Everything You Need to Know About All-Around Paddle Boards

There are so many different kinds of paddle boards that are out there nowadays and hearing about an "All-Around" board might sound too good to be true. 

We're here to answer any and all questions you have about what that means and what they can do.

What is an all-around paddle board?

Stand up paddleboards are a unique and awe-inspiring way to explore the water whether that's the Ocean, Bay, Lake, River, or Rapids! With so many various types of bodies of water, there are bound to be so many different hobbies or activities of paddleboarding.

An all-around board is the ultimate SUP board. Other boards made by Glide Paddleboards were designed for the top four hobbies such as Whitewater, Fishing, Yoga, Touring boards. The O2 Retro Paddle Board is designed to excel on every water type. It was created with beginner paddlers in mind, for those wanting to learn what they like without having to think about a board's stability or committing to any one SUP activity.

Those who are looking for versatile inflatable SUP boards will find this one perfect.


all around paddleboard

What is the best all-round paddle board?

The best all around board for 2022 is the Glide O2 Retro Inflatable Paddle Board. There is a reason why it's most people's go-to board. It's an affordable price, made as a beginner board, but intermediate paddlers and beyond always leave scathing paddle board reviews. Its drop stitch construction, full deck pad, and ample room make it the best board of all time.

If you would like to learn more about what makes Glide Inflatables the Best Inflatable paddleboards you can read about how we construct and design our boards.


What size paddle board should I get for my height?

The simple answer to this question is, it doesn't matter. Stand up paddle boards can be found ranging anywhere from 6' to 12'6+. The board length really isn't what will make it harder or easier to paddle board, which in turn means that it's not about your height for length but actually your height for width. 

For example, Whitewater SUPing calls for skill levels of one that's experienced, but it doesn't matter if you stand at 5'2" or 6'4" because having a shorter board makes it wide and stable, with a lot of rocker to help you get through rapids with ease.

To say it shortly, it's about having enough stability based on the width of the board and the board volume.


glide sup


SUP Volume and Weight Capacity

Depending on how thick and wide, the board has a volume and weight to it. The weight of the paddle board will tell you how much it's capable of moving and carrying around. The larger in volumes, the heavier the board will hold. All inflatable paddle boards have a weight capacity, as do solid boards.

The weight capacity on the O2 inflatable Retro 10'6" is 400 lbs because the volume of the board is 290 L. Whereas, the Retro 10'6" hard boards can only hold up to 210 lbs because its volume is 185 L. All the Glide inflatable SUP have a larger volume which will fit a variety amount of weights.


SUP Length

Generally speaking, the length of boards determines what the paddlers are able to handle. Long boards usually move faster than short boards. When you're trying to decide what length of SUP your should buy or rent out, think about what you're going to use the paddle board for. The length may increase its size and capacity which will make it feel more stable and allow you to have more maneuverability. 

If you're interested in learning more details about short boards then make sure to check out our Benefits of Wide Paddle Boards post.


paddle board length


What's the most stable paddle board?

We would rank the all-around O2 Retro board as a close second in the Glide inflatable sup lineup, with the O2 Angler fishing paddle board and the O2 Lotus SUP yoga board in a tie for first. It's a lightweight sup at 10'6" tall and 33.5" wide. Because of its wide width, sidewalls, weight capacity, and overall construction, it is guaranteed to perform perfectly no matter what activity you're doing.


inflatable paddleboard


What is the best size paddle board for beginners?

Standing on the water is a very unique experience that can be very nerve-racking the first few times. Fear of falling in is common for beginners and keeps a lot of people from enjoying the hobby. There is no guarantee you won't fall in, but having a stable paddle board that's designed for beginners that is maneuverable, durable (seriously drop it as many times as you'd like), and will fit any size of any person.

That is the O2 Retro All-Around Inflatable SUP. It stands at 10'6", is 33.5" wide, weighs 23 lbs, and 6" thick, and will hold 400+ lbs.

We know it can get overwhelming learning how to paddle board so check out our Beginners Guide to Stand-Up Paddle Boarding that can help you get started.


all around inflatable paddle board


What can you do on an all-around inflatable paddle board?

An all-around inflatable SUP is exactly what the name is! It can be used for every on-water activity that people use on a stand up paddle board. But that's a big promise to deliver on, and we want to be thorough. Let's go through every subdivision of paddle boarding and answer the question of "Can it do ___?"


Can it SUP surf?

You will probably never swing a curve on this, but a reasonably stable paddle board can make a lot of fun at sea when surfing small waves and can be a good opportunity to get over breaks or discover the deeper water around you. 

You can learn How to Surf Your SUP easily when you follow these tips!


Can it be used for SUP Fishing?

This is a great use of the board! The O2 Retro all-around board is incredibly stable, durable, and has bungee cords (an alternative version of utility straps) on the front of the board. This is truly one of the best boards for paddle fishing.

If you're interested in giving SUP Fishing a try make sure to check out our SUP Fishing for Beginner's Guide.


glide stand up paddle board all around sup


Can it hold during SUP Yoga?

On water yoga calls for a board that remains stable under the movement of the practice. The O2 Retro board feels like a longer board compared to our yoga specific SUP the O2 Lotus, but it's roughly the same length. . There are so many benefits of paddle board yoga

Take a look over our SUP Yoga Basics if you want to take a shot at being a water yogi.


Can you use it as a Touring board?

The O2 Retro is a great board to tour around on. This all-around board provides more stability which gives a smooth ride compared to our Touring paddle board because the O2 Quest is a narrower board. There is more storage room under our bungee cords as well, but the Retro is a round nose board whereas the O2 Quest is a pointed nose that helps more with any choppy waters from wind.

There's a kayak seat that comes with an O2 Retro iSUP purchase that is really convenient when touring around for long periods of time, though we suggest only using that when you're on flat water.


versatile paddle board


Can it take me SUP Camping?

SUP Camping is one of the most underrated hobbies that paddle boarding offers. The O2 Retro (and all other Glide iSUPs) include a SUP travel bag that the board can roll up and be kept in along with all the necessary accessories (also included in your purchase) and can easily be hiked with to unique camping spots that can be accessed by water.

Read over our 5 Tips to Prepare for Your First SUP Camping Trip.


SUP camping


Can you use it on Whitewater?

Whitewater SUPing requires durability and maneuverability from your board. Our O2 Retro will provide the good balance needed which will give you more time to enjoy shredding the rapids. It also has removable fins and a universal fin box which means you can easily switch it out for a shorter fin which will help you not run into any rocks and have better steering on the water.


Can I take my dog paddle boarding with me?

Taking your dog paddle boarding can be one of the best experiences you can find on this earth! There's no better way to connect with your pup than in nature where you both can explore. The O2 Retro inflatable sup does have a full deck pad that can be scratched up very quickly if your dog's nails are not trimmed. It can hold both of your body weight and remain stable no matter the movement (from animals or kids)!


paddle board for dogs 


Are SUP boards worth it?

We'd like to answer this question with another question. Do you like the feeling of warmth from the sun being on your skin, exploring the world from a completely unique and beautiful, experiencing an infinite amount of moments of connecting with nature all while looking like a baddie, and having the time of your life? 

We may be biased, but truth will always be truth, and the fact of the matter is that paddle boarding is worth every penny you pay because it's an experience that will keep giving for years.


Are pump up paddle boards good?

Inflatable boards are similar to hard boards because on both you are able to paddle around on the water and connect with nature while enjoying the sun, but the difference between the two is noticeable to advanced paddlers. 

Glide Inflatable SUPs are higher performing than rigid boards because of the 3 layers of PVC which make them ultra-durable, portable for any car or situation, various storage possibilities, and safety advantages. 

With a Glide inflatable O2 Retro all around paddle board it's even more of an advantage because your board is fit for any SUP activity and has great quality that will last you 10x longer than competing boards which makes it eco-friendly.


o2 retro paddle board


How much does full SUP cost?

You don't have to look far to find expensive boards or cheap boards that would better fit your budget. With various inflatable paddle board options, it could be anywhere from $300 to $1,200+ for just a single board, not including the accessories you will need to get on the water.

You can find hard SUPs ranging from $750 to $4,000+ but there are fewer accessories needed for an epoxy board or a GSS boards like we make here at Glide. Other companies don't typically include accessories for that purchase either.

Glide inflatable boards are priced at $899, and hard boards are around $1,200.


retro paddle board


How much should I spend on a SUP?

We're here to give real talk. The two questions you need to ask yourself is, "How much do I care about quality?" and "How long do I hope to keep this SUP?"

It's understandable to feel like companies are reaching for your pockets with such high prices for seemingly the same product as a cheap SUP. Some companies are, but most are higher for a reason. 

Currently, there are 3 ways to produce an inflatable board; they are single layer, double layer, and fusion. All boards fall in these three different construction types, anything else someone claims is marketing hype, don’t fall for it, and our article was written by our founder and owner, Ken Driscoll, in which he teaches you those constructions types in our Are Glide Inflatables the Best Inflatables?

Glide Paddleboards are made with fusion technology which is a double layer board that eliminates the gluing of the two layers of material. That's less hazardous to the environment.


inflatable sup


They're also made with drop-stitch fabrics which basically means they will not explode. 

We get emails often from paddlers sending us pictures asking if we could fix other company's popped boards, and saying they won't ever hear back from the very-well known and highly praised company. So there's another reason for Glide, we've got great customer service.

Glide Inflatables are made to last even through tough terrain. You're great, great, great children will use this board.

So, the "how much should you spend on a SUP" answer really depends on the quality, and how often long you want to keep the board. 


all around inflatable paddle board


Are cheap stand up paddleboards worth it?

The short answer is no. If the question was, "Can I buy a cheap paddle board?" then I would say, "Hey, you're an adult. Do what you want."

Cheap iSUPs are not useful in any sense of the word. It would better benefit you (and the ecosystem) if you are able to rent or have a friend that have a high-end and low-end paddle board. You can feel the difference in just touching the material, not to mention the difference on the water.

It's easy to impulse buy an inflatable board on Amazon or at Costco when all your friends are getting into stand up paddle boarding. If you are only going to go out less than ten times during the Summer and never get back on it again, then I would understand buying a cheap board. But it ends up being high in waste which just furthers our pollution problem.


O2 retro inflatable paddle board


Can you paddle board everywhere?

The best part of owning an inflatable sup is that you can take it literally anywhere. It can be in the back of your car, your carry-on on an airplane, on your back on a hike to a secluded SUP spot on tranquil waters.

Although weather conditions can affect your paddling trips, SUPs can be pretty much used anywhere. Lakes, Oceans, Bays, Rivers, etc. An all around board performs well on all bodies of water. We have created lists of our best recommendations of Places to SUP that will help get you started.

It is important for us to mention that there are private property, laws against non-motorized boats, and other local rules. Some states need you to have your board registered to not be fined.

While you're at it, make sure to check out our Ultimate Guide on Finding Places to Paddle Board Near You.


where to paddle board


How to choose a Stand Up Paddle Board

Stand Up Paddling (SUP) gives great value to everyone. There are so many various activities you can do on a paddle board which we covered earlier in this article. Choosing the best paddle board for you is a great place to dive deeper into what things you should consider when trying to make a final decision.

A few things you need to ask yourself are, "What will I be using this SUP for?" and "What kind of quality do I want?" to get you started. Glide has various board designed for all kinds of SUP hobbies. If you can't decide on just one or any at all then our O2 Retro All-Around Inflatable SUP board is for you.


paddle board


How do I choose when there are so many options?

The selection of all-around SUP boards can vary greatly; so narrow your search to the best one. Knowing which features you want will help you make more informed decisions. Start by using the basic shapes and sizes that will work for your length and weight. Starting from 5.5" x 5' boards being the optimal board thickness for most paddlers and considering factors like the sturdiness of the fin system and the features on the decks. It's a good value for money and you need to consider the price compared to what you're receiving on the package.

There are many SUP boards out there. You just need to narrow it down to the very best ones. Knowing what features and what use you'll want it for will help you make more informed decisions that you won't regret later by impulse buying.

Start by writing down what kind of paddling you want to do, set your budget, and search for the type of board you're looking for. Check out the companies website, social media, and SUP board reviews to esteem its authority. Once you've got your top three then consider things like, what is included in the purchase, what is the return policy, and little things like, is the finbox universal, or will you have to purchase any replacements or extras from them only?

It's always worth contacting the company you're thinking about purchasing from and asking any questions you may have and you'll get a sense of their customer service which plays into any returns or manufacturing issues that could happen.

It's important to get a board that will be stable, have strong durability, be beginner friendly, and has maneuverability for any kind of distance.


stand up paddle board



I hope this has answered any and all questions you have about the all-around paddleboards. You truly cannot go wrong with purchasing a stand up paddle board that can do it all.

If you have any questions please contact us at info@glidesup.com, or call us at 888-927-9405. If you're interested in learning more about the Inflatable O2 Retro All Around Paddle Board check out our blog post about it that you can find right here!


Related Topics

Things to Consider When Buying a SUP

Improving Fitness on Paddle Board

Back to The Future With The O2 Retro

Preparing for SUP Before Season Starts

Beginners' Guide to SUP Fishing