Are you looking to purchase a new inflatable SUP board? If you are, take a moment to read over our newly updated 2023 best inflatable paddle board list. This list will continue to be updated as new boards hit the market – so be sure to check back often for updates.
Sadly, the internet is full of false information from people who have not tested any of their top-rated iSUPs (some of them have never even paddle boarded before). Instead, they simply throw up a list of ‘top 10 rated inflatable stand up paddle boards’ and move on to the next post. Or you have a paddle board company who puts together their top rate list, which is inherently going to be biased towards their brands and unfair to others.
At SupBoardGuide.com, we not only paddle and test each board we recommend, but we spend hours talking with manufacturers and give them advice on how to better improve their boards every year. We are a team of people across the globe, from the USA to Germany to New Zealand and have one goal – to give you the best inflatable stand up paddle board reviews so you can find the right iSUP for you.
Below you will find our current Best All-Around Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards for 2023. This list is our attempt at putting together recommendations based on how well each board performs on the water, how well the SUP is built (we want to make sure any board listed is made with high quality materials and is going to last), and what people old and young, short and tall, small and large think about the boards. This list is not just a list from industry pro’s who are so far removed from the average paddler that they only recommend $1,500 inflatable paddle boards. We know that most people are budget-conscious, and also take cost into consideration when creating this list. Finally, we also vet every company and make sure that you will be given the customer support after you make your purchase.
Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards of 2023
(scroll to the right to see all our top rated, best paddle boards for 2023)
|Board||Blackfin Model XL||Isle Pioneer 2.0||iROCKER All Around 11' Ultra||Sea Gods Skylla Cross||Thurso Surf WaterWalker||Gili Meno 11'6||Hydrus Joyride XL||BŌTE Breeze Aero||Atoll 11'||NIXY Newport||BlueFin Cruise||Sea Gods Diatom Ten6||Honu Byron 10'6 All-Rounder||Red Paddle Co Ride 10'6||Isle Pioneer Pro|
|Rating out of 10||9.7/10||9.6/10||9.6/10||9.6/10||9.5/10||9.4/10||9.6/10||8.9/10||9.0/10||9.2/10||8.9/10||9.6/10||9.7/10||9.6/10||9.8/10|
|Pricing||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price|
|Best For Person Who Wants:||Very stable, high weight capacity, and super versatile. Great for larger paddlers, families, beginners, and intermediate/advanced paddlers wanting a dedicated high volume SUP.||A lightweight but still stable board is. Great option for beginners, larger paddlers, and smaller paddlers who want a larger board for bringing gear, pets, or kids with them.||A good performing, well-built, lightweight but still ultra compact SUP. This is the SUP we bring when we travel, but still a top-level SUP for paddling locally at the lakes.||A highly stable board that can still pick up some speed, ability to load up with gear, kids, or pets due to the Skylla’s impressive weight capacity, Gorgeous artwork make this SUP a head turner and conversation starter in and out of the water.||Has a smooth, gliding feel on the water making for a more enjoyable, relaxing experience.||Best Family SUP, high weight capacity yet lightweight construction makes it easy for kids to carry, paddle, or ride along as passengers.||Want a high weight capacity, high performance SUP that is great in all conditions, from the river to the lake.||A great beginner board that's lightweight, wide, and stable and has a great design.||Great Adventure SUP, lightweight all-around board that's easy to throw on your back to hike in to lakes, or make it through an airport, GREAT logo, plenty of options for cargo space.||Best SUP for Smaller Paddlers, very lightweight, can turn easily, carbon fiber reinforced rails, high quality fins, great backpack and accessories||A super rigid, lightweight board with lots of accessories||Very stable Around SUP with one of the best designs||Best high-performance all-around, has a hardboard-like feel on the water due to the 4.7" thickness and impressive construction||Great performing all-around SUP with fantastic combination of speed, tracking, and stability thanks to higher-performing 4.7" thickness.||A game and industry changing iSUP that is both an extremely high quality inflatable SUP AND recreational kayak.|
|Improved construction (2023 model), and rigidity + 6 color options. Great for gear-up adventures and fishing, and is also a faster board than expected and performed great in all our tests.||Lightweight yet stable, also performed well in our testing and was almost as fast as the Blackfin XL but is a little wider in the nose and tail.||Compact design that is about 1/2 the size of a normal iSUP. It's also lightweight, and has great internal construction for enhanced rigidity, speed, and glide performance.||Extremely lightweight while still being one of Sea Gods' most rigid option. Plenty of room for gear in the front and rear cargo areas, a little bit more versatile with 4 action mounts and kayak seat compatibility, comes in compostable packaging made from corn.||Fast, stiff board due to quality construction, carbon rails, and unique shape||Dual layer fusion construction, good array of features, comfortable deck pad, kit includes tons of fins for more customization ability||Great look, with performance to match. High quality construction, from the x-woven drop stitch and welded rails and Kevlar reinforced PVC to the grippy and durable deck pad. This is a SUP that will hold up to a beating and keep paddling.||Fun graphics, lightweight, and performs well as a cruiser SUP for beginners with 2 different size options||Fun all-around performance, lots of D rings for attachments, US Fin box, , stable and easy to paddle, very lightweight||Very lightweight, can turn easily, carbon fiber reinforced rails, high quality fins, great backpack and accessories||Rigid SUP for a great price, stable on the water, raised kick pad adds maneuverability, nice grippy deck pad||Stunning SUP with great stability.|
Single fin box leads to great tracking.
Premium range of SUP accessories included. Kumano fin, carbon fiber paddle, and more.
|Stiff but lightweight construction at 16.9 lbs. |
Excels in all of our testing: stability, maneuverability, tracking, etc.
Backed by a comprehensive 2+2 warranty.
Included FCS II fin ads convenience and customization ability.
|Very stable all-around for how lightweight the board is. More stable than the Honu Byron (comparing against other 4.7" all-arounds). Fixed fins are easy to use and low maintenance and perform better than we expected.|
Comes with fantastic 5 year warranty, and a full kit if you purchase through Green Water Sports.
|Most stiff iSUP we have ever tested (and possibly ever made). Increased stiffness makes the board very stable, but still fast and very high performing.|
|Not many, but if we are being picky we'd like the fishing mounts to be optional in case you don't want to fish||We'd like to see some action mounts, and also think the small side fins could be removed.||Offset center carry handle can sometimes get in the way if you have a narrower stance||At higher price point due to it’s advanced construction and locally sourced artwork||Board slightly heavier than other all-arounds (due to intensive, durable construction)||We'd like the D-rings to be larger.||Paddle not included in the kit||We'd like to see the fixed side fins removed||Side fins aren’t removable, accessories could be improved||Very sporty, but not super stable for heavier beginners||No removable side fins, a little heavier than we expected||Included single chamber hand pump makes it tough to get to te recommended 18 PSI||Kit does not include a paddle (though you have the option to choose one for a discounted rate)||A little more expensive, but worth it if you have the budget.||It's tough to find a 'con' with this board.|
|Specs||Blackfin XL||Pioneer 2.0||All Around 11' Ultra||Skylla CX||Waterwalker 132||Gili Meno||Joyride XL||Breeze Aero||Atoll||Nixy||Bluefin||Sea Gods||Honu||Red Paddle Co||Pioneer Pro|
|Weight||29 lbs||24 lbs||21.4 lbs||19.5 lbs||26 lbs||24 lbs||29 lbs||20 lbs||19 lbs||20 lbs||25 lbs||24 lbs||16.9 lbs||20 lbs||23 lbs|
|Capacity||485 lbs||285 lbs||290 lbs||350 lbs||330 lbs||485 lbs||400 lbs||250 lbs||400 lbs||300 lbs||200 lbs||340 lbs||250 lbs||220 lbs||300 lbs|
Just keep that in mind and let us know if you have any questions!
Best All-Around Inflatable/Blow-Up Stand Up Paddle Boards
This year we have chosen to set up our best stand up paddle board page a little different. Below you will find our list of the best iSUPs for 2023. As mentioned above, each of these boards have been fully tested in a variety of conditions by a variety of paddlers.
Best Stand Up Paddle Boards
- Blackfin Model XL
- Isle Pioneer 2.0
- iRocker All Around 11′ Ultra 2.0
- Sea Gods Skylla Cross Touring
- Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132
- Gili Meno
- Hydrus Joyride XL
- BOTE Breeze Aero
- Atoll 11′
- NIXY Newport G4
- Bluefin Cruise
- Sea Gods Diatom Ten6
- Honu Byron 10’6 All-Rounder
- Red Paddle Co 10’6 Ride
- Isle Pioneer Pro 10’6
So what makes a good all-around stand up paddle board?
Versatility really! As the name suggests, an all-around iSUP is going to be good at doing most things. All-arounders may not be the best for paddling long distances (that would be a touring board), or the best for surfing (that is probably not an inflatable to begin with), but they are the best if you are looking for a great board that you can take just about anywhere in a variety of conditions. From the lake to the ocean in smaller waves and a little chop. Essentially, it’s the jack-of-all-trades that is easy enough for a beginner to paddle but also still enjoyable for someone more experienced.
Next, an all-around iSUP also lets you do a lot of different things, from normal SUPing around to kayaking, fishing, or even yoga. If you want to do it all, then an all-around is a great choice.
So with that in mind, our best rated iSUPs on this list all have: higher weight capacities, great stability, and quality performance that allows beginners and advanced paddlers alike to have a great time on the water.
1. Blackfin Model XL(Full Review)
Blackfin Model XLCheck Latest Price
Returning to our list of best inflatable SUPs for 2023 is the Blackfin Model XL. The XL is a high weight capacity (485 lbs), super stable SUP that has surprisingly good performance for being 11’6×34″ wide. As such, the XL is a great option for anyone who is looking for a larger SUP, from the beginner to intermediate/advanced paddler.
While we find that the Blackfin XL is ideal for the larger paddler who likes the extra rigidity and stability, it’s also a great board for the average paddler who is looking to load up their SUP for camping adventures and/or paddling with kids.
Finally, we do love how well iRocker has taken care of our readers the past 10 years. Yes, the Blackfin lineup did get recalled last year, but we were impressed with how iRocker took the financial hit and replaced everyone’s boards even when the coast guard did not require them to do so. Not all brands did that, and while it really was painful (and a long wait) for consumers, we appreciate the honesty – and the construction improvements made to the 2023 lineup that makes the new Blackfin lineup better than any we have tested ever since the brand launched.
- Super stable, multi-function board
- Improved rigidity and overall quality
- Fast for a large, 34″ wide iSUP (not a rocketship, but a great option for adventures with a ton of gear)
- We personally love the new designs
- Option to build out your own SUP package, so no need to buy your 3rd manual pump if you already have 2
- Not sure this is possible – but we’d love to find a way to get the scotty mounts moved more towards the outside rails
2. ISLE Pioneer 2.0
Read Full Review | Check Latest Price
Isle Pioneer Pro 2.0Check Latest Price
The Isle Pioneer 2.0 is a very stable, yet lightweight all around SUP that comes with everything you need to paddle on the water for a very reasonable price. At 10’6 x 34”, it’s also very wide throughout the nose to the tail, showing that once again Isle is leaning heavily into the ‘stability’ feature on their all around SUP.
It stands in contrast to the Blackfin Model X or XL in that the deckpad is much more open and has more of a classic beach vibe. It also features upgraded internal construction, using x-woven dropstitch for improved rigidity over previous models.
Overall, the Pioneer 2.0 is a great option for paddlers who want a wide, stable, clean paddleboard that is lightweight, easy to paddle, and surprisingly quick.
- Lightweight, yet stable SUP – great for beginner paddlers
- Clean, uncluttered deckpad that is great not just for paddling but for yoga
- Improved x-woven dropstitch construction is very durable and has a great feel and glide on the water
- More maneuverable and quicker than we expected
- We would prefer if they included a SUP backpack with wheels
- We’d also like to see Isle remove the fixed side fins
3. iROCKER All Around 11’ Ultra 2.0(Full Review)
iRocker AA 11' UltraCheck Latest Price
Truth be told, we were blown away by the entirety of iROCKER’s Ultra series. From their compact designs to their impressive rigidity, and exceptional performance on the water, the Ultra series has quickly become staples in our team’s SUP collection. The 11’ All Around has stood out among the pack as a stable, yet lightweight and fast all-around that improved upon everything iROCKER’s original 11’ All Around had to offer.
The biggest selling point of the Ultra series by iRocker is simple: they are the most compact SUPs on the market (with a patent pending on the compact design). However, they are not just compact – iRocker was also able to make them very stiff, lightweight, and sporty.
While the performance and build quality alone had us hooked on the Ultra series, we also love the included accessories. The Ultras come in an extremely comfortable, compact, and lightweight SUP backpack, with a 5-piece carbon hybrid paddle, coiled leash, a pair of newly designed twin fins, and iROCKER’s 12V Electric Pump. An accessory list of this quality adds so much value to this SUP and it’s kit, making it impossible to beat in the compact SUP market right now.
- The most comfortable and portable compact SUP on the market
- Lightweight yet impressively stiff construction
- Carries the stability of the original All Around while gaining speed and overall performance
- Good array of features that don’t limit ‘compact-ness’
- Included accessories make this an incredible value
- We’d like the deck pad extended towards to tail
4. Sea Gods Skylla Cross Touring
Read Full Review | [Check Latest Price]
Check Latest PriceSea Gods Skylla
The Sea Gods Skylla is an impressive and lightweight hybrid board that balances the stability and versatility of an all-around with the speed and tracking capabilities of a touring SUP. It’s a unique combination that we love and find somewhat unique to this board.
And then you have the best selling point of this board: it’s absolutely jaw-dropping looks-wise. The only downside to how cool this board looks is that you are going to get mauled with questions about it every time you pump the board up at the lake or ocean.
At 11’ x 33”, the Skylla’s dimensions are a bit unorthodox at first glance, however its longer waterline combined with its tapered nose raise its speed capabilities above that of more classic all-arounds. At the same time, the 33” width combined with its boxy, squared off tail help to maximize the wet area, keeping the paddler feeling stable and supported on the water.
As with all Sea Gods SUPs, the Skylla has a few features to make it even more accommodating to a range of SUP activities. Integrated into the front and rear cargo area, the Skylla showcases 4 total universal action mounts, as well as kayak seat compatibility with 4 extra D-rings along the rails.
One of the things that impressed us the most about this board is its thoughtful construction. The Skylla CX is constructed using a cross-woven drop stitch, enabling Sea Gods to make this one of their lightest SUP at just 19 lbs, while also being one of the stiffest of their line up. On the water, this translates into a higher weight range without needing to opt for a heavily built SUP.
The Skylla has been a weekend staple here at SUPBoardGuide, as its versatile performance and ability to load up with camping gear, passengers, or pets make it a true ‘jack of all trades’.
- Extremely lightweight at just 19.5 lbs
- Sea Gods most rigid SUP due to its cross-woven dropstitch construction
- Is capable of decent speed for a 33” wide iSUP
- Features gorgeous artwork
- Comes with Sea Gods High quality accessory kit and is backed by their lifetime warranty
- We’d like Sea Gods to include a more efficient hand pump
5. Thurso Surf WaterWalker 132
Check Latest PriceThurso Waterwalker 132
Coming in at #5 on our list of best iSUPs is the ThursoSurf Waterwalker 132. While we’ll be focusing on the 132 in particular, the Waterwalker also comes in a 10′ and 10’6 version that are better suited to smaller solo paddlers.
The 2 things we love most about the Waterwalker are the board design and how the board performs in the water; it’s stable but not cumbersome, and has a really smooth glide that gives it a faster feel.
Accessory wise, there are a lot of things that we love about the WaterWalker. The upgraded bag comes with two wheels and an extra zipper pouch for fins and other accessories (leash, repair kit, etc.). Looking at the board, we love the velcro paddle holder on the side of the board that safely secures your paddle out of the way. On other boards, the center handle that can undo and wrap around the shaft acts as the paddler holder. This kind of design still leaves the paddle in the way for anything like SUP Yoga. Thurso’s design is the best for a paddle holder I’ve seen yet! It makes this one of the best-suited boards for any kind of extra activities like SUP fitness or yoga. I also love the extra D-rings and the bungee cords on the front and back of the board for storing all kinds of things or setting up the optional kayak seat.
Thurso chose to make their boards with a dual-layer PVC that’s both durable and has a high weight capacity. They also add an extra layer of PVC + carbon fiber to the rails for better protection and stiffness. Finally, Thurso kept with their well-known style of a wooden grain print but have a few different color options that we just love.
Overall the board is awesome, and we are excited to see what Thurso Surf comes out with in the future as they continue to grow!
- Well designed – very fast for an all-around
- Unique graphic design
- Carbon fiber side rails
- Quality Carbon Fiber Shaft Paddle
- 3 handles for easy carrying (front, middle, back)
- Lots of D-rings and bungees for storage and accessories like kayak bundle
- Velcro rail paddle holder
- All fins are removable
- Bag has wheels and extra pouch
- Board has a solid and stable feel to it on the water
6. Gili Meno 11’6 Inflatable SUP(Read the Full Review)
We have been super impressed with the Gili Meno series this year! Gili kept the core of the Meno series the same (dual layer PVC, carbon fiber rails), but upgraded most of the features and accessories. In general, the board just feels more fine-tuned and is a great inflatable SUP for anyone who wants a big board that is also light-weight. At just 24 lbs, this is one of the lightest 11’6 x 35″ iSUP on the market – but don’t think that the lightweight-ness of the board hurts its performance. The 11’6 Meno, despite being such a large board, tracked fairly well and was reasonably fast. Simply put – it’s a ton of fun on the water.
With a quality backpack, a standard fin set that includes 5 fins, and the ability to upgrade to a full carbon fiber paddle, the Gili Meno series is a great option. You’ll also notice that it comes in at a great price!
- Very lightweight for its size and still paddles really well on the water
- High weight capacity for larger paddlers and carrying gear
- Loads of great features and accessories
- Carbon fiber shaft paddle is light and great for paddling all day – plus you can upgrade to a full carbon blade paddle at checkout for a great price.
- Snap lock fins improve performance while only taking seconds to install.
- Large dual bungee/cargo areas
- The D-rings are a little small, which makes it hard to remove the bungees.
7. Hydrus Joyride XL(Read the Full Review)
Hydrus Joyride XLCheck Latest Price
New to our list is a SUP from my (Justin’s) hometown of Boise, Idaho: the Hydrus Joyride XL!
For those questioning if we added this just because it’s a hometown shop, the answer is no. The Hydrus easily earned a spot as one of the top rated inflatable SUPs for 2023. It not only performed very well in our testing, but we love the look and feel of this board. No, it won’t be the look that every paddler is going for, but if you like a more dark-themed, triton-staffed board, this might just be your board.
We found the Joyride XL to be very stable, well-built, and a general favorite of larger, more experienced paddlers. X-woven drop stitch and kevlar reinforced fibers, this is a very durable SUP that is great for paddling just about everywhere. With great stability and a high quality deckpad w/ tail kick pad, we love the Joyride for paddling on rivers or longer adventures were you need to carry a ton of gear.
Overall, this has quickly become one of our favorite boards, and think it’s a great option for anyone looking for a wider, more stable SUP.
- High quality construction
- Attention to detail, from the kick pad to the placement of the carry handles showcase how this SUP was designed by paddlers for paddlers
- Great look and design, and we like how they made the rails more grey than black for reduced heat retention and increased durability
- US fin box for versatility and high performance
High weight capacity for loading up cargo and/or kids
- Only one color-way, so if this isn’t the look your going for then you are out of luck
8. BŌTE Breeze Aero
Read Full Review | Check Latest Price
BOTE Breeze AeroCheck Latest Price
New to our list is the BŌTE Breeze Aero Inflatable stand up paddle board. BŌTE is known for their sturdy and stable SUPs, and their 2023 Breeze Aero model doesn’t disappoint. At 10’8 x 33”, this SUP leans towards the cruiser side of all arounds. As such, it’s a great option for someone looking for a good beginner board that is both lightweight and stable – but still easy to paddle given how lightweight it is (20 lbs).
It’s also one of the best looking boards in our opinion, with several different color and design options to choose from. And note – these color options are not just different colors of the same design. BŌTE offers several completely different designs with this board, so we are pretty confident you’ll be able to find one that suits you. You can also choose the larger 11’6 version if you need some extra volume for gear or even improved stability.
- Beautiful designs, with a variety of design options
- Cruiser style all-around for good stability
- Lightweight and easy to paddle
- Great package options with high-quality BOTE accessories (BOTE really shines on the accessory front
- We’d like to see BOTE work on making this a little stiffer. However, it feels very sturdy in the water and absorbs wake and bumps easily
7. Atoll 11’ Inflatable Paddle Board
Read Full Review | Check Latest Price
Cruising next onto the list is the Atoll 11’. At 21 lbs, it’s a zippy board on the water, and is a great option for someone looking for a solid all around board that is ultra light but still stable.
With their 11′ option, Atoll does a good job of covering its bases with a board that is a mix of all-around and touring yet still lightweight and stable. Atoll is able to keep the weight down by using fusion technology in the manufacturing process.
The difference that the Atoll has compared to many other all-around boards is it’s shape being more tapered in the front and back, giving it more of a touring/cruiser shape. This design makes the Atoll a super fun board to paddle. It’s fast and glides through water very easily.
It’s got great features on board with the nose having a good amount of storage and loads of D-rings on the rest of the body. The extra D-rings can be used for more storage, a kayak seat, anything you can clip on really! Though I would like to see one more handle on the nose, especially given its length, it’d make the portability better.
The pump could be improved but it’s an absolute score you get a carbon fiber blend paddle and high quality center fin. It’s a super fun board for beginners to intermediates alike. It comes in a few different color choices and a 2 year warranty.
- Cool logo/design
- Good amount of storage up front
- Loads of D-rings for versatile use, kayaking, more storage, fishing etc
- Nice fin setup
- Interesting shape that’s fast
- Lightweight, fusion material
- 2 year warranty
- Carbon fiber blend paddle
- Comes with all accessories
- Pump could be improved
- Another handle on the nose for better portability would be preferable
- No 10’ 6” option for smaller or advanced paddlers
8. Nixy Newport G4
Read Full Review | Check Latest Price
Check Latest PriceNixy Newport G4
The NIXY boards made a strong impression this year; they really focused even more on the accessories for the new models. In fact, we think NIXY deserves credit for giving paddlers the best kit paddle out of all the boards on our best inflatable paddle board list.
Back to the board itself, the NIXY Newport is the brand’s all-around board made to paddle in a variety of situations – and it does a great job.
If you are an intermediate to advanced paddler, and don’t need a high weight capacity board, then you should take a strong look at the NIXY Newport given the lightweight, quality construction and playfulness of the board. Out of all the top all-arounders, we think the Newport is the most maneuverable and playful of the group. With that extra maneuverability you do sacrifice some stability that you get with the larger SUPs on this list, but it’s more than manageable for smaller paddlers.
As far as materials go, NIXY has created a super light board due to their dual layer FUSIONtec technology. At just 20 lbs, the Newport is always one of the lightest boards on our top SUP list, but with the addition of carbon fiber rails you don’t sacrifice the strength or durability of the board.
Essentially, the NIXY founders created the exact board they personally like to use – a great all-arounder that displays a higher level of performance.
Looks wise, we love the fresh feel of the NIXY Newport. It’s clean yet stylish, and we love the attention to detail – down to their logo being imprinted on the deck pad.
As always, the accessories on the NIXY Newport continue to be top-notch, especially when it comes to their backpack and paddle. The NIXY backpack feels the most comfortable in the group, and has tons of great little compartments and features (like 3 wheels vs 2) that you don’t find on other boards. They also include a triple action, double chamber pump. Additionally, NIXY includes high quality, removable fins (great for tracking), 3 handles for easy carrying, extra D-rings for a kayak seat and securing other accessories, and even a carry strap included in every purchase.
The Newport makes for a great inflatable paddle board that can be utilized for a variety of activities and is highly recommended for those people looking for a more nimble, playful, all-around board.
- Very fun, easy to maneuver board
- High quality, lightweight materials
- Carbon fiber rails for extra stiffness
- Great carbon fiber paddle!!!!
- One of the best backpacks on the market
- Several color options
- Carry strap included
- Extra D-rings for kayak seat and other accessories
- Not super stable for heavier beginner paddlers (lighter beginners love the board though)
- Storage space on the nose could be bigger
9. BlueFin Cruise 10’8 All-Around Inflatable SUP
Read Full Review | Check Latest Price
Check Latest PriceBluefin Cruise 10'8
Located in the United Kingdom, BlueFin is a dominant player in Europe (perhaps the largest iSUP manufacturer there). BlueFin has entered the US market in a big way the last few years and been a constant board on our top SUPs list.
BlueFin makes excellent quality boards, and we love how the BlueFin Cruise feels. With an excellent build quality, the Cruise is one of the stiffer iSUPs we’ve tested in the entry-level price range (around or below $500).
In addition, the BlueFin Cruise literally comes with about every SUP accessory you could ever need, including: 3-piece fiberglass paddle, leash, single chamber dual action action pump,, and kayak conversion kit! Yes, it makes for a larger than average backpack, but it’s a great value!
We are excited to welcome BlueFin from across the pond, and think they have made a fantastic board and kit at an excellent price point!
- Good entry-level board at a really attractive price
- Well built board – sturdy materials
- Sporty design, creating a very maneuverable SUP
- Kit comes with all accessories, including the kayak seat!
- High quality EVA deck pad
- 5 year manufacturer warranty
- We love to see removable side fins
- Board is a little on the heavy side
10. Sea Gods Diatom Ten6 (Read Full Review)
Check Latest PriceSea Gods Diatom Ten6
The Sea Gods Diatom 10’6’’ is worth considering because of its incredible artwork alone; aside from the fact that it displays stellar performance on the water. If you’re a person that values artwork and aesthetic appeal as well as high performance, quality construction, and great weight support, the Sea Gods Diatom Ten6 will be a phenomenal fit.
The Diatom 10’6 more than meets the mark in the all-around SUP category. This lightweight board weighs just 24 lbs, and its high volume dimensions (10’6 x 34″ x 6″) and rigid build quality allow the Diatom to support over 350 lbs. The paddleboard is both beginner friendly and perfect for taller/heavier paddlers and features a nice, clean deck perfect for practicing yoga on without having to buy a dedicated yoga SUP. It also has D-rings for kayak seat compatibility as well as two bungee cargo areas for storing dry bags, coolers, or small containers.
We’re very impressed with the included accessories as well. The lightweight carbon fiber 3-piece paddle is one of our personal favorites and the unique Kumano flex-fin setup fits into the US fin box in seconds, without having to deal with a screw and plate or tools (like typical FCS fins). While the included pump is rather basic, the fantastic roller backpack isn’t, with sturdy roller wheels, a roomy fit, and plenty of organization pockets. Lastly, the Diatom Ten6 is backed by a lifetime warranty, which is a testament to the high quality work by Sea Gods.
If you want a paddleboard that is equal parts stunning to look at as it is fun to paddle with on the water, you should check out the Sea Gods Diatom 10’6’’ iSUP.
- Possibly the best-looking board on this list
- Ultra-stable at 34″ wide w/ a lot of weight support
- Rigid but lightweight construction at just 24lbs
- Relatively easy to maneuver despite width
- Versatility focused features that don’t crowd the deck pad
- Delivered in compostable packaging
- Single chamber pump is not the most efficient
Best Performance All Around SUPs
Honu Byron 10’6 All-rounder (Read Full Review)
Check Latest PriceHonu Byron 10'6
The Honu Byron 10’6 is one of the highest performing all-around inflatable SUPs we’ve tested to date. At 10’6 long, 32” wide, and just 4.7” thick, it’s stable enough for a wide range of paddler skill sets while having more of a hardboard-like feel on the water.
During our testing, the Byron proved to excel in all of our categories, whether it be stability, speed, maneuverability or tracking. The Byron does have a caveat though, in that its 4.7” thickness results in less volume than 6” thick SUPs, and will often cause inexperienced paddlers at or above its weight capacity to feel unstable and experience a decrease in performance. These paddlers would better enjoy the Byron’s larger counterpart, the Fairlight 10’9”.
Outside of (but not unrelated to) how it feels on the water, we were also very impressed with Honu’s construction. The Byron is constructed with a cross-woven drop stitch core encased in two layers of fusion-bonded PVC and sealed with triple layered rails, resulting in an iSUP that is rigid yet a lightweight 16.9lbs.
As the final cherry on top, the Byron 10’6 and Fairlight 10’9 are both competitively priced, despite being in the premium performance category and each come with a kit full of high quality accessories.
- only 4.7″ of thickness= lower center of gravity and higher performance on the water
- Lightweight 16.9 lbs = easy to carry and easily gets up to cruising speed while paddling
- Well placed raised kick pad aids in making this SUP super manueverable
- Honu’s 2+2 warranty is very extensive and shows their willingness to stand behind their product
- We’d appreciate a larger front cargo area
- Not a crazy high weight capacity (though heavily paddlers would enjoy the Fairlight 10’9)
Red Paddle Co 10’6 Ride” Full Review
Red Paddle Co 10'6 RideCheck Latest Price
Red Paddle Co makes some of the best paddle boards in the industry, so it’s hard to pick which board one is our favorite. However, when talking about all around SUPs, that choice is easy: The Red Paddle Co Ride.
In the past, we haven’t been as big of fans of Red Paddle Co’s Ride series. The three fixed fins it used to come with didn’t perform very well.
All of that changed when Red moved to their twin fin system. The fins now do justice to a well-constructed, super lightweight, yet stable board. The board tracks better, and this is the first board with fixed gummy fins that we actually like. Yes, you will still have to bend them back if your kids jump up and down on the board while it’s on the shore – but the point of the fixed fins is that they are indestructible and you never have to worry about losing fins or taking the time to put them in when your in a rush to get out on the water.
At 4.7” thick, the board also lowers your center of gravity and gives a better sensation of paddling through the water vs sitting more on top, similar to the feel of the Honu Byron. However, the Red 10’6 is more stable than the Byron without losing much in terms of speed.
Also, if you are a larger paddler, you can consider the 10’8 Ride and get that little extra volume and stability that you need.
- Fantastic all-around. Great for beginners and experts alike.
- Lightweight and nimble on the water, but still stable even for beginners
- Hybrid RED deck pad. Grippy, yet also cushy so you can paddle longer yet with better balance.
- High performing fins that you don’t have to remove, store, and worry about
- RPC has some of the lowest return rates in the world. 5-year warranty if something does go wrong.
- A little more spendy than some boards on our list, but the quality is worth the price in our opinion
- It doesn’t come with a paddle either. Cuts down on the price for veteran paddlers, but even more expensive for newcomers.
ISLE Pioneer Pro SUP/Kayak (best SUP/Kayak Combo hands down)
Read Full Review | Check Latest Price
Isle Pioneer ProCheck Latest Price
The ISLE Pro series SUP/Kayaks are hands down the best paddle boards that are also easily turned into kayaks. If you are someone who is looking for both a very high quality SUP, but who also would like a high quality recreational kayak, then the Pro series by Isle is your answer (there are 5 different models to choose from).
The 10’6 Pioneer Pro is, as its name somewhat unoriginally indicates, is 10’6” long by 35” wide. It comes with Isle molly loop link system that allows you to connect any accessory you could ever dream of to any part of the board. It also comes with Isles revolutionary InfinityFiber stringer system, creating a super rigid, high performing all-around inflatable SUP. In fact, it’s so rigid that Isle is trying to coin the term “inflatable hard board” with their Pro series.
- Very stable SUP/kayak at 35″ wide
- Tons of versatile features and plenty of room to add your own accessories/customizations
- Very lightweight hybrid SUP-Kayak combo
- Paddles extremely well as a stand up paddle board or as a kayak, which is harder to do than you would think
- Not much. Being super nit-picky, the board is almost more stable than it needs to be
Overall Comparison Of The Best All-Around Inflatable SUP Boards
Something to keep in mind when taking all of this information in.
We have judged each boards performance based on the following:
- Performance and Versatility. A good all-around SUP board is one that performs well in multiple conditions as a jack-of-all-trades.
- Stability. From beginners to intermediate/advanced paddlers you want to make sure the board will support its weight limit. Nothing is worse than buying a 300lb capacity board, only to find it extremely difficult to balance on if you are 220 lbs (this is what happens when you buy a cheap board from a store like Costco).
- Tracking. Tracking refers to the ability for the board to paddle straight. A good all-around board might not track as well as a touring board will, but with a good fin set up the all-arounder will do a great job.
- Durability. The last thing we want is for you to be dragging your deflating board behind you, paddle sunk to the bottom of the lake.
- Features and Accessories. You want an iSup that comes with good paddles, bungees for storage, and D-rings for adding accessories like kayak seats. Another big selling point for iSUPs is how portable they are, so you are also going to want a quality backpack to store and carry your board in.
How they Compare: Performance and Versatility
The first thing you need to understand when it comes to performance is that your personal performance on each board will vary depending on:
- Skill level – an experienced SUP boarder will be much better on boards with lighter weight capacity and might find they enjoy how such boards are more maneuverable and playful.
- Weight – if you weigh 120 pounds your experience is going to be much different than someone weighing 180 or 220 lbs.
We found great performance with each paddle board on this list (we don’t just put up any board on this list). Each board performs really well, and the differences are slight, but important.
Overall, the performance on the iRocker Cruiser was the best – it worked great for beginners to advanced and from lighter to heavier paddlers. For larger people (190 lbs+) and for those really concerned with balance issues we found the Meno 11’6 performed the best. Smaller individuals typically liked either the iROCKER Cruiser or, if they were more experienced, they preferred the NIXY Newport. And for those who aren’t strong paddlers, the ThursoSurf Waterwalker glides and moves just a little bit faster in flat conditions than the iRocker Cruiser. The Meno 11’6X also glides well, but is bigger so it’s a little harder to get going.
Now the only other thing that comes into the performance is the paddle. So what paddle you get with these boards will determine a bit of your performance. However, I don’t make a huge remark about the paddles as you can easily just upgrade a paddle. Most companies will offer you a discount on an upgrade if you are already buying a board (so don’t be scared to ask!!). The best paddle here is the NIXY I believe. It’s a got a slim blade that is also quite light thanks to less materials. Though because it’s been shaped with the ridges it is still quite strong and doesn’t flex. The Sea Gods and Cruiser Ultra paddles – both carbon fiber, as are the ThursoSurf paddles. The BlueFin paddle comes in last here as it’s a bit heavier/clunkier than the others.
How they Compare: Stability
There is a strong correlation with weight capacity, width and length with stability. That is the case with the top all-around SUPs on this list.
The most stable board here is the Gili Meno 11’6 Model X family board. The iRocker Cruiser and Thurso Waterwalker 132 are pretty close, followed by the Atoll 11’ and the Diatom from Sea Gods. Of course, there is a trade-off between stability and maneuverability, so keep that in mind.
Also, remember that if you are 110 lbs you are going to be much more stable than someone weighing 230 lbs, so you might want to choose an iSUP that is a little more nimble.
How they Compare: Maneuverability / Turning
The ability for the inflatable SUP to turn easily and maneuver makes for a fun board long after your first year of SUPing. The move maneuverable SUPs on this list are pretty much the opposite of the stability winners – like we said, stability and maneuverability are trade-offs. The NIXY Newport was the most nimble, maneuverable board on this list, which is one of the reasons we recommend it so highly for advanced, smaller paddlers. It’s a ton of fun! From and all-around perspective, the Atoll 11′ again did a great job of balancing the ability to turn and maneuver while still being stable. The Honu was extremely high performing here as well.
Finally, if you are a taller, more heavy SUPer then you are going to be able to maneuver the Thurso Waterwalker 132 much like a 120 pound person will maneuver the NIXY Newport.
How they Compare: Tracking
Tracking is a function primarily of fin setup and board shape/quality. Rubber, bendy fins that are short simply won’t grip the water and don’t help you track well. Larger, more firm center fins provide the best tracking, so if you are looking for long, straight adventures you want a very large, firm center fin set up. If you want to SUP in a river where there are shallow spots then you are going to need shorter fins, and you are going to sacrifice some ability to go straight for the ability to move and be agile around the rocks.
As far as tracking goes, every board on this list does a fantastic job. We brought out a group of beginners to intermediate SUPers and not a single one could tell us which board tracked better. That being said, there are some slight differences. The Waterwalker 132 comes with a fantastic, large center fin, and 2 removable side fins. Combine that with the stable platform and you get a SUP that tracks exceptionally well. The NIXY has the next best fins and does track very well for such a nimble, maneuverable board – tracking on par with the Thurso Waterwalker.
How they Compare: Durability
Durability comes down to what materials are being used in the manufacturing of the iSUP, and every manufacturer on this list prides themselves in using the highest-quality materials available. You won’t find a board on this list that isn’t durable and dependable. We’ve talked and reviewed in depth each company’s manufacturing process and materials – and you can feel comfortable on each of these boards.
One thing to note – iRocker and Thurso Surf use 3+ layers of high quality PVC for added rigidity and durability. Isle, NIXY, and Atoll use a fusion process that mechanically fuses two layers of high quality PVC. This fusion process allows the boards to be very rigid (up to 20 PSI) and durable but also lighter due to using less materials.
So which is better? It kind of depends on who you talk to. Each manufacturer claims their process is the best and most durable(of course). From our testing the last several years we have yet to see a problem with either process and can fully recommend both. Fusion tends to be lighter, but if this isn’t a priority, then either construction method will suit your needs.
How they Compare
Top All-Around VS Performance All-arounds
So how does our Top shape up next to the performance all-arounds? Generally speaking the performance all-arounds excel in the variety of conditions they can tackle. They handle waves and rapids, any bodies of water that are bit more turbulent.
That’s because (again generally speaking) they tend to be thinner at 5”, not 6”. They can be thinner because they use the best quality materials so that they don’t have to sacrifice rigidness or durability to use less materials. Another factor is performance board features. Namely the fins. Your fins play a huge part into how well your board will track,respond etc. Performance boards tend to use better quality fins and also a US fin box so you can even upgrade your fins with anything compatible including the world leading FCS fins.
Top All-Around VS Budget Boards
The difference between out Top and the budget boards is everything from materials to accessories. Of course, each board exceeds in some places and others don’t. Though in the case of our choices it comes down to the accessories, the materials, the board features and the shape of the board and how that shape affects performance.
Now we’re done analyzing, it’s your time to shine.
What will it be? This is the exciting part where you get to decide who’s going to be arriving on your doorstep soon. If you are in need of some more reassurance, refer to our graph again. Or even better, leave us a comment below.
Like we mentioned, this is our list. It’s what we think is best. We might share different preferences than you, but we spend hours every week testing different boards and get our friends to come along, so we don’t get too biased. We’ve paddled in rivers, seas, rapids, and lakes. Sometimes not all that successfully, but we try!
Choosing from this list, you can be assured that it’s really been put to the test. The only reason why we would suggest overlooking this list is if you are in the market for particularly niche boards. Racing or surfing hardboards for instance. Otherwise, there is something here for absolutely everyone. It doesn’t matter your experience, budget or preference, our best inflatable SUPs for 2023 is an all-inclusive list!
Till next time! Keep on enjoying the beautiful sport that SUPing is!
Note: We constantly update our content to make it as up to date and relevant as possible. That’s why you will see some comments about boards no longer listed in this review. Also, we’ve recently revamped this list to focus on the All-around iSUPs. We are working on new, more in-depth lists for best performance All-Around SUPs, best touring SUPs, best SUPs for Yoga/Fitness, and more. Finally, boards we previously recommended include the iRocker Cruiser, Starboard Atlas, and Red Paddle Co Ride. They are all great boards but just didn’t make it on the list this year.
SupBoardGuide Editorial Team
Latest posts by SupBoardGuide Editorial Team (see all)
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- Red Paddle Co 10’8 Ride iSUP Review – 2023 - May 12, 2023
254 thoughts on “Best Inflatable Paddle Boards (iSUPs), 2023”
I like how you guys review stuff, but if I was to choose a SUP board for long tours, which of the three will you suggest?
For long tours I’d recommend you go with the Starboard. It’s a great cruiser and it supports plenty of weight so you can bring some gear. You can check out my full board review here if you’re interested in some additional info: http://www.www.supboardguide.com/starboards-astro-atlas-zen-is-a-jack-of-all-trades-review/
does the MSL also make the board more durable?
It does. It also allows the board to be pumped up much harder than others while being a lot lighter. Red Paddle Co is known for their insanely durable boards. This video is from before they used MSL so by now the boards are even better!
hi. can i transport one more person in red paddle co 10’6”. something i will transport my wife in the board. i’m 75 kg and she 65 kg
Hi Sergio. I’d recommend you go for the irocker in that case. It can carry a lot more weight than the Red Paddle Co. The Red Paddle Co is rated up to 220lbs. Even though I think it could easily carry more than that the iRocker is your safer choice.
I was wondering: How many separate air chambers do inflatable SUPs have? Are there some with 1 chamber (yes obviously) but also some with 2 chambers, or 3 chambers?
regular SUPs have one chamber. An exception are specialized SUPs like the Badfisher and SUPs like the Red Paddle Co Dragon or Isle Megalodon. I wouldn’t worry about punctures though. The materials used to make inflatable SUPs are really durable and can withstand a lot of abuse.
I was looking at all 3 of these boards coincidentally enough. Wondering why the IRocker is always at a more economical price though?
Looking to make my first isup purchase. I have zero experience with paddleboards in general. Realy could use a recommendation. I was an avid cyclist until last year when I herniated a disc skiing. I’ve been into enough hobbies to know there is no “quiver killer” and that conditions matter when you are choosing gear. With that being said, here’s what I’m looking to do.
1. Tour in the Susquehanna River. Something that will go against the current and track rather well
2. Handle the small rapids in the river (shallow water) without having to worry about ripping a fin
3. Stable enough to do moderate to hard interval sprints since I can’t really get on the bike anymore.
4. Occasionally, drop a line and fish. It is a smallmouth bass destination after all.
With that being said, I’m not even sure what size I should be looking at so any input is appreciated.
herniated disc. That sounds painful :/
I’d recommend the Starboard Atlas. It’s a perfect touring board so it tracks straight even in smaller waves and against the current. The iRocker or Red Paddle Co Sport are just as good and a little faster as well since they are not quite as wide (30″ compared to 33″). However, since you want to go fishing, you will appreciate the extra stability of a wider board. The Atlas is also longer, allowing you to store gear easily.
Let me know what you decide on and good luck recovering from your injury!
Would your answer be the same if I removed the “fishing” option from the equation? That is probably the smallest part of the purchase.
If you removed the fishing option I’d go for the iRocker. It’s great for beginners and reasonably priced. Also tracks well and is definitely faster than the Atlas. Less width=more speed.
Out of curiosity, in your review of the inflatables, why did you not recommend the Naish? Again, I have no familiarity with any of the models. I just thought that was the industry standard.
You’re right, Naish makes great boards. I wouldn’t necessarily call them the industry standard though. In fact, the Red Paddle Co Ride is the most sold inflatable paddle board. I tested a lot of boards and the three mentioned here stood out for different reasons. With the growing variety of inflatables only naming 3 boards is of course questionable. I know there are other boards that should be mentioned to really make the list complete. I already have some reviews planned to go more into inflatable race boards, inflatable touring boards, etc.
At 235lbs I would like to pickup an inflatable that holds my weight and tracks well. I SUP everyday rain or snow in a river upstream for 2 miles. I currently use a hardboard. Can I get your choice between the following:
Starboard: 14’0” x 28” RACER INFLATABLE
Starboard Atlas you show here
irocker you show here.
Which one based on features and not price would you recommend?
Both the Atlas and Race have a recommended rider weight of up to 240lbs so you are cutting it close. Even though I’m sure that both boards can support more weight, the performance might be a bit worse. The Atlas, for example, is the only one out of the three that is 4.75″ and not 6″ thick and the Racer is 14′ long. Both are factors that could cause the board to slightly bend in the middle, especially if your SUPing in bad weather or choppy conditions and are close to the weight limit.
I’d say go for the iRocker. It’s thick enough and won’t bend.
Hope that helps!
I can’t find a review for the NRS thrive. Is there a reason? Has anyone tried it? I am trying to decide what board to buy, petaluma river and santa cruz bay would be the two main places i paddle. Mostly for exercise, maybe a little yoga. Mright now I am between a ten toes, red ride, and the nrs thrive. Anyone have any opinions, suggestions, advice? Thanks
no specific reason at all. Unfortunately, there are just way more interesting boards on the market than we have the time to review. I’ve never tested the NRS Thrive but at 36″ wide it will definitely be the most stable one out of the three you named. The Red Paddle Co Ride is a great choice for sure. Here is a full review I did a while back.
If you’re on a budget I would take a look at the new iRocker Cruiser. I like it better than the Ten Toes Weekender and it would be better suited for exercise and yoga. Here is my full Cruiser review.
Hope that helps!
So I will say that I do work for a retailer that sells the NRS Thrive but I will try and provide a bit of unbiased information.
When you choose a board you should be looking for a very specific set of criteria. Shape, Volume, Max Pressure, Valve Type.
Volume will dictate how the board will behave with different sizes of paddlers, manufacturers will base their suggestions with this number in mind, if you find a high volume board that is also wide it will be very stable. If you go for a lower volume board it will be lighter to carry, be more responsive as your shift your body weight.
Boards come in only a handful of Shapes.
Angling check out the badfisher from Boardworks for a great example of what an angling board can provide in features, stability for casting. It has 3 chambers and is very stable.
Whether it is for ocean or river surfing these boards are designed to hand surfing on waves, standing waves or moving.
This shape is available from all brands, great first board, whether it is a hard board or inflatable. Pay attention to paddler weight suggestion, and pick a good brand that has updated their technology. Good boards are hitting 18-20 PSI and provide a much more stiff and better performing board.
Based of a Racing standard, touring boards often have more volume and more attachment points, they will track better than a universal shape but are less good for yoga, fishing, and aren’t as fun to play around on.
People have started to race on inflatables as the technology improves, make great fitness boards also.
I do agree that a Review of the 3 Best Boards seems suspect but I also understand that you can’t try every board on the market.
Back to the NRS Thrive
These boards are a really good change from the NRS inflatables from last season and earlier, they can be inflated up to 20PSI, they have a C7 valve which is standard for whitewater rafts which NRS has been a part of for many years. The fins on the Thrive series are removable and you get a selection to use depending on if if you are using it on flatwater, moving water etc. The deck is a thick layer of soft EVA which gives you good grip and a soft landing if you happen to fall on your knees. As with all Universal Shapes, choose the board based on your weight and ability level. Last thing to mention, make sure that whatever board you choose has a good warranty in case something happened at the factory, inflatables are durable but manufacturing mistakes happen in every industry great to see brands that back up their products.
I’m 70 yrs female. Have bad knees, but can getup on the board slowly, I need stability as number one, more than speed. I love the water, but need one that isn’t wobbly and can make me feel safe on the water. I’m 5’8. thanks want isup. any suggestions please. My head is spinning with all these info. thanks
sorry for the late reply. Sounds like the iRocker Cruiser would be the perfect board for you. It’s super stable, inflatable and reasonably priced. You can read my full review here.
We’re looking to purchase our first SUP. I have very little paddleboard experience, aside from renting one in Jamaica a few months ago, but am pretty athletic (Crossfit and running). We plan on using it on the lakes/reservoirs in CO and would like a board that I can take one of my kids on with me (ages 5 and 7).
It sounds like the iRocker 11′ is the perfect choice for you. It’s great for lake cruising and stable enough for 2 people. The board can hold up to 385 lbs so you can easily bring one or even both of you kids. Hope that helps 🙂
I live in Colorado too. I can’t decide what brand to buy! Which brand did you buy?
Very happy I stumbled across your reviews of the 3 ISUP. It’s primary use will be on Lake Michigan, Traverse City bays and inland lakes exploring/touring. I weigh 190lbs and occasionally will have my 50lbs dog with me for shorter trips. Which of these 3 would be best? Any others I should consider?
I’d recommend you try the iRocker. It’s great for exploring/touring. If you want something slightly wider to make it easier for your dog you can try the All Around 11′. It’s 2 inches wider but still has a fairly sporty shape. So you get a more stable base without sacrificing too much speed.
Another one I can definitely recommend is the Thurso Surf I tested recently. It comes with a super light carbon paddle which is great for longer trips and a single fin setup which is ideal for touring.
I am sold on iRocker, but not sure which ones. I am 5’8″ 180 lbs, pretty athletic, beginner SUP’er. My daughter is 5’4″ 85 lbs, athletic and beginner as well. I want to buy boards that will fit our current level, but also boards that will serve us well as we get more accomplished. We will mostly use on flat water with occasional trips to the beach.
sounds like the iRocker Sport reviewed in this article would be a great fit. At 30″ wide it’s the sportiest board in the iRocker lineup and you will enjoy it as you get more advanced as well. It’s great for flat water cruising or short trips to the beach. The 10′ version would be fine for both of you. A more stable, yet slightly slower option would be the new Allrounder SUP from iRocker. It’s basically the same shape but it’s two inches wider and has a wider tail for added stability. Perfect if you want to bring a friend or some extra gear.
I am interested in a first paddle board. It will be used mostly from a boat in sheltered water.I weigh 13 stone, the rest of the family want to use the board as well as children aged 14, 12 and 7 and of course my wife. My guess the children will subject it to abuse. With this range of use and users what would you recommend? Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
Hi Fraser and sorry for the late reply. Sounds like the new All Around range iRocker released this year would be ideal for you. It’s 32″ wide and stable enough for beginners and your kids but still maintains a sporty shape at the same time. There is a 10′ and 11′ version. I’d suggest you go for the 10′ to make sure your kids can handle it as well. It also has a weight capacity of 350 lbs. That’s enough for either all 3 of your kids or for you to bring one of them or your wife along. Last but not least it’s super durable and can withstand quite a bit of abuse. I reviewed the 10′ here and the 11′ here.
Hope that helps
Love this review, I am trying to decide between the iRocker and the ride, I assume it will by far mostly be used on flat water. I think what matters most to me is that smoother glide feeling through the water.
Thanks 🙂 Definitely go for the iRocker if that’s your priority. The large center fin causes it to track straighter and the 30″ width means there is less resistance. You basically glide further with every paddle stroke.
New to the inflatable game. I paddle boarded in Florida most of my life. Now I’m looking for something to use on lakes in and around Austin area. Occasionally take back to Florida to use in the bay and gulf. I would like a board that is fast and tracks well in all conditions. Usually carry a small cooler.
New to the inflatable game. Paddleboarded most of my life in Florida. Looking for something that tracks well and is fast for light conditions. I live in the Austin area now. I will take back to Florida to use in the surf in Bay from time to time. The Irocker has great reviews. How does it compare to the tower 2 adventure and also the peak?
Thanks for your help!
if you want a fast board the Peak isn’t really the one for you. The iRocker is 11′ long, the Adventurer 2 is 10’6″. It’s also 30″ wide while the Adventurer is 32″ wide. The extra length with less width brings obvious advantages when it comes to speed and glide.
Tracking is not an issue with either board but given that your focus is on speed I’d say go for the iRocker or check out the Tower iRace if you want something even faster.
Hope that helps 🙂
Awesome, thank you so much for your help.
Thanks for the reviews and comments. We decided on the iRocker two board special. For my husband (tall, beginner and over 220) we got the the iRocker Crusier and the 11′ for me. We couldn’t be more pleased with the quality ( metal D rings, bungee cords, fin options, ankle strap etc), total packaging (everything was included), pumps, ride, and responsiveness. They were easy to assemble, inflate/deflate and pack Nice side benefit was that the Crusiers’ stripes also helped my husband with his balance and foot placement since he’s a beginner. We’re new converts!
Glad to hear that 🙂 Enjoy your boards!
Thanks for the great reviews.
I’m a beginner (have rented a couple of times at the ocean and lake).
irocker 11 sounds like a good beginner board for those environments?
Yes, the iRocker 11 would be a good choice. If you paddle in really choppy conditions a lot or still feel a bit wobbly, the iRocker All Around offers a little more stability (2″ wider). I reviewed it here.
Thanks for your feedback!
Hi. I just posted a comment about deciding between Ten Toes Yogi and iRocker 11′. I meant the iRocker Cruiser, not Ten Toes Yogi. iRocker Cruiser or 11′. I’ve already owned one board and hated it because the top was almost completely covered with water while in use. I’m only 150 lbs and it says that it’s good for up to 250. It was a Lucky Bums board. I want a board that is good for Yoga and exploring. The kids and their friends will mess around with it too, so it needs to hold a lot of weight. I want it to be very stable, but at the same time fairly quick. Thanks!
Go for the Cruiser. It’s perfect for yoga and can hold a ton of weight. You definitely won’t have any of the issues you mentioned. The Cruiser can definitely hold the 350 lbs and it’s 2″ thicker than the Lucky Bums board (6″ compared to 4″). You will definitely feel the difference.
Thank You so much! Thank you for responding quickly!
No problem 🙂
My husband and I are shopping for our first iSUP’s and are overwhelmed by the choices out there (and very confused as to our best beginner board). We will be paddling in lakes and rivers mostly in Manitoba, Canada. He is 6′ and 190lbs. I am 5’6″ and 140lbs. We will also bring along our 15lb terrier. We just want an inflatable to cruise and tour around easily. We don’t need to go fast but want nice glide and tracking to tour around the large lakes in Manitoba. I’ve read lots of your reviews but what would you recommend for our first boards? Thanks so much!
Did you check out the iRocker All Around. It was released this year and sounds perfect for you. It’s very stable and beginner friendly yet still sporty enough to cover longer distances. Tracks well with a large center fin and you also have enough space to take your dog.
Your husband would ideally get the 11′ board and youre better off with the 10′ one.
Let me know how you like them!
Thanks so much for your reply. The iRocker is one of the boards I looked at after reading your wonderfully detailed review. The only thing I noticed is that it has no front and back carry handles. Is this something that riders really miss when carrying the board around or pulling it up on shore or a dock? The other board I read about on the net and seemed to have quite a fan base was the Isle Explorer 11′. But I don’t see it reviewed on your site. Our local board shop is really trying to steer us towards the Red Paddle Ride 10’6″ but it’s over 2x more money. I’m not sure if we should be dropping that much cash on our first boards.
Hey Colleen. You’re Right, one thing that is missing is some extra handles. However, even the Red Paddle Co doesn’t have a front handle.
I honestly don’t think the Red Paddle Co is worth the extra money for a beginner. In fact I think the iRocker or Isle would be a better choice. The RPC thruster fin setup makes it great for waves but also hard to track straight, especially for beginners.
Both the Isle and iRocker have a lange center fin which makes steering the board in a straight line a lot easier.
The Isle is a great board and I will review it in the next few weeks.
Thanks for the great reviews. I would like to purchase inflatable SUPs for both my wife and I to use on mountain lakes. I am 6′ (220 lbs.) and my wife is 5’3 (115 lbs.) We have both rented a couple of times and boarded on calm rivers and harbors. Which boards would you recommend?
Sorry. I somehow missed your comment. The iRocker Sport is a good choice. It’s the quickest board iRocker sells but given that you have some experience and will paddle on calm lakes I think you will really enjoy it. There is a 10′ one for your wife and an 11′ version for you. It Tracks really well and is beginner friendly. Another really cool SUP is the Thurso Surf. It’s a new brand which I reviewed here.
Don’t see any reviews on Isle boards yet they seem to be popular on Amazon. Any thoughts on them?
Yup, great boards. I will publish in-depth reviews of ISLE boards in the next few weeks. What kind of board are you looking for? The explorer is a pretty good all around option.
What are your thoughts on Sea Eagle Needlenose 116? Was it part of your review? Their site promotes the advantage of its Straight-line hull design with NO UPTURN increasing performance, speed and efficiency that slices through the water. The video show it tracking well without lots of switching side to side. Also any comments on the electric pump B12 single stage pump? 5’8 140 pounds. Thanks
I unfortunately never tested the Needlenose but it’s definitely on my to-do list. I can certainly imagine that performance, speed and efficiency are as good as Sea Eagle claims. Looking at the shape the pointy nose will definitely help cut through the water with ease and it looks absolutely perfect for touring and flat water. Tracking, speed and efficiency should be exceptional. Keep in mind though that it will be a bit less stable than other boards that have a wider nose.
It looks like it’s really a flat water board though. I’m guessing it’s probably not ideal for choppy water and I’d certainly stay away from the surf.
The B12 pump seems to have some issues (https://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=25307.0). One I use myself and can recommend is the Sevylor Pump.
Tried paddle boarding just last week for the first time in Colorado while on vacation. It was just fantastic. Coming back to home, Oklahoma, we’re wanting to try it on some of our local lakes. We looked at a store today and didn’t even know inflatables were a real option but they had a Slingshot for us to look at and they seemed so durable and impressive. Your reviews seem to be excellent and well done. For my wife and I, we think the iRocker could be the best choice. She wants to try yoga on it so maybe she would get a shorter version but both of us try the All Around versions? What about the Slingshot? The iRocker comes with the paddle (are theirs the lightweight version?) but we’d have to buy one for the Slingshot…. which might make it just a little more $$$s. Your thoughts and opinions are appreciated. Great site.
Hi there. Thanks a lot! Glad you like the reviews. I’ve not had the chance to test Slingshot SUPs but have heard a ton of positive things about them. At 34″ it might not be the sportiest option though. The iRocker All Around is definitely a great option as well. They are super stable and perfect for beginners. The iRocker Cruiser might be an even better choice for your wife if she wants to do a lot of yoga. The All Around and Cruiser both come with the new backpack version and a fiberglass paddle which is significantly lighter than the aluminum paddles that are usually included. A carbon paddle would be even lighter but those usually start at $200+.
Including a paddle, you’d be looking at around $1000 for the Slingshot compared to $600-$700 (depending on the length) for the All Around. Since I’ve not tested the Slingshot it’s hard for me to say whether or not the Slingshot is worth the extra $$$. Quality wise, the iRocker definitely won’t disappoint you.
Great feedback! Much appreciated. We’ve been looking at the iRockers and she’s also very interested in the Isle yoga model – see that you are getting ready to review those too! It sounds like the “taco’ing” issue doesn’t affect any of these newer boards- the guy at the store was telling us previous boards he had used had that issue (I think he means they fold in a little and take some water). Nevertheless, the ones you have recommended don’t seem to have that issue so that is good. Guessing technology has really been progressing and getting better and better quickly. Again, thanks!
Yup, the technology has definitely improved a ton. The first few inflatables were pretty useless. They would be insanely bouncy and not nearly stiff enough so they would bend under weight. The new generations don’t have that issue anymore and they are getting better every year. You still find these issues in the low-end models you get for $200-$300 but not in the ones I recommend here.
I might have missed it somewhere but are the 3 fins removable on the iRocker All Around 11′?
Cannot find a video or if there’s text, I’m not seeing it … curious if they pop-off as well. Thanks.
SUP-G…. nevermind, I just found and watched a video over on irocker’s site and the two smaller fins are fixed while the middle/large fin is removeable. TIA
Yup, that’s right. The side fins are glued. The center fin I removable. There are unfortunately very very few paddle boards that have removable side fins. Most 2017 Starboard models have removable side fins though which is a pretty sweet feature since it just adds so much versatility. Huge plus I’m missing in the SUPs listed. However, that obviously comes at a price.
You can find the Starboard SUPs here. At the moment they’ve got a pretty sweet deal with a free high-quality paddle and you also get another $75 off if you use the coupon code: SUPBOARDGUIDE
I think I’m really on the iRocker 11′ all around – you’ve done a good job reviewing them and we did buy an Isle (wife’s for yoga and pb’ing) and it is very very impressive. Think the 11′ all around will be nice as well
thanks for the feedback
Sounds good. We’ve good a compare of the ISLE coming out soon. Let me know how you like the iRocker compared to the ISLE 🙂
One of the best places to paddleboard in my opinion in Colorado is Lake Irwin in Crested Butte. The town is amazing and the lake is beautiful!
Love your reviews! I’m having a hard time deciding between the irocker boards. I’m 5’6 and like a fairly fast ride and would be paddling flat water with possible boat wake. Have paddled before not a beginner but not an expert. Comfortable for sure. What board would you recommend?
The iRocker Sport is the sportiest board they offer and would be the ideal choice for you. It’s 30″ wide and performs really well on flat water. A bit of chop or board waker is no problem either. It’s also still stable enough that even a beginner could handle it so you won’t have any problems staying on your feet. The one drawback is, that it still comes with the old aluminum paddle and backpack. I mention that in detail here under “Update and more option”.
Hope that helps
The iRocker Sport is the sportiest board they offer and would be the ideal choice for you. It’s 30″ wide and performs really well on flat water. A bit of chop or board waker is no problem either. It’s also still stable enough that even a beginner could handle it so you won’t have any problems staying on your feet. The one drawback is, that it still comes with the old aluminum paddle and backpack. I mention that in detail here under “Update and more option”.
Hope that helps
Very bad experience with Athleteshop and with Aquaparx . Paddle surf has manufacturing defect. They give no solution.
Pésima experiencia con Athleteshop y con Aquaparx. Compramos un paddle surf que pierde aire por distintos puntos de la junta. No dan una solución. Producto defectuoso e inseguro. No responden de la garantía legal.
Sorry to hear that. Neither Athleteshop nor Aquaparx are recommended anywhere on this site and I’ve never had contact with them so I unfortunately can’t help.
What board would be your recommendation for use in ocean conditions?
I’d look at the iRocker All Around if you’re a beginner (10′ and 11′ version available). If you’re an advanced paddler or want to cover longer distances the Starboard Atlas is a great option. You can find it here. It currently comes with a free fiber glass paddle and if you use the coupon code SUPBOARDGUIDE you get another $75 off. I reviewed the 2016 version the 2017 board seems to be even better and Starboard added some nice features.
Hey SUP Guide,
We are an iSUP manufacturer in Southern California. Our new Gen 2 iSUPs will be ready to ship to customers in a few weeks. We would love it if you could review them on your website. Please contact me to set it up. 844-649-9787 x802. [email protected]. Hope to hear from you soon.
sounds interesting. I will send you an email.
My wife and I took your recommendations regarding the iRocker all around. We purchased the 11′ and 10′. We are loving the boards! The iRocker air pump works great, but could you recommend an electric pump that would work with the iRocker?
Glad to hear that. Do not buy the Sevylor 12V pump. I bought it and it fell apart the first time I used it. The Bravo BP12 is a really solid option. If you prefer a pump that plugs into your cigarette lighter you can try the electric pump by Tower.
I got a Bravo 20. We can get our 2 Red Paddle boards inflated on one charge. If the battery isn’t charged up, we just flip over to the 12 volt option. It’s great having the rechargeable option but this model does cost more.
Coleman @ Target. Inexpensive and comes in rechargeable or 12v model.
I read many articals about SUPs posted on your website and surprised by your insightful ideas of SUPs, we think you are professional SUP enthusiast. We are a professional iSUP paddle board seller on Amazon.com and we want to establish business relationship with you. Is there any chance to add our sup board on your review essay, or would you pls tell us how to cooperate with your website?
thanks for your message. You can email me at [email protected].
Thanks for the excellent reviews.
Ive been SUPing for a long time and want to transition to an inflatable so I can bring it with me on my trips to Hawai‘i.
I’m not a beginner and have been looking a lot at the Red boards.
Wondering though if you would recommend something at a lower price point that would give me a similar feel to what I love of my wood and other hard SUP boards.
Or is the Red co. really that much better for an intermediate paddler like me?
I’d like something good for the ocean but not necessarily for surfing although that would be a bonus. Just something that can handle the chop.
I’m 5’7” and 160lbs.
glad you liked the review. If you’re an advanced paddler I’d recommend the Red. Check out the Red Sport if you want a great touring board. If you want to play in the waves as well I’d say go for the Ride.
The cheaper boards like the iRocker are great. However, at basically half the price you can’t expect it to perform on the same level as the Red boards. They are as close to a hardboard as it gets.
What model is the iRocker iSUP you rated as no. 1. Is it the SPORT?
Yes, it’s the Sport 11′
Hi thanks for your reviews.
I Think i have decided to buy The irocker sport but not sure what size? 10 or 11 ?
I want it for fitness and cruising. I’m fairly sporty and used to water sport, but it will be my first SUB
I’m female, 5’9” (1.8 m) and 69 kg
Hey. You will be fine with the 11′. It’s better for cruising (more glide) but to much to handle for some shorter females. Given you’re fairly tall though and sporty you will be totally fine and get better performance
I’m looking for an inflatable SUP to hike into Alpine Lakes with. What make / model do you think rolls down the smallest and is still a good all around board. Thank you
There are some boards that roll down really small but that’s usually because they use just a single layer of PVC. That makes there board light and allows it to be rolled down small but you sacrifice on quality a lot. I think the Nixy Newport is a great option if you want something that’s super light-weight (19lbs) but is still high-quality and offers a great paddling experience. The Nixy backpack is also one of the best in the industry and super comfy. You can also bring plenty of extra gear since it has a lot of pockets/additionals storage.
You can check out my review here.
Great thanks.. I will check Nixy out. I was thinking of the Tower Adventuerer 2, based on the price and size. I’m not as worried worried about the weight. I plan on packing one in a large backpack designed for long treks. I will use it for shorter trips. Thanks for providing all this information to us.
You’re welcome. The Adventurer 2 is a great board. However, the pump that is included is pretty large and bulky. The Nixy comes with a smaller pump. If you’re trying to fit everything into a trecking backpack you will feel the difference. The Tower pump also doesn’t have a deflate option. The Nixy comes with a Bravo 4 which can be used to deflate your board and suck out the last bit of air. It makes it much easier to roll it up.
Glad I stumbled on your website today. I am Looking for a suggestion on ISUP.
I am a 6’1″ and 270 pounds 50 year old male (looking to drop that down to 220 by becoming more active). I rented a 10’8″ hard BIC board last week and I don’t think it held my weight well as my feet were always wet. It was also very difficult for me to stay standing (not stable). I am a beginner in any board sports, but an avid cyclist and swimmer.
Based on my weight and the need for a stable board as a beginner, would you still recommend the irocker, or is spending more money on a stiffer board a better option?
absolutely. The iRocker Cruiser would be ideal for you. At 270 lbs all boards are going to feel a little more unstable than they would at 170 lbs. But a little bit of practice will work wonders. SUP is a really ann easy sport to learn.
The Cruiser is awesome and will support your weight. At 270 lbs you’re still 80 lbs below the weight limit.
I believe you are missing one board…The not yet forgotten ULI Board. The boards are designed and made in Carlsbad, CA. I have a Red Paddle and 3 ULI boards. I can honestly say that my 12’6 ULI touring is definitely my go to board. I paid just as much for my Red the major difference is the quality. You can really tell what board is factory made vs. hand made. The durability of red is great, but its hard to detect too much of a difference with my ULI with the Kevlar strips. Plus my ULI is thinner and lighter. Overall I like both red and uli but I have to stick with American made ULI.
I know ULI boards and I don’t doubt they are awesome quality. Unfortunately, we were just not able to review any of their boards yet so we can’t really write about them. Hope to include them in the next review though.
Awesome! They are really great boards which is why I’m surprised I can’t find many reviews on them. Plus they let you customize which is pretty cool.
I completely agree. It’s pretty hard to get review boards. That’s probably the reason why there are not a lot of reviews. We’ve been in contact with them though and are pretty confident that we will be able to review ULI boards this summer
Nice site and reviews! I would like to know what you think of the blackfin from irocker? Is it much better than te normal ones, like the one from above?
And do you know anything of the Indiana isup? It isn’t cheap but it sais it has one layer. I would like to know if it is a good sup? Thanks!
Thank you 🙂
The Blackfin is awesome. We wrote a full review of the Model X here and of the Model XL here. They are better than the Cruiser and if you have the budget I’d go for the Blackfin. The three boards above will be updated soon. We’re already working on a new list of boards.
I’ve never tested the inflatables by Indiana but the hardboards are pretty good. If they are single layer boards I’d definitely stay away from them though. Single layers are usually used in cheap boards that cost $500 or less. We tested a bunch of them and the results were not great, to be honest. You can read about it here. A single layer won’t be anywhere as durable or stable as several layers and it will bend under weight.
Do you guys know much about BOTE ISUPs? Specifically the HD?
Wondering how the compare because the prices are much higher. Am I getting what I pay for?
I appreciate it!
Never got the chance to test them unfortunately so there is not a ton I can tell you about BOTE. They are definitely the go-to company for fishing SUPs though. They’ve got a bunch of extra features you don’t find on the boards mentioned above that make them perfect for fishing like the paddle sheaths and rack compatibility.
Have come with a repair kit? Or what type of adhesive should I buy for a board?
They all come with a repair kit that includes glue.
This is by far the most helpful article I’ve read on this yet! However I’m still debating which to buy but leaning towards iRocker and would love your POV.
I live in Miami and paddle board bayside (can be relatively flat or small waves and strong wind) and South Beach (waves), but am moving to Austin the end of this year (flat). I also love going fast and paddle boarding as a workout, but don’t want to eliminate the ability to do yoga and take it easy once in awhile. Is there a board that “does it all” with multiple capacities like this?
Your typical all-around board is designed to “do it all”. The iRocker All Around for example can tackle small waves, it’s reasonably fast, and it’s also wide enough to do yoga. We just reviewed the new 2018 model here.
However, you should know that all-around boards come with drawbacks. You have to sacrifice a little speed to have a board wide enough for yoga. At the same time, if it was the perfect yoga board, it would be even wider like the Model XL for example.
So while you can still paddle fast and cover some distance don’t expect it to be as fast as a proper touring board.
Thanks so much! Your additional reviews were very insightful too. You’ve convinced me- purchasing now. I appreciate your help!
Glad to hear that 🙂
Thanks for the great review!
What do you recommend for 180 lb. paddler looking for racing and all-around use?
I’d check out the Thurso Expedition. It’s a really sporty touring SUP.
How come you haven’t mentioned the Billboard H4 paddle board? Have you tried it and in that case what do you think of it?
As I am considering buying a stand-up paddle board, I would like to know how the Billboard would be compared to the other boards mentioned in this review.
we didn’t test the Billboard H4. The reason is that it’s just impossible to test every single SUP on the market. There are literally hundreds of boards and dozens of companies that bring out new products every single year. We’ve tested 40+ boards and the ones mentioned here were the ones we liked the best for the reasons we give in the review.
We make sure we test boards from the most popular companies out there and also some smaller players like Gili for example. Billboard seems to produce a good product but it looks like they only ship from the UK so for anyone outside Europe it’s not really relevant.
My question is about the storage of the inflatable paddleboards. Is I t better to deflate them and store them in the travel bag or leave them inflated and only deflate them when necessary?
I’d suggest deflating the boards whenever you want to store them for a long time (over winter or for several days/weeks). Just make sure your board is completely dry before you roll it up and store it in the travel bag.
However, you can leave your boards inflated if you use them regularly. There is no need to inflate/deflate them if you use your board every other day. What I’d suggest you do though is to let out a little bit of air and not leave your board inflated at the 15 PSI. Maybe just let out a little bit of pressure. The volume of the air inside will vary with falling and rising temperatures and it’s not great for your SUP long-term.
Hi there – I’m debating between the Gili and the iRocker All-Around. New to paddleboarding . . . #1 want something both my young kids (ages 7, 10) and myself (5’10, 160) can mess around on coastal waters of Alaska where we live. Is $150 price difference between two brands a noticeable quality/performance difference for ocean use? Thanks so much!!!!
Hey Damara 🙂
My personal opinion is that the price difference is mainly because of materials. So, yes there is a noticeable difference. The cheapest boards on the market are generally single layer PVC. The issues with this are the chances of damage is considerably higher, they aren’t as rigid (will flex under weight) and even though they are light (which is normally a good thing), they are more wind affected. So if it’s between one of the cheaper SUPs and a mid-range only $150 more, I would always highly suggest paying it. You’ll get a board that lasts longer and has better accessories (eg paddle) which makes paddling easier. Additionally, something that offers a little more performance means as you get into the sport more, you’ll get to keep experimenting and having fun!
Hope that helps 🙂
Helps a ton! THANKS
This is a great article, and I appreciate the knowledge, experience, and obvious passion you have for paddleboarding! Thank you for your work, as it would be impossible to try all of these out in Oklahoma. We have a couple of shops that offer the Red Paddle Co. boards, and then there are some no name cheapos available at the local stores, but the sweet spot for me was that $500-$700 range as I was just beginning, but didn’t want to keep renting at $20/hr.
I decided on the Thurso Waterwalker 11′, and I couldn’t be happier. I absolutely love the way the board looks, tracks, and the stability is great. I’m 5’11”, and weigh in about 250 lbs. and I don’t get any water on top of the board. My 5 lbs. morkee, Teddy, has a great time going out with me too, but the front of the Waterwalker is a little too pointy for him. When my family goes out with me, they use sit on top kayaks, and I am constantly slowing down to allow them to catch up, so the board must be pretty fast (or maybe my family is just really slow.)
Now I am looking for another inflatable, as the kayaks fill up the top of my Honda Pilot, and my kids are always wanting to take over my paddle board. I’m thinking the Thurso Surf Tranquility, as my experience with the company has been top notch, but I would be open to entertaining the Blackfin X, as it really looks like the real deal. Do you have any suggestions? We really go out to just spend family time together.
Hey there, thanks for the compliments! Appreciate the feedback 🙂
So, I personally found the Blackfin and Tranquility to be very similar. The differences? The tranquillity is much lighter(easier for everyone to move it around) and you get the cool deck bag. The Blackfin has a better fin setup and way more handles for kids to hold onto. The overall shape is quite similar though. I would say the stability and speed are about the same. The Blackfin, however, does have a slight increase of rocker and the FCS fin system means you can change fins, so, it’s a little more versatile. I like both boards! Haha it’s a tricky call, perhaps if your kids are quite young the handles would be great. Both boards have wide noses too, so Morkee should be loving life up the front on either!
Hello, I am an intermediate paddler, male, 5’9″, 195, and I am looking for a second board that I could take on road trips so I am looking at an iSUP. I really like to have plenty of tie downs as I take one of my retrievers with me (75 and 85 lbs) so my space is limited in the front. I also need one that is pretty versatile. I am thinking about picking up the Turso Surf 10’6″. I mostly paddle on flat rivers/lakes, but would like to also take it on an occasional trip to the ocean and even try some class I whitewater, and possibly class II just for fun. Would this board meet my needs?
Sarah already replied to your comment on the Thurso review. To add to that I’d suggest that the Thurso is not the ideal board for you. The Blackfin for example can carry a lot more weight than the Thurso and with a heavy dog in the front it will perform way better. It is fairly wide though and won’t be as fast as your hardboard. It is however one of the few boards that has tie down straps in the front and the back. Another board I’d definitely check out is the ERS Skylake. It’s really high-quality and it can handle class I rapids. Class II will be a challenge though as it will be with most all around boards. Hope that helps
Hi there! Wow. Such a great article and so helpful.
I live in Canada and am wanting to make my first SUP purchase. I am 5’7 and am not sure if I should get the irocker all around 10′ or 11.
I would like to take my dog around with me and hopefully convince my husband to use it once in a while. Just worried about picking the wrong size!
Thank you so much 🙂 Always lovely to know our efforts are appreciated.
I would suggest the 10′ would be enough. Since introducing their quad-layer iRockers boards can really take some weight! The 11′ won’t make your life impossible, it’s just a little heavier and slower to turn. So if you really feel like you’d want to load up, you’ll be fine on the 11′ too. But, for ease, I would still suggest the 10′ is fine. Unless your dog is a great dane? Haha then maybe the 11′ is necessary.
Thanks so much for all your amazing reviews. I’m debating my first board purchase. I am interesting in cruising on flatware lakes and some chop (lake ontario) so need something that is stable enough with a good paddle to do some distance along the shoreline if the weather changes a bit. I enjoying the idea of anchoring and doing some yoga and I have a 70 lb lab that I’ve been able to get on my friends so hoping he will join in some adventuring. I was originally looking at Ten Toes Weekender as it was on for an amazing price but now I’m looking at the Thurso Weekender 10 6, the irocker all around or the the blackfin. I have to admit I like pushing myself to paddle hard and get a bit of a workout so it’s nice to track well. I know there are so many options and I probably just have to pull the trigger but the ten toes is half the price of the others and maybe a decent starter board. Thoughts? Help… 🙂
We’re glad to help 🙂 I’d suggest you go for the all-around or Blackfin. Both are the most durable and stiff boards out of the 4 you named. The Tentoes is alright but not great. It’s definitely got more flex than the others and doesn’t perform. The Thurso is much better but with a 70lb lab sitting at the nose you will get some issues for sure. The Blackfin will be the best for Yoga and bringing your dog. You’ve got plenty of space and it is insanely stable. It also comes with the best accessories and is the highest quality. It’s not the fastest board due to it’s shape though. If speed is important go for the all-around. It’s faster and still comes with solid accessories. Hope that helps and let me know if you need anything else 🙂
PS: I think the TenToes is $500 so not that far off the all-around price?
Thanks. The ten toes was $500 and the all around is $900. The thurso is $800 and blackfin is $1000 for me up in the north with a ton of taxes to add. It’s been a tough choice because I only want the option to bring my pup but will mostly be alone on it tracking along the shores of the lake. Weather and wind changes in a day quite a bit so would need something that tracks decent and can cut the waves. I feel like the Thurso or the all around will do the trick. I think the blackfin will slow me down a lot when out with my friend who has a hard board. Less ideal. So for the price difference of $100 more (over the Thurso) is the irocker all around really that much better? I know it has the quad layers and the better pump but the paddle and added accessories on the Thurso make it a great package. And the debate continues…Haha.
Thanks sooo much for all your help. Your reviews have been super helpful!
Did you check irockersup.ca?? The All-Around is currently listed at $900 CAD which is about $680 USD. That’s actually a little cheaper than the USD price on the .com site. That’s probably still a little bit more than the Thurso though. Both the Thurso and the iRocker are way better than the TenToes. You pretty much described the differences. The iRocker is more durable and a little stiffer. You will have an easier time with your pup on board with the iRocker. He/She will be sitting near the nose and the iRocker does handle extra weight better. Then again you the Thurso does have more accessories included. The paddle is a little nicer and the cooler bag is great for warm days. Both will have some trouble keeping up with hardboards but that’s the issue you have with every inflatable, unfortunately.
Btw, if you value performance a lot you might want to check out the Sport as well! It’s definitely a little more streamlined and sporty 😉
Happy to help 🙂
Hello! Are there any inflatables that have the kayak seat as an add-on that you would recommend?
both the iRocker and Blackfin board recommended in this review have an optional kayak seat!
I am looking for a cheap isup for my 16 year old daughter. I don’t want to pay a lot as she will not be able to use it that often. The aquamarina vapor and the goplus with the wood grain design are the two I am looking at. I love the design of the goplus and that it is 6″ thick and with the aquamarina I like that u can add a kayak seat but concerned about the 4″ thickness. Would you recommend either one or can you suggest another in the under $300 range. She will be using it in lakes, inlets and possibly in shallow river with very mild rapids.
Check out our cheap SUP article, it’s got some budget sups that we can recommend. The thing with the ones you’re talking about is that sometimes you end up with a SUP that isn’t even usable after a couple of times of going out. They are prone to damage, air leaks and the accessories make for a lot more effort. You won’t want to use the board at all if you can hardly pump it or if the paddle gives you blisters after a very short time. So it’s worthwhile to think about affording just that little more. The recent winner on that list, the Gili Sports, Gili Air is only $500 and it’s seriously good value considering.
Thanks for the super job on iSUP reviews. Very informative and helpful. I’m wondering if you’ve ever reviewed the Isle Explorer for all-around/touring purposes and if you have, what your thoughts are about it? I’m also interested in the iRocker Sport 11′ to use mostly on lakes and the calmer sections of rivers for cruising and touring. I’m 5′, weigh 115 lbs, a newbie at this, but not afraid of a challenge while learning a new sport. Is there a noticeable difference in speed from a 10′ to an 11′ board on smoother water? Just unsure if the Sport 11′ is too much board for me to handle. Would the iRocker All Around be better suited?
Thanks for the super comment! 😉
I haven’t been on the Isle Explorer (yet!) but Tobias may have, he’ll comment too if he has. Though from what I have heard/seen is that it’s a fantastic board. It’s got a bit more room for taking things than the All-Around but iRockers Blackfin is comparable. However, the Blackfin would be a bit slower though on the plus side, more stable.
You wouldn’t notice a huge difference in speed in the 10′ to 11′, the more noticeable thing is the stability difference. I can feel the difference in speed between the two but I’m not sure if that’s because I was looking for it or if it’s noticeable haha! The Sport is a bit more to handle and not as versatile as the All-Around and Isle Explorer. I would opt for one or the other over the Sport.
I would suggest the Isle Explorer and iRocker All-around are comparable. The Explorer is made with fusion so it’ll be a bit lighter but I would argue the iRocker All-Around would be more stable. Though this is just my opinion of looking at the facts not having ridden then side by side. Just to make it harder haha the iRocker Cruiser is quite similar to the Explorer too.
Hope some of that helps! Thanks for prompting us on another board to add to the list to review. Feel free to suggest boards to review anytime 🙂
Thanks for the prompt response and the info is helpful!
Lots and lots of great information in your “SUP” board comparison piece. However, I know absolute zero about any of the info mentioned! Like what does “SUP” even stand for?!?! LOL!
I have close friends of 40+ years, whose daughter is getting married November 2018. We’ve watched her grow up, go on to graduate from LSU, and now she’s getting hitched! I’ve been thinking about getting them either one or two paddle boards as a wedding gift. As the saying goes, “Couples who play together, stay together!”
Here my question:
Which is the best choice for beginners and the best value (for me)!
They are both VERY tall and slender; he is 6’7” and she is 6’ (she probably weighs 110 lbs.). They live in New Orleans and have a lake nearby, plus they are on the Gulf. She grew up in the Texas Hill Country, (where her parents and friends still live), and where there are shallow and deep river rapids. I am sort of leaning toward one board big enough for both of them and their two dogs (a miniature dachshund & a “Heinz 57” retriever). Then, if it’s something they really enjoy (I can’t even imagine how they wouldn’t – they both LOVE the water), they can purchase another board later that more specifically meets their individual needs. But, I am worried about the dogs “puncturing” the material. And, I don’t want to spend money on a board that doesn’t have any durability and longevity or is too difficult to transport/set-up. I saw one video from iRocker that had a paddle that switched from one-bladed end to a two-bladed end for kayaking, which I thought was a really great option. I’m willing to spend $500-$1,500 (if that’s even possible based on my “wish list”).
Any recommendations would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!
You left two comments so going to just reply here to this one 🙂
Well if you are wanting the versatility with kayak seat and having dogs on board (extra stability) and durability, the iRocker Cruiser is a bullet-proof and stable board. It’s not going to be the greatest in shallow waters/rocky rapids as the large centre fin would get damaged. It is removable but you’ll have a bit of a wobbly board! Twin-fin style down the rapids might be okay, but general shallow waters will be tricky. Your other option is the more premium line of Blackfin boards, they are a bit heavier and slower but more stable and have better accessories eg a bag that rolls and doesn’t have to be carried. So it’s just a matter of priority, stability, portability or versatility?
So if you are wanting something that can be in the shallow waters, have a look at ERS Skylake. Its fins are flexible and can be changed out for smaller profile ones. The downside is it won’t be as stable for the dogs. If they are just starting out on SUP’s, I would suggest the iRocker or Blackfin over the ERS because they will appreciate the stability over the ability to have an occasional rapid run. Like you said, they can always buy their own to suit their needs once they figure out what style of SUPing is for them!
Most inflatable SUP’s won’t puncture from dogs claws, they are built bit tougher than that 😉 The bigger thing to look for is the extra deck pad area so the dog has somewhere to sit!
Oh and SUP = Stand Up Paddleboard! 😀
Congrats to your friend’s daughter from us 🙂
Thank you SOOO MUCH for your very thorough and VERY prompt reply! I will definitely look into the iRocker Cruiser and Blackfin. I really think these two “kids” will enjoy having a “SUP”……seems to be wha”SUP” these days!!! 😜
Have a wonderful day!
PS: Sorry about the double post….my iPad was being quirky!
Hi! I am new to boarding but am a fast learner and am athletic. I want a versitlle board. Tour, maybe paddle a child, relax and float, sometime sit and kayak, take with me when travel so can hop onto any water we see including some with current and small waves but mostly lakes. I am 55 so want it to age with me. I am 120 lbs. What do you recommend? Someone told me Ten Toes. My husband wants a board too. He will do the same as me and fish sometimes. What do you recommend for him? We want inlflatabke and economical. Thank you!!
So first up, the Ten Toes doesn’t have a kayak seat option as far as I’m aware of. The boards I can think of that do are iRocker and Thursosurf. Well, the ones you are worth spending your money on. There are some other brands like Aqua Marina that offer it but I can’t genuinely recommend their products as far as durability goes.
So iRocker – I would look at the Cruiser if you want stability over speed, or the All-Around if you want manoeuvrability/speed over stability. Both are extremely stable, the Cruiser just has a squared tail so that you get stability the whole way through which can be great if you are taking two passengers and so you need to space the weight out over the board.
The Thursosurf – either Waterwalker or Expedition. Though just having a quick look, looks like they’re sold out of the Expedition at the moment. The Waterwalker is a great touring board, speedy but stable.
The difference between the two is weight and durability. I argue the iRocker is more durable due to better construction but it’s also a little heavier. It’s got the better pump while the Thurso has the better paddle. They are pretty tough competitors haha! Though for the diversity of wanting to go in small waves too the All-around is going to be easier, though again I can’t highly recommend it. The higher end boards that are 4″ thick and smaller are better for waves, they turn easier and not going to nosedive so quickly. Buuuut they aren’t as stable or fast for touring.
With the new pump (which believe me makes a HUGE difference to your motivation to get out!) iRocker Cruiser or All-Around will be your best best. The Thurso is more fun for touring, picks up speed better but overall I’d still choose one of the iRockers.
Hope that helps!
Hello, I am looking to purchase an inflatable SUP and I have tried several but I am concerned about buying something that makes me feel unstable. For example, my wife has an F2 Star 125x33x6 max 330 lbs but for the life of me I can’t stay on without falling off. Once I start to wobble, I can’t recover and seem very much affected by the wind or waves. In Europe I tried an RVOLT Airvolt XL 126x32x6 max 330 lbs and felt as stable as a rock, even with small waves and some wind. I don’t seem to have any problems with rental boards either. I just don’t understand why seemingly identical boards can feel so different. The European one is not sold here in the US, so perhaps you could recommend something on which I would feel stable, like the Airvolt XL.
I weight 150 lbs, 5′ 9″. My wife is 110 lbs 5′ 2″ and is very happy on her F2!
So a board that is the same size and shape can feel very different depending on how it’s made. There’s quite a difference between a single layer PVC board and one that is quad layered or uses some type of fusion. The more layers or the stiff result of fusion creates a fair bit of rigidity. So perhaps that’s what has been going on for you when trying different boards 🙂
I would suggest looking at the Blackfins.They are easily the most rigid boards I’ve been on that also still offer a bit of speed/maneuverability.
Let me know how you go!
What board would you suggest for an intermediate paddler – for travel…?
What’s your budget?
Red Paddle Co has some boards that offer up performance for intermediates and their bags are built tough + with wheels!
Also, the ERS (Earth River SUP) range has some brilliantly designed boards with travel bags too.
Depends what kind of conditions you’ll be in most too 🙂
Hello, love your videos. Very helpful and informative, and you can tell you have a great time and love what you do! Thanks for sharing with us all! I’ve got my decision narrowed down to the Blackfin, I believe, but am not sure if the X or the XL is the better model for me. I’m 5’7″ about 130. (My husband will be using it occasionally and he’s 5’9″ and 200.). My ‘wants’ are the kayak seat option, stability, and leisure paddling around. Live in Wisconsin will be using on lakes mostly, some rivers perhaps, but would be larger, deeper rivers. One of your video’s on the XL said the X may be a better option for someone just wanting to go out by themselves or smaller… when I watched the X video, I’m just not sure about the steering and speed of it. I’m a beginner… like on a board once, but it was a cheap $200 model, and pretty squirelly. Not sure if your expert review saying the board is harder to steer and goes slower, is something that I should worry about that I won’t like it, or if it’s going to help me like it better. Any words of wisdom or recommendations for me? Thank you so very much!
Thanks so much for your kind words, made me smile!
I think the X will be plenty enough. It is tricky to review boards when your opinion has to be heard by people that are beginners-advanced haha my descriptions mean different things to different people. Which is why I’m so happy you reached out, always like to take the time to explain further. So it’s a slower board than a touring board as it’s a bit wider. It’s not so much slower that you won’t enjoy it though. The extra width also will initially aid you! The upgrades for 2019 also mean the board is a bit lighter so it goes a little faster. I’ll be putting up the review for 2019 over the next week or so, so keep your eyes open!
As far as turning, I mean it turns slower, not harder. There’s a difference. It turns slower again because of its weight and width. A slower turn is actually easier for beginners too. They are really awesome boards! If you want to grab yourself a bargain I would be getting the 2018 while they are on sale though 😉 There are improvements on the 2019 for sure but I’d be just as happy with the 2018.
Thanks, Sacky! I truly appreciate the time and comments. I was looking at the close out prices on the 18, but then looking at the upgrades on the 19 boards thought they may be worth the extra money. Trying to make sure I get the right one so that I love it and use it, versus making a purchase that I’m not happy with and it ends up not being used. 🙂
Definitely, worth it! There are some significant improvements. Not just the board but also accessories, like the pump. Which will play a huge part in how often you use your board.
Hi Sacky. I am a 6`00 complete newby. I am 83 kgs. I want a board for paddling in calm waters (reservoirs) and the ocean ( without waves) I would like a board that I can use alone and also with my wife 6,00 65 kgs and my kid (5 years old).
I was thinking about IRocker or Blackfin. I was considering the all around 11, but I have seen good deals in blackfin 2018 models . The V model may be to unstable so I was considering Blackfin XL Blackfin X or All around 11.
I don´t care that much about weight as I will be driving to the water, so I am leaning more to the Blackfin XL. For the family may be perfect, my only doubt is if it would be too much when paddling by myself.
Last question (sorry so many doubts…) When you talk about passengers, you mean people sitting, or would it be possible to have to adults paddling together?
Thanks a lot for your reviews, I have like 10 windows of them in my computer right now. 🙂
Thank you for choosing us to get some info 🙂 And thank you again for reaching out, I know it’s a little overwhelming with the amount of choice these days. The XL will be fine for you to paddle on your own, and if you are taking the whole family it may be the better option. The Model X would also hold you fine but the XL will just be more stable with a few extras on board 😉
You could paddle together if you have enough balance! Haha it would be tricky, I’m more referring to having someone sitting…The 2019 Model has extra D-rings at the back so you could attach two kayak seats (have to purchase separately) and paddle together that way but I would only recommend doing that on the XL.
Hope that helps!
Hi Sacky, great website. I’m 5’9 158 lbs and will be occasionally paddling with my 5-yr old girl. The iRocker sounds like a perfect fit but I like the quality and features of the 10’6 Thurso Surf Waterwalker including the paddle holder, additional d-rings and carry handles and better paddle. Is there a significant difference in stability between these two boards? iRocker is 32″ wide and the Thurso is 31″ wide, but they do have a slightly different shape.
Thank you! I’ll be sure to use your links.
Thanks for the compliments! The iRocker can take more weight, at 450 lbs and the Thurso at 330 lbs. Which will give you more stability when you take your daughter with you. Though I believe the Thurso is still stable enough to take a child along but I’m only 60 kgs! So you’ll just need to look at your combined weight and see how close you are to that max capacity. The Thurso is a faster and more responsive board too, for when it’s just you. The iRocker has more durable materials so I think the iRocker will last longer with repetitive use but I still recommend the Thurso too! Hope that helps you make a decision 🙂
Thanks for the quick reply and the great site Sacky!
I wanted to compliment you on your website. You provide great reviews and advice. It has been the most informative of all the sites I have visited.
I am an 5′ 10″ 175 pound intermediate paddler. Usually I rent boards and take my six year old son with me but I want to buy. I am looking at the 2019 iRocker all around or the 2018 Blackfin X as they are similar in price. Do you have a preference/recommendation?
Thank you for your kind comments. We work really hard on providing real honest information and feedback on all the boards we test because we know it helps people find the board that is best for their needs.
Based on your size and how you plan on using it with your son, the 2019 iRocker All-Around will be a great board for you. If you were going to be putting a lot more weight on the board I would recommend the 2019 Blackfin Model X or XL, but that wouldn’t be needed considering your size. We love the 2019 iRocker All-Around 11′, here is a link to it: iRocker All-Around 11′ 2019 Board
I live in Florida, so I’ll be on the intracoastal when starting out and hopefully be able to get out on the oceans some too. I also like to camp so I can see myself going on rivers and lakes as well. I am looking for something that has a good trade off between maneuverability and stability. I’m new to paddle boarding, but love it already and would like something that will still be a good fit as I advance. I’m considering the iRocker Sport, iRocker All-Around 11′, or Thurso Surf (I’m 5’9 and 175lbs).
Do you have a top suggestion between these, or an entirely different board you would recommend?
Thanks!! Based off what you are looking for, I’d recommend the Thursosurf 10’6″. It’s got more of that balance of stability and performance as well as heaps of onboard storage area for your camping trips. iRocker and Thurso make competitive boards, both have certain features that out do the other so really it just comes down to personal preference. Either or, you’ll get a great SUP but for what you described I think the Thurso will do a great job. Here’s a link 🙂 2019 ThursoSurf 10’6″ Waterwalker
A great review of some nice boards. I myself went with iROCKER board and I can say just the best things about it. Lately in search of bit more speed, so looking for some racing inflatable sup 🙂
Stoked to hear your love your iRocker! Have you checked out the Thurso Expedition? Not quite a “racer” but it’s close to it 🙂
Your reviews and categories really helped me narrow down my paddle board search to the iRocker All Round OR iRocker Cruiser!
I am wondering if you can help me narrow my search down to one. I am a 110 lbs female, petite frame, I have paddle boarded a few times just borrowing paddle boards from friends. So I am not very experienced but I think I have a pretty steady balance. Which board do you think would be best suited for me: iRocker All Round OR iRocker Cruiser?
Thank you for your help!! I really appreciate it.
Given you have good balance, then I’d recommend the iRocker All-Around. The Cruiser is a fun board, but it is just a little slower than the All-Around. We typically recommend the Cruiser for those looking primarily for a stable board (beginners, yoga, etc.). The All-Around is just a little quicker and combines the best of both worlds – it’s still stable but also paddles and glides just a little faster than the Cruiser.
Does that help?
Yes, that definitely clarifies things! Thank you so much for your help!
Great, let me know if you have any other questions!
Helpful site(found thru Youtube). I was a little weary with the “Best” SUP reviews I saw only promoting products found on Amazon because of Amazon affiliate relationship so glad to see you have more variety. I had no idea so many inflatables so hoping you have advice for 2020 boards (or if there is good deal on a 2019 board).
Look’ng to buy 2 boards. 1 for me and 1 for spouse or kids to use (early teen). I am 5.8″ 165lb and athletic/good balance.
I have only used solid SUP which was stable so have never used an inflatable. Was looking to buy 2 solid SUP but don’t want to deal with storage and transport so now looking at inflatables.
I want to find an inflatable that is firm ( I guess at least 15psi is the suggestion ?). Mostly will use for lakes/rivers and some ocean.
Will use for all around cruising/paddle exercise and relatively stable. I don’t need fishing or chair attachments or other stuff on it. Mainly want something that feels solid when paddling and will last. Also evaluating what has decent paddle, easy to fill up/store/use, and warranty.
I was looking at the iRocker All Around 10.6′ or THURSO SURF Waterwalker 126 or ISLE Explorer ? What would you choose for best deal for the money and quality.
Looking to buy 2 boards thru your link if you can help me make a decision.
Glad to hear you found us through YouTube!
As far as options for 2 inflatables go, I would recommend either the iRocker or Thurso. With iRocker, you could go with the 10’6 Cruiser, or one of the All-Arounds (10′ or 11′). The main difference is going to be that the Cruiser is a little wider and more stable, while the All-Arounds will be a little easier to paddle and be quicker/more maneuverable. I also really like the 126 Thurso, and both the iRockers and Thurso’s are super solid boards and are extremely durable. They are also backed by some of the nicest/best people in the industry (which is a big deal for me). They will take care of you, and their boards last. I like Isle as well, but I haven’t tested their 2020 models yet, so I can’t give you much insight there. I did like the 2019 Explorer, but I would recommend the 2020 iRocker or Thurso over that one. Both iRocker and Thurso made some really cool upgrades to their boards this year.
Between the iRocker and Thurso, the iRocker boards and paddles are a little lighter and more maneuverable. The Thurso boards have a really nice glide to them, and the new 2020 models have added carbon fiber rails which increases the rigidity of the board. I’ve found that most people love both the iRocker and Thurso boards, so you really can’t go wrong with either.
Please let me know if you have other questions, and sorry for not getting back to you over the weekend!
Thank you so much for all of the helpful info that you guys have provided! I love how thorough your video reviews are!
I’m a first time buyer, and a smaller guy, about 5′ 5″ tall and these days around 165. I’m looking to get 2 boards and based on what I’ve read so far, am thinking of going with Thurso, so I can get the Surf Prodigy Junior for my daughter who is 9. My wife is 5’0 and while we’re all beginners, I was thinking that she could use the Surf Prodigy Junior if my daughter wanted to ride.
That being said, I’m deciding on the Thurso Waterwalker but am not sure what is the best length to get? Also, it seems they have the 2019 models in 10′ and 11′. Would you suggest going with the 2020 or 2019 models, and any thoughts on length?
I see that you speak highly of the 10′ 6″ Waterwalker but since I’m shorter I was wondering if the 10′ would still be a good choice, especially if I want my daughter to ride with me?
Thanks in advance for the help!
Great questions! As far as the board for you, I’d recommend either the 10’6 over the 10′, as it gives you just a little more room and stability for when you paddle with your daughter. However, if you prefer the look of the 10′ Waterwalker, then go with that one – both boards will support you + your daughter weight-wise, and every Waterwalker is a great SUP.
You might want to consider getting the 10’6 for you, and the 10′ for your wife/daughter. Your daughter would great on the Thurso Surf Prodigy, but I do think that your wife might struggle a little bit given the board is only 7’6″ long. I think she will most likely have a hard time balancing on and enjoying the board.
Now, between the 2019 and 2020 models: I love them both. I love how the 2019 models are cheaper right now, so if $$ is a concern, then go with the 2019 models. The main upgrade in 2020 is the carbon fiber rails and an improved backpack. So, yes I would recommend the 2020 over the 2019 versions, but if the $$$ savings makes it easier to get a board, then you won’t regret the 2019 model at all!
Let me know what other questions you have and what you decided to go with!
Thank you so much for the feedback. I was considering the Prodigy because I was afraid the 10′ board would be too long for my daughter who’s about 55 – 60 lbs and 51 – 52″ inches tall. If you think my daughter would be fine on the 10′ board then that would make sense.
Also do you know if the valves are the same on all the boards between the 2020 and 2019 editions? The Prodigy doesn’t come with a pump (even though now you’ve got me thinking about the 10′ 6″ and 10′ boards) and it would be great to know that the better 2020 pump could be used on the Prodigy or the 2019 Waterwalker.
You had me really tempted with the iRocker, but as I had mentioned, I wanted to get 2 boards from the same company. However, now you’ve got me thinking my daughter can use a 10′ board. If so, would you suggest I move to the iRocker?
Yes, the valves are the same on the 2019 vs 2020 Thurso’s – it’s the same valve for all the SUPs on this years best SUP list, so if you go with a Prodigy and a 10’6 or 11′ Thurso then you would be completely fine with this year’s upgraded pump.
For your daughter, if you decide to go with a 10′ board, then I would recommend the iRocker 10′ All-Around over the Thurso for her. The iRocker is lighter, which will make a difference for her. Just remember that the Prodigy would be the ‘best’ SUP for her right now, but it won’t be big enough for your wife to paddle – so you will have to compromise somewhere there. For what it’s worth, my 8 year old who is about the same size paddles 10′ boards fine (although he more likes to sit while I paddle about 80-90% of the time)!
Really appreciate all the advice! I think you’ve got me sold on getting a 10′ iRocker Al-Around board for my daughter and wife to share. It’s very helpful to know your 8 year old son also paddles a 10′ board fine 🙂
So if I went iRocker, should I stick with the 10′ 6″ Cruiser because that would be a better length for me or do I get the 11′ All Around? Is the Blackfin X 10′ 6″ a better choice? It seems I might have more versatility with the Cruiser or All Around.
You’ll honestly be fine with either of those 3 boards for you. However, I typically recommend the 11′ All-Around over the Cruiser unless stability is your #1 priority. The 11′ All-Around is a great board, and it will grow with you a little more than the Cruiser will as you improve in your paddling.
The BLACKFIN Model X is a fantastic board. If you went with the BLACKFIN you would get carbon fiber rails and a little more maneuverability and better performance in rivers and whitewater situations. It’s also a board that has a higher weight capacity, so if you wanted to paddle with your daughter on the same board, then the BLACKFIN will be a little better than the 11′ (however, the 11′ All-Around will easily support both of your weights). The only disadvantage you would have with the BLACKFIN is that at 5’5″ you will have to reach to the side more on the BLACKFIN to maintain a vertical paddle, as it’s 35″ wide vs 32″ wide for the All-Around.
First off, a huge THANK YOU for your team’s passion and attention to detail in each of these reviews and the welcoming/encouraging messaging. I can’t even believe that you’re ALSO replying to complete random strangers on the internet to help them get started in this sport. You are awesome.
Okay, here’s the scenario:
• Human specs: I am 5’5”, 130lbs, former endurance athlete.
• Inflatable = safer: I’ve bonked my noggin a few too many times in this life, and like a laptop that’s been dropped a few too many times, I don’t quite work the way I used to. I know there is a risk of hitting my head on the board, which is why I’m looking at inflatables to mitigate some of that potential brain bouncing when the inevitable occurs (the other option was bubble-wrapping my head, which seems difficult.)
• Open-lake paddling: I’ll be paddling on an unsheltered portion of a Canadian Great Lake (i.e. smooth some days, choppy other days, but I won’t go out in metre-high waves or wander far from shore, I promise. The ability to change fins in and out based on the conditions would be helpful.
• Stability: it’s a thought: I am more balanced than the average human (grew up sailing, skateboarding, riding horses) but something –super- tippy would be irresponsible in the chop because of aforementioned ‘best to not regularly bang head on board’ situation.
• Go far: I am dreaming of long hours cruisin’ along the shoreline.
• Go fast: see how I put this one at the bottom? That’s me consciously prioritizing safety over speed. But I still like going fast, so if there’s something soft that won’t dump my head into the board on a wavy day, that can also zip along like the wind, I’m in.
Based on your fantastic reviews, I am thinking that a NIXY Newport or iRocker All-Around are contenders. I also have no idea about what length would be reasonable but after reading your advice to some other folks it seems like there might be some complex math involving weight/height/stability. I’m open to any and all advice as a total newbie.
Sorry I haven’t gotten back to your comment yet – we’ve been busy the last few days! You have some great questions, and I think your approaching things correctly in terms of prioritizing safety 🙂
As far as something that is stable and fast, I would recommend the 11′ All-Around over the NIXY. I love the NIXY for being nimble and maneuverable, but you will find the 11′ iRocker to be faster and more stable. The 11′ All-Around will also be a little more stable and faster than the 10′ iRocker All-Around.
Another board you could consider would be the BLACKFIN Model V, which is the touring board of the BLACKFIN lineup. It will be just a little longer, a little more stable, and a little faster than the 11′ All-Around.
Let me know if that helps, and if you have other questions!
Thanks for the reply; I value your advice. In these extra couple of days since my first message, I’ve had the opportunity to keep digging through more reviews and videos. I began leaning toward the Thurso Surf 11’6″ Expedition Touring as a serious contender. I glad you are also recommending a touring board, as it seems like that style is best suited to those long straight lines I’m craving.
The Thurso Expedition, to my uneducated eye, looks like it has some things in common with the BLACKFIN Model V. Other points that tip the scales toward the Thurso for me are that the price point is reasonable, it’s in stock, it will ship right away, and it’s a company local to me.
Do you think the Thurso would suit? I think I’ve made up my mind, but definitely still open to other considerations.
I think the Thurso could be a great idea, especially since it’s in stock and it fits your budget a little better. Everyone who has tested the Thurso Expedition has really loved it, as it has a great feel to it and tracks/glides really well. I would say the extra length on the BLACKFIN Model V is nice and helps the board be a little faster, but the Thurso actually has an advantage in that it’s only 30″ wide, so it will be easier for you to keep your paddle vertical. Since I think your balance is above average, losing that 2″ in width is not going to hurt you from a stability side of things either.
Let me know if you have other questions, and I’d love to know what you decide to go with!
Just had my first paddle on the Thurso Expedition and it was fantastic! It was windy at 19Kts with 30kt gusts, and waves on the open lake were 0.7m so I didn’t venture past the harbour breakwalls. The wind oscillated just as I was turning around in the harbour mouth to come back, so I ended up basically going upwind both ways, and it was a heck of a paddle back in confused seas (I could have given up and just landed at any point and walked it back along the shoreline, but my untrained noodle-arms still managed to get it back to where I started). I had no trouble with my balance at any point, despite getting down and up off my knees a few times when my body felt like it was basically just counter-productively acting like a sail. Super pleased with this board as a beginner! Thanks again for your input.
So glad your first paddle was fantastic, and it’s awesome you didn’t have any issues with balancing! The Thurso Expedition is super stable, so glad your enjoying it!
Thanks again for all the help. You’ve helped TREMENDOUSLY!!! 😀
I decided to get the iRocker All Around 11′ as the 10′ is out of stock. Got the electric pump and the iPhone case as well. I’m excited for the board to come and am planning on getting the 10′ when it gets back in stock. But I’ve been itching to get on the water so it’s nice to know I will be soon!
This is a fantastic site and you guys have some great advice. I like how your video reviews are so thorough and give a person a great sense of everything you need to imagine owning that board. Now I just have to get some PFDs and we’re all set.
So glad we could help! And I’m stoked for you to get your board and get out on the water! If you have any other questions, please let us know!
Like the previous commenters, I first have to thank you for providing so much information and personal help for us newbies! What service!
I’m looking to get two iSUP boards for somewhat beginners…at first I was sold on the Blackfin X for myself, but now I’m stuck….I feel like my brain is on info overload!
One for me: 135 pounds, casually athletic, okay balance. Like another commenter above, too many knocks on the noggin, so looking for the slightly safer inflatable…not to mention transport. Am I too light to use the Blackfin? Will it be too unmaneuverable?
One for my 9-year-old: small for his age, 52 pounds, very strong and athletic though. Initially I was looking at getting him a kids’ board, but after reading up a bit, I feel like I’d rather invest in a board he can keep using through the years. Plus if we have two adult boards, we might be able to convince my husband to come out sometimes.
We’d be using on Cape Cod bays and inlets, slight chop, no big waves.
Glad to help!
The BLACKFIN Model X won’t be too big for you. At 10’6 I find the board to be very nimble, and it’s one of my preferred boards for whitewater SUPing, which requires a lot of maneuvering around rocks and debris. It is wider (35″) than the 11′ All-Around, and depending on your height you will have to lean over a little bit more to keep your paddle vertical. But it also provides a fantastic stable platform for beginners, and allows you to bring a TON of gear or other people with you. The board construction is also top-notch. If you are not looking to paddle with a ton of gear, additional people, and are mostly going to be flat-water paddling then you could also consider the 11′ All-Around and be very happy with either SUP.
For your son, I would recommend the 10′ iRocker All-Around, or the 120 Thurso Waterwalker. He’ll be able to handle either of those boards (my 8 year old is fine on those). They won’t be as ideal as something like the Thurso Prodigy SUP, and the board will be a little big for them. However, I haven’t met too many kids who are super worried about speed and agility on the board. For most kids, as long as they can get out and paddle/play on the board they are happy. Either of the 10′ boards will do, and they also have great weight capacities and are great boards for adults.
Let me know if that helps!
Really appreciate your guide. I am somewhat new to SUPing, although not a complete beginner. Excited to make my first board purchase. I usually SUP on relatively calm bodies of water, mostly just lakes. I love SUP yoga but I am not very advanced. Hope to get better. I am looking at inflatable SUP boards that offer enough stability for the yoga but also allow me to keep up with friends when paddling around the lake. I am fairly petite (5’2” ht and 105 lbs) so I am feeling cautious about getting a board that is too wide, since it might make it harder for me to paddle. I was looking at the irocker boards and wondering if you have any insight on the difference between the Irocker Cruiser vs. All around. I love how those boards offer so many options for attaching gear, etc. I am guessing a 10′ or 10’6” long board would be fine for me. Looking at widths of 32-33″ but not sure exactly what would be best for my needs. Any suggestions?
So glad your getting into SUPing!! Your are going to LOVE doing Yoga on a SUP!
If you are only looking to cruise around with your friends, then I’d recommend going with the Cruiser. It is only 1″ wider in the middle of the board so it won’t be really any harder for you to paddle and keep your paddle vertical. However, it is fairly wider in the tail which gives you more stability for activities like Yoga. I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, please let me know – and I’d love to hear what you decide to go with!
First, let me thank you for your very informative reviews. From your reviews I am interested in the Blackfin X. However I was recently in a Paddle North store and looked at their ISUP the Portager. Have you had a chance to look at this board? If so do you think the quality and durability are the same as the Blackfin X ?
I have not personally paddled/tested the Paddle North Portager. However, we have tested A LOT of boards and from the specs I see on Paddle North’s website I feel pretty confident in saying that the BLACKFIN X would be a better board. The Portager weights only 21 lbs, which is nice for carrying. However, the BLACKFIN’s carbon fiber rails and extra layers of PVC make the board stiffer and more durable. You also have a lot of additional accessory options with the BLACKFIN.
I’m not saying the Portager isn’t a good board – it looks really nice from the specs. However, to answer your question, I don’t think it has quite the same quality or durability.
Hope that helps – please let me know if you have any further questions!
Great review! The only board available in Canada right now is of course the Thurso brand :). Getting 2 beginner boards. What do you think of the Max Multi-Purpose vs the Waterwalker All-Around 132?
I would recommend the Waterwalker 132. It’s one of our favorite boards, so don’t feel bad that it’s the only one available in Canada! The Max is a great board as well, but I personally prefer the Waterwalker.
Let me know if that helps and if you have any other questions!
Thank you so much for the very informative guide it was super helpful!
I’m in Canada just outside Toronto so would be paddling on mostly a calm lake that can sometimes get a bit windy & up at my friend’s cottage which again is on a lake
I’ve been looking at THURSO SURF Waterwalker All-Around SUP 2019 120 which is a good price at $799 CAD or I looked at the Nautical from iRocker $699 CAD but I think some things like the bag with wheels, side paddle holder with Thurso is a better option?
Or do you think the THURSO SURF Waterwalker All-Around SUP 2020 – 120 $939CAD, 126 $969 or 132 $999 CAD is worth investing the extra money for?
I’m getting a bit confused with board length, width & weight as having read so many reviews I don’t know what would be best for me…
I’m 5’7″ 136lbs & have been out a few times before, on rented boards, I’m pretty stable & didn’t fall off. I’ve been looking at the weight of the boards as I’m not that strong so wondering is the 126 & 132 a much heavier board to carry down to the lake or are they manageable
Appreciate your time & any advice you might have
Thanks so much!
I would say that the thurso 120, 126, or 132 are for sure worth the extra money. Either of those boards is going to be more stable, durable, and have several features that the Nautical doesn’t have (I do really like the Nautical board, but if you have the budget it is worth spending a little more).
As far as which Thurso Waterwalker to go with, you would honestly be fine with either one of the boards. At 5’7″ I would say you would best ‘fit’ the 126, but if you prefer the look of one of the other boards then you will be fine on any of them. Yes, the 132 will be a few lbs heavier, but it’s only a few lbs and the board has great handles to make transporting/carrying it as easy as possible.
Let me know if that helps, and I’d love to hear what you decide to go with!
Thank you so much for your reply – that sealed the deal for me!
I had the 126 in my cart over the weekend & I’ve just ordered!
So excited to get out on the water, really appreciate your response!
Hi. I like your reviews – very detailed. I’m looking to get two mostly all-around boards. One for me and one to take a friend a long on occasion. I’m 5’-11” and about 175 to 180 lbs. I’ll mostly be paddling on medium sized lakes and possibly on one of the Great Lakes on calmer days. It’s possible the waves could be a bit choppy at times. I’d also likely take it on some calm but slightly narrow, twisting rivers that may have some downed trees in a few spots and will require some maneuvering around. Mostly, I just want to get some exercise and be able to just jump off the board and hang out in the water if a spot looks inviting. Stability and maneuverability should be good. While speed isn’t the most important factor, I also don’t want it to be too slow. I’m not looking for it to do any one thing great – hence the all-around board.
I’ve only been on SUP’s a few times(rentals), but have done a lot of kayaking(jncluding whitewater), mountain biking, etc., so don’t expect any real issues getting used to it. Whichever friend I bring a long(on the second board) will likely be a beginner.
I’ve been looking at the iRocker 11 foot All-Around and the Atoll. Leaning a bit towards the iRocker. Any recommendations? Do you think I should get two of the same board or should I maybe get one of each? There’s a discount for purchasing multiple boards from one company. Also, I’ve had the NRS Thrive and Bote boards recommended to me, but haven’t seen any independent reviews. How do these boards compare? Thanks!
I think you will really like either the iRocker 11′ All Around, or the Atoll 11 SUP. Both are fantastic boards, and you get a discount from both companies (Atoll is currently $100 off 2 boards, and the iRocker is $80 off two boards).
The main difference between the two will be weight. The iRocker weighs a few more lbs because it has an extra layer of PVC. This makes the board a little stiffer from our tests, has a higher weight capacity, and it a little more durable (although both boards are great for durability). We’ve found beginners tend to do a little better on the iRocker, but a lot of people also like how the Atoll is light weight and is easy to backpack with.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have further questions and what you decide to do!
Hi! This page has been super useful in comparing the different brands and their different strengths.
I’m looking to purchase my first SUP and would love any additional advice! I’m 5’2″, 120 lbs and probably between beginner and intermediate in terms of skill. I’ll mostly be paddling out on the ocean on somewhat choppy waters and generally like to go pretty fast.
Wondering what you’d suggest? Thank you in advance 🙂
If you are looking for speed, then I’d recommend a touring board. There are some good inflatable touring options that we like: Blackfin Model V, Thurso Expedition, NIXY Manhattan, and if you can swing the extra cash I really love the Red Paddle Co 12’6 Sport (our review is almost done on this one, but you can find it for sale here).
Let me know if you have any specific questions about those boards, or any other boards you’d like to learn about!
Wow – you guys are super knowledgable..I’m on info overload.
I live in CT so will be on the Long Island sound – a little choppy but a lot of calm tributaries and lakes of course. I am 5’11 and 195. Life long snowborder so balance isn’t an issue. I like speed as I have to keep up with my friends in kayaks. Will do everyting from a casual hang and swim to a few hours on the water. Mostly high energy fun. I had locked in the NRS Escape 11’6. A displacement board seemed a good fit. Then I found you and it’s all up in the air. Last thing…the Pau Hana – any quality thoughts? The look is awesome but I am too old to pick form over function.
Personally for me, I would recommend that you head over to PumpedUpSUP to compare the NRS Escape to the ERS 12’6 V3 or the Red Paddle Co 12’6 Sport. I think the NRS is a great board, but I tend to prefer the ERS and Red Paddle Co over NRS a little bit. I also would recommend looking at a 12’6 board that is 30″ wide vs the 11’6 x 32″. I just find those to be faster and easier to paddle if you are looking for a touring board. And given your background you won’t have any issues with a board that is 30″ wide.
But seriously, if you go to PumpedUpSUP and tell them that SupBoardGuide sent you they will be amazing at helping you figure out which board is perfect for you. They sell all the top performance brands and are basically a group of serious paddlers themselves so you’ll be able to get unbiased educations from them (and even some discounts on paddles and other gear if you purchase the SUP from them). I normally don’t recommend buying from a 3rd party site, but PumpedUpSUP is that one exception.
Have you ever tested Pop Paddle Boards? I love their designs but am not sure how great the board is. Their newest model switches from having a drop-stich technology to a new technology I’ve never seen on a paddleboard.
On this page, I like the look of thurosurf which says on it’s site that their board is constructed to be the toughest on the market. Do you think that claim is true?
We haven’t ever tested Pop Paddle boards (you should reach out to them and tell them to send us a board or two to test!), sorry!
From what I can see on their website and videos, their drop-stitch technology seems to be what is used standard in the industry, although I do like how they show it in their video of the Pop Up boards with the see-through plastic – super cool! However, it does seem to be the industry standard drop-stitch, which I think is a good thing.
As far as the Thurso being the ‘toughest on the market’, we’d say that some of that language is marketing-speak, but I do think that the Thurso Waterwalker is going to be a more durable, tougher board than the inflatables made by Pop Paddle Boards. Thurso adds an extra layer of PVC material in addition to adding carbon fiber rails on their 2020 Waterwalker lineup. This adds a few lbs to the board, but it is super SOLID! If you like the looks of the Thurso, then I can’t recommend it enough – it’s one of our favorite boards (hence why it’s at the top of our list).
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any questions!
Thank you so much for your thorough reviews — y’all are amazing!
I just had to get ACL/PCL reconstruction after a snowboarding accident this spring, and figured maybe the time is now to get into SUP! I’m 5’9 and ~145 lbs. Primarily, I’d be using it for yoga and short cruises on relatively calm lakes (shared w/ motorboats). However, as I heal up and get more comfortable down the road, I’d love to find a board that’d also be appropriate for very occasional overnight river trips (though nothing too intense in terms of terrain) with some of my kayaker friends.
I’d love a rec. for an inflatable board (I live in a small apartment) that could “grow” with me, since the gear is expensive, and it’d be awesome if I could find something yoga-friendly and that wouldn’t require me buying completely new gear if I do want to an overnight camping thing once in a blue moon in the future — though it seems like these two goals are kind of at odds with one another?
Sorry to hear about the surgery, and I hope you fully recover soon!
I would recommend that you go with the iRocker Cruiser. It’s a really good Yoga board, given it’s wider tail (22″) and increased stability. It also has a ton of d-rings and oversized cargo/bungee areas that would be perfect for those overnight river trips. As long as those river trips aren’t going to be intense whitewater trips, then you will love the Cruiser.
IF the river trips are going to be whitewater intensive (and if they are, please be careful!), then I’d recommend the Blackfin Model X. It’s more stable and has the carbon fiber rails which increase durability. The only downside you might have with the Blackfin (and why I don’t recommend that one either way) is that it also has 2 scotty mounts on the deck pad that can get in the way when your doing yoga on the board. Not a huge deal, but if you don’t need the whitewater capability, then the Cruiser would be a great fit!
I hope that helps, and please let me know what questions you have/what you decide to go with!
Hi. I loved this article and loved how you broke your analysis down. I’m a tall guy (6’7″, 220lbs). I want a board that is stable, has great all around functionality (including kayaking and bring my kids). I was considering the Blackfin X or XL, iRocker 10’6″ or the Thurso Surf Waterwalker. What would you recommend for these uses and overall performance?
I’d recommend going with the BLACKFIN Model XL. That’s going to have the most weight capacity (485 lbs) and space (11’6 x 34″) for everything you are wanting to do. You would be fine on the other boards, but I do think you’ll appreciate the 11’6 length, the carbon fiber rails, fishing mounts, safety handles, and larger weight capacity that comes with the XL.
I hope that helps – let me know if you have any other questions!
Thanks Justin for the prompt response! Just to be clear, can I add the kayak seat to the Blackfin Model XL?
Absolutely! In fact, I personally think the Model XL is the best of the iRocker/Blackfin SUPs for using the Kayak seat given the extra length you have with the board.
The blackfin xl looks great. I’m 195lbs 6’4” and want to use it with my 9yr old kid and dog at once. I assume I should get the XL? My only reservation is those two black fishing mounts behind where your feet go. Do those get in the way when you move back to allow others on the board? Also I’m going to get a second board for my wife 160lbs 5’8, she will also have a kid on board. I was thinking get the irocker all around for her because it isn’t as wide… or should I just get a second blackfin. We are going to cruise lakes mostly, but want something reasonably fast and can carry family. We both have SUP experience
Great questions. For me personally, the two scotty mounts on the Blackfin don’t get in the way unless I’m carrying 2 people + me. If that is a concern, then I’d go with the 11′ All-Around, which will have enough space and weight capacity for you, your 9 year old son, and the dog. The XL would be a better board, and I think you’ll end up positioning the dog and your son enough in front of you where those mounts don’t become an issue…but thought I’d throw out an option in case that worries you.
Maybe the best solution would be to get one blackfin XL and one 11′ All-Around. Then, you’ll have 2 options that work great and if the scotty mounts end up getting in your way then you can jump on the 11′ All-Around and your wife can paddle the XL (she would be completely fine with that).
Hope that helps!
Greetings Justin –
This page contains an incredible amount of useful, interesting and well-reasoned information and data! You’ve done a great deed here :-). it I hesitate to ask for a personalized recommendation but I see you are responsive to such requests so hopefully you can do the same for me. I’m 5’10, 170 lbs, quite fit/strong, and I’ve spent a lot of time on (rented) solid SUPs (mostly BIC 11′, 34′ wide) on the Potomac River in Washington DC and I often rent SUPs when on trips to beaches and lakes. I’m ready to buy my own SUP but I’m an apartment dweller so space is an issue which is why I’m focused on iSUPs.
There’s so much great information on this page I really don’t know where to begin, but my plan is to paddle on bodies of water in the mid-Atlantic (lakes, rivers, & Chesapeake Bay which could be choppy). I think I’d prefer a firm iSUP designed for performance rather than one designed for overall stability but which may be more wobbly and slow. For that reason I think the your #1 board posted here — the Blackfin X — may not be the best one for me since it’s so wide and there will be unused capacity since my body weight + gear won’t even reach half its 450 lb capacity. The Bluefin Cruise Carbon 10’8″ seems like a solid choice among the top 9 presented here, but…
…based on what I’ve said here and perhaps some inferences you might make, could you recommend a iSUP for me? — Many thanks!!
RJ – thanks for your question! Your question ends up helping a bunch of other people like you, so it’s great!
For board recommendations, I would recommend that you look at more of a performance touring iSUP. iSUPs are going to be a little slower than hard boards in general, so by moving from a wider hard sup to something like the Blackfin Model V, or the Red Paddle Co 12’6 Sport you’ll be able to make up for some of that difference.
I’m 170 lbs and 5’11, and I personally think both those boards are super fun. The Red Paddle Co 12’6 I find a little faster, as it’s only 30″ wide, where the Blackfin Model V would allow you to put more gear as it has a higher weight capacity with it’s 32″ width.
Let me know if that helps!
I was wondering if you had any experience with the “Uenjoy”, “MaxKare”, or “FBsport” brands of paddle boards? You have a ton of good information on your website and I was wondering if you have every come across any of these brands and could weigh in on if they are good boards or if I should keep looking. Thank you so much
I think I already answered your question via email, but in case that didn’t go through here is what I sent:
Sorry, but I don’t have any experience with those brands – they are the type of brands that basically just come in from China and sell stuff, but they aren’t really in the SUP industry. I’m personally not a big fan of those types of shops simply because the support is horrible, and their failure rate on the SUP is going to be high.
I know that’s probably not what you are wanting to hear, sorry! Have you considered putting in a pre-order for the 11’6 nautical? If you click here and choose your color preference you will see that they are expected to ship between the 23rd and 31st of July. Given how crazy sales have been, that might be the soonest you can get a decent board backed by a super legit company like iRocker.
I hope that helps! Again, sorry I can’t recommend those other boards and I wish I knew of a cheaper option that was both good quality like the Nautical and in stock!
Let me know what questions you have and what you decide to do!
Hi – Thanks so much for putting together such great information. I’m torn between the iRocker all-around 10 or 11, or the Blackfin X. I’m 5’2 and 125 pounds and plan to use the paddle board with my dog (a golden, 60 pounds) at times. I’m not a beginner and like some speed. My dog, however, is a beginner and will likely move around a bit before he finds the right spot. Which iSUP would you recommend for me? Thank you!
If you are going to use the board primarily with your dog, then I’d recommend going with the Model X. I think your dog will appreciate the extra space. However, if you are going mostly by yourself and just occasionally take your dog out, then you would be fine with the iRocker 11′.
I hope that helps, let me know if you have further questions!
Hi Amazing site and quality of your reviews! Was hoping you could give some advice on helping us choose a board. We are deciding between the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 10’6″ & 11′ or the 10’6″ Gili Meno. Love the concept of Gili, the fin set up and package items. Just a little hesitant about the 35″ width. Could you give us some idea about the differences between the two? Will be on a wide variety of water from ocean, lake, river – calm, possible choppy/windy, small rapids, etc.
thanks for your time and for all the hard work and awesome videos!
Both the Thurso Waterwalker and Gili Meno are great boards! I’ll give you a quick overview of the differences and you can then decide which one fits your style best:
Thurso: Great SOLID board. A little heavier than the others on our best SUP list, but the weight feels really good in the water and helps the board perform well in chop and windy condition. The carbon fiber rails are nice, and the board is very well made all the way around. I personally prefer the 11′ over the 10’6, but I’m almost 6′ tall. If you are under 5’9, then I’d recommend the 126.
Gili: Lightweight board + carbon fiber rails. The 35″ width makes the board very stable, and the lightweight board is easy to paddle. The only downside to the 35″ width is if you are looking to really get out and tour for long distances, as the width does slow you down a little bit and makes it a little harder to keep your paddle straight as you have to reach over a little bit more. To be honest, most beginners and even intermediate paddlers don’t notice much of a difference. I also love the Gili for when I’m paddling with my kids or a dog.
I hope that helps, let me know if you have other questions!
First let me say your reviews are top notice. I have been researching for a while and have narrowed it down to either the Blackfin X , Irocker Cruiser, or the Gili Meno. I think I do like the BLKfin best but MIno comes in close second just because of the move add on you can add with the blackfin x. My concern in I am 5′ 6″ 170 lbs and a bit worried the 35 in might be too wide for me and I should go with the slightly shorter Irocker cruiser. WIll the 2 in make alot of difference or do you think i would be ok with the wider board? I really want stability
The extra 2″ really ends up being just 1 extra inch, since that’s how much further you have to reach over to keep your paddle vertical. Fact is, the vast majority of paddlers don’t ever get their paddle vertical so the width is not as large of a factor for those people. If you are wanting to really focus on your paddle stroke, then you could consider the Blackfin Model V, which is only 32″ wide and is a very nice, fast SUP.
Does that help? What other questions do you have?
I’m trying to decide between the Gili Air and the Thurso 126! Size is the same, but Thurso weighs quite a bit more. I’m 5’2″, 130 lbs. Lighter is easier to carry, but is there any advantage I’m missing if I don’t buy a heavier board?
It ultimately comes down to preference, as there are give and takes to a heavier board. A heavier board is going to obviously be harder to carry around and transport. It also won’t be as ‘quick’ in the water when you start paddling. However, I do find that heavier boards tend to feel a little better in the water once you get them going, and they do perform better in chop and wind.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have follow-up questions!
Looking at the Gili and Blackfin X. This is for my wife and kids who enjoy the outdoors. My kids are boys age 15 and 13. Looking for versatility,durability and price. The Gili is $150.00 cheaper and in stock. Is the Blackfin worth the extra money and wait?
They both look like great products.
We would keep this on our boat and use it in the coves etc to paddle around and fish. Thoughts?
BTW- Very impressed how thorough your research is.
Thanks in advance.
While I do really like the Gili Meno, I do think the Blackfin X is worth the extra money. It’s just a little more solid, and you get an extra PVC layer which adds to the durability of the board. The downside is that the board is heavier – so, if you are wanting a lighter board that still has carbon fiber rails and is a wide, stable board, then the Gili Meno is your board.
As far as having to wait goes, that I can’t help you with, sorry! For me, it’s worth the wait for the exact product I want simply because I am the kind of person who ends up with a lot of buyers remorse. My wife, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as picky as I am (maybe that’s why I review products for a living?), and she would prefer to just get a board now as long as the board is a good one.
I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Hoping for a recommendation. I’ve never done paddleboarding, but I enjoy kayaking and being on the water. With kayaks, I always feel they’re too wide and bother my shoulders and after an hour or so my back is killing me because I’m slouched over. I think I could enjoy an iSUP more because I have more options to move around (stand/sit), etc.
I’m 5’7″, about 150lbs. I have weak rotator cuffs so I worry about a wide board, but I also worry being new to the sport that I don’t have the balance yet. (Former equestrian if that matters) I want something that maneuvers easily and can get some speed when I want it. I travel for work (stay places 3-6 months at a time), so I could be on lakes, rivers, oceans, etc.
I’ve been looking at the iRocker Sport, All Around, Blackfin. What are your thoughts/opinions? I’m open to other brands as well.
It sounds like you are a pretty active/athletic person, and as such I’d recommend going with the iRocker Sport. At 31″ wide and 11′ long it will be fast and responsive/maneuverable – but it is still a very stable board for someone your size (even as a beginner).
I hope that helps – please let me know if you have any other questions!
Thank you so much for all of your information and quick response! I’m pretty sure I’ll be ordering a Sport. 🙂
So the most impressive SUP display I saw at a large Florida boat show was from Tower so I’m “sort of” in disbelief to not see them listed here ??
Tower was one of the brands that did really well due to Shark Tank. They still have a large presence, but when we’ve compared features and price, we do feel our current list has better SUPs. If that changes in the future though, I’m sure we’d feature them.
Thank you so much for such a thorough review and analysis. As a new SUP buyer I needed all this data. I ended up buying the iRocker All-Around based on the article. I bought two as a family Christmas gift, one 10′ for my wife and teen daughters and one 11′ for me (I am 6’1, 215lbs). Any last thoughts or best practice? Thanks again and happy holidays!
Congrats – your’e going to love your iRockers! As far as tips go, other than just get out on the water, I’d recommend watching some videos on YouTube for beginner paddling techniques – it will make more difference than you think!
Hi-I am looking for the best ISUP best for down river currents. I am 5’1″, 118 lbs. I have a ISUP that was very difficult to use down river-while I love some work out, this thing was a huge pain! I also use the board in lakes as well. Looking at the Irocker Cruiser but am open to any suggestions. It will be primarily for me, no dog or kids (kids have their own). What do you think? Thanks!
The iRocker Cruiser would be a good fit for that. It’s construction is fantastic, and the 33″ width will give you some nice stability in those down river currents. You could also check out the Blackfin Model X, which I think is a little better river SUP than the Cruiser due to it’s carbon fiber rails and 35″ width.
Hi, I’ve been looking at your reviews and some others and am really having trouble narrowing down what I should get, so hoping for some advice. I’m looking to purchase 2 iSUPs. I’d like to have two so I can bring along a friend or hopefully convince one of my teens to come paddle with me. But I’d like them to be different so I also have options on which to use based on conditions if I’m going alone. I’m 5’9″ 165lbs and an athletic beginner with good balance (lots of skating, skiing and biking), will be paddling mostly flat water with varying amounts of chop. I’d like one of the boards to be more touring specific and the other one more versatile (so I can try other places). One of the boards needs to be very beginner friendly (so first timers can use it) but I love a challenge so one of them can definitely be less stable possibly something I can “grow” into as my skills progress. I’m looking to spend <$2k on the two boards and some accessories (including an electric pump). Thank you, any advice would be much appreciated.
I like how you are thinking, and for <2K you can get a great set up. I'd recommend pairing a touring SUP with an all-around. Some options to consider would be:
-Blackfin Model V + iRocker All-Around 11
–Seagods Carta Marina + Seagods Diatom (you could also consider the Seagods Ketos instead of the Carta Marina if you want something even faster and more touring/race oriented to pair with the all-around).
As far as pumps go, I would recommend the iRocker Electric Pump, it is our favorite overall and they have a nice battery pack that is super cool.
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any questions!
Very thorough reviews – thank you!! I’ve had the Body Glove Performer 11 for the last two years as my entry into paddle boarding. Over the last year it became more of my covid outlet/stress release/exercise/hobby. I’m ready for an upgrade. As I read your reviews, I keep adding to my “want” list more than crossing boards off the list. I think I’m leaning towards more of a touring model but some of the all-arounds could probably suit me as well. There are days I just want to go on short, fast exercise paddles and other days I want take longer cruises. I paddle mostly flatwater and mild chop on local saltwater inlets and passageways or on lakes. I want to grow in my ability to handle moderate chop and smaller swells. And as I’m getting older (I’m 54) the lighter boards are a bit more intriguing as I have to lift it on and off my minivan. I don’t want to spend more than $1000 right now. So my current considerations include (not in order of preference): Blackfin V, Nixy Manhattan (or Newport or Monterey), iRocker All-Around 11, Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 (but maybe too heavy), Thurso Expedition, and Atoll 11. Can you please help me narrow down my list or offer one or two I’ve missed? I just can’t decide! Eventually I’d like to consider a RedPaddleCo board but am not there yet. Thanks again for the great information you’ve provided!
From that list, and based on what you are doing, I would recommend going with the Blackfin Model V. It’s in your price range, is lighter than the Bluefin, and handles those conditions really well. I also think that moving to a touring SUP is what you will want. If you aren’t surfing or whitewater SUPing, then a touring board is ideal since you’ll have better glide and go faster.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks! Speaking of touring models, I’m aware of someone selling their 2018 Starboard touring deluxe (14′) and curious if you have any thoughts on that board. I’m especially curious what moving from a 11′ to 14′ board would be like.
That’s probably a fantastic board, as long as they took care of it. I haven’t personally ridden that one, so I can’t say more than that. With going from 11′ to 14′, I actually prefer a longer board for touring expeditions. The extra length does help with speed and glide. The downside is it’s not as maneuverable, and harder to transport/carry around while inflated.
Great information for someone about to enter into Paddleboarding. Am 6’2, 280lbs, 60yrs old. Former competitive athlete (Soccer, Rugby, as well as former Navy Scuba Diver). Live in NW Washington near Canadian border. Looking for SUP for exercise/relaxation with 25 yr old Firefighter son on water on lakes and local bay, but also plan to use 2 Kayak seats to paddle 5′ wife around (if she chooses) and Grandson (11)… iROCKER 11′ All-Around seems to be a great fit but am wondering about BLACKFIN series as well… Will not be fishing, Yoga etc… Like the more solid construction of BLACKFIN and accessories that come with it but one reviewer said the fishing rod mounts got in the way with others on the board and and sometimes rubbed against them…. Also, does the Kayak seat cushion come with BLACKFIN Kayak kit? Wish iROCKER/BLACKFIN included the Kayak Kit it like Bluefin does… Thoughts on Bluefin vs iROCKER/BLACKFIN as well?
Great questions! I’d recommend going with either the Blackfin Model XL, or possibly the 15′ Bluefin Cruise Carbon.
With the Blackfin vs the iRocker, I think you’ll appreciate the extra size and weight capacity, especially if you are wanting to paddle around with your wife or grandson.
With that being said, if you are wanting to attach two kayak seats, then you really want to be looking at a SUP that is designed specifically for that, like the 15′ Bluefin Cruise or Cruise Carbon. It’s a heavier board, but works fantastic for 2 people, and still works well for a single paddler. Basically, the 15′ Bluefin is built for 2, but works for 1 person while the Blackfin boards were built for 1 but work for 2.
I hope that helps, please let me know if you have other questions!
Amazing reviews! And yet I’m still undecided! I got a cheap 10′ Retrospec board last year as a beginner but now want to upgrade to a more quality board. I’m 5’0, 120lbs, pretty athletic and have quickly picked up paddle boarding. I’ll mostly be paddling on pretty calm waters but want the ability to go into the ocean as well. I’m deciding between the iRocker 11 All Around, Blackfin Model V (I figured the Blackfin Model X might be too wide for me), and the Sea Gods Elemental Wave. Any help is greatly appreciated!
All three of those are great options. If you are looking for more of a touring experience, then I would recommend choosing the Model V (you could also check out the SeaGods Carta Marina if you like the look on that one) . The iRocker 11′ All Around and SeaGods Elemental are both more all-around SUPs, so if you are wanting something that is more all-around then go with one of those.
Let me know if that helps or if you have other questions!
Hello! Great reviews but I’m still unsure. I have had the Red Paddle Co 11 sport for about 3 years. We live on our sailboat and it got a lot of use. I think the battens may have punctured the board as there is a leak with no obvious leak that I can fix. Amway, I love it but am wondering if I should try a different board this time around. I’m 5’3” and my husband is 5’6”…. not big people. We like maneuverability and good tracking, and appreciated the stability of the sport with the battens. Which other board is most comparable that doesn’t have battens or should I just get another 11 sport?
It’s tough to recommend a board over the RPC Sport if that’s what you’ve been used to. The 4.7″ thickness that you get with the Sport just gives it a different feel than others that are 6″ thick. Yes, it costs a bit more, but the performance is fantastic. Also, this years Sport models have the speed tail, which seems simple but you can really feel the board releasing the water and it just glides better than past boards.
Hope that helps!
Hi. Awesome reviews. I was eagerly looking forward to the 2021 Blackfin and iRocker reviews as I’m looking to buy two boards and both have gotten really good reviews in the past and I don’t think you can go wrong with the iRocker/Blackfin boards. The reviews were very thorough as usual but I am looking for some additional advice/opinions.
I’ll mostly be paddling small to medium sized lakes and slow to medium flowing rivers. The lakes will likely have some mild chop due to wind and powerboats. The rivers generally won’t be whitewater, but will require some maneuvering around downed trees, logjams and such. There’s a potential for paddling on a Great Lake, but this would be infrequent and only in calm conditions.
I won’t be using it for fishing or yoga(at least not as of now). I may have some gear along(possibly even for camping), but no dogs on board. There’s a small possibility that I may have another person(sitting) on the board, but it would only be for very casual use(i.e. paddle out a bit onto a lake on a hot day and hangout for a while) – but that is really what the second board is for. I won’t be racing and do not need to cover long distances quickly.
I’m 5’11” and about 175/180 lbs. I’m basically a beginner paddleboarder, but am generally athletic and coordinated. I used to whitewater kayak when I was younger and still kayak a lot now(no real whitewater around where I live though).
I was originally thinking of getting two of the same board(the iRocker All-Around 11) as I would use one and the second one would be used for any friend that may go along. However, I am now thinking about getting two different boards – the Blackfin Model X and the iRocker All-Around 11. Having two different boards will allow me to go with the one most suited to the paddling conditions. Do you think that this is a good way to go, or do you think getting two of the same board would be better?
Also, Is there any reason I should consider the Blackfin Model XL over the X(or over the iRocker All-Around 11)? I’m thinking the gain in maneuvering of the shorter model X(especially for rivers) outweighs the speed of the Model XL. I don’t think I’ll have an issue with reaching over fo the 1 inch wider width of the Model X board – although not sure about any friends .
However, I’m a little concerned that the Blackfin Model X(and XL) is meant more for fishing than general paddling. The few photos Blackfin shows for its 2021 board show people fishing. I’m also concerned about the fishing stand mounts getting in the way of moving around on the board(although I heard they moved them back from the 2020 version). Is there any validity in these concerns?
Lastly, what are the color names of the boards in the review photos(Model X and All-Around 11)? The iRocker/Blackfin website doesn’t really show the various colors well – and there are only a few photos of each on their site. Thanks!
Fantastic questions! My short answer is that I am loving the Blackfin Model XL more and more (we are debating right now of putting the XL as our top board vs the X). If you are looking for 2 boards, given that you are not looking for a lot of whitewater, then I’d recommend getting one Blackfin XL and one iRocker All Around 11′. You can see the YouTube videos we did of both boards here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHlE4R-Awdc (iRocker All Around 11 vs 10)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzQpvD4u_7k&t=524s (Blackfin Model X vs XL)
These videos should answer your questions, but I’m not had any issues with the fishing mounts getting in the way, and I just took the XL down a river outside of Yellowstone. It was pretty slow moving, but I like to move a lot and do 360 back step spins, turn around and paddle up stream, etc. and I had no problem maneuvering that. IF you were primarily focused on white water, then I would say go with the Model X.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have further questions.
This morning I attempted to leave a negative review for iRocker, saying how we LOVE our All Around 11 but customer service was lacking. A little after noon today I received a call from iRocker customer service. The woman was wonderful and explained that she was new at iRocker and that they are trying very hard to keep up with HUGE demand and realized their customer service was a weak point. I was completely impressed and would like to withdraw my previous complaint. We went on to order our second board. These boards are in the higher price range, but worth the extra money even for a beginner. We have taken this board out in lakes and the ocean, and what is really cool is they seem to have thought about everything. It is very easy to add their kayak seat, there are mounts for cameras, drink cup holders, cell phone holders and there are straps on both ends of the board. The bungie straps are particularly cool, because if I want to kayak out and then switch to stand up, all I have to do is pack the handle for the stand up, pack the kayak seat under the straps, and swap out the paddle end for the handle end. It’s also pleasantly buoyant where even I feel safe at 235lbs with my 70lb son on board.
Glad they reached out! After I saw your comment I shot them a quick message to make sure they got you taken care of. iRocker really is doing everything they can to get back to everyone, and I’ve also never seen iRocker not take care of someone with a legitimate issue/concern.
I’m glad they were able to get back to you and get you taken care of!
This excellent article was very instructive, and it was beneficial for me to know the pros and cons of these SUPs, thanks!
Hi what a great post!
I would really like to try out this formulation.
Thank you for all your insight!, I am looking for an isup that would primarily be used on the ocean. I am relatively new to paddle boarding, but confident. I am a female, 5 ft 7 and about 120. The Blackfin intrigues me but it seems wide and is the heaviest..
Thank you again!
The Blackfin XL is fairly wide and heavy, but it is one of the most stable options as you’re just learning. If you’re looking for something that would allow you to develop your skills a little bit and grow into the sport, I’d recommend Honu Fairlight. It’s lightweight at only 17.8 lbs, but will still be plenty stable for you to get started since it’s 33″ wide. Another thing to note about the Fairlight is that it’s 4.7″ thick (as opposed to the normal 6″ thick for iSUPs), which lowers your center of gravity and adds a bit more stability for someone your height in chop/waves (past the breakers, of course). The one thing to keep in mind though is that the Fairlight does not come with a paddle, but Honu enables you to choose from 3 high quality paddles that will be discounted if you bundle with your SUP.
Great informative reviews and videos! We recently moved to Hurricane, are relatively athletic and tried paddle boarding in Quail Creek. Loved it! Based on your reviews we purchased an All Around 11 and Blackfin Xl today (great sale!). Wondering if you have a list of your favorite locations for paddle boarding? We are from Wisconsin so everything out west is new to us. We live right by Grandpas Pond, Quail Lake, Sand Hollow and Virgin River (water too low?) but beyond that any recommendations? Thanks so much for your help!
So glad that you’re loving the area and paddling. I’m just going to rattle off a list of a few of my favorites, but let me know if you have any questions on any of them/would like any extra insight. It does seem like you’re off to a great start though; Quail Creek is beautiful and it’s tons of fun to paddle around the island at Sand Hollow.
Here’s my list:
– Ivins Reservoir (not super big, but it’s nice that there’s no boats and Xetava Gardens Cafe in Kayenta Village is a great place for a post paddle meal)
– Gunlock Reservoir (more mountain views than red rock walls)
– Navajo Lake
– Deer Creek Reservoir
– Jordanelle Reservoir
– Lake Powell (there’s a well known tour around horse shoe bend< There's quite a few more, but these are all relatively close by. Have fun, see you on the water!
Great reviews and great responses to questions. I have a couple of Cruiser SUP hard boards which I’ve had nearly 10 years and I absolutely love, but I also like keeping a board in my car so I can paddle whenever the mood strikes. For inflatables, I have a Bote Aero Breeze 10’8” which is good, fun, and stable, although it tends to get blown around a bit if it’s windy or choppy. I recently bought a Surftech Prana Air Travel High Seas board (it was a demo board, so a good deal). The Surftech is a bit heavy, and is stiffer to roll up than the Bote, and I don’t love it as much as I thought I would. I’m probably going to sell that one. I’m looking at the Thurso Waterwalker 10’. How does it compare in terms of stiffness to the Bote? Any other thoughts? I prefer lighter weight, with both good tracking and maneuverability. I also like wheeled bags, since I plan to fly with my board, but I can always buy a bag separately. I am 5’4”, 135 lbs, 62 yr old female, fairly fit, good balance, experienced paddler, year-round (love winter paddles) flat water, slow rivers, sometimes windy/choppy water. Do you think the Waterwalker is a good choice? Thanks so much!
The Thurso WaterWalkers are the stiffest boards we’ve ever tested. They have a really nice gliding feeling on the water, and they hold speed pretty easily (not that they’re the fastest SUP out there, but you don’t have to work hard to maintain your pace). The 10′ Waterwalker is about 22 lbs, so it’s definitely lighter than your BOTE Breeze, and it’s super fun and maneuverable. I’ve had in a few different conditions, and it handles everything just fine. I think it’s a great choice for what you’re looking for; it’s one of my favorites here at the office.
I’m looking to purchase my first SUP! I have, on occasion, paddled on friends’ boards without any issues and most recently, liked the quality and feel of the iRocker 10′ all-rounder (non-ultra version) when taking it out for a spin. I already own a canoe and a kayak, but like the idea of being able to throw a compact inflatable paddleboard in the canoe on canoe camping trips, so that I can get out on the water when no one else wants to join me. I LOVE the concept of the new iRocker ultra series for their lightweight construction and incredible packability, but am really stuck choosing between the 10.6′ ultra cruiser and the 10′ ultra all-rounder. I am a 5’4″, 135 lbs, 38 year old female. I am fairly fit and have excellent balance (I water ski, surf, alpine and xc ski etc.). My partner is 5’9″ and 165 lbs and while I’d like to think I’m catering to both of us, I think I will be the primary user for sure. We don’t currently have a dog, but maybe will one day (I mention this only as a – maybe I’ll put a dog on the board one day). For now I see myself paddling around mainly on flatwater or slightly choppy lakes, and perhaps some rivers, either by myself or with a friend or two. I see it being relatively relaxed, but am intrigued by the prospect of SUPping for cardio and getting a bit of speed up. I like the sound of the 10′ ultra for the latter, however, I’m ultimately still a beginner and will I enjoy the greater stability of the cruiser better? If I’m catering to both my partner and I, am I better off getting the cruiser to account for his height and skill (he’s a lot more uneasy on the water compared to me)? If I’m catering to just me, is there more “potential” for improvement in my own paddling performance on the 10′ ultra vs the cruiser ultra?
Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated!
In short, yes, if you were catering to yourself, then the 10′ ultra would be great for you to get enough stability as a beginner but also leave a lot of room to develop your skills. The Cruiser Ultra would be great if you’re catering to yourself and your partner – the 10′ Ultra would be too small, and consequently unstable, for him if he’s already uneasy on the water. Also, the Cruiser Ultra would be a better fit if you do eventually bring a dog on on board; My dog and I are able to paddle the 10′ Ultra okay, but we’re definitely a bit cramped, where as it’s much easier on the Cruiser Ultra.