How to Choose an Inflatable SUP Board to Fit Your Needs

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If you’ve shopped for stand up paddleboards, you’ve no doubt noticed the extensive selection available. Finding the right inflatable stand up paddleboard (SUP) comes down to knowing what you want out of your paddleboarding experience. Many boarders tend to go for the balanced board for even performance. But if you have specific goals in mind, such as racing or cruising, you may want an inflatable SUP board tailored to your needs.

Stand up paddleboards come in a variety of lengths, widths, and thicknesses—and yes, the numbers matter. The dimensions of a paddleboard can influence speed, stability, and maneuverability on the water. So, how do you pick the right board with all of these factors to consider? The answer is easier than you might think! Here are four things to keep in mind as you choose your next inflatable SUP board.

Do You Want a Stable Inflatable SUP Board?

Newer to paddleboarding? Then you’re going to want stability. You’ll find that with shorter, wider boards. If you want to maximize stability, look for a blow up paddle board around 9 feet in length, with a width of 34 inches or more. While shorter, wider boards are a bit slower, they give you more stability and control in the water, which are appreciated by beginners.

For the most part, shorter boards are more maneuverable than their longer counterparts. Narrower boards are also more maneuverable than wider ones. Bring short and narrow together, and you’ll have an agile board capable of quick turns on the water. Keep in mind that shorter, narrower boards are less stable and better for more experienced boarders. But you can also boost your board’s maneuverability while maintaining stability. The answer lies in your SUP’s fins.

You can adjust the fins on the best inflatable SUPs. Fundamentally, SUP fins are used to add stability to the board. They decrease minor side to side motions and give you more control over the board as you paddle, making it easier to travel in a straight line. This is especially true of the three-fin configuration (two smaller fins on either side of a larger center fin). But if you’re interested in more maneuverability, all you’ll need is the one large central fin, and you’re good to go.

Consider the Type of Water

Consider where exactly you’ll take your blow up paddle board. Are you looking to take on the waves at the beach? Or will you be spending relaxing days circling a lake taking in epic views? Think about the maneuverability you’ll want from your board. A longer, narrower board can offer speed and can help you cut through waves with ease. If you are interested in taking it easy on a lake, a more stable option might be the best option. While there are no right or wrong SUPs, it is important to consider your goals with your new board.

If you plan to do a little bit of everything, you should look for a SUP that offers all-around performance in the 10 to 11-foot range and between 30 inches and 34 inches in width. These types of boards are ideal for just about anyone who enjoys paddleboarding

What Is Your Experience Level?

For the beginner, a short, wide inflatable SUP board will be more forgiving while building your confidence out on the water. These types of boards are also great for anyone who enjoys cruising around and chilling out on the water with a cold drink or a good book. They’re even great for yoga! And because they offer added stability, carrying a cooler is a breeze. So, if relaxation is on your mind, a shorter, broader blow up paddle board is your perfect companion.

If you’re an old pro looking to jet from one end of the lake to the other, you should focus on longer inflatable paddleboards. They’re better suited to cut through the water, and when you combine long and narrow dimensions, you can go even faster. Long, narrow boards—longer than 11 inches, under 30 inches wide—maximize speed efficiency on the water. They’re suitable for racing or covering long distances quickly. But, as with many things in life, there are a couple of trade-offs to consider.

What longer, narrow boards gain in speed, they lose in stability and maneuverability. This makes them more appropriate for boarders with more experience. Also, thinner boards (under six inches) will net you a little more speed in the water, but the thinner the board is, the less weight it can support. A thicker inflatable SUP board allows you to carry more, such as a passenger, a pet, a beverage cooler, or fishing gear. They’re also well-suited to larger individuals.

Know Your Budget

Of course, your budget is going to play a factor in what inflatable SUP board you end up calling yours. Once you’ve considered stability, type of water, and your experience level, decide how much you’re willing to spend. The good news? The best brands offer a range of SUPs to suit every need, from the bi-monthly paddler to the near daily, SUP fanatic. Explore options in your price range and find the board the checks all your boxes.

The bottom line is, when it comes to paddleboarding, you have options to live your best boarding life. It’s never been easier to own your own paddleboard and to go on unforgettable paddleboarding adventures, whether it’s a day at a local pond or a weekend trip to a secluded mountain lake.

About iROCKER

Founded in 2013, iROCKER specializes in high-quality outdoor gear. From stand up paddleboards (SUPs) to inflatable docks, they offer what you need to get the most out of your adventure on the water. iROCKER also offers a wide selection of paddleboard gear and accessories to complete your SUP experience, including onboard beverage coolers, fishing rod attachments, and electric pumps. Want to get even more out of your new paddleboard? iROCKER is your destination for the SUP lifestyle. From their blog to their video series, they provide a number of resources for every skill level and interest. Whether you’re a SUP newbie looking for a few pointers or a SUP pro looking for a new paddleboarding adventure, iROCKER has you covered.

Let iROCKER pair you with your perfect paddleboard at https://www.irockersup.com/

Evan Akers
Evan Akers
I initially started my blog as a hub for health, fitness, and nutrition advice, but I quickly realized that I enjoyed writing about a lot more. When I’m not jotting down my picks for fitness products or meal-prep recommendations, you can usually find me blogging about everything from camping equipment to electronics to outdoor adventures to entrepreneurial advice. Thanks for looking at my profile, and I hope my blog helps you find and appreciate something new as well!

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