Most people get hooked on SUP after just one or two times on the water. If you’re finding yourself in that position, it may be time to look into your first beginner stand up paddleboard. We have taken some time and put together the best beginner stand up paddleboards for summer 2016.
When it comes to finding the right board, as a beginner, there a few key features you will want to look for:
- The right length/volume for the rider(s) weight
- Wider width
Rider size does play a key role in finding the right length. We have a helpful article you can checkout on choosing the right paddleboard size. As far as width goes, we recommend a board that is between 32″-35″ wide. This slightly wider shape will make it much easier for you to balance on your board. When it comes to durability, it’s inevitable that your board is going to withstand some wear and tear. We’ve got some great soft top options that are ideal for those that know their board will get beat up a little more than others.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s find you the right beginner stand up paddleboard!
Starboard Atlas Asap 12′ Paddleboard
The board that kicks off our list is perfect for every member of the family and as durable as they come. The Starboard Atlas Asap Stand Up Paddleboard has the ideal shape for a beginner with a comfortable 33″ width and soft top full deck pad for a massive stance area and guaranteed stable platform. The ASAP construction stands for “as strong as possible” and is just that. With an impact resistant, high density foam on the rails you can knock the board around and not worry about small scratches and dings. The full-deck EVA pad is comfortable under your feet and also highly durable, so if you’ve got kids that want to climb / jump / wipeout on the board then a soft top is definitely the way to go. An Australian Pine wood layer has been added right under the footing area for added rigidity and any/all inserts on the board have reinforcements built in. With a price tag that doesn’t make you gasp, a super durable construction and a great shape that is perfect for the whole family, the Starboard Atlas ASAP 12’0 is an excellent board for any beginner.
- Extremely durable construction
- High weight capacity ideal for bigger riders
- Wider body is excellent for balance
The starboard ASAP construction is also available in a couple other sizes:
Laird ST Cruiser 10’6, 11’0
Another fantastic option for the beginner looking for something highly durable and easy to ride is the Laird ST Cruiser Stand Up Paddleboard. Available in 2 sizes, there is an option for pretty much any size paddler. With a classic surf/sup shape, the ST Cruiser can handle both flat water and small waves, and also offers a ton of width (in both sizes) so even the first time paddler will be able to balance with ease. ST stands for “soft top” which means the entire top sheet of the board is a soft, EVA foam material that is highly durable, very comfortable and ideal for families or lake houses. Laird has been surfing for nearly 50 years and got into stand up paddle boarding about 15 years ago. Thanks to his extensive background in the water, he’s been able to design a small collection of SUP boards that offers a board for every type of rider. If you are a beginner who wants a durable, fun to ride board, then the Laird ST Cruiser will work for you.
- Great all around cruising shape
- 2 sizes cover many size riders
- Durable soft top construction
Red Ride 10’8, 10’6
If you are looking to get into SUP but lack the storage space for a board that is 10-12 feet long, then the Red Ride 10’8 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is just what you are looking for. Red is exclusively an inflatable SUP company and produce the best inflatable SUPs in the game. All boards in the Red Paddle Co. line can go up to 25psi which creates an insanely rigid board, making it pretty hard to believe you are actually paddling an inflatable! The Ride series is their best selling all-around model. The classic shape is perfect for almost any conditions and the 2 size options give you choices that can cater to your specific size and riding style. For smaller riders, check out the 10’6 x 32″. For larger paddlers or those looking to do some tandem rides, we recommend the 10’8 x 34″. The extra width is also excellent for added stability. Tie downs at the nose give you a spot to stash a dry bag, cooler or life vest and an O-ring at the lower part of the nose can be used to drag the board or to anchor it down when needed. Lighter weight riders can inflate the board to between 15-18 psi and still get great performance. For heavier riders, or those just looking for the best performance, fill it up to 25 psi and forget that you are actually riding an inflatable board. For easy storage, travel and top notch durability, the Red Ride 10’6 or 10’8 is an ideal beginner board.
- Easy to travel with and store
- Extremely durable inflatable construction
- Perfect shape that is great for all conditions
Naish Nalu 10’10
The Naish Nalu collection is their top of the line, all around, collection of boards, but the Naish Nalu 10’10 Stand Up Paddleboard has some unique features that are all it’s own. With a perfect 32″ width and super lightweight construction, the Nalu is as easy to ride as it is to carry. But the real bonus you get with the 10’10 is the multi-concave channel bottom. The bottom of the board has ridges that direct the water from front to back. So even in choppy conditions you get a smooth, balanced glide. Since the water channels under the ridges, the rider feels highly stable and the ride feels smooth regardless of the conditions. The 10’10 is also almost 5″ thick which adds to stability and feeling that you are riding above the water. The super comfortable deck pad feels great under your feet, even on longer paddles, and built in handle with a contoured grip makes carrying the board a breeze. If you are looking for a premium board that you can grow your SUP skills with, the Naish Nalu 10’10 is that board!
- Wood sandwich construction is lightweight and durable
- Multi-channel concave bottom channels water for a smooth glide
- Great all-around shape that performs in all conditions
Naish Mana Soft Top 11’0
Yeah, we know…another soft top on the list? Well the Naish Mana Stand Up Paddleboard is definitely a beginner-friendly board that we could not pass up! With an extra wide body and super flat deck area, the Mana Soft Top is a board that literally anyone can feel comfortable on, even first timers. The 11’0 size has a width of just under 34″, giving the rider a comfortable, wide platform to figure out the basics and balance easily on the board. The full EVA deck pad is comfortable under your feet and also grips well for ease of balance and the super high density EVA foam on the rails adds a ton of durability for everyday dings, bumps and scratches. The bottom of the board is a hard material that also offers durability and an extra smooth glide while the minimal rocker creates a very flat overall shape which also adds to the stability of the board. If you like the idea of an extra wide, highly durable stand up paddle board, then the Naish Mana Soft Top may be the perfect board for you.
- Super durable soft top construction
- Added width for extra stability
- Contoured handle grip for easy carrying
Naish Odysseus 9’8
Still fairly new to the game, the Naish Odysseus Stand Up Paddleboard is one of our personal favorites. This super versatile little cruiser can ride small waves, glide perfectly on flats and is a shape that is ideal for beginners. Offering phenomenal stability, the Odysseus has a short nose, wide body and slightly recessed deck area, giving even first time riders a perfect platform for easy balance. The quad-concave bottom channels the water under the board for a smooth glide and also helps direct the board so you can paddle straight with less effort. Using an ASA Topsheet and Glass Matrix deck and bottom, the Odysseus is also highly durable and surprisingly lightweight. If you are a beginner that is looking for a board that will be easy to learn on and is also a board that you will be able to grow (and maybe surf) with, then the Naish Odysseus is definitely a board to consider.
- Compact, lightweight shape and construction
- Slightly recessed deck area for added stability
- Durable construction protects against daily wear and tear
You now have some good information you can use to finally pull the trigger on that SUP board you have been thinking of getting for a while. Happy shopping & see you on the water!