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Finding the best paddle boards for beginners may feel like an elusive process. Paddleboarding isn’t known for being easy, and if you’re new to the sport, you were probably hoping that picking out a board would at least be a simple process. Well, if you’ve spent any time at all searching for an entry level board, you will know that there are plenty of options out there… Probably too many!

But don’t be discouraged. Once you know what to look for in a good beginner board, you’ll be able to make a decision and hit the water in no time.

We’ve taken the liberty of creating this ultimate guide to the best paddle boards for beginners, and all the information you’ll need can be found right here. From technical specs to tips and tricks, we’ve got you covered.

Up first are our top ten recommendations for beginner paddle boards.

Quick Answer: Best Paddle Boards for Beginners 2021

Name
Image
Weight
Length
Width
Price
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TOWER Adventurer 225 lbs10' 4"32"$$$
ISLE Explorer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board22 lbs11'32"$$$
Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board17.5 lbs10'32"$$
SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board19.6 lbs10' 6"32"$$
Bluefin Cruise SUP (10'8)33 lbs10' 8"32"$$$
CBC Hydra 10’6 Foam SUP25 lbs10' 6"30"$$$
FBS Sport Premium Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board22 lbs10'30"$
Bestway Hydro-Force Oceana Inflatable27.7 lbs10'33"$$$
Streakboard Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board18.1 lbs10'30.3"$
Goplus Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board18 lbs11'30"$$

10 Best Paddle Boards for Beginners

Here’s a complete round up of the 10 best paddle boards for beginners. Keep reading until the end for key considerations when it comes to picking out the perfect entry-level SUP!

TOWER Adventurer 2

Weight: 25 lbs | Length: 10′ 4″ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 350 lbs

Features: Non-slip soft top deck | 3 piece fiberglass paddle | High-pressure SUP pump | Removable center fin | Hand hold strap

Tower is known for making some seriously spectacular SUPS, and their Adventurer 2 is one of the best paddle boards for beginners. 

At 32 inches wide and six inches thick, this SUP is safe and stable, making it an excellent entry level board. It’s also extremely rigid thanks to the drop-stitch construction, and even heavier paddlers will find that there is very little flex.

This beginner paddle board is also equipped with a non-slip, soft deck top for added grip, a bungee storage area, and bottom fins to help with speed and steering.

Although it performs like a hard board, this is indeed an inflatable paddle board. This makes it extremely portable, and even small paddlers will have no trouble transporting it to and from the water. 

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ISLE Explorer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Weight: 22 lbs | Length: 11′ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 300 lbs

Features: Front & rear bungee storage | Nose & tail carry handle | Grooved EVA traction pad | Nylon blade paddle | Carry backpack | High-pressure pump

Another one of the best paddle boards for beginners is this inflatable SUP from Isle. Known for making stylish, high-quality boards, the Explorer is no exception. 

Appearance isn’t everything, but there’s no denying that this is a good-looking board. Luckily, it’s got quality to back it up, too. It’s a bit longer than most of the other entry level boards on our list, and this may decrease maneuverability to a certain degree. The length will, however, allow you extra space for any gear (or pets!) you might be paddling with.

The V-shaped nose cuts through chop with ease, and at six inches thick, even newbies will stay seriously stable on this inflatable paddle board. The grooved traction pad will also help you keep your balance and is remarkably soft against bare skin. 

Other noteworthy features of this beginner paddle board include a removable center fin to aid in speed and tracking and a paddle holder for when you need a break. Its high weight capacity is also worth mentioning – this board can hold up to 300 pounds!

The drop-stitch construction and military-grade PVC make this a highly durable inflatable paddle board. It rolls up nice and small and is extremely lightweight – perfect for those who are short on space or have a long way to walk. 

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Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Weight: 17.5 lbs | Length: 10′ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 275 lbs

Features: Adjustable paddle | High capacity hand pump | Safety leash | Detachable fin | Travel backpack | Bungee tie downs | Non-slip deck pad

Extremely lightweight, stable, and affordable, this SUP from Roc is one of the best paddle boards for beginners. 

The military-grade material makes this inflatable SUP extremely durable, but at just 17.5 pounds, this entry level board is one of the lightest models out there. This makes for easy portability and storage once you’re back on land. 

The weight has no effect on the stability, however. It’s 33 inches wide and six inches thick, and the non-slip deck pad will further increase your balance out on the water. 

This beginner paddle board also has a removable fin to help with speed and tracking and secure bungee tie-downs for your gear. The only thing missing from this SUP is carrying handles, which can really come in handy if you’ve got a lot of gear on board. 

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SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Weight: 19.6 lbs | Length: 10′ 6″ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 275 lbs

Features: Anti-slip top deck | Triple bottom panel fins | Safety leash | Aluminum paddle | Manual air pump | Storage bag

The best paddle board for beginners looking for a basic SUP is this no-nonsense model from SereneLife. 

It doesn’t have any frills or crazy accessories, but this beginner paddle board will satisfy all of your basic needs while you’re out on the water. It’s six inches thick and the anti-slip deck makes it even more rigid, so there’s no need to worry about any flex. It’s under 11 feet long and has a width of 32 inches – so you’ll stay nice and stable while you paddle. 

A removable fin helps you get up to speed faster and track better, and a small bungee deck is located at the top of the board. Paddlers do report that an additional handle in either the front or back would be handy (there is only one in the center of the board). 

Because it’s inflatable, this entry level board is extremely lightweight – just under 20 pounds! It’s also very affordable, but this comes at the price of missing out on a drop-stitch construction that makes some of the other beginner paddle boards so durable.

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Bluefin Cruise SUP

Weight: 33 / 42 lbs | Length: 10’8″ / 15′ | Width: 32″ / 36″ | Max Capacity: 287 / 353 lbs

Features: Extremely rugged & rigid | Kayak conversion kit w/ D Rings | GoPro Mount | Travel backpack | Lightweight fiberglass paddle | Smart lock fin

Perhaps the most popular beginner paddle board out there is this highly rated inflatable SUP from Bluefin. 

There are a few reasons that this entry level board is a favorite, but one of the main reasons is that it is extremely versatile. In addition to the ordinary accessory pack that most boards come with, the Bluefin Cruise includes a kayak conversion kit. It’s also just as popular with skilled paddlers as it is with beginners, so you likely won’t need to upgrade to a different board for years to come (if ever!). This will save you a lot of money if you’re hoping to maximize the use of your board. 

Another reason this inflatable paddle board is so beloved is that it’s made from high-quality materials. The pro weave drop stitch helps keep you rigid in the water, and the smart lock fin allows you to glide along the surface with ease.  

This beginner paddle board is incredibly stable at nearly 33 inches in width and over six inches in thickness. It also comes in 10’8″ or 15′ (for tandem use) if you’d like a beginner SUP that you can grow with.

Other notable features include a mount for your GoPro, a paddle holder, and a thermo-sealed deck pad to give wet toes an extra sturdy grip. 

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CBC Hydra 10’6 Foam SUP

Weight: 25 lbs | Length: 10′ 6″ | Width: 30″ | Max Capacity: 300 lbs

Features: High density EPS foam | Surf leash | Camera mount | Adjustable paddle | Instant padded roof rack | Tri-Fin system

This the best paddle board for beginners who have their hearts set on a foam SUP.

It’s an ideal entry level board because it’s lighter than a hard board, but more durable than some lower-end inflatable SUPs (though some paddlers report that this board is fairly fragile).

The core of the board is made from waterproof EVA foam and has three laminated wood stringers that allow you to easily glide through the water.

It’s also equipped with a fin to help with tracking and speed, a bungee deck for your gear, and a built-in camera mount. This SUP even comes with a padded roof rack, so you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to transport it.

This beginner board is slightly less wide and thick than some of the other SUPs on our list, coming in at 30 and five inches respectively.

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FBS Sport Premium Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Weight: 22 lbs | Length: 10′ | Width: 30″ | Max Capacity: 280 lbs

Features: Removable fin & 2 fixed fins | Angle leash | Carrying backpack | High pressure pump | Non-flip soft top deck | 13 color options

Versatile and affordable, this inflatable SUP is one of the best paddle boards for beginners. 

It checks off all the boxes for stability, with a 32-inch deck and a thickness of six inches. You’ll also find a removable center fin in addition to two side fins that make tracking a breeze. 

The ultra-soft EVA deck pad and drop-stitch technology make this inflatable kayak nice and durable, so there’s no need to worry about punctures or leaks. 

This entry level kayak is great for all kinds of activities, including fishing, yoga, or simply a relaxing cruise around the lake. That being said, some lighter paddlers do report that this isn’t the most stable option, so if you’re on the smaller side, you may want to look for a heavier board. 

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Bestway Hydro-Force Oceana Inflatable

Weight: 27.7 lbs | Length: 10′ | Width: 33″ | Max Capacity: 243 lbs

Features: 2-in-1 adjustable paddle | Surf leash | Cushioned non-slip traction pad | Converts to kayak | Hand pump | Travel bag | Bungee storage

This is one of the best paddle boards for beginners, but paddlers of all skill levels enjoy this inflatable SUP. The versatile design allows you to attach a seat and footrest if you feel like kayaking (seat sold separately), and the paddle can be adjusted to fit for either activity. 

If you’d rather stay standing, this entry level board has everything you’ll need for a successful journey. The board is six inches thick and 33 inches wide, allowing you to stay extremely stable while you paddle. This inflatable paddle board is made from high-quality materials and features drop-stitch construction, making it a solid choice in terms of durability.

The three small fins make for easy tracking and smooth sailing. This beginner paddle board is categorized as an all-around board, meaning it works well on flat water, but it can also take on its fair share of chop if you fancy taking it on a river or out to the ocean. 

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Streakboard Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Weight: 18.1 lbs | Length: 10′ | Width: 30.3″ | Max Capacity: 230 lbs

Features: Ultra lightweight | Dual-action pump w/ pressure gauge | Carry backpack | EVA deck pad | Removable center fin w/ 2 side-bites

The best paddle board for beginners who aren’t quite certain that they’re going to be in it for the long haul is definitely a budget board. Of course, you’ll want something stable that won’t tip in the water as well. Luckily, this inflatable paddle board fits both of those descriptions and performs just as well as some of the more expensive SUPs on this list. 

For such an affordable price, this entry level board is surprisingly well equipped. It’s six inches thick and 30 inches wide and constructed with drop-stitch technology, making it an extremely stable and durable option. The main fin and two side bites make for easy tracking and maneuverability, and the non-slip decking helps you keep your footing as you paddle.

This inflatable paddle board weighs just over 18 pounds and folds down into a backpack, making it easy to transport and store. 

The only real criticism we can give it is that it probably won’t perform the best on choppy water due to its rounded nose. Also, no handles = no bueno. The bottom line is, this is a great board at a great price. 

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Goplus Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Weight: 18 lbs | Length: 11′ | Width: 30″ | Max Capacity: 

Features: Bungee cargo storage | Ankle leash D-ring | Carrying handle | Extendable paddle | Manual pump

Rounding out our list of the 10 best paddle boards for beginners is this inflatable beauty from Goplus

Fit to handle ocean waves or any other kind of chop, this V-shaped SUP is one of the best all-around entry level boards. It has the standard six-inch thickness and 30-inch width, in addition to high-quality PVC and drop-stitch technology that makes this bad boy extremely stable and durable. 

The triple fins allow for easy tracking and balance, and the EVA deck keeps you from slipping and sliding on unsteady water. 

This inflatable paddle board weighs just 18 pounds, allowing you to easily transport it to and from the water. 

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What to Look for in a Beginner Paddle Board

The paddle board market is extremely saturated, and beginners looking for the best entry level board may have a hard time choosing from the hundreds of options available.

Beginners need something that is stable enough to keep them afloat without sinking them into debt. Everyone’s preferences are different, but keep these things in mind when you’re searching for a good entry level board.

Woman kneeling on paddle board

Stability

Stability is probably the most important thing to look for on your search for the best beginner paddle board. Skilled paddlers make standing up on the board look easy, but it’s actually one of the hardest things to master for beginners. So, what constitutes a stable board? 

Size is generally the most important factor when it comes to a board’s stability. Beginners should look for a board between 10-12 feet in length, as this will allow for some maneuverability speed, but not too much of either. 

Width is also a key factor here, and anything less than 30 inches simply won’t do for an entry level board. When it comes to the best paddle boards for beginners, the wider the better. 

You’ll also have to take the board’s thickness into account. This is especially true if you are looking at inflatable paddle boards (which many beginner boards are), and most have a thickness of six inches. This will help keep the board rigid and protect against any buckling – we’re looking at you, bigger paddlers. 

Type

There are a few different types of paddle boards, each with their own pros and cons. All three are great options for beginners, you’ll just need to think about your individual preferences to decide which one will work best for you. 

Inflatable paddle boards are great for those who don’t have a lot of space at home to store a full-sized board. They are also an extremely lightweight option and can usually be folded down into a backpack or other small carrying bag. They do take a few minutes to inflate, so if you’re in a rush to get out onto the water you may want to go for a different entry level board.

Hard paddle boards are known for their performance, so if you’re looking for something that’s top of the line, this is the type of board for you. However, these are probably the least popular with beginners for a few good reasons. If you take a spill (which newbies tend to do), it’s going to hurt when you come down on a hard board. They’re also usually more expensive, and we do not recommend spending a big chunk of change on an entry level board. 

Foam paddle boards are some of the best paddle boards for beginners because they are lightweight, won’t hurt when you fall (yes, when, not if), and are some of the least expensive entry level boards on the market. The only downfall to a foam paddle board is that it is probably the least durable option of the three.

Durability

Speaking of durability, the best paddle boards for beginners are the ones that can take a beating. Intentionally or not, beginner boards usually end up taking on quite a lot of abuse, so you’ll need to find a model that can handle a little wear and tear.

Both inflatable paddle boards and hard boards are extremely tough as long as they are made from high-quality materials. Be sure to check the specs and read lots of reviews before you make your decision.

Price

As we mentioned above, a beginner paddle board should not break the bank. There are plenty of entry level boards available at reasonable price points, and chances are, once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a board more specific to your needs.

On the other hand, if you find out that you absolutely despise paddle boarding, well, at least you didn’t spend too much on your board. 

Beginner Paddle Board FAQs

If you still have some questions about buying the best beginner paddle board, check out these FAQs for more information.
A group of man on paddle boarding adventure

What is the best size paddle board for beginners?

The best paddle boards for beginners will be between 10-12 feet in length, at least 30 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. These dimensions offer the most stability for entry level boards. 

What type of paddle board is best for beginners?

The best type of paddle board for beginners is probably an inflatable paddle board. They are highly durable and can handle all the wear and tear that entry level boards usually endure. They are also extremely affordable, easy to repair, and can be stored virtually anywhere.  

Is it hard to do stand up paddleboarding?

Standing up on the board is probably the hardest thing to learn when it comes to paddleboarding. Most beginners usually start on their knees, and gradually work their way up to a standing position. As with most activities, practice makes perfect!

Can you surf a paddle board?

Some paddle boards do double as surfboards. If you’re looking for a multi-purpose paddle  board that you can also use for surfing, look for something short and wide with a planing hull. Beginners should, however, start with an all-around board to learn the basics before upgrading to a specific type of board. 

What are some tips for paddleboarding?

Here are some main tips for setting out on your paddle boarding journey:

  • Always wear a PFD. This is important for everyone who is out on the water, but beginners are even more likely to take a tumble.
  • When learning how to stand on your board, start in a kneeling position to get the hang of the motion before attempting to paddle standing up. When you feel ready to stand, bring one foot up at a time to the center of the board and keep your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Activate those core muscles and keep your eyes on the horizon.
  • Most paddles can be adjusted, so find a setting that feels best to you.
  • Make sure to clean your board with fresh water after every use and dry it off before putting it away. 

Travel Must: At the risk of sounding like your parents, make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to leave home without. We recommend either World Nomads or Safety Wing, depending on the type of traveler you are.

So there you have it. Now that you know all of the features that the best beginner paddle boards should have, along with a list of our top ten picks, you can make an educated decision about which board is best for you.

Make sure the board you select is nice and stable, and durable enough to withstand any abuse that you might put it through. No matter which board you choose, we wish you luck and happy paddling!


Looking for more water sport tips? Check out these guides:

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