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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

11 Models Considered
68 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
187 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best non-inflatable stand up paddleboards

Last Updated May 2019

One water sport that has really taken off over the past few years is stand-up paddling (SUP). This activity is unique in that it appeals to a wide range of different interests. Are you into relaxing lake paddling? Whitewater? Surfing? Yoga? Fishing? Racing? Long-distance touring? If you answered yes to any of these, you’ll probably love SUP.

But a stand-up paddleboard designed for surfing is considerably different than one built for racing. Between the different hulls, construction materials, fin placements, and specifications such as volume, width, length, and thickness, shopping for a stand-up paddleboard can get complicated fast.

This guide will help you navigate the various features, specifications, and costs of non-inflatable stand-up paddleboards, so you can get out on the water and enjoy some warm-weather fun.

If you’re purchasing a stand-up paddleboard for a child, look for one that is around eight feet in length.

Key considerations

Hull

There are two primary hull types to consider when shopping for non-inflatable stand-up paddleboards: planing hulls and displacement hulls. If you want to buy the right board for your interests, knowing the difference between the two is important.

Planing hulls are flat and wide like surfboards, allowing them to ride atop the water and offer improved handling. This type of hull is geared toward more leisurely or relaxing paddling, which includes surfing, yoga, and whitewater paddling.

If you are more interested in a workout, consider a displacement hull. These hulls are generally pointed in the front like kayaks. Boards with displacement hulls track better and are faster in the water, making them better for physically intensive activities such as racing or touring.

Construction

The material the board is constructed from is also a primary consideration. The three main types of paddle board construction are fiberglass/epoxy, plastic, and carbon/wood.

Popular fiberglass/epoxy paddleboards have a foam core that is covered with fiberglass and epoxy. These boards are durable without being too heavy.

While they won’t win any beauty contests, plastic paddleboards are durable and inexpensive compared to other types. That said, they do lag in terms of performance, and they are generally pretty heavy, which affects portability.

Carbon/wood construction offers an attractive finish, light weight, and superior performance for racing or surfing. However, these paddleboards are more expensive and less durable than other options.

If you’ll primarily use your stand-up paddleboard for practicing yoga, consider going with an inflatable board, which offers a softer surface for yoga poses.

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BestReviews

Features

Volume

The volume of a paddleboard is the first specification you need to take into consideration when comparing boards. The more volume a board has, the more weight it can support. If you go over the weight limit, the paddleboard will handle poorly in the water and may become unstable.

With planing hulls, you really only need to worry about staying under the weight limit and the board will handle fine. Displacement hulls are a little trickier as either too much weight or too little can adversely affect the board’s performance.

Length

Length is another important specification to consider. Generally, longer paddleboards are faster, while shorter boards are easier to maneuver. How you plan on using your board factors into the length you should buy.

Under 10 feet in length, short paddleboards are used for surfing and are a great option for kids. Short boards usually have planing hulls.

Medium paddleboards range from 10 to 12 feet and are used for all-around paddling and yoga. Medium boards also largely use planing hulls.

Measuring 12.5 feet and up, the majority of long paddleboards have displacement hulls and are used for touring and racing. Longer boards are more challenging to store.

Width

Paddleboards generally range between 25 and 36 inches in width, and the wider the board, the more stable it will be. Wider boards are used largely by beginners, yoga enthusiasts, and others for whom stability is a prime factor. Wider boards can also hold a greater amount of gear, a definite plus for those into touring.

Narrower paddleboards are prized by racers due to their superior speed and handling. Paddlers who are physically smaller may also find narrower boards easier to handle.

Thickness

While less vital than volume or length, paddleboard thickness is still an important factor. Thickness increases volume, which in turn increases the amount of weight the board can support.

Fins

To improve performance, paddleboards have fins of various sizes. Smaller fins can improve a board’s maneuverability, while larger fins can help with tracking and stability. All fins should be easy to remove for transportation and storage.

Single fins offer little drag and are useful for flatwater paddling. A three-fin, or thruster, configuration features three similarly sized fins and offers improved control in surf situations, in addition to better tracking in flatwater. Designed for surfing, a 2+1 fin grouping features one large center fin flanked by two smaller fins.

Paddle

You will need a paddle to go with your paddleboard. Many stand-up paddleboards come with a paddle, but many do not. Paddles may be carbon, plastic, aluminum, or wood.

Accessories

There are a variety of accessories that may be included with your stand-up paddleboard.

  • Tie-downs/bungees: These help to secure gear on the front or rear of the paddleboard.

  • Deck pads: Usually built into the board, these offer more comfort and traction for your feet.

  • Carry handles: paddleboards are easier to lug around with built-in handles.

  • Attachment points: These are helpful if you want to attach extras to the board like fishing rods, seats, or lights.
EXPERT TIP

If you use your stand-up paddleboard in saltwater, be sure to wash it thoroughly afterward.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Consider buying a board bag to store and transport your stand-up paddleboard, particularly if it is made from epoxy. A bag will protect your board from damage.


Staff  | BestReviews

Price

Non-inflatable stand-up paddleboards are an investment. Bargain boards start at around $300 to $400, and that is before you factor in paddles, transportation bags and racks, and other accessories.

The mid-range for stand-up paddleboards is around $600, with some pricier models costing more than $1,000. The higher price point is usually reserved for high-performance carbon racing boards and other boards offering advanced features or construction materials.

Tips

  • When considering the weight limitations of a paddleboard, take into account your own weight and any equipment or food and water you will be paddling with.

  • Never store your paddleboard in direct sunlight or leave it in the sun for extended periods of time.

  • When outfitting your paddleboard, don’t forget to include a personal floatation device. This is not only a good safety idea, but it may also be a legal requirement depending on where you plan to paddle.

  • If a variety of people will be using the paddleboard, consider purchasing an adjustable paddle, which will accommodate paddlers of different heights.

  • If you frequently have to hike from where you parked to where you paddle, consider picking up a wheeled cart for an easier trek.

  • A leash that attaches the paddleboard to your leg can be a handy accessory if you fall off in the water. Leashes are sold based on the type of paddling (surf, whitewater, etc.) you plan to do, so shop accordingly.

  • As you gain more experience with stand-up paddling, consider purchasing additional boards designed for specific types of paddling, such as surf paddling, touring, or yoga.

  • Two safety items to consider keeping with you are a whistle (to warn boats of your presence) and a light (if you’re going to be on the water after sunset).

Other products we considered

In addition to our picks above, we wanted to mention a few other non-inflatable stand-up paddleboards that caught our eye. The first is the South Bay Board Co. 10’6” Orca Stand Up Paddleboard, which features a hard outer shell to protect against scrapes and dings and fun extras like an action camera mount. The BIC Sport Slide SUP Stand Up Paddleboard Package includes everything you need to quickly hit the water like an adjustable paddle, leash, and deck bungee. The Scott Burke 10'6” Stand Up Paddleboard one-ups BIC with a paddle/leash/deck bungee package that also includes a padded roof rack for easy paddleboard transport.

A WindSUP is a specialized stand-up paddle board that combines a paddle board and a windsurfing board.

FAQ

Q. Why should I choose a non-inflatable stand-up paddleboard over an inflatable stand-up paddleboard?

A. Non-inflatable paddleboards are available in more sizes, offer improved performance on the water, and are more stable than inflatable boards. On the downside, non-inflatable boards can be more difficult to store and transport, are not as comfortable for SUP yoga, and are not recommended for whitewater use.

Q. As a complete beginner, what features should I look for in a stand-up paddleboard?

A. An ideal beginner paddleboard is an all-around board that is wider and thicker for increased stability. A planing hull and a single fin are also a plus in terms of stability. If you’re just starting out, consider a plastic board for its low price and durability.

Q. What size paddle do I need for stand-up paddling?

A. Think of a stand-up paddle as a long canoe paddle. To size a paddle for all-around paddling, stand up and raise your arm over your head. The paddle should reach from the ground to your raised wrist. If you plan on racing, go a little longer for more power, while a slightly shorter paddle is best for surfing.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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