Our 2018 List Of The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards and iSUPs

Our Favorite InflatablesI sense you are in the market for a new board. I also sense you might make a bad decision if you don’t take a few moments to read over our 2018 best inflatable paddle board list. Not because you have bad judgment, but because the internet can be a wonderful source of false information.

Take a moment before you go making a purchase just off any person’s word. Just because it’s cheap and they say it’s “A great board for everyone!” doesn’t mean it’s true. We have spent the time testing, reviewing and comparing 30+ inflatable SUP boards.

Don’t be that person I said “told you so!” to when they are swimming back to shore dragging their deflating board behind them, paddle sunk to the bottom of the lake. Be the person that I’m all like “Heeeeey, nice SUP!” and we go off enjoying the sunset together.

The Best Blow Up/Stand Up Paddle Boards of 2018 by Category

BoardiRocker All AroundERS SkylakeBlackfin Model XRed Paddle Co SportThurso Surf TranquilityGili Air
11 All Around by iRocker
Full Review

Full Review
Blackfin Model X
Full Review
Red Sport 11 Review
Full Review
Thurso Yoga Board
Full Review
Gili Air Review
Full Review
Who is it for?All Around for ValueAll Around for PerformanceFamily BoardBest TouringBest YogaBest Budget
Pricing$569-$699 at iRocker$929 at PumpedUpSUP
Save 5% with the coupon SUPBOARDGUIDE
$699 at iRocker$1,449 at PumpedUpSUP$649.00 at Amazon$479.00 at Amazon
Rating out of 108/109/108.5/109.5/107/106/10
🙂Accessories included, High-quality pump, good value, durableDurable, high-quality materials, lightweight, good value, removable fins and US fin box system (inter-changeable)Very stable, durable quad layer PVC, rigid, lots of storage space, handles for kids to hang onto, all accessories included, high max capacityHigh-quality materials and manufacturing, RSS stiffening system for rigidity, amazing tracking, best pump on the marketSuper stable, nice board design, thick long oversized deck pad, good paddle, all accessories included plus bonus extrasCheap, stable, oversized deck pad, all accessories included
🙁Heavy, only one fin removablePump could be improved, more storage area on the nose would be goodHeavy, little slow and tricky to maneuverMinimal storage area, no paddle included (also a pro)Slow, bulky to move, pump and bag are averageLow-quality paddle and pump, will flex with bigger users (single layer PVC only)
SpecsiRockerERSBlackfinRed Paddle CoThurso SurfGili
Length10'10'7"10'6"11'10'8"10'6"
Width32"32"35"30"34"31"
Thickness6"5"6"5"6"6"
Weight22 lbs22 lbs29 lbs25 lbs29 lbs19 lbs
Capacity350 lbs240 lbs450 lbs220 lbs480 lbs300 lbs

Note: It’s important to reiterate that Supboardguide judges boards based on their value. When we say value, we are talking about what you get in comparison to cost. Two boards in totally different price ranges with very different qualities can have a similar rating. Just keep that in mind 🙂

Best All-Around Inflatable Board For Value

2018 10’ & 11’ iRocker All-Around Full Review

Best Inflatable All Around SUP

It was as tricky as walking on water to pick our favorite All-Around iSUP. So we chose to split our choice between value and performance.

Don’t make the mistake that this means the iRocker All-Around won’t perform well.

iRockers All-Around is their most popular item. And rightly so! It’s a jack-of-all-trades, and so it’s extremely versatile for all riders. Beginners particularly love the board as it’s easy to use but not so easy you’ll get over paddling it after the first few times. It can’t maneuver as well as the ERS, but for leisurely cruises, it’s one of the best blow up boards you can buy in the mid-range price bracket.

When you buy an All-Around Stand Up Paddle Board, you are also getting a high-quality dual chamber pump, a fiberglass paddle, ankle leash, supportive and comfortable bag and a guarantee of a long-lasting product.

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Our Video Review: 

Best All-Around Inflatable SUP For Performance

2018 ERS Skylake 10’7 Full Review

It’s the lightweight nature of the ERS that makes the performance a little better. Lightweight because they use fusion technology for their layers. That saves extra layers of PVC, keeping it lightweight. This lightweight frame makes you agile on the water which results in fantastic turning and speed.

Look at the fins on the ERS Skylake 2018, they are interchangeable! Which we love. They even have small river fins for when you are in shallow water or reedy banks. Not only does that increase the value of this iSUP, but it also improves performance. Then for those who are starting out you can choose a large center tracking fin to help stabilize you into sticking straight.

The appearance of the ERS I love too, it’s simple and gender neutral. Combine aesthetics, materials, and performance, and you’ve got my vote! We did look at using the Red Paddle Co Ride as the top pick under this title too. Both ERS and RPC use high-quality materials but why we swung to the ERS is that it’s a little more versatile with the fin setup. While intermediates will definitely get more performance out of the Ride, as does it handle just that touch better, we believe that beginners will appreciate being able to start off with a large center tracking fin. Like you can on the ERS.

If the Skylake is for you don’t forget to claim your free paddle and use the coupon SUPBOARDGUIDE for an additional 5% off!

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Our Video Review:

Top Pick Family Paddle Board

Blackfin Model X Full Review

Incredible SUP Accessories

All aboard! Family day out on the water. Let’s make it happen!

Rolling out this year was iRockers Blackfin models. They are a little heavier than other models this size but damn can they hold some weight. You can literally load a family onto them, and you’ll be still floating. I paddled 2 (questionable) adults, a child, and a dog,

What’s so impressive is despite the extra weight in materials, there’s still performance. The shape is thought out in accordance to its width, thickness, and weight. We found it on par with the Cruiser. Which is only just beaten in speed and glide by the All-Around.

Of course, to take this weight, you need a good deck area. It’s a huge deck at 35” wide, but the nose and tail tapered in for the pre-mentioned performance. The extra features are what make this board step into the family board spotlight though.

Handles everywhere, including on the bungee cord, purposefully added for your kids to hold onto. Also, the carbon rails mean that even after you load the whole family on, you keep that rigid feeling through the whole board, nose to tail.

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Our Video Review:

Best Touring iSUP Board For 2018

Red Paddle Co Sport 11’ Full Review

RPC Sport 11

Sporty spice is fast and nice.

With Red Paddle Co producing some of the best stand up paddle boards on the market, of course, one needs to make its way in here! Recently we reviewed the 11’ Sport and boy does it handle!

So speedy half the photos turned out blurred. Okay, so maybe that was also the camera. But it truly does fly. Not only does it fly, but it also holds you well. The squared off tail gives you loads of stability where the single fin keeps you tracking on point to your destination.

Other features to note that highlight this board as the best touring board are the strong materials, rigid wall design with rail bands, literally the best pump on the market and superb cushioned deck pad.

It’s a shame there isn’t more storage space on the nose, with a couple more D-rings, but this is a small downfall up against the long list of positives.

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Best Yoga Board

Thurso Yoga Full Review

Thurso Yoga Board

Yogi’s rejoice! You’ll be keeping your yogi toes dry on this buoyant and stable yoga platform.

A huge deck area at 34″ wide and its round shape makes this a perfect board for doing yoga on. Not only is it stable, but it’s also comfortable. The deck pad is super cushioned and extends over most of the board. You’ll also notice both the handles can be undone to lay flat on the board to keep the deck area unobstructed.

Then there’s the beautiful lotus design on the nose to set the tranquil mood you’re after. Before receiving the board and only seeing pictures on the internet, I did wonder if it would just look tacky, but I really like it!

The big reason it’s the best in our opinion though is that paddling the Thurso Surf Tranquility Yoga SUP is fun too. Many other yoga boards are just big rectangles that wouldn’t be much good for a casual paddle. I enjoy doing some stretches but still being able to go for a cruise too. I found the Tranquility to be a pleasure to ride and even handled pretty well for such a big board!

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Best Budget/Cheap Inflatable SUP Board

Gili Air Full Review

Gili SUP Review

We know the reality that not everyone is lucky enough to be able to afford top of the range SUPs. But, that doesn’t mean people should miss out. Which is why we went on the hunt for some of the best budget board this year, where you can read the full review here.

Funnily enough, after we finished that comparison up popped the Gili Air and popped out way on top of the list, we had mustered.

The 10’7 Gili Air is not going to be your fastest inflatable board, nor will it be the most durable or high performing but it will at least track well and has a above average pump and bag. Its profile is basic but those paddling for the first time will still get a kick out of riding this blue beauty.

Much like most of the budget blow up SUPs it’s a single layer PVC. However, it’s put together nicely with hardly any bubbles or separation around seams. Again, these were features we saw happening lots on the budget list.

With everything included in the package to start you on your SUP ventures, decent manufacturing and a price tag that low, it’s amazing value.

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Overall Comparison Of The Best Inflatable Boards

Here is where we compare the best inflatable SUPs for 2018. Bit by bit. In-depth but straight to the point. This is broken down into performance, stability, overall value, accessory value, and durability.

Performance (For the intended area of use)

iSUP PerformanceThese inflatables in our opinion perform the best compared to other iSUPs we’ve ridden in their intended area of use. A lot of work, time and testing have gone into this review of the best inflatable SUPs for 2018.

The highest performing board in its field definitely is the Red Paddle Co Sport, which comes as no surprise. It outdoes its competition by far. While the All-Around series was definitely the hardest field to judge. There are so many All-Arounds on the market that are only a margin better than the next. Which is why we broke it down into performance and value.

The ERS outperforms the iRocker due to its optional fin setup and also slightly higher quality manufacturing. The better materials used as well as the way it’s all fused together not glued together results in a lower weight, therefore, making the board easier to maneuver as well as transport.  You can see in the photos it’s a bit more streamlined and also because of the rigid materials, it only needs to be 5” thick which gave it the extra speed and maneuverability on the iRocker All-Around. Last of all, the Gili. It’s a budget SUP. It’s not going to have the moves like mick jagger. Though if you compare it to some of the other cheap boards we reviewed, it is worthy of a celebrity status.

Even though the Blackfin Model X is huge, and I mean, huge! It actually could turn reasonably well and excelled at tracking. In the full review of this small boat, we mentioned it was on par with iRocker Cruiser. They’ve designed the shape for the Blackfins really well. It compliments it’s weight and size and delivers a board that isn’t short of performance. It’s another one of those, “for what it is, it goes well” statements. It’s not going to be comparable to the RPC Sport, but it’s not designed for speed and long-distance tracking. For a big board that’s designed to load up your family and all the pets, we applaud its performance.

Thurso Surf Performance
Thurso Surf Tranquility

Now we can’t really fairly compare a Yoga iSUP for performance against these others. Obviously, it’s made for the utmost stability and not for hours of cruising. It, however, does provide more than enough performance for a leisurely paddle around before or after a Yoga practice. I found turning to be easy because of the stability in the tail, though this is backfoot turning which for a complete beginner is a bit tricky. Just using your paddle to turn, it’s still a bit slow and chunky. There are some other Yoga stand up paddle boards out there like the Advanced Elements Lotus YSUP, that are literally a big floating rectangle. You would much prefer the Thurso Surf Yoga for a casual ride than the Lotus!

Blackfin Model X Stable
Blackfin Model X

Stability

Obviously, the most stable board here is the Blackfin Model X family board or the Thurso Surf Tranquility. However, they are also the least maneuverable on the list. So, you want to weigh up how much you need your stability over being able to turn quickly or tightly. Closely behind those two is the Gili Air. It’s a brilliantly stable board for a beginner but definitely the worst for performance. Because of the single layer PVC, we suspect the board would be prone to flexing so we can’t say it would be as stable for a bigger rider.

When I’ve been out on the Red Paddle Co Sport, I’ve been amazed at its stability even as a single fin. You can see the tail though is very squared off which is where that added stability comes. It’s only a small notch under the All-Arounds for stability. The RSS stiffening system through the rails also means you get a board that’s rigid the whole way throughout. I don’t mind it being that little less stable because it more than makes up for it in its performance, tracking, and speed. With more volume, these qualities would be lessened.

The ERS Skylake and iRocker All-Around are both great platforms with lots of give to get your feet right. iRocker does have a tiny bit more of stability than the ERS, mainly due to its shape being more rounded but also the 6” thickness creates more volume. Again, the downside in that is it loses out a touch of maneuverability.

Board Stability

Value

iRocker Full Package
All-Around by iRocker

IMPORTANTWhen we talk about value, we are talking about the ratio of cost vs. what you get. It’s a hard system to articulate. If we rate something that is worth $500 a 9/10 for value but then give something worth $15000 the same rating, we are talking about the value given what price range it sits in. We want to help you decide if you’re getting a great deal for the price you’re paying. That’s why we look at the complete package and decide where you get the most bang for your buck.

The best value would have to be a tie between the iRocker All-Around and the Gili Air. Both packages come with all the accessories you need to get started and are affordable. The Gili Air is our budget board on the list at $479.00. The iRocker All-Around is also really affordable at $599-$679 (depending on the size). While the accessories on both could be improved, many other SUPs in their price range don’t even come with things like a paddle and leash.

The standout for the Gili Air in its price range was the pump, which is a vital part of the package! Many other inflatable SUPs in the under $500 selection have single action pumps, that feel flimsy and take forever to inflate your board with. You only need to put the Gili Air up against one like the Aqua Marina Fusion, and you’ll see it’s the easily the best for value budget board out there. The accessories you receive with the iRocker are way better than the Gili, but again, it’s in a different price range. iRocker introduced their new pump this year, which is a double chamber high-pressure wonderous piece of equipment. It’s by far the best pump you can find in this price range even though it doesn’t quite reach the level of Red’s Titan pump.

Gili Board Value
Gili Air

Once you start creeping up the ladder towards the other boards like ERS Skylake and then Red’s Sport, you can expect to see more emphasis on the board’s materials and design. This makes sense because if you are going to be spending lots of money on a board, you’re probably also someone who is looking for performance and durability.

So while they are great value for how long they’ll last and the fun they will provide, this kind of value is only applicable to a those who don’t want to sacrifice on quality and performance to save some pennies.

The Red and ERS don’t include a paddle because again if you are spending this much money on a board, you probably want your own paddle that suits you entirely. You don’t want a generic one that may bring down your performance. However, if you buy your  Red or ERS at PumpedUpSUP.comyou get a really nice ERS fiberglass paddle worth $159 for free. You also get an additional 5% off using the code SUPBOARDGUIDE.

The ERS Skylake
ERS Skylake

At the end of the day, they all offer great value for what they cost and what they give. The boards on this list are our favorites for a reason, and all of them are great at what they intend to do. However, they obviously suit different groups of people. If you have a $500 budget, the Gili Air is as good as it gets. For those looking to buy a better board, the iRocker All-Around is a great versatile option, and the Blackfin is a perfect family board with high-end accessories. We found the Thurso Tranquility to be the best option for anyone mainly focused on Yoga. At the top of the range, we’ve got the ERS Skylakeand the Red Sport. If you have the budget and only want the best of the best go for it! The ERS is an incredible all-around board, and the Red is a super fast touring SUP. All of them are standout boards in their respective price-range, and you’re guaranteed to get the best bang for your buck.

Accessories (Inflation, Transportation, Performance)

Inflation

Pump Review Inflatable Board

You just can’t beat the Titan. Red Paddle Co’s Titan pump is so easy to use and that quick at inflating that we (Okay I, Sarah, not the rest of the team) almost cried the first time I used it. I mean, it’s easier than blowing up kids balloons at a party. By the time you have hooked up an electric pump and fiddled with the nose), you could have hand pumped a Red quicker.

Titan SUP Pump
Red Paddle Co’s Titan Pump
Blackfin Triple Action Pump
Blackfin Pump

Closely followed by iRocker’s new pump which is also a double chamber and high-pressure inflation. Then, of course, the Blackfin. The only reason these came in behind is that they are a bit more chunky and also we believe a wee bit slower to inflate, for reasons we probably can’t tell unless we pull them apart. And we aren’t SUP savages!

When pumping up the Skylake, Gili, and Thurso we found them to take about the same time. Skylake perhaps a little less given it’s only 5” thick. The boards are all roughly the same size, and the pumps we think are the same but with just small feature tweaks. Such as, the Skylake pump is probably the best of them all as far as usability goes. Its handles have a bit of grip and also feature more of an ergonomic design.

Transportation

So what’s wheely important? Your bag! Now the Red, Blackfin and ERS bags can all be wheeled. This is a HUGE plus on the transportation front.

Getting into the nitty gritty of each of those three bags, we’ll look at wheel placement and quality. The Blackfin bags were ingeniously designed with their wheels on the front so straps can’t get caught in the wheels. They also feature some serious all-terrain wheels.

Board bags by Red Paddle Co
Red Paddle Co Bags

Now while Red’s bag has the wheels on the back, the backpack straps have their own snug little home at the back to keep them completely out of the way. Their wheels are also made to go over more than a shiny, smooth airport floor.

Then finally the ERS bag! Its wheels are what we would also rate as good quality and also have a snug spot to be tucked into, to save them getting caught in the wheels. There’s plenty of handles to move the bag around and lots of support if you choose to carry your bag.

ERS Backpack
ERS Skylake Bag

All 3 bags are similar is size and space, as well as insulation and material strength. The Blackfin we think is the most well padded while the Red Paddle Co is the best insulated. As far as aesthetics go, we like the Blackfin the most. Each bag also features multiple pockets and secured compartments for all your extras like fins and leg rope.

Backpack comparison

Next in line for transportation would be the iRocker bag. Then the Thurso and then the Gili. iRocker’s bag doesn’t wheel, but it’s made from strong materials with a huge amount of support throughout the whole bag. It’s got multiple handles for easy lifting and handling into your car. The Thurso Surf bag also has multiple handles on it and loads of room inside. Both iRocker’s and  Thurso Surf’s bags have cinching straps inside too, to help secure your gear. The Gili backpack, we love the look of, and it’s made from quality materials. It just is a bit small and doesn’t have any cinching straps inside. However, compared to other boards in the Gili price range, it’s by far the best we’ve seen!

Paddle Performance

Paddle for SUP

The only boards in this article that include a paddle are the iRocker All-Around, the Blackfin Model X, Gili and Thurso Surf Tranquility. Though this is also because, in higher quality boards, the general consensus is that if you are buying a board that has had lots of thought go into it, you should match it with a paddle that compliments you. Boards can be sorted into general categories but your paddle can be way more personalized, so including a generic paddle would actually negatively affect these higher quality boards.

Note: PumpedUpSUP.com are currently doing a deal where if you purchase one their boards through pumped up SUP you can get a free fiberglass paddle worth $159! You get a free paddle with both the ERS Skylake and the Red Sport. You also get 5% off the ERS using SUPBOARDGUIDE at checkout.

Different SUP PaddlesRed Paddle Co also has a selection of paddles on their site you can choose from, and they are beautiful pieces of work. Careful though because once you have used a nice one, you’ll have raised your bar and only ever have eyes for that kind of quality. A good paddle makes a huge difference!

Comparing the included paddles, the Blackfin paddle definitely comes out on top as far as performance goes. It’s got a beautiful matte finished carbon shaft and fiberglass blade. Breaking down the paddle is easy and when put together feels secure. Another big plus is the carbon shaft makes it incredibly light. Though sometimes light can mean non-durable, that’s not the case with this paddle. The blade has a rubber coating and makes it highly resistant to wear and tear from pushing off objects.

Comparing the Blackfin to the iRocker All-Around paddle, the only difference is the shaft on the All-Around one is made from fiberglass. Otherwise, they share the same blade materials as well as shape and locking mechanism on the height adjustments. Talking of the height adjustments they were extended in 2018 to accommodate some of their taller riders. So now the max height you can extend to is 86”. Unfortunately, the Blackfin print on the paddle blades isn’t applied very well, and most of my paint has already come off after only a few uses, but really, that’s just an aesthetic thing, it paddles great.

The Thurso Surf Yoga paddle also has a carbon shaft paddle but doesn’t feel as strong or secure as the Blackfin. It seems to slightly flex under pressure of heavy paddling.  Though as far mid-range accessories go, a carbon shaft paddle is a standout, and it’s definitely way more than acceptable for yoga board. It’s got a well-designed dihedral blade that helps speed you along the water gracefully and reduces flutter.

Thurso GearAnd finally the Gili! It’s not the best. But the whole package is the cheap option to get on the water. It’s heavy, made of aluminum and feels clunky. The shaft seemed to move around a bit in the locking mechanism, making me nervous to lose half my paddle! Though again compared to the paddles we’ve seen in the <$500 mark, it comes out on top. More than okay for a newbie or as acting as an emergency spare.

Extras

A few of these boards come with some included extras! Such as the Blackfin, iRocker, Gili and Thurso Surf all include an ankle leash.

Nothing too noticeable different about the leashes minus small features. The Blackfin and iRocker both are branded and have key stash spots on the ankle. A coiled leash is featured, and the attachment joints feel strong and stable.

Gili Leash
Gili Air Ankle Leash

The Gili is a bit lighter which suggests it’s made of not as strong materials. It also doesn’t feature the ankle stash spot for the keys.

All companies have plenty of cool extras as optional purchases on the side too. A range of things like board straps, cooler bags (Thurso Surf actually includes one in every purchase as well as a waterproof bag for your phone) and kayak seats.

On the mention of kayak seats, I’ll point out the Blackfin Model X, iRocker All-Around and Thurso Surf Tranquility are the only boards listed here that have the extra D-rings for the seat.

Durability (Materials & Construction)

Here is where we see an array of differences. The one consistent thing in all blow up paddle boards is a drop stitch core. Don’t know what that is? Check out this definition. We could spend a few more paragraphs going into drop stitching, but for many of you, I’m sure you don’t want me to. So just check that article out, it’s super informative and easily explained.

Sometimes there is a difference in the quality of drop stitching, but this is one of those things you can only tell by feel or cutting your board up into pieces. It’s something you wouldn’t notice unless you’ve tested loads of boards out either. Luckily we have!

Let’s break this down point by point, starting with who has manufactured their boards the best.

Sport 11' Quality Check
Red Paddle Co Sport 11′

Red Paddle Co Sport – It’s impossible to argue there are better-built stand up paddle boards on the market. Some come in very close though (The ERS Skylake). They use their patented MSL Fusion Technology to ensure their boards are the stiffest and most durable boards while also keeping the weight low. For an in-depth explanation, they have made a fantastic video at Red  HQ. Why it rates in just above the ERS is because of the RSS stiffening system in the rails that are inserted prior to inflation. These rails ensure that the whole body stays rigid even for the biggest of riders. I don’t notice too much difference because I’m only small, but when putting another person on board with me, I did notice I stayed drier on the Sport than the Skylake.

ERS Skylake – Also using a fusion process, their boards closely resemble Reds in weight and aesthetic appearance. Using fusion to combine the layers of PVC means you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bubble between layers or any dodgy seams. Other things to note is their deck pads are 40% thicker than the standard deck pad but don’t add any extra weight to the board thanks to some tricky engineering.

ERS High-quality SUP
ERS Skylake

Blackfin Model X – Next in line is the Blackfin Model X. Both their Model X and XL are made in the same way with the same materials. They are quadrupled layered which does make them a little heavier (something I’m sure they’ll be working on) but also makes them indestructible. As if the Blackfins sheer size wasn’t stable enough, iRocker went and reinforced the rails with a carbon fiber. You are practically able to have a tea party with your precious china set and feel safe on these boards.

Model X Review
Blackfin Model X

iRocker All-Around (2018 Model) – 2018 saw an added layer of PVC to all of iRockers range. So now, all boards are made with bulletproof quad layered PVC. It makes these boards ridiculously stiff but also durable, being able to take a real beating. The extra PVC layer does increase the weight a little compared to last year’s model. However, I as a 55kg woman can still carry the board without any problems.

All-Around 2018 Inflatable
iRocker All-Around

Thurso Surf Tranquility – Thurso Surf like most mid-range boards, use a triple layering of PVC to encapsulate their drop stitch core. Their boards are from what we can tell, immediately durable. However, it will be interesting to compare this inflatable SUP to ones above here in a years time.

Tranquility Yoga SUP
Thurso Surf Tranquility

Gili Sports Air – Being a budget board it’s not surprised Gili Air is a single layer board. It does make it lightweight but also makes it susceptible to damage. Not only do you run a higher risk of getting a piercing, but you also don’t get the same rigidity in your materials. Heavier riders will feel flex on the Air.

Gili Air Inflatable
Gili Air

Conclusion

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 bias. 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 2018 is an all-inclusive list!

Till next time! Keep on enjoying the beautiful sport that SUPing is!

iSUP Comparison 2018

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. Boards we previously recommended include the iRocker Cruiser, Starboard Atlas, and Red Paddle Co Ride. They are all great but boards but just didn’t make it on the list this year.

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Sacky

Heyo! I'm Sarah or as many call me, Sacky! I'm an Australian lover of the outdoors. From losing teeth to rock faces and surfing with dolphins - it's all my second home. I do the online thing to fund my obsessions and keep me seeing this wonderful world. Hope you've enjoyed my content 🙂

Last update on 2018-12-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

143 thoughts on “Our 2018 List Of The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards and iSUPs”

    • 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!
      https://vimeo.com/84757199

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

    Thank you!

  3. I was looking at all 3 of these boards coincidentally enough. Wondering why the IRocker is always at a more economical price though?

  4. 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.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Kevin,
      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.

  5. Aloha,
    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?
    Thanks
    Brian

    • Hi Brian,
      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!

  6. 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

    • Hi Dana,
      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.

      Surf
      Whether it is for ocean or river surfing these boards are designed to hand surfing on waves, standing waves or moving.

      Universal
      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.

      Touring
      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.

      Race
      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.

  7. 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

    • Hi Sandi,
      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.

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    • Hi Sammy,
      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.

  11. 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.

    Thanks

    Fraser

    • 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
      Tobias

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

    • Hey Hudson,

      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 🙂

  15. 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!

  16. Hello,

    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?

    • Hi Marc.
      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.

  17. 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.

  18. Hi,

    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!

    • Hi Colleen.
      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!
      Tobias

      • 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.

  19. 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?

    • Hi Eric,
      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.

    • 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

          • SUP-G,

            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!

  22. Hi there!

    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?

    • Thanks 🙂
      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

    • Thanks 🙂
      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

  23. 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.

    • 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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 pretty solid option. More expensive but well worth it. 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.

  26. Hi Mike,

    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?

    Yours Sincerely
    Helen He

  27. 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.

    Thanks!
    Amanda

    • Hey Amanda,

      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.

      Cheers

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

    • Hi Roland,
      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.

  32. 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

  33. Hey guys,

    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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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?

    • Thanks 🙂

      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.

  36. Hi,

    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.

    • Hi,

      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.

  37. 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?

    • Hi Judy,

      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.

  38. 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 🙂

  39. 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!

  40. 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?

    • Hi Mark,

      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

  41. 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!

    • Hey Sandra!

      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.

  42. 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… 🙂

    • Hey Michelle,

      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?

  43. 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 🙂

  44. 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.

    • Hey Christy
      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.

  45. 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?

    • Hey Eva!
      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 🙂

  46. 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!!!

    • Hey Karen

      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 🙂

  47. Sacky,

    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!

  48. 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!!

    • Hey Ellenaor!

      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!

  49. 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!
    Many thanks,
    Barry

    • Hey Barry

      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’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 🙂

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