Top 10 Best Paddle Boards for Surfing [2021]

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If you’re on the hunt for the best paddle boards for surfing then you’ve come to the right place. 

SUP surfing has been gaining in popularity over the last few years, and there’s a growing market to match the demand. But it can still be hard to find a good SUP board for surfing, especially if you don’t know what to look for.  

We’ve pulled together a list of the ten best paddle boards for surfing, along with some key considerations you’ll want to contemplate before you make your decision. 

Quick Answer: Best Paddle Boards for Surfing

Name
Image
Weight
Length
Width
Price
View on Amazon
Boardworks Kraken47 lbs11'36"$$$$
ISLE Versa27 lbs10' 5"32"$$$
ISLE Explorer24 lbs11'32"$$
SereneLife Inflatable SUP19.6 lbs10' 5"30"$
Three Brothers Rico 9’22 lbs9'31"$$$$
MaxCare Inflatable SUP17.6 lbs10' 6"32"$
Pau Hana Malibu ClassicPau Hana Malibu Classic31 lbs10' 6"34"$$$ View on REI
Dama Inflatable SUP22.5 lbs11'33"$
FunWater Inflatable SUP17.6 lbs10' 6"33"$
FBSPORT Premium Inflatable SUP30 lbs10' 6"31"$

10 Best Paddle Boards for Surfing

Here’s a run down of the 1o best paddle boards for surfing to make your choice that much easier!

Boardworks Kraken

Weight: 47 lbs | Length: 11′ | Width: 36″ | Max Capacity: 290 lbs

Features: Front bungee storage | Center fin w/ 5 fin configuration | LiftSUP handle | Honey Fomb deck pad

At the top of our list of the best paddle boards for surfing is this open water SUP from Boardworks. Designed to take on big waves and rough water, the Kraken also does well in flat, calm waters. 

Built with a light-weight foam core layered with epoxy resin, fiberglass, and bamboo veneers, this SUP surfboard will allow you to handle waves like a pro. It’s also nice and wide, which affords you solid stability when you’re navigating choppy surf. 

One of the best parts about this SUP surfing board is the fin configuration. The center fin box comes with three removable fins, and you can also purchase additional fins and use up to five of them at a time to perfectly match the conditions you’ll be paddling in. 

Other features that make this SUP board great for surfing include its super-soft foam deck pad and an integrated handle to help with transportation. It’s also the perfect shape to glide through waves thanks to its V-shaped hull and narrow tail. 

The one downside of this board is that it will cost you a pretty penny.  If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, keep on reading. 

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ISLE Versa

Weight: 27 lbs | Length: 10′ 5″ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 215 lbs

Features: Multiple color options | Rugged rigid construction | Front bungee storage | Brushed EVA traction deck pad | Full accessory pack

Founded by two surfers back in 2004, Isle really knows what goes into making the best paddle board for surfing. While all of their models are top-tier in terms of quality, the Versa is the perfect board for those looking for an all-around option that can also take on some waves. 

The lightweight, eco-friendly epoxy material is extremely durable, making this SUP perfect for surfing. It’s also just the right shape to handle waves and keep you stable while you’re out on the water. 

If you happen to take a tumble (and let’s be real, these things do happen when you’re riding waves), the soft traction pad will help break your fall. It’s nice and wide for full stability, but the single fin does leave you wanting for a bit more maneuverability in choppy water. 

You’ll get your money’s worth with this SUP surfing board, as all the accessories you’ll need come with the board, including a coil leash and a paddle. 

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ISLE Explorer

Weight: 24 lbs | Length: 11′ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 300 lbs

Features: Front & rear bungees | Nose & tail carry handles | Single travel fin | Full accessory pack

Isle has earned a second spot on our list of the ten best paddle boards for surfing, this time with the Explorer model. This design varies in a few different ways from the Versa, though both SUPs are great for surfing. 

The Explorer is an inflatable option with rugged military-grade PVC and EVA foam for the decking. The board is outfitted with bungee storage, two grab handles, and a a carry bag to help with transportation. 

This board is also slightly longer than the Versa, making it a great SUP board for surfing for those who have a little more experience paddling. It’s also slightly more maneuverable, but with only one fin, it might not handle the best in big waves. 

It does come with the same fully stocked accessory pack, which will save you money in the long run.

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SereneLife Inflatable SUP

Weight: 19.6 lbs | Length: 10′ 5″ | Width: 30″ | Max Capacity: 275 lbs

Features: 4 color options | Anti-slip soft top deck | Triple bottom panel fins | Full accessory pack

Inflatable boards are some of the best paddle boards for surfing, and our list wouldn’t be complete without this inflatable SUP from SereneLife. It’s the perfect board for beginners or those looking for a versatile board that can handle lots of different conditions. 

Although inflatable, this SUP surfing board is stable and rigid thanks to high-quality PVC and good construction. The soft, non-stick deck helps prevent bruises and increases balance, while the triplefin system and planing hull allow you to maneuver big waves without a problem. 

The accessory pack makes this SUP board for surfing a convenient choice and includes a leash, paddle, pump, and a handy carrying backpack. It’s also an extremely affordable pick (under $500!), especially when you compare it to some of the hard sided paddle boards on our list.

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Three Brothers Rico 9’

Weight: 22 lbs | Length: 9′ | Width: 31″ | Max Capacity: 225 lbs

Features: Quad fin setup + 1 | GoPro Mount | Diamond Kevlar weave for rugged design | Pulled in nose

SUP surfing is easy with the Rico 9’ from Three Brothers. It’s the best paddle board for surfing for those looking for a more progressive style board. 

The thin, pulled-in tail makes this SUP surfing board both responsive and maneuverable, more so than any other on our list. It’s still wide enough to offer plenty of stability, and the non-slip decking will help you to keep your balance as you carve through waves. 

It’s lightweight yet durable thanks to the combination of the carbon fiber wrapped rails, the diamond kevlar weaved exoskeleton, and a foam core. 

The 4+1 fin setup is prime for surfing and allows you to change the positioning to match the conditions you’ll be paddling in. 

We do not recommend this SUP surfing board for beginners, but more experienced paddlers and or surfers will find this bad boy to be worth every penny. 

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MaxCare Inflatable SUP

Weight: 17.6 lbs | Length: 10′ 6″ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 370 lbs

Features: Anti-slip soft top deck | Military-grade PVC w/ drop stitching | Triple panel bottom fins | Full accessory pack

Another great inflatable option for SUP surfing is this versatile board from MaxKare. Although designed to perform well for a variety of activities, this is one of the best paddle boards for surfing. 

Once inflated, you’d never be able to tell that this isn’t a hard board. It’s rigid and stable thanks to the high-quality PVC and drop-stitch construction, and the weight capacity is a whopping 370 pounds, making this a great SUP surfing board for larger paddlers. 

Other features that make this board safe for riding waves include a three fin configuration for more maneuverability and a non-slip EVA traction pad to help keep you balanced. 

This inflatable SUP surfing board comes with a convenient backpack carrier, and at just over 17 pounds, it’s extremely easy to transport. The board also comes with a coil leash, adjustable paddle, a pump, and a repair kit. This is a great overall board that works great for surfing, and at under $500, you can’t go wrong. 

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Pau Hana Malibu Classic

Pau Hana Malibu Classic

Weight: 31 lbs | Length: 10′ 6″ | Width: 34″ | Max Capacity: 249 lbs

Features: Center handle insert | Soft EVA deck pad | Integrated leash cup | SeaMount accessory attachment system | Adjustable aluminum paddle

Pau Hana makes some of the best paddle boards for surfing, and the Malibu Classic is a great option for beginners. 

It’s nice and wide to offer superior stability, and the EVA foam deck pad lends soft traction to aid in balance. The thickness may be a little slim for beginners, but for those who are looking to take on some surf, the dimensions are just right. 

This SUP surfing board has a foam core which keeps it fairly lightweight, along with vacuum-formed technology with layers of plastic and kevlar reinforcement. This makes it a durable option for riding waves, or any other kinds of conditions for that matter. 

The board does come with an adjustable paddle and an accessory attachment kit, but you’ll have to buy said accessories (including a leash) separately. The only other downside to this SUP surfing board is that it only has a single fin configuration, which is not great for maneuvering in big waves. 

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Dama Inflatable SUP

Weight: 22.5 lbs | Length: 11′ | Width: 33″ | Max Capacity:  352 lbs

Features: Dual grab handles | Military-grade PVC | 8 D-rings | Shoulder strap | Complete accessory pack

Those looking for a SUP surfing board that they can also use for a variety of other activities need not look any further. The Dama inflatable paddle board is a solid option no matter what  you’re hoping to accomplish out on the water. 

The board is made from military-grade PVC, making it a light but sturdy option for SUP surfing. It can even stand up against UV damage and corrosion, so no need to worry about saltwater causing any damage, either. 

Three fins will help you carve through waves like a pro, and the large EVA foam decking will help you keep your balance while you shred. 

The price point on this board could hardly be better, and it comes fully loaded with everything you’ll need, including a leash, pump, dry bag, and a comfortable backpack carrier.

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FunWater Inflatable SUP

Weight: 17.6 lbs | Length: 10′ 6″ | Width: 33″ | Max Capacity: 330 lbs

Features: 3 removable fins | Front bungee storage | Center grab handle | EVA deck pad | Full accessory pack

Another great entry level SUP board for surfing is this inflatable model from FunWater. It’s both budget and beginner-friendly, and it’s the perfect all-around board for those who want to try their hand at SUP surfing. 

Made with dual-layer, anti-UV PVC, this board is extra light but extremely rigid and durable. It has an impressive maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds, making it a great choice for heavier paddlers. 

All three fins are removable, allowing you to configure the board for the conditions you’ll be surfing in. There’s also a super soft traction pad for increased balance out on the waves.

The board comes with everything you’ll need, including a leash, a waterproof phone bag, an adjustable paddle, and a handy backpack carrier. 

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FBSPORT Premium Inflatable SUP

Weight: 30 lbs | Length: 10′ 6″ | Width: 31″ | Max Capacity: 280 lbs

Features: 15 color options | Single fin | Center grab handle | Front bungee storage | Full accessory pack

Last but not least on our shortlist of the best paddle boards for surfing is this inflatable SUP from FBSport. It’s a versatile board that’s great for beginners or those searching for a quality SUP board for surfing at a budget price.

The board is made with high-quality yet lightweight materials. Although inflatable, this bad boy is as tough as nails, and once inflated, it’s as rigid as a hard board. 

The pointed nose will allow you to cut through chop with ease, and the three fin configuration allows for extra maneuverability in the waves. The diamond EVA pad also helps with balance and will keep you from getting too bruised up if you happen to take a spill. 

A fully loaded accessory pack is included with your purchase, so you won’t have to shop for a paddle, leash, or storage bag. 

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SUP Boards for Surfing: Key Considerations

Although some all-around boards will work just fine for taking on some small waves, the best paddle boards for surfing will be specialized for this sport. Keep these things in mind as you decide which board is right for you. 

Pile of SUP paddle surfing on a shore

Cost

Because SUP boards for surfing are generally more customized, they tend to be more expensive than your all-around paddle boards. If you’re an experienced paddler or surfer, it may be worth it to spend the extra chunk of change to get a highly specialized board. However, if you’re just starting out, you should probably opt for a less expensive board that will work for a variety of activities. 

Construction

The first thing you’ll need to consider is what type of board you want. All paddle boards are either solid or inflatable. 

Solid boards are usually recognized as the best boards for SUP surfing. This is because they sit lower on the water, have a better center of gravity, and are generally more maneuverable. Hard boards are made with a variety of materials, but a combination of fiberglass and epoxy is your best bet for finding a reasonably priced board that doesn’t skimp on quality and performance. 

With hard SUP surfing boards, you will definitely get what you pay for, but pay you certainly will. 

Inflatable boards are a more budget-friendly choice, and as long as you choose something with high-quality materials, these SUPs are often just as rigid and durable as a hard board.  More experienced paddlers and surfers may observe that inflatable boards are harder to shred with due to their thickness, but less skilled boarders will find these SUPs to be great vessels to learn on. They’re also much easier to transport and store than their hard sided counterparts. 

Size

The size of your SUP surf board will directly affect what type of experience you’ll have out on the water. 

More seasoned surfers should look for a short board, between 8-10 feet in length. Larger paddlers or those without much experience in waves should opt for a slightly longer board, somewhere between 10-12 feet in length. 

You’ll also need to consider the board’s width when you think about performance. The standard width is around 32 inches, but less skilled surfers may want to go for a slightly wider board while experienced paddlers may search for something a little more narrow. 

Hull Type

Paddle boards come with one of two hull types: planing and displacement. In general terms one is not better than the other, they are simply built for different activities. 

Displacement hulls are great for touring, but when it comes to surfing, only a planing hull will do. These hulls are categorized by their flat undersides that help ride waves easily, and they are usually wider and rounder too. 

Fin Set-Up

Don’t forget to check out the bottom of your board before you buy, because the fin configuration is one of the most important aspects when it comes to SUP surfing. The best paddle boards for surfing will have a customizable set-up, and there are a few different arrangements that work well for surfing.

Single fin: Having just one fin was the standard in the early days of surfing, and is still a viable option today for those looking for speed and straight tracking. 

Twin fin: As the name suggests, this setup features two fins and is an even faster option than the single fin design. It’s also more maneuverable in small waves, but doesn’t offer much control or traction once you get into bigger surf. 

3 fin: Also known as the thruster or the 2+1 set-up, this design is configured in a triangle shape, with two small fins on the sides and one large fin in the middle. This is by far the most common fin set-up out there, which makes sense because it really offers the best of both worlds of the two configurations from above. 

Quad: The quad fin is newer to the SUP surfing world and is best for heavier paddlers who are looking to focus on speed and power. It maneuvers well in all types of waves, but those with a crazier surfing style will do best with a different type of fin configuration. 

SUP Surfing FAQs

If you still have some questions about using a paddle board for surfing, check out these FAQs for some more informaton.

SUP board paddle surf on a beach

Can you surf a paddle board?

With the right board, anything is possible. Well, not anything, but surfing is definitely feasible. Some paddle boards are made specifically for SUP surfing, but not all boards will suffice. If you’re interested in finding a SUP board for surfing, check out our key considerations listed above. 

What is the best paddle board for surfing?

The best paddle boards for surfing will have a planing hull, durable materials and construction, and a fin setup that works best for the conditions you’ll be taking it in. 

Everyone’s preferences will vary, but our pick for the best SUP board for surfing is the Kraken from Boardworks. It can handle any conditions you put it in, and the removable fin configuration allows you to customize your board for the type of waves you’ll be surfing. 

What is the difference between a surfboard and a paddleboard?

Although born from the same concept, surf boards and paddle boards are not one and the same. 

Surf boards are usually smaller and lighter, and are built to ride with the waves rather than over them. 

Paddle boards tend to be longer and wider, and are meant to be stood upon for the duration of your time on the water. They are also much stabler, which makes them great for beginners who want to get into water board sports. 

SUP surfing is becoming more and more popular, and there are plenty of SUP boards for surfing for those who want the best of bother worlds. 

What’s the best stand up paddle board for ocean paddling?

The best paddle board for ocean paddling all depends on your skill level and the conditions you’ll be riding in. 

Beginners looking to start on small waves should choose something nice and stable with a wide frame. We recommend either the Pau Hana Malibu Classic or the FunWater Inflatable SUP.

More advanced paddlers will want to look for a shorter board with great maneuverability. We recommend the Kraken from Boardworks here again – it’s simply a winner!

Can you use a surfboard as a paddleboard?

Although some paddle boards can be used for surfing, we do not recommend using a surf board as a paddle board. 

Surf boards aren’t stable enough to stand on for long periods of time, and they’re not meant to travel long distances. 

If you’re looking for a versatile board that you can paddle and surf on, it’s best to stick to a SUP board for surfing, because you won’t find a good surf board for paddling. 

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.

Paddle boarding and surfing go hand in hand, and if you’re an experienced paddle boarder looking to try something new, SUP surfing is a great choice. Even if you’re new to paddle boarding, you can find a board that will work for surfing if you’re hoping to level up in the future.

Keep this guide in mind when you’re searching for the best paddle boards for surfing, and remember to shop for your skill level, body type, and conditions you hope to paddle in. Good luck!


Looking for more paddle board tips? Check out these guides:

Inspired? Pin it!Best Paddle Boards for Surfing | If you’re on the hunt for the best paddle board for surfing then you’ve come to the right place. Click here to see our recommended best paddle boards for surfing! #surfing #sup #paddleboard

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