Are inflatable paddle boards good for beginners?

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on inflatable stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) for beginners. If you're new to the sport, inflatable SUPs are a great option to get started with as they are lightweight, easy to transport and provide excellent stability on the water. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to find the best inflatable SUP for your needs, including important factors to consider, top recommended models, and helpful tips for getting started.

Key Highlights

  1. Why Inflatable SUPs are Ideal for Beginners: Highlighting the advantages of inflatable paddle boards for newcomers—ease of transportation, storage, and superior stability.

  2. Choosing Your First Inflatable Paddle Board: Emphasize the importance of board size, weight capacity, and material, recommending boards that ensure a smooth learning curve.

  3. Essential Gear for Your Paddle Boarding Experience: Discussing the necessity of a high-quality pump, adjustable paddle, and durable leash, alongside tips for selecting the right accessories.

  4. Top Inflatable SUP Recommendations for New Paddlers: A curated list of beginner-friendly models, with a focus on the Glide O2 Retro for its all-around performance, stability, and included accessories.

  5. Getting Started: Tips and Techniques for First-Time Paddlers: Practical advice for embarking on your paddleboarding journey, from practicing in calm waters to learning the basics of paddling and safety.

Important Factors to Consider:

backpack for inflatable paddle boards

Before you start shopping for an inflatable SUP, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure you find the right board for your needs.

Board Size: The size of the board is an important consideration as it can impact your stability, speed, and maneuverability. As a beginner, you'll likely want a wider, longer board to provide maximum stability and ease of use.

Weight Capacity: The weight capacity of the board is another important factor to consider. Be sure to choose a board that can support your weight along with any additional gear you may be carrying. Try to avoid anything with a weight capacity of under 350 lbs.

Material: The material of the board can impact its durability, weight, and performance. Look for high-quality materials such as military-grade PVC and a drop-stitch construction core for the best performance and durability.

Pump: Most inflatable SUPs come with a pump, but the quality of the pump can vary widely. Look for a pump that is easy to use and efficient to ensure you can quickly inflate your board.

Top Recommended Models:

Now that you know what factors to consider, let's take a look at some of our top recommended inflatable SUPs for beginners. All three boards have removable fins with two companies using a US-Style fin box, and one using a hook and pin system. For everything you want to know about fins check out this article or just remember US-Style Fin box is what you want in a paddle board.

glide paddle boards

1.) Glide O2 Retro:

This board is a great all-around option for beginners, with a wide and stable design that's easy to use. The complete sup package includes a kayak seat, high-quality pump, and paddle, coil leash, carry backpack so you can hike into remote lakes and rivers as well as an adjustable paddle and repair kit, making it an excellent value. It is a lightweight board that has the durability and capability to run rivers on, take sup fishing, or get a yoga routine on before catching waves for a little sup surfing. The Glide Retro is a fun paddle board that even expert paddle boarders have in their fleet of sup boards. The Glide O2 Retro was also voted the best all-around paddle board.

paddle board reviews

2.) Atoll 11'0" Foot Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board:

The Atoll board is another choice for beginners, with good stability on the water. It also comes with a carrying case, paddle, and pump for easy transport and setup.

3.) Tower Adventurer 2:

The Tower Adventurer 2 is a slightly less comprehensive sup package. It is a board that's still good for beginners. It has a streamlined design that provides good, while still being stable enough for new paddlers. It does not include a sup carry bag of any kind at this point making it harder to transport and store. It does include a pump, repair kit and paddle.

Helpful Tips for Getting Started:

woman on an inflatable paddle board

Once you have your inflatable SUP, there are a few tips that can help you get started and make the most of your new board.

Start in calm waters: As a beginner, it's best to start in calm waters to get a feel for the board and build your confidence. Gradually work up to more challenging conditions as you become more experienced.

Use a leash: You may hear the advice always wear a leash when paddling to ensure you stay connected to your board in case you fall off. Ignore this if you are going to be whitewater paddle boarding unless you are also using quick-release system.

Practice good technique: Proper paddling technique can help you move efficiently and reduce your risk of injury. Take a lesson or watch instructional videos to learn the basics.

Have fun: Above all, remember that stand-up paddling is a fun and relaxing activity. Enjoy the scenery and take time to appreciate the experience.


glide paddleboard logo

We hope this guide has provided you with valuable information on choosing the best inflatable SUP for beginners. By considering important factors such as board size, weight capacity, and material, and selecting from our top recommended models, you can find a board that meets your needs and provides a great paddling experience. Remember to always practice good technique, start in calm waters, and have fun no matter what brand of paddle board you are paddling. And when it comes down to the best paddle board for beginners it is an easy one, what ever inflatable board you will go paddle boarding with and stick with the sport is the best stand up paddle board for you.