SUP Buying Guide | Best Brands and Boards

Photo courtesy of Bluefin Sups

Last Updated 07/12/2020

There are a lot, and we mean a lot, of stand up paddleboards (SUPs) out there. At last count we found over 400 currently in production worldwide. Like all watercraft SUPS have become specialized to suit a wide variety of paddling. Whether it’s running whitewater or fishing the flats there’s a paddleboard that’s been exactingly tailored to suit its application.

We’ve put together this guide, which we fondly refer to as the Paddleboard Database (or PBDB for short) to help you sort through the plethora of options to find the one board that’s right for you. If you’re unfamiliar with SUPS and their respective nuances then we suggest you review “How to Use This Guide”. The categories below take a detailed look at the SUPS out there and are a bit more manageable to navigate. If you’d like to search for yourself then head on over to the comprehensive master list. Finally while these guides will work on mobile devices, they’re much more navigable on a pc.

How to Use This Guide

The PBDB deals only with paddleboards. We’ve intentionally excluded surf, wind, foil, and skim boards that are designed to be used without a paddle.

Dimensions

All specifications are sourced from the manufacturers website. In cases when certain information wasn’t available we’ve sourced it from third party retailers, or marked it with a dash when the information is missing.

Board length is displayed in the “length” column. Use the Length (in) column to order in descending/ascending order. Width, or beam, refers to the widest part of the boat. Weight shows board weight without any accessories. Capacity is the highest recommended weight limit per board.

MSRP

MSRP stands for Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price, basically what the kayak maker thinks retailers should sell it for. It does not include the price of optional upgrade, sales tax, VAT, or freight, so don’t be surprised when the final price is a bit more. While most manufacturers provide pricing data it’s not always the case. The price listed always comes foremost from the manufacturer in US dollars. Otherwise pricing data is sourced from resellers in local currency.

Type

There are three basic types of SUPS:

Solid: Boards made from a composite of foam, fiberglass, and epoxy. Solid boards are typically the most expensive and offer the best peformance.

Inflatable: Air filled paddleboards made from synthetic fabrics (like PVC) and drop-stitch construction. These boards offer superior portability, storage, and comparable performance.

Soft Top: Solid boards with a plush top-side that’s a lot more comfortable on your toesies. Soft-Tops are great for casual paddlers on a budget.

Style

All Around: The SUV of SUPs. These boards are pretty good at most over-water applications.

Fishing: Wide and stable boards built for anglers.These typically have higher weight limits and tie downs/gear track for gear storage.

Foil: Boards that can accommodate a hydrofoil for surfing over the waves.

Freestyle: Trick boards for truly adept paddlers.

Kids: SUPS for tots.

Polo: Paddleboards designed for competitive polo.

Prone: Specialized boards for paddling with your hands.

Race: Top end boards for top of the line paddlers: these are some of the fastest SUPS out there.

Rescue: SUP boards designed for lifeguards and rescue applications.

Surf: SUPs built for catching waves. These boards often mimic shortboard and longboard designs found in traditional surfing.

Touring: Boards made for long distance paddling. Touring boards are typically long and narrow to help you get the most out of your stroke.

Team: Boards designed to carry multiple passengers.

Whitewater: Boards built to run rivers and rocks.

Windsurf: Windsurfing paddleboards; these sups can convert to wind propulsion with the addition of a sail.

Yoga: Paddleboards for perfecting your vriksasana. Short and stable, these boards are great for striking a pose.