Have you ever wondered what the best stand up paddle board is for you? Maybe you’re an advanced paddler looking for a new set-up, or maybe you’re looking to give it a try for the first time. Maybe you live near a lake or maybe you spend all your leisure time playing in waves. No matter who you are, there is sure to be the perfect stand up paddle board for you. There are boards specifically designed for flatwater, waves, changing conditions, and all ability levels — but how do you know which one to choose?

Here at The Adventure Junkies, we love finding the best gear on the market and sharing this information with you. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know when shopping for a stand up paddle board and show you our top ten picks of the year.

 

THE BEST STAND UP PADDLE BOARD – QUICK ANSWER

  1. Pau Hana Oahu
  2. Adventure Paddleboarding All Rounder
  3. Boardworks Kraken
  4. Bote Flood
  5. Boardworks Raven
  6. Surftech Generator Tekefx
  7. Adventure Paddleboarding Explorer 2
  8. Lakeshore Wet Woody Classic
  9. BIC Sport Tough-Tec Cross
  10. Pau Hana Malibu Classic

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Kayaking

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST STAND UP PADDLE BOARD

PICTURE
STAND UP PADDLE BOARD
BEST USE
LENGTH
WEIGHT
FIN BOXES
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
STAND UP PADDLE BOARD
BEST USE
LENGTH
WEIGHT
FIN BOXES
PRICE
RATING
Pau Hana Oahu
Overall
10'0"
29 lbs
5
$$
4.4
Adventure Paddleboarding All Rounder
Overall
11'6"
28 lbs
3
$
4.4
Boardworks Kraken
Surf
11'0"
26 lbs
3
$$$
4.5
Bote Flood
Surf
10'6"
28 lbs
3
$$
4.3
Boardworks Raven
Flatwater
12'6"
30 lbs
1
$$$
4.4
Surftech Generator Tekefx
Flatwater
11'6"
28 lbs
3
$$$
4.6
Adventure Paddleboarding Explorer 2
Flatwater
10'0"
23 lbs
1
$$
4.4
Lakeshore Wet Woody Classic
Flatwater
11'6"
27 lbs
1
$$
4.6
BIC Sport Tough-Tec Cross
Budget
10'0"
36 lbs
1
$
4.5
Pau Hana Malibu Classic
Budget
10'6"
31 lbs
1
$
4.5

 

 

STAND UP PADDLE BOARD 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST STAND UP PADDLE BOARD

 

1. YOUR ABILITY

Are you a beginner, an intermediate, or advanced paddler? If you’re just starting out, it’s better to choose a board that has more volume. Though boards with more volume aren’t as agile in the water as some others, they are stable and the best to build your core muscles on. You can always work your way down in size and buy a more specialized board that suits the conditions you’ll be riding in and your ability level.

 

2. SIZE

The length and width of the best stand up paddle board for you is dependent on your skill level and size. Heavier and taller people should go for longer and wider stand up paddle boards with more volume so that they can balance. Most brands will have a size guide that will tell you roughly what dimensions of people that their board suits. If you’re a family or looking to share a board with a partner, buy it to fit the larger person.

Smaller people can always paddle a board that’s too big whereas larger people on a board that’s too small will have a hard time staying balanced.

 

3. CONDITIONS

Will you be riding your stand up paddle board in the surf or are you sticking to flatwater? Or, do you want a board that can handle wherever you choose to take it? In general, like most gear out there, you should choose a board that suits the conditions you’ll be in most of the time. There are also stand up paddle boards specifically catered to paddlers that love to go fast.

 

WAVES AND CHOPPY WATER

Surfing and performance boards are specially made for waves and choppy water. These boards tend to be shorter, have a narrow nose, and more rocker. Surfers need to be able to maneuver their boards quickly and without too much effort, which is why they’re a bit less stable than non-surf specific boards.

 

ALL AROUND CONDITIONS

All-around stand up paddle boards handle nearly every condition with ease — but might be too slow for dedicated flatwater paddlers, and too big to progress in waves. These are generally best for people who want a versatile board that will go on a lake one weekend and to the beach the next. They’re great for beginners and paddlers who still aren’t quite sure what type of paddling they’re into yet.

 

CALM WATER

Flatwater, racing, and touring boards are for paddlers sticking to calm water. They tend to be longer than surf or all-around boards and can range from being very fast and narrow to flat and wide for yoga practice. Since racing and touring boards are so narrow, they might be too unstable for beginner paddlers still working on their balance. Flatwater boards track in a straight line much better than all-around or surf paddle boards. Many paddlers tour with flatwater boards.

Antonio and Amanda from The Adventure Junkies kayaked around Espíritu Santo Island Island, a trip that would be wonderful for an experienced stand up paddler with a flatwater board as well.

Inflatable stand up paddle boards are also an option if you live in an apartment or can’t transport a stand up paddle board easily. These aren’t as rigid as your standard paddle board, but they are great for beginners and paddlers who frequent rivers. The inflatable stand up paddle board is so convenient, it’s even made it onto our top gifts for adventure junkies list!

Stand up paddle boards are expensive. Once you have the perfect one, you’ll want to keep it in top notch condition. Standup Journal has a helpful guide on keeping your board pristine, so that it can last you years to come.

 

4. FIN SET-UP

Nearly all stand up paddle boards have a single fin in the center of the board, three fins, or a single fin and two smaller side fins (hybrid thruster). The fin is essential for the board to track in a straight line as you paddle — or else it would veer off in all directions.

As a general rule, the more fins you have, the more drag it creates. This is why touring or flatwater boards typically have a single fin while surf specific boards are set up as a thruster (three fins) or a quad (four fins) so that the board has more grip as the surfer moves through the wave. SUP the Mag has a helpful and detailed guide that talks all about fin-set up if you’re interested in learning more.

Many stand up paddle boards have the option to modify the fin set-up to suit the conditions. When in doubt, stick with how you purchased your paddle board and adjust it for surfing and flatwater paddling as you progress.

 

stand up paddle board must-have

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/epicstockmedia

 

STAND UP PADDLE BOARD REVIEWS

 

1. BEST STAND UP PADDLE BOARD FOR OVERALL

PAU HANA OAHU

 

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Paddlers who need a board that can handle both flatwater and waves with ease

MATERIALS: Epoxy, fiberglass, and bamboo with a EPS foam core

LENGTH: 10’0”

WEIGHT: 29 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 263 lbs

FIN BOXES: Five fin boxes but ships as a center and two sides

PROS: Versatile, stable, soft grip deck offers great traction

CONS: Design on traction pad might be uncomfortable for stand up paddle board yoga

 

 

 

ADVENTURE PADDLEBOARDING ALL ROUNDER

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Paddlers wanting a board that can handle all conditions for a low price

MATERIALS: Epoxy and fiberglass with an EPS foam core

LENGTH: 11’6”

WEIGHT: 28 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 280 lbs

FIN BOXES: Center and two sides

PROS: Versatile, great value, fast in flatwater and capable in the surf, easy to maneuver

CONS: Advanced paddlers might want a more specialized board

 

 

 

 

2. BEST STAND UP PADDLE BOARD FOR SURF

BOARDWORKS KRAKEN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Paddlers who want a stable board that can handle waves

MATERIALS: Bamboo, epoxy, and fiberglass with a EPS foam base

LENGTH: 11’0”

WEIGHT: 26 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 290 lbs

FIN BOXES: Center and two sides

PROS: Stable, great for paddlers of all abilities, does well in the surf

CONS: Wide profile makes it slow to paddle and not as easy to turn

 

 

 

BOTE FLOOD

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Intermediate paddlers looking to play around in the surf

MATERIALS: Fiberglass with an EPS foam core

LENGTH: 10’6”

WEIGHT: 28 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 230 lbs

FIN BOXES: Center and two sides

PROS: Easy to paddle and turn, has a storage container and bungy straps, easy to carry

CONS: Might be a bit too narrow for beginner paddlers

 

 

 

 

3. BEST STAND UP PADDLE BOARD FOR FLATWATER

BOARDWORKS RAVEN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Intermediate paddleboarders who want a fast and versatile board

MATERIALS: Epoxy, fiberglass, bamboo with an EPS foam core

LENGTH: 12’6”

WEIGHT: 30 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 240 lbs

FIN BOXES: Single

PROS: Faster than the average stand up paddleboard, great for flatwater and racing

CONS: Though it’s marketed as an all-around board, it does not do that well in waves

 

 

 

SURFTECH GENERATOR TEKEFX

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Flatwater paddlers wanting a stable board that can handle tandem paddlers

MATERIALS: Epoxy, fiberglass, and bamboo with an EPS foam core

LENGTH: 11’6”

WEIGHT: 28 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 210 lbs

FIN BOXES: Center and two sides

PROS: Stable, can handle multiple paddlers, stable enough for yoga, stylish

CONS: Paddles a bit slower than similar boards on the market

 

 

 

ADVENTURE PADDLEBOARDING EXPLORER 2

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Intermediate to advanced paddlers wanting a flatwater board that is fast yet stable

MATERIALS: Epoxy and bamboo with an EPS foam core

LENGTH: 10’0”

WEIGHT: 23 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 200 lbs

FIN BOXES: Single

PROS: Lightweight for its size, stable, accelerates easily, agile, can handle some chop

CONS: Beginners might find it hard to balance even in flatwater

 

 

 

LAKESHORE WET WOODY CLASSIC

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Advanced paddlers looking for the perfect flatwater board

MATERIALS: Fiberglass and epoxy with an EPS foam core

LENGTH: 11’6”

WEIGHT: 27 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 225 lbs

FIN BOXES: Single

PROS: Quickly glides through flatwater, can handle chop, great for advanced paddlers looking to work on their fitness

CONS: Too unstable for the surf or beginner paddlers, traction pad could use more grip

 

 

 

 

4. BEST STAND UP PADDLE BOARD FOR BUDGET

BIC SPORT TOUGH-TEC CROSS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Paddlers wanting a board stable enough for yoga, fishing, or tandem paddling

MATERIALS: Polyethylene and an EPS foam core

LENGTH: 10’0”

WEIGHT: 36 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 220 lbs

FIN BOXES: Single fin

PROS: Great value for families and paddlers with many interests, durable, perfect for beginners

CONS: Slow moving and takes long to accelerate due to its size, heavy to carry

 

 

 

PAU HANA MALIBU CLASSIC

 

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Beginner, tandem, or family paddlers on a budget

MATERIALS: ABS plastic with an EPF foam core

LENGTH: 10’6”

WEIGHT: 31 lbs

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 225 lbs

FIN BOXES: Single

PROS: Great value, stable, beginner-friendly, perfect for yoga, durable

CONS: Moves slow and is a bit bulky for its length

About The Author

Adventure Sports Junkie

Chantae Reden is a journalist based in Perth, Western Australia specializing in travel, action sports, scuba diving, and adventure. Her writing has been featured in a variety of publications including Travel + Leisure, Boating Magazine, Backpacker Essentials, and many more. You can find more adventures and advice on her blog, Chantae Was Here.

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