Paddleboards: the inflatable SUP is the best option for traveling surfers and water sports enthusiasts | Photo: Shutterstock

Are you tired of watching all your friends hit the water with their inflatable stand-up paddleboards (SUP)?

Don't want to keep renting a paddleboard because you want to enjoy an adventure any time, on your terms?

It's time to break free, and summer is the perfect time to invest in your very own all-year-round inflatable SUP.

But because it can be a significant investment, you want to be sure you're getting the correct type of board to meet your needs.

So, how do you choose the right inflatable paddleboard? Here's everything you need to know.

Types of Inflatable SUP Boards

There are a wide variety of inflatable SUP boards on the market.

At a glance, they can look similar, but they come in different sizes and have slightly different features that set them apart from one another.

Here are the four major types:

The All-Around SUP Board

All-Around SUP Board | Photo: iRocker

All-around boards are designed as multipurpose boards.

Because of their versatility, they're popular and make excellent paddleboards for SUP newbies.

They are also stable yet maneuverable on the water and great for cruising on a lake or a slow-flowing river.

Plus, as you get more comfortable, you can also take them into some light surf.


The Sport SUP Board

Sport SUP Board | Photo: iRocker

This category includes SUP boards designed to go fast.

They are longer, narrower boards that cut through the water at speed and can offer a thrilling experience in the right setting.

If you're interested in racing or you're a more advanced rider, you may want a highly maneuverable board built for speed.

Many sporting SUPs are also built for surfing waves.


The Touring SUP Board

Touring SUP Board | Photo: iRocker

Touring SUP boards are designed for stability and speed rather than maneuverability or surfing prowess.

When you plan on cruising on the water for hours or a full day, a touring SUP is an ideal choice.

Touring SUPs are also an excellent option for SUP fishing enthusiasts.

They're large enough for all your gear and stable enough to feel comfortable reeling in the catch of the day.


The Kids' SUP Board

Kids' SUP Board | Photo: iRocker

Kids' boards are smaller than typical SUPs. They're made for children and teens who are just learning to paddleboard.

They're built for stability, so they make great all-around boards, just a bit smaller than the adult size.

Look for a board that comes with a kids-size paddle as well for a perfect fit.

Know Your SUP Goals

Knowing how you want to use your inflatable paddleboard makes choosing a board a smooth process.

Are you new to paddleboarding and want to learn the basics? Then, an all-around inflatable paddleboard is the best pick.

It's a great board for learning the basics and will surely last you for years to come.

Do you want a board suited for fishing or extended adventures along the lake shore? Then, you'll want to get an inflatable SUP board built for touring.

It's an excellent option if you've been SUP boarding for a while and are looking to take your riding experience to the next level.

Are you thinking about hitting the surf but still want a board you can cruise around on? As you may have guessed, you'll want a sport SUP.

While shopping for a sport SUP, there are subcategories of boards that excel at specific tasks.

If you want to use it primarily for surfing, there are inflatable SUPs built just for that.

If you want to race, you can find sport SUPs with slightly different designs made just for that, too.

Paddleboarding: there are four main types of inflatable SUP boards and each suits a different need purpose | Photo: Shutterstock

Quality Matters

As you start shopping for SUP boards, you'll notice differences in price and the capabilities each inflatable paddleboard has to offer.

Like many things, the quality of your board can influence your riding experience.

A poorly constructed inflatable SUP may begin to lose air over time. You may enjoy a few good rides at the beginning, then notice it's losing its rigidity.

Poor construction can also equal poor performance on the water.

Look for SUPs made with high-quality materials like dual or triple-layer military-grade PVC.

Sturdy construction is essential when you want to get a good ride. It's also crucial if you want an inflatable SUP board that is going to last for years to come.

At the same time, you want to buy from an inflatable paddleboard brand that specializes in the highest quality options.

The best iSUP brands offer a generous return policy and SUP board warranty.

Lastly, look for a new inflatable paddleboard that comes with everything you need to get started.

The SUP board should come with a hand pump (some come with electric pumps), a travel bag, removable fins, and a paddle.

Some boards even include an ankle strap.

When you get everything you need in one box, you'll be ready to hit the water in no time.

That means your next paddleboarding adventure could be even closer than you think.

Words by iRocker | Inflatable Paddle Boards and Solid SUPs |

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