If it’s summer and there’s water around, there must be a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) on the horizon. This sport born out of surf culture shows no signs of stopping. You can use a SUP to go leisurely paddling on a lake, test your skills on an ocean bay, and maybe try some gentle surfing before you know it. Use it for SUP yoga or take your child or dog for a paddle.
It is an egalitarian sports equipment that the fittest people can use. They can also use it to develop a higher level of fitness.
My first experience with SUPs was maybe 15 years ago, when I criss-crossed a lake on a heavy, solid SUP. These boards closely resembled a very heavy surfboard and were the only way to go back at the time. It took two of us to get it into the car, and even though we had rented it, it was clear that storage would be a major issue.
Here is the genius who came along and decided that an inflatable SUP was what we needed. Inflatable SUPs usually have a PVC exterior and an air core. They come with a pump and storage bag and become surprisingly strong and stiff when fully inflated. Better yet, you can travel with them.
Planning a trip to the lakes of Maine, Minnesota or Michigan? Or maybe just hang out in the Outer Banks, Cape Cod or the beaches of Southern California? Now you have no more excuses to leave your board at home. Take him to Europe for that week in Mykonos or the Caribbean or Australia where the paddling possibilities are endless.
Inflatable SUPs are ideal for those with limited storage space. They are easy to transport – when deflated – in their stuff sacks, many of which have backpack straps for easy carrying. Inflatable SUPs can easily be stored in a closet or kept in the trunk of your car. They’re also ideal for air travel, so go ahead and stow them in the overhead bin if you can or pack them into checked luggage.
Here are three inflatable SUPs worth checking out. Note that these boards are already on sale since it’s the middle of summer.
body glove Paddleboard Performer 11 2022
This 11 foot board is 34 inches wide, 5.4 inches thick and packs an incredible weight for an inflatable. I found it very stable thanks to its width, the laser-etched foot placement guides and the three fixed fins. It comes with a hand pump and an electric pump that plug into your car’s cigarette lighter. Using the latter, it inflated within minutes, making it ideal for quick trips. The single handle makes it easy to transport the 24-pound board. It is puncture resistant and when deflated it rolls up into a sturdy yet lightweight backpack that is easy to carry. I also love the attractive faux wood grain design and the thoughtful inclusion of a cell phone dry pocket. At home, this SUP fits easily in a closet. It comes with an adjustable paddle, pump and carry bag. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and find it suits my easy paddling style. MSRP $999. If you’re a Costco member, it’s yours for $399.
ISLAND The Pioneer 2.0
This board weighs 24 lbs and fits in an easy to manage 15″ x 38″ backpack. The board is 34 inches wide and 10 feet, six inches long. It’s a bit shorter but maybe a bit more manageable for beginners. It comes with a paddle, a pump, a board and a removable fin. For those who are just starting out, it is a good choice and easy to paddle. MSRP $795 but is currently on sale for $595.
BOUTE WULF Native Floral Aero 10′4″ Inflatable Paddle Board
Aimed at novices, this 10ft 4in board is ideal for beginners getting into the sport. BOTE is a highly respected paddleboard company, so even in this lower tier model the quality is there. It weighs only 20 pounds and comes with a hand pump, removable center fin, coiled leash, and travel bag. MSRP $529 but is currently on sale for $476.10.
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