The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards
The demand for the best inflatable paddle boards is incredibly increasing. Purchasing the right paddle board for oneself also becomes a challenging task. Selecting a paddle board from a number of models, brands, features, and price tags can confuse you for a while. Reading an article before purchasing the paddle board will be very helpful. It can be your secret helping hand in selecting the best fit for you. It can provide you effective information. A better idea and can also prevent you from the web of deceiving advertising. The following article will cover all the details that will support you in deciding the right paddle board.
Step 1: Neglect “The best Paddle Boards” lists
If you are finding the best inflatable paddle boards without any prior knowledge, then you may also find the “Top 10 lists” about best paddle boards whenever you search Google. However, reading these lists will not give you the answer about the right paddle board for you. You may already have watched these kinds of lists and probably figured out that their primary purpose to share these lists is to make money through affiliate links to Amazon or other manufacturers’ websites. These lists trap the buyers who have a less initial knowledge about paddle boards, and when buyers click those affiliate links and make a purchase, they get their commission.
The majority of the websites on the internet publishing the best inflatable paddle boards ratings, which are not even reviewing the boards that they list. Most of the website owners are checking and publishing about those boards which are selling most on Amazon and have no connection to your needs. They just attract you towards listing in a smart deceiving way. You will experience all these things when you have had a basic experience with paddle boarding.
Fake customer reviews
You may also confront sites that have fake customer reviews. It is a significant problem for e-commerce, especially the stand-up paddle board industry. An enormous industry called automated customer review generation allows companies to generate as many reviews as they can pay. These reviews are used by those companies whose primary purpose is to earn money fast, neither customer satisfaction nor customer support.
You may have already figured out by the factors mentioned above that it becomes challenging to find the best inflatable paddle boards. Most people feel obsessed with all these things and give up and buy whatever they find on the internet with 5-stars ratings and the highest customer reviews. They purchase without realizing the behind-the-scenes of creating the appearance of the product. They end up with the product having high ratings and reviews but overpriced and not according to their needs.
There is no existence of warranty or customer support on these products because of their low value. Generally, the worst thing about these paddle boards is the end of their life before the summer ends. So, keep yourself away from these deceiving lists and always purchase with a peaceful mind.
Step 2: Define your budget and price range
The most important factor in selecting anything is its price and your budget. High quality and branded paddle boards may seem expensive, but they need a one-time investment. In the short run, maybe you think it’s out of budget, but in the long run, the one-time investment will be very beneficial to you. When you visit the market to buy a stand-up paddle board, you will find a wide range of price points according to levels of quality so you can choose which fit best your budget and needs.
Lower range paddle boards
The low price paddle boards generally range from $300 to $800. In this price range, you will be provided with a basic set that will be right for kids to play. These boards will not be good to use regularly or to enjoy far from shore. With this low price, you can figure out that the manufacturer used low-quality parts and minimize the cost by keeping his commission aside.
As you move towards the price close to $800, there are several paddle boards that are good in quality and have durability. You can enjoy them far from shore too and feel the relaxation of paddling. However, you will not get the durability of high-performance paddle boards. Lower cost inflatable paddle boards have some flaws and are manufactured with some compromise. Compromise in material and low quality to keep the manufacturing cost and benefit within the low price. Many beginners start learning from these low cost paddle boards. As soon as they get some experience, they feel the need to invest more in it to fulfill equipment or to get a new board. So, keeping these flaws in mind, investing some more cash, in the long run, will be beneficial and prevent you from later expensive upgrade needs.
If you have already searched on Google, you may have the idea that most of the sites publishing “Top 10 lists” shows these kinds of low-cost paddle boards with a high rating and outstanding reviews. We have already discussed the purpose of these websites; they misguide you and earn their commission because low-cost products are easy to sell. Only a few websites mention the real meaning of adding cheap products, i.e., affordability, not durability, or high performance.
Optimal cost range
High-quality stand-up paddle boards mostly fall in the optimal price range of $900 to $1300. These paddle boards are the best for enthusiastic paddling. They have a long life and can be used for many seasons with better performance. Stand up paddle boards between this price range are designed with durable and high-quality materials for better performance. Moving towards this price range is very beneficial and provides you with a lot of options in terms of quality and performance. People purchase these paddle boards because it saves money and offers better accessories to enjoy for a long time.
The high-cost range lies above $1300. These great inflatable paddle boards come with unique and premium features and specialties for specific purposes and was designed for people who can afford and are enthusiastic about paddleboarding. People interested in paddling a part of their life by doing different daily life activities on it, such as yoga purchase in this range. If you are also planning to make paddling a significant part of your life, investing in this price range will be the right decision.
What if I can’t manage to find a quality paddle board within my budget?
If you have a low budget and are looking for a good level of performance and quality in a paddle board, but can’t manage to do that, don’t worry. There are always a lot of opportunities for determined buyers who are looking to invest their dollars in a quality brand. You can buy a clearance, an open box unit, or store demo piece with high quality and performance on a low budget. Being a smart purchaser will help you to buy the right thing without going out of budget. Visiting the whole paddleboarding market, especially wholesale paddle boards shops, will be your biggest companion in deciding which paddle board is made with good quality and provides better performance within the budget level.
Step 3: Define your usage
People are using stand up paddle boards not only for fun purposes but also to perform health and fitness activities. As with the increasing demand for paddle boards, manufacturers are now designing them specifically for each activity. Every board has unique features and designs by keeping its users in mind. So, before purchasing a paddle board, it is very important to define the purpose and activities you are going to do on it. The different activities performed by people on stand up paddle boards are:
Paddle boards are worldwide famous for surfing and physical adventures. Paddle boards allow the people who love to surf in a modern way and catch waves in the ocean to move. Surfing paddle boards are designed for surfing waves in the ocean and have high mobility with the least stability on the water to make surfing more enjoyable. Beginners may find it a tricky task to drive these boards in the oceans, but practice makes perfect.
Touring with the excitement of enjoying paddling is also becoming popular day by day. People purchase those types of paddle boards, which are easy to carry and accessible to every point. They carry paddle boards and climb the mountain to spice up their tour by floating on water. Paddle boards are also taking the place of kayak and canoe.
Racing activity is an old one, but there is still no competition of enjoyment with paddling. People go to the beaches with their friends and race with them. It is also a fitness activity in which all the muscles work, and calories burn. Paddle board racing competition is an official sport at many places with accessible water.
Paddle boards are also used for performing yoga. To perform yoga, the paddle board should have stability because it is very difficult to perform yoga position without stability. These paddle boards have an expensive deck pad that provides you space for yoga. Inflatable paddle boards are recommended by many experts to perform yoga because they provide you stability and keep you dry.
Paddling is the best way of fishing and crabbing. It is more effortless to catch fish sitting in mid of the lake than to sit on the corner. It allows you to move on the water and go close to the place to achieve more possibilities to catch fish. Fishing SUP has a broader deck pad, including attachments like fishing rod holders, bait trays, etc.
Step 4: Understand the categories of paddle boards
From the above step, you may have already selected the activity you will perform with paddle boards. Paddle boards are also categorized according to your intentions and fulfill all the major and basic requirements. The following are some categories of paddle boards.
All-round paddle boards
These paddle boards are designed without specification to one activity. These are recommended to beginners and those people who like to do different activities at a time.
Touring paddle boards
The touring inflatable paddle boards are specially designed for people to enjoy long-distance paddling easily. Touring inflatable paddle boards are easy to glide, and in touring, people need efficient gliding, not fast turning.
Racing paddle boards
Racing paddle boards are designed to get high speed with a sleek and narrow body. They are no longer as all-round paddle boards and give less priority to convenience features such as cargo tie-downs.
Surfing paddle boards
Surfing paddle boards are specially designed to catch the ocean waves. They are also shorter than all-round paddle boards and are shaped for high mobility. However, all-round paddle boards are also best for surfing, but these have some additional features.
Yoga paddle boards
Yoga best inflatable paddle boards are designed for stability. They are wide to provide enough space for all the positions of yoga. They have a long deck pad. Yoga performers need enough stability on the water waves to perform yoga correctly.
Whitewater paddle boards
These are special types of best inflatable paddle boards designed for particular whitewater activities, such as running rapids. They are also very famous for surfing on the river waves.
Fishing paddle boards
Fishing paddle boards are designed for enthusiastic fish catchers with specific accessories. They’re wide and have stability with several necessary body fitting used during fishing, such as a hook to hold the fishing rods and other gears.
The intention of sharing the basic knowledge of the categories of paddle boards is to help you in selecting the right paddle boards. Don’t confuse yourself; if you don’t have any specific purpose, you could look for paddle boards under the all-round category because it will allow you to perform several activities without holding you to one. You can enjoy it according to time and place.
There is another point to understand that paddle boards designed for specific purposes can also be used for other types of paddling. So, if you are purchasing a paddle board for a particular purpose, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy other activities. You can cross over whenever you want; just the main purpose will remain the same about that specific board. Moreover, if you have any questions regarding board usage, you must take advice from a specialist inflatable paddle boards dealer.
Step 5: Define the marketplace to make a purchase
Now, you have basic knowledge and information about the price range and usage of the board. At this time, you should fix your mind about where you will be shopping for the board. There are many dealers that deal with inflatable paddle boards online and in the market that will gladly take your money, and finding paddle boards will not be difficult.
There is a problem in the markets that there are a great number of dealers and businessmen that deal in paddle boards; therefore, the challenge lies in finding a dealer that is actually qualified to give you good advice about paddle boards that will ultimately help you. Ideally, you will want to find a dealer who gives you all information about the paddle boards, what you are buying, and why, and after you receive your equipment, it will be able to give all the answers to your questions and solutions to all the problems that you are facing.
But the reality is that there are not many physical stores that will have a variety of boards and deep knowledge about it due to the specialized nature and size of inflatable boards. In most cases, the specialized online dealers are the best options, but you need to assess their product knowledge to decide who to work with. A dealer that deals with all kinds of outdoor products are much less likely to have deep knowledge about the inflatable paddle boards than a dealer who specializes in this product. Before purchasing a paddle board, you should ask yourself some questions about the dealer you are considering:
- Do they have a detailed article that explains every aspect of paddle board design and construction?
- Does the article have answers to the questions that are rising in your mind?
- Does the dealer provide only marketing speech that is provided by the manufacturer, or does it provide a meaningful and specific assessment about the inflatable board he sells?
- Is he/she a specialized dealer for inflatable paddle boards, or is this only a department for him/her?
- Do their staff have the actual inflatable paddle boarding experience or not?
- Can you get a phone number of a person to answer your questions after purchasing the inflatable paddle board?
It seems a little hard to find an online dealer that will add value to your shopping but finding one will make the rest of the process much easier.
Step 6: Determine the size of your paddle board
You can turn to the sizing of your board if you have a clear idea of how you will use the board, and you have identified the type of board that will work for you.
Ask yourself how a board is simultaneously the best choice for a rider whose weight is 120lb and who wants to paddle in the water, and another rider weighing 200lb who is interested in flat water cruising and fishing.
Most inflatable paddle boards around us have a length range between 10 and 11 feet and width between 30 and 34 feet, but you have to pay attention to the volume of the board that is called thickness. A board that has an average length and width has a thickness of about 5 inches will have significant volume for riders up to weight 200lb to 250lb, depending upon the skill of riders. A board with high thickness is less stable as compared to the board, which has average thickness due to the reason that the center of gravity is higher in the board with greater thickness. It will also be challenging to climb on the board with high thickness from the water and also less convenient to inflate and carry. Buying SUP with high volume is a big mistake. A SUP with greater length can support a lot of weight.
SUP riders weight
It is a specific or exceptional case to buy a SUP for a rider whose weight is 225lb; it makes sense to look for a board with a thickness of 6 inches because, at that weight, the extra volume serves a specific purpose. Due to the extra weight of the rider, the board will ride lower, but the extra volume will add the rigidity that a heavier rider will need. But if you are looking for a rider whose weight is less than 200lb, then the board with a thickness of 5 inches is best. If you consider a longer board for the purpose of touring, then the board with a thickness of 6 inches is sufficient. This all depends upon the situation, which determines which board is the best inflatable paddle board for you.
Not only the volume or thickness, but the width of the board is also critical. A board with high thickness will be slow and uncomfortable; because it will be difficult for you to clear the edge of the board with each stroke you take. We recommend a board with a length of 11 feet, width no more than 34 inches, and have a thickness of 5 inches, if you have normal weight. If your weight is more than 200lb; then it is an exceptional case, and in this case, you have to buy a board with greater thickness for the sake of rigidity.
Step 7: Compare the features of the board
After deciding the best size for yourself; it’s also important to figure out the key features of the paddle boards you are going to purchase. This evaluation and comparison will help you choose the best inflatable paddle board; which can last for a long time without any upgrade and saves your money.
Paddle boards are greatly different from each other in their fin system. You will get choices of the fin system as you move upward in the price range. You have an option to pick paddle boards with a fixed fin system or removable fin system.
If you don’t want to work on a paddle board after you purchased; then a board with three equally sized permanent fins would be a good choice. A fixed fin system has the advantage that you don’t need to worry about losing or breaking a fin because they are permanently fixed; and designed in a way that you don’t need to worry about fins packaging. Sometimes people are in a hurry whenever they set out for a journey and forget many things behind; a paddle board with a fixed fin system will not allow you to forget the fins at home and ruin a paddling plan.
If you know about paddling and have a knowledge of the fin system; then you can also purchase a paddle board with removable or interchangeable fins; which allow you to tune the performance of the board, and you can professionally enjoy the paddling. The removable fin feature also allows you to make your inflatable paddle board durable according to your activity; such as if you are doing an activity in which you need quick turning; then you can change the length of the center fin.
The density of the deck pad
Paddle boards come with a high and low density of their deck pads. It also includes the price range. The deck pad is the inflatable paddle board’s central area; where brands use expensive foam and rubber to provide a high comfort level to their users. You may think that both cheaper and expensive paddle boards have the same deck by seeing; but they will surprise you when you ride on them. The comfort level provided by a paddle board of optimal cost can’t give you good performance and can be worn quickly.
The invisible base material within the board concludes the stiffness level of the board. It also starts with the quality of material and ends at the quality used in it regarding its price. The stiffness can also be increased with some stiffness technologies; but most of the markets used those techniques, which are ineffective, such as adding carbon rail tape. These are deceiving methods but not effective for stiffness.
Hardware and rigging
Examining the attachments points for cargo bungees, leashes, or tow ropes is also important; they should be made of stainless steel and exactly placed where they are needed. It is becoming a trend now to overload paddle boards with extra bungees and attachment points to give a look that these inflatable paddle boards are more useful and effective. You don’t need any extra attachment points; the reality is that these points add weight to the board and decrease the performance. You only need a few attachment points, which you will mostly use during paddling.
The handle is one of the basic accessories of paddle boards and is very useful. A nicely cushioned handle is much more comfortable while carrying a paddle board to the water. It will help if you look for a paddle board with a removable cushioned grip that wraps around the flat strap handle; if you are buying to perform yoga activities on a paddle board.
Step 8: Don’t forget the main accessories
To enjoy paddling, only a paddle board is not important; there are two main accessories that are as important as paddle boards. These two accessories make a high difference in your experience of paddling. They are part of your paddle boarding experience. They are paddle and the pump.
SUP paddle is the most important part of your paddling experience because it allows you to move your paddle board on the water. The paddle has the same importance as an inflatable paddle board. Many boards already come with a paddle in a box; but these paddles have low quality and are not much advantageous in most cases. It will be a better option to consult with an experienced dealer about upgrading the paddle within a good price range when purchasing a paddle board. You should also be aware of dealers and buy these things from a trusted one; because sometimes dealers buy things to get their commission from the advertising companies.
The second most important accessory of the best inflatable paddle boards is the pump; and all paddle boards come with a manual pump. The pumps vary in quality and come in two types; single action pump and double action pump. Some manual pumps are double action means that they inflate on both downstroke and upstroke. The Dual-action pump is the best modification of the single-action pump and is also best for manual pumping.
Some manual pumps are double barrel behemoths, which are also as challenging as many others. However, they can move a lot of air at low pressure, but according to some physics rules; you always need to work out whenever you try to push air through the valve at 15 psi. There is no relation of work out with designing the pump; it’s just some physics rule.
The solution to all these problems is an electric pump instead of a manual pump. This electric pump can be powered from any portable 12V power source and provide you with a significant comfort level. There are many electric pumps available in the market, ensuring that the pump is specially designed for paddle boards. Pumps for pool toys or many other purposes don’t provide enough pressure that a paddle board needs. Usually, the electric pumps didn’t come with paddle boards. It will be better to purchase them when buying a paddle board because it will save your money compared to separate purchasing.
The Bottom Line
We hope this guide will help you a lot in selecting the best inflatable paddle boards within a reasonable price range. We know it will take time to figure out all the factors mentioned above; but it will make your investment-worthy, and you can enjoy paddling for a long time in a one-time purchase.