Here at Windward, we spend a good amount of time explaining to customers that inflatable stand up paddleboards DO in fact work and actually are pretty awesome to paddle. Once you understand the construction of the high-quality type inflatables that we carry, you can rest easy knowing you will not only be perfectly safe on the water, but that you are investing in a super durable (and super portable) product. If you are still on the fence about inflatable SUP boards, check out our post on inflatable SUPs vs. rigid SUP boards, where we go into the the pros and cons of each. If you are ready to dive in, continue below to our picks for the best inflatable stand up paddleboards of summer 2016!
Bic Air 10’6 Inflatable SUP Board
Kickin off our list is the most affordable inflatable stand up paddleboard that we carry, the Bic Air 10’6 SUP Board. This perfect all-around surf / sup style inflatable can ride small waves, cruise flat water and is a perfect shape for paddlers of all skill levels. With a 33″ width, the Air 10’6 is also ideal for beginners. The slightly larger width makes for a comfortable, wide stance which makes balancing on the board a breeze. Additional handles built in at the nose and tail make carrying the board easy and can also be used to pull yourself back up onto the board from the water. Deck storage at the nose allows you attach a dry bag, life vest or small cooler which is awesome on longer distance paddles, and the soft deck pad is comfortable under your feet. If you are into SUP yoga, you’ll love the soft deck pad. Included in the price is the board, pump, fins and a high quality travel bag that is perfect for airline travel as well as daily treks to the beach. If you are looking to get into SUP, need a board that is easy to travel with and can’t afford to break the bank, then the Bic Air 10’6 is a great choice.
- Unbeatable price for the quality
- Slightly wider profile that is great for beginners
- Deck storage and additional handles
Naish One 12’6 Inflatable SUP Board
The name says it all. The Naish One is one of the best inflatable stand up paddleboards that we stock at Windward. Perfect for all around cruising, touring and even capable of turning heads in the race scene, the One is a high performance, high durability, high quality inflatable stand up paddle board. If you are an experienced paddler that wants the performance of a race-style board in the portability of an inflatable, then this is your board. Designed specifically for the Naish N1SCO racing series, the One has a sleek 30″ width design and defined displacement hull for a strong, smooth glide thru the water. Deck storage at the nose gives you somewhere to stash your dry bag on longer treks and the numbered triangles on the deck pad help you reference your proper stance position. Each One board comes with the board, pump, fin and travel bag so you are ready to hit the water as soon as you open the box (but don’t forget the sup paddle). If you didn’t know that you can get race-quality shape out of an inflatable, then it’s time for you to give the Naish One a try.
- Race-ready shape and size
- Numbered guide on deck pad for stance reference
- Narrow width for higher performance and added speed
Naish Alana Air 11’6 Inflatable SUP Board
You know the crew at Naish likes to look out for the ladies and the proof is in the new and improved Naish Alana Air 11’6 SUP Board. The Alana also comes in a perfect all-around shape at 10’6 but the 11’6 is our personal favorite. With all the benefits of an all-around cruiser, Naish added a more defined touring-style nose and just took this flash inflatable to the next level. Still ideal for casual paddling, the Alana 11’6 is faster and smoother than the 10’6 and perfect for the ladies who are taking those longer distance adventures and are looking for added speed. The more defined nose allows you to cut through the water and helps with the overall glide and speed of the board. The board comes stock with a single, touring style center fin to help you track perfectly straight and the added deck storage gives you a place to stash your life vest or dry bag. For the smaller ladies out there, you can rest easy knowing that fully inflated the Alana only weighs 23.8 lbs. So, she is a breeze to transport and carry around the beach. Every Alana Air comes with the board, pump, fin and durable travel bag. Make a statement with the style and then turn their heads as you pass them by in the water on the Naish Alana Air 11’6.
- Designed specifically for female riders
- Defined nose helps slice through the water
- Deck storage for longer treks
Red Ride 10’6, 10’8 Inflatable SUP Board
Leading the pack when it comes to tech developments in inflatable stand up paddleboards, Red Paddle Co is really doing some big things. Already ahead of the game with their max 25 psi, Red has also re-designed the way their build their boards making them stronger and more durable than ever before. Most inflatable stand up paddleboards inflate to between 14 psi and 18 psi. Red Paddle Co took their tech to the next level, allowing their boards to go nearly 10 psi higher than every other top brand on the market. This added pressure makes the boards more rigid and also allows for higher weight capacity, even on smaller size boards. The Red Paddle Co Ride SUP Board comes in 2 sizes – 10’6 and 10’8. The 10’6 has a 32″ width and the 10’8 goes up to a whopping 34″ width so no matter your size, or skill level, one of the boards is sure to work for you. The high quality deck pad is comfortable under your feet, the added deck storage at the nose gives you a place to stash your life vest or dry bag and an additional handle at the tail of the board makes it easy to drag around the beach or tow behind a small boat. Every Red Paddle Co purchase comes with the board, fins, dual-chamber pump and one of the best wheelie travel bags in the industry. If you are the kind of paddler who wants the best of the best when it comes to inflatable performance and quality, then Red Paddle Co is the only way to go.
- Max PSI 25
- 2 sizes for riders of almost any weight
- Travel bag included has wheels!
Red Explorer 12’6 Inflatable SUP Board
Inflatable touring at it’s finest comes from the one and only Red Paddle Co Explorer 12’6 SUP Board. As we mentioned above, Red leads the industry in inflatable quality and a true “rigid” board feel. Inflating up to 25 psi, the Explorer truly feels like a traditional board and has the power and glide to back that statement up. The laundry list of tech features on this board is pretty lengthy so we will just jump right in. Five built in handles make it easy to carry or climb back on the board from the water, two bungee sections for deck storage galore, a massive weight limit of up to 330 lbs and a perfect 32″ width means even a beginner can step on this board and feel comfortable in no time. The defined nose helps drive the board through the water and an optional nose rudder (fin) will keep you tracking more straight than ever before. Additional deck storage is also ideal for those looking to do a little fishing while the near 6″ thickness keeps you high and stable and out of the water, even when you are lugging additional gear. Touring style performance in a portable construction, the Red Explorer 12’6 is truly one of the best.
- 2 sections of deck storage
- 5 built in handles for easy carrying
- Massive weight capacity of 330 lbs
Starboard Touring Astro 12’6 Inflatable SUP Board (Zen / Deluxe)
Starboard has been in the water sports game for many years so we can’t very well have a “Best Of” list without including a few of their boards. One of our favorites from the line the Starboard Touring Astro 12’6 SUP Board. All Starboard inflatable SUP boards we stock are available in 2 different thickness, Zen (4.75″) or Deluxe (6″). So regardless of your size or weight, there is a perfect option for you. With a 31″ width, the Touring 12’6 is just narrow enough to be fast through the water, without losing much stability, while the defined nose helps drive the board through the water for a strong push and smooth glide. Tie downs at the nose give you some added deck storage for a dry bag, fishing gear or a cooler and the high quality deck pad is comfortable under your feet, even on longer distance paddles. For riders under 180, the Zen option will give you plenty of stability and rigidness. For the heavier riders, or those looking to carry heavier gear, the Deluxe version will offer a higher overall volume. That means it will float you and all your gear with no problems. Also note the Deluxe construction has a carbon fiber dual stringer to add even more rigidity. When it comes to flat-water cruising or long-distance journeys, trust one of the oldest names in the game with the Starboard Astro Touring 12’6.
- Defined nose and narrow body for a fast glide
- Deck storage for your gear
- Dual stringer technology in the Deluxe construction helps carry up to 230 lbs
Starboard Blend Astro 11’2 Inflatable SUP Board (Zen / Deluxe)
One of the best all-around inflatable SUP boards that Starboard makes is the Blend 11’2 SUP Board. This perfectly shaped cruiser can surf small waves, glide on flat water and ride just about anything in between. The 11’2 x 32″ dimensions are perfect for both beginners and more experienced riders and the tri-fin setup is great for tracking straight in flat water or playing in the surf. The 3/4 durable and comfortable deck pad keeps your feet securely planted and the tie downs at the nose give you a place to stash your extra gear. If the rider weight is under 175 lbs, opt for the Zen construction. If you are pushing 200, the Deluxe construction is the way to go. If you are looking for one board that can do it all, and that the whole family can enjoy, then the Starboard Astro Blend 11’2 is the way to go.
- All around shape and size that can surf or cruise
- Deck storage for carrying extra gear
- Additional handle at the tail for easy carrying
We certainly hope this article has given you the info you need to make the right choice on your inflatable stand up paddleboard purchase. If you are local to Chicago, keep in mind we offer demos and rentals and we have several inflatables in house if you would like to give one a try before you buy. See you on the water!