perform better in terms of tracking and speed. Patience is key; don’t make extreme judgement on your board’s performance until you get more comfortable in your skills.
- Check the weather and know your environment: If you’re a beginner paddler, a common mistake is to underestimate how much wind can affect your performance. What feels like a mild breeze on land can put a huge damper on your paddling experience. As a general rule of thumb 10mph winds are usually the cut-off between safe and unsafe paddling conditions, but 7mph is typically when it’ll cause more difficulty. Also keep in mind that inflatables and lightweight boards tend to get pushed around more in the wind than heavier hard SUPs.
- Wear the leash, and bring a PFD too: Nearly every SUP we’ve recommended comes with a leash, and we highly recommend wearing it to keep your board from floating out of reach if you fall off. Always remember to bring a PFD out when you’re paddling as well! Wearing the leash will keep your SUP close, but it won’t help you float if you fall off. In order to stay safe, bring a PFD with you, or better yet, wear it, even in shallow or calm water.
- Get wet and have fun: Eventually, you’re going to fall off your paddleboard. That’s fine; in fact, that’s part of the paddleboarding experience! Try not to take yourself too seriously, especially while learning. Our favorite thing about ‘cheap’ paddle boards is that they make this sport accessible to more people, and with that comes more good times on the water.
Conclusion: ‘Cheap’ is not synonymous with poor quality or performance
As we said at the start of this post, we don’t like to use the word “cheap” to describe any of the boards on this list. Each of these boards is constructed to last and performs well in the water even in comparison to some premium boards on the market.
While the initial sticker shock while shopping for stand up paddleboards is overwhelming, our best advice would be to give one of the above boards on our list a shot, or look for used boards with the help of our buyer guide. However, if your budget is a bit higher or you need a bit more in performance than entry level boards can offer, head over to our list of the best inflatable stand up paddleboards.
As always, thanks for sticking with us through our list of the best cheap SUPs of 2023. Be safe, have fun, and happy paddling!
SupBoardGuide Editorial Team
Latest posts by SupBoardGuide Editorial Team (see all)
- Best Inflatable Paddle Boards (iSUPs), 2023 - May 26, 2023
- SeaGods Carta Marina CX Review - May 23, 2023
- Red Paddle Co 10’8 Ride iSUP Review – 2023 - May 12, 2023
66 thoughts on “Best Cheap Inflatable Paddle Boards (2023)”
Hi! I am a beginner, would you recommend any of the boards above? If you do, which ones are the best for me? Thanks!
The DDM is the board we recommend out of the 5 mentioned if you’re a beginner. If you’ve got some money to spend you can also check out the other boards we reviewed.
SUP Guide, thanks a lot for the article post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.
Glad you like it 🙂
Hi, I’m thinking on buying a iSUP, I’m between the Thurso surf and the Irocker all around, I would use it mostly in salt water and eventually surf small waves, I’m a beginner to intermediate rider and also a heavy one I’m around 230 pounds at 6.2′ , which would you recommend me?
The Thurso Waterwalker is the more touring-oriented board. The All-Around is slightly more on the all-rounder side of things. Both can be used in small waves and salt water is not an issue for either one. I’d say the All-Around is a little better for small waves, the Thurso is a bit faster. It really depends on what you prefer.
Hi, I’m looking for my first sup and Tower seems to have good prices and good quality. The mermaid at 600 was my favorite but now I just discovered that some are even less expensive. Does the mermaid worth the price more then those cheap one?
the Tower Mermaid is a pretty decent beginner SUP. Unfortunately, Tower hasn’t really changed it since it was first released (except for new colors). It’s definitely better than the low-budget boards you can find online. The only one we can really recommend is the Gili Air which is currently sold out.
If you do buy the Tower Mermaid, I’d recommend buying the board only and getting a separate pump and paddle. The pump and paddle they include in their board package are not great and you can find better options for less money. The board only is currently $465, the board including pump and paddle is $599. Also, keep in mind that you will need to buy a separate backpack.
Hope that helps 🙂
Yes it helps a lot!
Maybe I can wait for the Gili but I can’t see how much is it?
The last price I saw was $450. I’m not sure when it’s back in stock though. They are a brand new company and ran out really quickly. It’s their first season so it was pretty hard to estimate the demand. If you still want to use your new board this summer I’d probably not wait.
Also make sure you check out the iRocker All-Around. The 10′ version would be just right and is priced at $619. It comes with a nice bag, a fantastic pump and a very solid paddle though. We reviewed the 11′ here. You can check out the 10′ version here. It’s a better deal than the Mermaid for sure and is available in the same color.
The problem is… the irocker is expensive to ship to Canada (140$). With the change rate CAD/USD 980$Cad Wow!
But I think even with the shipping the iRocker is a better deal: iRocker at 759$ or Mermaid at 524+pump and paddle??!!
did you check irockersup.ca? They ship directly from Canada and it should be way cheaper than ordering from the US.
Helpful article. Worth noting that the Gili board now (11/27/18) seems to have a 3 fin setup instead of single. Seems to remedy the main knock you had against it.
Interesting! Looks like they’ve changed the fin setup. Thanks for the heads up! We will make sure we change the article and rating.
First, timer here! Definitely on a budget! The Gili Air is $369 right now on Amazon. Is the Gili Adventure worth the extra $100? I am looking to use in GA lakes and take to the Gulf Coast (bay and calm surf) this summer. I am 5’5 170lbs. Help me make the right choice!
Andrew – thanks for the comment and question! At 5’5 and 170 you should be fine on the Gili Air in the bay and calm surf. It’s a great iSUP for beginners on a budget.
That being said, upgrading to the 11′ Adventure will give you more stability, better tracking (due to longer board and more touring shape), and also gives you a dual-layered fusion model. Those are pretty good upgrades for $100, the dual fusion vs single layer PVC being the biggest. So…yes we’d say it’s worth the $100 if you can swing it, but you won’t be sad with the Gili Air by any means (it’s a TON better than what you get at Costco or other discount boards for sale).
Here’s the link to the Gili Air – https://geni.us/gili-air-comment, and here’ the link to the Gili Adventure – https://geni.us/gili-adventure-sup.
Let us know if you have any other questions!
Thank you for the info! I will make the jump to the Adventure! One other question…. They have two paddle options, Carbon Fiber is about $50 more… Carbon Fiber with Nylon Blade or Aluminum with Nylon Blade?
That’s great – you’re going to have a ton of fun! With paddles, we do recommend the carbon fiber paddle vs the aluminum paddle. It’s lighter and more efficient, and you do notice it after paddling for a while. That being said, the aluminum paddle is still a great paddle, so it is ultimately a budget question for you. One thing – if you use this link here you will get the carbon fiber paddle in that package – https://geni.us/gili-adventure-11 (sorry I didn’t put the link in correctly when I replied to your first question).
Great info, thanks. I want to get a board for my 11 year old daughter, she’s under 5′ tall and weighs 80lbs, for now. She’s paddled around flat water a few times and loves it.
DDM offers a 7’6″ youth board. Is that a legit option or too small?
I think you should look at the Thurso Prodigy board, it’s affordable and going to be a better option as far as value goes! Also, don’t know if your girl is a pink girl, but if she is, the pink Thurso junior board would be pretty cool for her!
Hi, your reviews are so helpful. I am trying to be budget friendly but am really torn. My husband and I live on a lake and I do ladies paddle board nights. We don’t use our current boards much because they are huge and cumbersome. I’m torn between ordering us two Gilis both 10’6” or a 10’ all around for me and a 10’6” cruiser for him. I’m about 140 and he’s about 220. Is there a big enough difference int he two brands to justify the difference in price. Of note, we will use the boards for about 3-4 months out of the year in Michigan and live on a smaller lake off of Lake Michigan that can get windy and choppy.
Glad we can help!
The iRocker boards are definitely worth the extra money. Easily. Saying that, if you really can’t swing it, the Gili is still a great buy. The differences come in performance, so it’ll still be fun even as you advance. That and the accessories make for a nicer experience overall, quicker pump, lighter paddle etc. The durability of an iRocker all-around is also above that of a Gili. Again, I really like the Gili board and still a reasonable buy, as in, it’ll last more than a season haha so it depends really on how tight the budget is atm. One thing is your husband may feel a bit of flex on the Gili, I believe you’d be fine though.
Hope this helps some more!
Thank you so much. We sold the older larger boards and used the cash to buy the irockers! A 10 all around for me and a 10’6” cruiser for him. I am sure the Gilis Are great but I’m so glad we splurged. These boards are awesome!
Yay! Awesome, hope you guys have so much fun!
Hi, I’m considering getting an iSup for both me and my wife to use while our dog rides along. We’re both under 160, and our dog is about 60 lbs. I’m torn between the performance of the Gili and the robustness of the DDM. What would you recommend?
I believe the GiliGili is the better option! I believe it’s actually made better than the DDM. Very impressed with the quality of Gili boards, a part of the proceeds go to turtle conservation if you buy the teal-colored board too!
Thank you for all the great information.
I am pretty much a beginner, but am a very athletic person familiar with board sports. I am also a small female, and I am wondering if the THURSO SURF 7’6″ Prodigy Junior Kids Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard would be a reasonable purchase as it’s for weights 165 lb/75 kg. I weigh about 130lb. Would it likely be of similar quality to their other lower-priced boards? Would I be sacrificing quality going with a kids board?
Great question! You won’t be sacrificing quality going with a kids board. Your main issue is going to be weight capacity. Thurso lists the Prodigy max capacity at 165 lbs. Given you are 35 lbs under that capacity, I think you would be OK – but it won’t be ideal. Instead, I would recommend their Waterwalker 120. It’s a bit longer – 10′ than the Prodigy, and will give you a lot more weight capacity, but it’s still a fun board to paddle on for someone with past board sport experience.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
I’m trying to decide which model to buy and making myself crazy with all the choices! I had decided on the Irocker close out 2019 10’ all around but my friend tells me that’s way too short. I’m 5’7” 135lbs but my husband is 5’10” 240 and he might occasionally use it and I might occasionally have a kid with me. It’s my first board, but I have extremely good balance. I really don’t want to pay more than $500. I’m thinking the Gili might be a good option for me. I’ll be mainly using it in calm lakes. Thanks!!
I would not say that the 10′ All-Around is too short for you, but it is getting close. iRocker typically recommends going to the 11′ board if you are over 5’8″. I’m 5’11”, and while I’m fine on the 10′ I do prefer the 11′ All-Around. Also, given your husbands height and weight then the 11′ would be a better board – especially for when you bring a kid with you.
Your challenge is finding a board under $500 that checks all those boxes – good for you, your husband, and then you + a child. Does your husband have good balance? If he does, then the Gili Air would be a decent option, but I’d still recommend the 2019 iRocker 10′ more than the Gili given the extra weight you’ll be able to put on the iRocker.
If your husband doesn’t have great balance, and you want a longer board, then I’d recommend spending just a little more than the $500 and going with the Gili 11′ Adventure. The Adventure is a solid SUP that is currently priced just over $500.
Hope that helps!
My husband and I are looking for inflatable SUP boards for under $500/each. We have been reading a lot of reviews and are leaning towards either the GILI Air or the iRocker Nautical. We would be using it on lakes/rivers. We are both fairly new to SUP but are fairly athletic. My husband is quite tall (6 ft 5 inches) and around 200lbs but has good balance. Would you recommend one board over the other? Thank you for such thorough reviews – it has been so helpful!
Glad that the reviews have been helpful! I think you would be great with either the iRocker Nautical or Gili Air, to be honest. I’d recommend the Gili Air slightly more than the Nautical simply because the Gili Air has a little higher weight rating (280 lbs vs 240 lbs), so your husband might be a little more comfortable on it. I say ‘might’, because the boards really are similar. The Gili is a little bit more stable, while the Nautical is going to be a little more sporty.
$$$ wise, if you purchase 2 Nautical’s then you save $80, so you do end up saving a bit with the iRockers.2 Nautical’s then you save $80.
Please let me know if you have other questions, and I’d love to hear what you decide to do!
I’m looking for a paddle board around the $400 price point. I’m 5’7”, 150 lb. I’ve done some recreational paddle boarding on vacations, but am still beginner/intermediate. I’ll probably take it out several times a year during nice weekends over the summer, mostly on a nearby lake that can sometimes get a bit choppy. I’m looking for something that’s pretty stable, easy to set up, and wide enough to do SUP yoga. I’d also like it to last for several years. I was looking at the iRocker nautical and the Roc. The Gili and some of the other iRocker models are a little more expensive than I was planning on, but I could potentially spring for it if it’s worth the extra value. What would you recommend? Or are there other boards that you think I should check out?
I’d recommend the iRocker Nautical vs the ROC. It’s a really good board for the money, and you are backed by a fantastic company with their guarantee and service. My only concern with either board would be stability wise for yoga. I am fine doing yoga on the Nautical, but it is less stable than the iRocker Cruiser, or one of the higher-end Gili boards.
Durability wise, you will be fine for several years with the Nautical. It’s iRocker’s first sub $400 board, but they’ve been making boards forever and their quality is top-notch.
I hope that helps, please let me know what other questions you have!
Would you get the Gili Air or Bluefin Cruise if the extra $50 was no issue? Or would you recommend something else over those two?
Such a tough question! They are both great SUPs, so you can’t really go wrong with either. I would say that the Gili leans more towards the stability side of things, while the Bluefin Cruise leans towards more maneuverability. I also really do like the extras that come with the Bluefin (kayak seat, better deck pad, etc.). If you are looking to save $50, then you will be more than happy with the Gili. If you want a little stiffer board that is a little more maneuverable then go with the Bluefin.
I hope that helps and doesn’t make it harder! Let me know if you have other questions!
You guys are great!! I just bought my bluefin cruise, and I can’t wait to try it out! I’m so grateful for these reviews and recommendations! I really feel like I got the best paddle board for me. Keep up the good work!
Yoko – so glad we could help, and I’m super excited for you! Let us know how it goes!
Thank you for these great reviews and your expertise! I keep going back and forth on what would be best for us. I’m looking for a beginner inflatable board for a family. We will be going mostly to reservoirs and lakes to paddle around for fun, and wanting to get a kayak seat attachment. Hoping to be able to have my dog or a few kids ride with me. Please let me know what you would recommend for us! Thank you!
Given you are wanting to take a few kids or a dog, I’d recommend something that is super stable and has a high weight capacity. Ideally, I would recommend looking at the Blackfin Model X or the iRocker Cruiser. However, if budget is a concern and your looking for something less expensive then check out the Bluefin Cruise.
Hope that helps! Please let me know if you have further questions!
Thanks for the great reviews. I want to purchase an inexpensive SUP. I am 5’0 and 120 pounds. Would you get the Gili Air, Bluefin Cruise or DCS 10’6” SUP? I was wondering if you were able to try out the DCS. Based on the review it may be too good to be true.
I would recommend either the Gili Air, Bluefin Cruise, or the Nautical by iRocker. I haven’t personally tested the DCS 10’6 SUP, and I’m always leery to recommend boards that I don’t know much about the brand and are sold primarily/solely on Amazon. It’s not necessarily hard to have a manufacturer in China build a board for you, but it is hard to service customers – and I know that Gili, Bluefin, and iRocker will take care of you.
I am looking to purchase a board for a 54 year old beginner. He is 5’11” tall and 170 lbs. It will be used recreationally 5-10 times a year so I don’t want to spend a fortune but I definitely want it to be as enjoyable as his abilities allow. Can you give me a few recommendations?
Sorry for the delay in response – hope I’m not too late! For someone that height/weight, and given what is in stock right now, I’d recommend the 11’6 iRocker Nautical. It’s a killer deal right now, and you even get a free electric pump. Nautical is also made by a great company, iRocker, and they stand behind their boards 100%.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi! I’m considering the purchase of an SUP as a gift for a family member and for extended family to use as well. Mostly women, the one male didn’t seem to do well on a sup this summer 🙂 . We’re in our 50’s and 60’s but slim and tallest is around 5’7″. We used a friends fiberglass (or some hard material) sup on Lake Michigan, just outside of Chicago, but found it to be heavy and clunky and frankly were nervous about falling on top of it. A client recommended the inflatable versions and in particular the iRocker All Around 11. I read your complete article with reviews and thought the Bluefin and Gili looked like possible options as well but rather spend a couple hundred dollars more for a better one that’s better quality, more accessories, etc. I like the idea of something not too heavy, so it could be carried by one person, and not too heavy paddles but good stability, comfort and grip on the board. Don’t want it to feel too small or narrow. We are all beginners and the Lake can get a bit wavy. Would greatly appreciate your thoughts and recommendations. Thanks!!
Forgot to mention…I also like the idea of converting one into a kayak 🙂
Given what you are looking for, I would recommend spending a little bit more and going with the iRocker All-Around 11. It will be more stable than the Gili or Nautical and you do have more accessory options. It’s a few lbs heavier than those models, but you still can carry it with just one person, and the quality is for sure worth the extra $$.
I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi, I was wondering which you would recommend between the Nautical, PEAK and there was a BOTE Drift I saw not on this list. I found an Atoll as well on clearance for $590 but not sure I want to stretch my budget that far at a local store by me. I’m in the 450price range. I’m a beginner 46yr old 5’6 and thin. Suggestions please 🙂
Great question, and stoked you are looking for a SUP!
I’d recommend the Nautical over the PEAK. From our tests, the Nautical is a little better from a construction quality standpoint, and also performs a little better on the water.
We do like the Atoll a lot, but if you are trying to stay under a budget then you’ll be happy with the Nautical. It’s a great price that’s within your budget and backed by iRocker (who take really good care of their customers).
I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi! I’m looking to buy a SUP and I think I’ve decided on iRocker (thank you for all of your reviews! They’ve been really helpful). I’ve used my friend’s board a few times but am a beginner. I’m 5’1 and 160 but have good balance and am athletic. We camp and would be mostly using it on lakes. My husband and boys have kayaks so I need to keep up with them. I’ll be the primary user but my husband would use it on occasion (6’ 225)…also would like to take the kids out too. Would you recommend the 10’ or 11’ all around? I’m torn
Thanks for the question! Given your husband’s height and weight I would go with the 11′ All-Around. We have found that those over 5’7 don’t do quite as well on the 10′ as they do on the 11′ All-Around. For you, the 11′ board will also be a little faster as the glide on the 11′ is better than the 10′, and it’s not any wider.
I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
Thanks so much for your in-depth reviews — it’s been very helpful. I’m really torn between the ROC 10′ Explorer and the iRocker Nautical 10′. It is obvious from your reviews that the iRocker is a better product, however, I love the aesthetic of the ROC. The visual appearance and colour of a SUP shouldn’t be a deciding factor, but I also don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on something I don’t find visually pleasing. Also, since I’m shopping from Canada, the iRocker will end up being ~ $100 cheaper than the ROC. I’m a beginner but feel very at ease with both inflatable and solid SUPs that I’ve tried. I am 5’6″ and 140lbs and will be using the board on calm lakes and maybe lazy rivers and won’t be carrying any significant cargo.
Do you think the ROC would be a poor choice for my situation? Would there be a significant difference between the two for casual recreation use?
Thanks for your advice 🙂
For casual recreational use I do prefer the iRocker. You have better customer service and the board does feel better to me. However, it does matter that you like the looks of the SUP.
Have you check out the Gili Air or BlueFin Cruise models by chance? Those are 2 other brands that offer a lot of value for the price, and a lot of people tell me how much they love the look of the Gili Air.
I work at a retreat center and we are looking at getting some paddle boards for guests to use in our cove area. So we will have a good mixture of beginners and intermediate folks using the boards. I am looking at the bluefin cruise and iROCKER Nautical. We are hoping to get a mixture of sizes for the different guests that come. My budget is around $550 per board.
What would be your recommendation?
I’d recommend looking at the Bluefin Cruise. It comes with the kayak conversion kit, which I have a feeling some of your guests would appreciate – and is a really great buy. You’d be happy with the Nautical as well, but for your situation I think the full Bluefin kit is a great option.
Thanks for your reviews, it is really helpful! I am about to buy an all-around sup to go on river, I think I would like speed. I am 5’1″ 123lbs, begginer (did only one time on a solid sup and I got a good balance). I plan to take my son as a passenger with me sometimes, he is 4’4″ 68lbs. I am looking for something that gonna be a good price/quality. So, after some research I am hesitating between the iRocker All-around 10′, Gili Air 10,6, SereineLife 10,6″ and Fun water 10′. I also consider the Gili Meno 10,6 and Blackfin X if they really worth the money for a begginer. Note that I am located in Canada, so if I order Gili I will have to pay duties fee. So all that said, I would like which one do you recommand me between those. Thank 🙂
Out of your list, I’d go with the Gili 10’6 Air. The new shape for the Air models will let you go a bit faster but are still plenty stable for someone your size and smaller passenger; it’s actually a really similar shape to the Gili 10’6 Meno, but the Meno is a little wider/slower (though with that comes more stability). The 10’6 Air is also at a phenomenal price right now, considering the duties fee for Canada. Hope that helps!
Ah man. Just when you think you’ve decided I find your review of the iRocker Sport. I was set on the Bluefin Cruise 10″8 but now I can’t decide. I’m an advanced beginner I’d say. Might take the kids out now again but mostly me on rivers with a bit of flow and small rapids. Any thoughts greatly appreciated!! Both are at a great price in the UK right now
I actually don’t have a ton of experience river/rapids paddling (more of an ocean/ lake paddler myself), but one of our reviewers is white water certified and here are his thoughts: “Between those two, the Cruise 10’8″ is a better choice. better stability from the extra width and wider tail. Most larger all-arounds and cruisers will work fine on up to Class II rivers, but beyond that a more specialized board is way, way better. If you are looking at iRocker and Bluefin, the iRocker Cruiser would be a better choice than the sport, for sure. Either way, you will also greatly benefit from a shallow fin (<5") or just running the side fins for better maneuverability and shallower draft."
We'd also encourage you to always wear a PFD and invest in a quick-release, torso mounted leash (if you haven't already), as ankle and calf leashes can be extremely dangerous in rivers; it's better to not wear one at all if an ankle or calf leash is the only available option. Additionally, we'd advise wearing a whitewater helmet in rapids/whitewater environments, as bike helmets unfortunately won't work and crack on first impact.
^I'm sure you're already familiar with all the safety talk, but it gives us a bit of peace of mind to cover it anyway.
Thank you so much Alli. I went with the Cruise 🙂
It arrives Monday, can’t wait!
Love to hear it! Let us know what you think!
What about the atoll 11? I read some good reviews. Would you red mend??
We actually already have a review up of the Atoll 11′. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in the board.
How does the Body Glove Performer compare to these ($400 at Costco, includes electric pump)? My wife is a beginner, and wants a board to go out with her dog (she’s 5’2″; dog is medium sized, ~50#). Would she be better off with one of these other models you’ve reviewed above? If so, which one(s)?
Thanks — great reviews!
Honestly, the Body Glove performer has never impressed us, especially at its price. The Nautical 10’6 would be a better choice and the performance is much better. You can also bundle iROCKER’s electric pump (one of our favorites) with your board, which brings your total to just about $50 more than it would be for the Body Glove.