Here comes the summer. And in Devon, that means you’ll be hitting the seaside as often as possible – and getting on a SUP, or stand up paddle board, has become a big part of the summer experience. In fact inflatable paddle boards can be picked up for some great prices these days.
If you’ve been watching the proliferation of stand up paddle boards in Devon over the past few years, you might be considering buying one…. They’re pretty easy to ride, and that means you can go and explore offshore that little bit more.
But, which is the best inflatable stand up paddleboard to buy? Can you get a good iSUP on a budget?
First up, a quick buyers guide to help you understand what to keep an eye out for when checking your potential SUP purchase.
What to look for when buying a SUP
Your typical inflatable stand up paddleboard will come in at anywhere between 9 foot to 12 foot (or more).
In general, the longer and wider it is the more stable it will be. So for beginners, or those simply looking for something to splash about at the beach, you’ll be looking for at least a 10 foot SUP – ideally 12 foot. The wider the better.
You will also need to look at the weight limit for your SUP. Most paddleboards have a weight capacity around 100 kilos, which is fine for the average person and maybe a small extra passenger (a dog or a child for example).
You’ll find many inflatable paddle boards exceed the 100 kilos limit, but do bear this in mind when buying a stand up paddle board. In fact, on average SUPs will support 120-150 kilos in weight, which is fine for most people. This will also depend what you want it for of course.
If you’re looking at the round headed boards vs the more pointy looking boards, well, the pointy ended SUP normally indicate a faster or sportier design. This also means you’ll find it easier to surf them in waves (if thats what you want to do). But to be honest, inflatable SUPs – especially budget SUPs – are not so good for wave surfing.
If that’s what you want to do, consider buying a rigid stand up paddle board. Or, keep an eye out for a shorter and thinner SUP for surfing those small waves.
One more thing – SUPs should be used by adults who can swim well. If you’re not a confident swimmer, consider buying a life jacket too. It’s not recommended that children under the age of 12 use paddle boards unsupervised, and if you are planning to let your kids ride with you, get them floatation devices and extra leashes to be safe.
So… Onto the big question:
Which SUP should I buy?
There are a lot of big brands nowadays for SUPs, and choosing to buy a paddle board based on brand alone isn’t always easy.
Some big names to look out for are Red, Jobe, Aqua Planet (the UK’s best selling SUP), Blue Fin, Aqua Marina and Hydro Force. But these are more as guidelines rather than solid best buys.
Anyway, having ridden a few paddle boards around Devon, these are our suggestions for the best buys in budget paddle boards this year:
Red Voyager 12′ 6″
If you’re looking for one of the best SUP’s on the market right now, it’ll be something by Red Co. The Totnes based paddle board makers are easily the market leaders for quality pro-level iSUPs, and anything you get will be excellent.
The Red Voyage 2022 is an excellent choice for any level of paddle boarder, offering a perfect mix of stability, speed and manouverability.
Although not the cheapest option, you’ll be getting a SUP that can stand up to a long days exploring and that you’ll still be using years from now.
Plymouth company South West SUP use Red Co paddle boards.
- Price: £1299
- Size: 12′ 6″
- Load: N/A
Jobe Titan Kura 10′ 6″
If you’re looking for a quality paddle board at a more budget friendly price, Jobe are going to have several options to tempt you. One of their best all-rounders is the Titan Kura 10′ 6″.
This nicely sized board is made for casual paddle boarders, but will stand up to extended use and exploration. The extra strong board is perfect for slightly choppier seas, so even if you get caught out by some swell, you should be able to ride it out.
The truth is, pretty much any Jobe paddle board is a good purchase, but we think this one comes out top for durability and ease of use. Is it a budget paddle board? Well, no, but it’s a well priced top end option, so if you’re looking for a good board take a look at Jobe.
- Price: £705
- Size: 10′ 6″
- Load: 140kgs
Hydro Force Cruiser Tech
You’ll see a lot of Hydro Force SUPs around because, quite simply, they offer good value for money with a nice sturdy board. And if you’re looking for a solid ride for the beach or even to explore, the 2022 Cruiser Tech board from Hydro Force has your covered.
Again, there are lots of options in the Hydro Force iSUP range, but this all-rounder is a solid choice.
The 10′ 6″ is pretty standard for beginner SUPs, and it’s 6 inch thick board is nice and sturdy even on choppy waters. Hydro Force SUPs are generally seen as good quality budget paddle boards, so if you’re looking for a cheap(ish) board that will last you a good while, check out Hydro Force’s range.
Size: 10′ 6″
Aqua Marina Atlas
Another brand that signals quality is Aqua Marina. Their bold coloured boards are a solid choice among paddle boarders and are often singled out for their quality construction and durability.
The Atlas is a 12″ board which is absolutely perfect for both splashing around in the shallows, or coast hopping in some chop. Being a longer and wider board, the Aqua Marina Atlas is great for keeping yourself steady while learning to ride – so a solid option for beginners and even the intermediate SUP’er.
I actually ride the Aqua Marina Fusion, which is also an excellent board and well worth looking at if you’re looking for an afforadble SUP.
With a good selection of mid-range paddle boards, Bluefin are another reliable brand for quality SUPs. The all-rounder or beginner option in the Bluefin range is the Cruise – a 10′ 8″ board with a good width and shape built for stability.
Bluefin’s build quality is excellent – like pretty much all of the boards on our list. But we don’t think you’ll be needing the puncture repair kit unless you do something silly. Talking of which, Bluefin’s included kit also includes a waterproof phone case and there is even a camera mount integrated into the board so you can capture some action camera footage of you falling in the water… I mean, riding the waves…
Size: 10′ 8″ – also available in 12′ and 15′ models.
Load: 150 kgs
Are budget paddle boards worth buying?
If you’re shopping around, you’ll spot plenty of inflatable stand up paddle boards for £300, or even less. Some are even under £200… But are these budget paddle boards any good?
Firstly, it depends what you want it for.
A casual splash about at the beach? No problem. But if you’re planning to get into stand up paddleboarding as a sport, or for yoga or whatever, consider spending the extra cash.
Secondly, you do get what you pay for. And a paddle board under £200 is very likely to be made of low quality material, be less sturdy and probably be less long-lasting too. If you snag that cheap paddle board on a hidden rock underwater, you might be swimming back to shore!
Saying that, yes there are plenty of good budget paddle boards to buy.
All of these cheap paddle boards have great reviews and look like solid budget options.
See you out on the water!