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Best Paddle Boards for Dogs

Essential Gear for Paddleboarding with Dogs

When paddleboarding with your dog, the right gear makes all the difference. Let’s break down the necessary equipment.

Paddle Boards

Sea Gods Skylla
This lightweight board provides stability without feeling cumbersome on the water. Its tapered shape and single fin setup allow for a bit more speed while paddling, perfect for those looking for adventure. It features a lifetime warranty, ensuring long-term use. Keep in mind, it’s on the higher budget side, but it’s worth every penny for the quality and experience it brings to the table.

Blackfin Model XL
The Blackfin Model XL stands out as a high-volume board with a 35″ width, offering substantial stability. There’s ample room on the deck pad, making it comfortable for dogs to settle. Its versatility, with numerous attachment features, suits various activities. Built sturdily, it maintains fast speeds for an extensive platform iSUP. Watch out for those front bungees if your dog tends to get tangled.

iROCKER Cruiser Ultra 2.0
Compact and portable, this board provides stability ideal for beginners and their dogs. With a full removable front and rear cargo area, your dog gets an open space to relax. The lightweight nature ensures easy handling, and it comes with a full kit, including a 5-piece compact paddle and electric pump. The deck pad could use an extension, but such compactness can complicate additional padding.

Life Jackets

A life jacket is a must-have for any water adventure with your dog. The Float Coat™ Life Jacket by Ruffwear suits this purpose perfectly. It’s ergonomic and supportive, with a handle to help lift your dog back onto the paddle board. Reflective trim improves visibility, and its snug fit ensures your dog’s comfort and safety.

Essential Accessories

  • Dry Bag
    A dry bag is necessary for carrying essential supplies like water, snacks, sunscreen, and toys. The Nixy dry bags are a solid choice, known for their durability and space.
  • Dog Sunscreen
    It’s crucial to protect your dog’s skin from UV rays. Epi-Pet K-9 Care Sunscreen and My Dog Nose It Moisturizing Balm for noses are excellent picks. Ensure they are free of zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid to avoid harmful ingestion.

Top Dog-Friendly Paddleboards

When it comes to paddleboarding with your canine companion, having a dog-friendly paddleboard is paramount. Let’s explore some of the top paddleboards designed specifically for you and your dog’s comfort, stability, and safety on the water.

  1. Gili Komodo 10’6
    The Gili Komodo is celebrated for its remarkably cushioned deck pad, providing ultimate comfort for your dog. Its high weight capacity comfortably supports both the paddler and their furry friend. Weighing just 21 lbs, this board strikes an excellent balance between stability and portability. While we wish the action mounts were part of the D-rings to free up deck space, it’s a minor trade-off for an otherwise outstanding board.
  2. Glide Retro 10’6
    Featuring a full-length deck pad, the Glide Retro 10’6 allows your dog to comfortably move around. The board’s optional kayak conversion kit offers versatility, enabling you to paddle in both standing and seated positions. The sturdy construction ensures durability, though the soft deck pad might get scratched by dogs with longer nails.
  3. Atoll 11′
    The Atoll 11′ is a lightweight, minimalist SUP, perfect for travel and hiking to remote paddle spots. Its laminate construction balances durability with weight, making it easy to carry. Despite being speed-capable, it doesn’t sacrifice stability, making it suitable for most paddlers and their dogs. The design is sleek and uncluttered, though we would appreciate a full removable fin setup for added versatility.
  4. Niphean Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
    For the budget-conscious paddleboarders, the Niphean board shines with its broad deck, sturdy construction, and countless D-rings for attaching accessories. It promises stability and comfort with its spacious deck pad. Some minor issues were noted with the pressure gauge and fin durability, but these are easily manageable considering its cost-effectiveness and the value it provides.

These boards cater to different budgets and preferences, offering a range of options from highly affordable to premium quality. Regardless of your choice, investing in a dog-friendly paddleboard ensures a delightful and safe water adventure with your furry friend. Always remember to choose a board that matches your paddling style and your dog’s size and temperament for the best experience.

Training Tips for Paddleboarding with Dogs

Introducing your dog to paddleboarding requires patience, dedication, and a gradual approach to ensure both you and your furry friend have a positive and enjoyable experience. The following practical tips and strategies will help make the transition smooth and effective for your canine companion.

Begin with essential commands that your dog will need to understand while on the board. Commands such as “Sit,” “Stay,” “Come,” and “Heel” are crucial for keeping your dog calm and controlled on the water. Additionally, introduce specific commands like “Board” for getting on the paddleboard, “Off” for disembarking, and “Between” to position themselves between your legs or in a calm spot.

Start the training process on dry land. Place the board on the ground in an area familiar to your dog, such as your backyard or living room. Encourage your dog to explore the board by sniffing and stepping onto it. Use treats and positive reinforcement to reward them each time they interact with the board. This helps build a positive association with the paddleboard.

Once your dog is comfortable stepping onto the board, practice the essential commands. Ask them to “Sit” or “Stay” on the board while rewarding them frequently. Gradually increase the duration they need to stay on the board before giving a treat. This reinforces the idea that staying on the board is a good thing.

Next, introduce the paddle motion. Sit on the board and mimic the paddling motion without moving the board. This helps your dog get used to the movements and sounds they will experience on the water. Reward them consistently for staying calm and composed during this practice.

When your dog is comfortable with the commands and paddle motion on dry land, it’s time to introduce water. Begin in shallow water where your dog can easily hop on and off the board. Encourage them to get on the board while it’s stationary in the water. Use a firm “Board” command, and reward them each time they comply.

Practice short paddling sessions initially. Paddle a few yards away from the shore and return promptly. The goal is to help your dog understand that the board will always return to a familiar and safe place. Gradually increase the distance as your dog becomes more comfortable.

Be patient and observe your dog’s behavior. If they seem anxious or hesitant, give them time to acclimate. Consistent praise and rewards will help build their confidence. Remember, the key is to make each session enjoyable and stress-free.

Incorporate play breaks to keep the experience fun for your dog. Throw a floating toy into the water and let them swim back to the board. This reinforces the idea that paddleboarding is an adventure you both can enjoy. Always assist them back onto the board using the handle on their life jacket to prevent them from clawing at the board’s edges.

As you progress, continue to reinforce commands and gradually extend the paddling time. Always be mindful of your dog’s comfort and readiness. If they show signs of fatigue or stress, end the session on a positive note and try again later.

By following these training tips and practicing patience, you’ll soon have a confident and happy paddleboarding partner. Enjoy the journey and the special bond you’ll build with your dog on the water!

A dog wearing a bright orange life jacket sitting on a boat on a sunny day on the water, looking happy and secure.

Safety Considerations for Paddleboarding with Dogs

When paddleboarding with your dog, prioritizing safety is essential to ensure a fun and secure adventure for both of you. Let’s explore the key safety considerations to keep in mind.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Always ensure your dog wears a PFD designed specifically for canines. A well-fitted life jacket not only keeps your dog afloat but also provides a handle to assist in getting them back on the board. When selecting a PFD, look for a product like the Float Coat™ Life Jacket, which offers secure clip-in points, durability, and buoyancy. The handle should be sturdy enough to lift your dog back onto the paddleboard without risking damage or undue strain.

Leash Use

It’s crucial to never attach your dog’s leash to the paddleboard. In moving water, currents can easily separate you from your board, and a tethered dog can become a considerable safety risk. Instead, use a leash for shoreline walks or when transitioning on and off the water. For your safety, wear an ankle leash connected to the paddleboard, ensuring you stay tethered to the board if you fall off. This reduces the risk of losing the board to waves or currents, keeping both you and your dog safer.

Calm Waters First

When beginning your paddleboarding journey, choose calm and shallow waters. Gentle lakes or slow-moving rivers are ideal for practicing balance and acclimating your dog to the experience. Avoid the surf or areas with heavy boating traffic until you both have gained confidence and stability.

Frequent Breaks

Just like humans, dogs can tire easily when exposed to physical activity and sun. Monitor your dog’s behavior closely, and take regular breaks to allow them to rest and hydrate. Transfer to a shaded area during extended breaks to prevent overheating. Carry a collapsible water bowl and fresh water to keep your dog hydrated throughout your paddleboarding session.

Weather Considerations

Pay attention to weather conditions before heading out. Avoid paddleboarding on excessively hot days to prevent heatstroke or burns from hot deck surfaces. On colder days, be mindful of hypothermia risks, especially if your dog is not a strong swimmer or lacks a thick coat.


Make sure your dog is comfortable in their PFD and understands essential commands before venturing out into deeper waters. Practice jumps into shallow waters first and assist them in climbing back onto the board using their PFD handle. Repeated drills in a controlled environment can significantly enhance their water confidence and your control during an outing.

Observe Signs of Distress

Be vigilant. Excessive panting, whining, or attempts to jump off the board can indicate that your dog is uncomfortable or distressed. If your dog exhibits any of these signs, head back to shore immediately for a break.

Emergency Plan

Always have an emergency plan. Know the closest exit points and be familiar with the water area. Carry a whistle or signaling device to alert others if you require assistance. Ensure your phone is in a waterproof case and securely attached to you for quick access if you encounter trouble.

By incorporating these safety practices, you’re not just ensuring a successful paddleboarding experience with your dog but also safeguarding their well-being while creating memorable and enjoyable adventures on the water.

Prone Paddleboarding: A Comprehensive Guide

Embracing the surf, feeling the rhythm of the waves, and challenging your body’s strength and endurance in the open water; welcome to the world of the prone paddleboard. Prone paddleboarding is a sport that’s gaining momentum all over the globe. Conceived from surfing’s early days, it has emerged as an exhilarating standalone experience, encouraging participants to engage with the aquatic world in a truly unique way. This exploration will shed light on everything you need to know about prone paddleboarding – an intense yet fulfilling adventure that’s not merely about balance on a board but also about the continuous quest for personal progress.

Understanding Prone Paddleboarding

Understanding Prone Paddleboarding: The Basics

Prone paddleboarding, also known as traditional paddleboarding, is an outdoor water activity where the participant lies on their stomach on the board to paddle instead of standing upright. This sport requires efficient use of upper body strength as the arms play an instrumental role in paddling the prone paddleboard on the water’s surface. Legs and core strength are also necessary to maintain balance. Usually, the boards are elongated and narrower than stand-up paddleboards, providing agility and speed. Prone paddleboarding works as an excellent workout that promotes cardiovascular health and strengthens the core and upper body.

History and Evolution of the Prone Paddleboard

Prone paddleboarding is, in fact, an original form of water sports, with a history traced back to the Polynesian cultures in Hawaii. It was the primary means for early Hawaiians to travel from island to island, majorly for fishing and transportation purposes. Tom Blake, a surf legend, is typically credited with modernizing the paddleboard in the early 1930s. He was inspired by early Hawaiian designs and developed a hollow wooden board for better buoyancy, durability, and speed. With the rise in popularity of stand-up paddleboarding over the years, prone paddleboards took a back seat but are now again gaining attraction as an effective form of fitness exercise and racing sport.

Key Terms in Prone Paddleboarding

  • Striding: Moving down the board on your knees or stomach while maintaining momentum.
  • Sprint Start: A quick start technique that involves pushing your board into the water, leaping onto it, and immediately beginning to paddle.
  • Rail: The sides of your board.
  • Rocker: Describes the curve of the board from nose to tail, affecting the speed and maneuverability.

Types of Prone Paddleboarding Boards

The type of prone paddleboarding equipment used can affect one’s experience. There are mainly two types – the traditional Stock Paddleboard and the Unlimited Paddleboard. Stock paddleboards, measuring 12 feet long and roughly 20 inches wide, are designed for stability but limit the speed to some extent. They are best for beginners due to their durability and stability. On the other hand, Unlimited Paddleboards can vary in length and width and are designed for speed. With pointy noses and tapered tails, these boards allow for longer, more powerful paddling strokes. However, they require a higher fitness level and better paddling skills to balance.

The Role of Prone Paddleboarding in Fitness

With upper body and core strength, balance, and cardiovascular endurance among its benefits, prone paddleboarding is highly regarded as a full-body workout. It strengthens the back, shoulders, arms, and core, improving muscular strength and endurance. Plus, the requirement of balance and coordination skills can contribute to enhanced agility and flexibility. Moreover, prone paddleboarding inspires outdoor activity, fostering connection with nature, and promoting mental health benefits like reduced stress and improved mood.

Distinguishing Prone Paddleboarding from Stand-up Paddleboarding

Both prone and stand-up paddleboarding are engaging water sports, but the main distinction resides in the body positions assumed while participating. Prone paddleboarding heavily pressures the upper body as one lies down and paddles, while stand-up paddleboarding works more on the core and leg muscles, with participants in a standing position. This variation in physical demands gives each type its uniqueness in terms of fitness benefits and competitiveness.

A person paddling on a prone paddleboard in a serene lake surrounded by nature.

Prone Paddleboard Equipment and Accessories

The Practicalities of the Prone Paddleboard: Essential Gear and Accessories

Distinctive gear is required to fully enjoy and stay safe while prone paddleboarding. The first indispensable tool, naturally, is the prone paddleboard. These boards, which are slenderer and longer than stand-up paddleboards, range from about 10 to 20 feet in length, and are designed for maximum water glide and efficiency.

Renowned makers such as Bark, Surftech, and Kings Paddle Sports, offer diverse board designs and sizes to accommodate varying individual techniques and body structures. Select a board suitable to your weight and proficiency to ensure peak performance.

Safety gear should never be overlooked in paddleboarding. An essential item is a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket, more so when surfing in deep waters. A leash is also important, keeping the board within reach in case the paddler takes a spill. Additional safety measures like sun hats and sunscreen, as well as hydration packs for extended sessions, should also be considered.

Monitoring your gear should also be paramount. Items like a board bag for safe transport and storage, a paddle cover, and repair kits containing epoxy resins for fiberglass boards will aid in maintenance. Regular inspection, cleaning, and prompt repairs will significantly prolong the life of your board.

Guide to Purchasing Prone Paddleboards and Accessories

Choosing a prone paddleboard largely depends on the style of paddling you plan on engaging in. Speed and efficiency are the hallmarks of racing boards, but they may compromise stability. On the other hand, touring boards are designed for comfort during prolonged paddling sessions, though they might not be as fast.

Ranging in both quality and pricing, numerous brands offer sports equipment designed specifically for prone paddleboarding. Among these, Bark and Surftech are known for their specialized designs. For paddling needs, trusted brands like Aqua-Bound, Sawyer Paddles, and Black Project are recommended due to their reliable range of options.

For safety gear, acclaimed brands such as Mustang Survival, Stohlquist and NRS offer a great selection. Their range of PFDs come equipped with various features, such as phone pockets, hydration reservoirs, and reflective trims for visibility.

Throughout your research, don’t overlook the importance of maintenance gear. Often these items can be generalized or brand-specific. Explore the warranties and their coverage offered by different brands. Choosing renowned brands usually comes with an assurance of high-quality products and consistent customer service.

To conclude, an investment of time in research before venturing into the purchase of prone paddleboarding equipment will ensure you get gear that enables you to enjoy watersports safely and efficiently.

paddler on a prone paddleboard

Techniques and Training

Mastering Techniques in Prone Paddleboarding

Prone paddleboarding is a unique watersport in that it requires an individual to navigate water on a paddleboard by lying or kneeling down and propelling themselves using their hands. Before diving into tougher conditions, it’s important to get comfortable on the board in calm, still water. A commonly utilized paddling technique is the ‘arm pull’, where the paddler pushes back water using their hands, thereby promoting forward motion.

The ‘double-arm’ method is yet another approach towards paddling. In this technique, both arms simultaneously reach and pull at the water, akin to traditional swimming strokes. While it expedites movement, it also requires more energy. It’s crucial that paddlers familiarize themselves with alternating between single and double arm strokes, as the circumstances will dictate the use of these techniques.

Training and Fitness for Prone Paddleboarding

Just like any other sport, prone paddleboarding requires a good amount of strength and endurance. Newbies should start training gradually to build up their paddling fitness. Swimming is an excellent cross-training activity as it builds up your arm, shoulder, and core strength while improving your cardio fitness at the same time.

Other good exercises for prone paddleboarding include planks (for core stability), push-ups (for upper body strength), and squats and lunges (for leg strength). Combining these with regular paddling sessions on the water is crucial for gaining the right balance and coordination.

Improving Balance and Coordination

One of the most fundamental skills to master in prone paddleboarding is balance. Paddlers need to center their body weight on the board to keep it stable. Beginners can start by kneeling on the board before transitioning to lay down. Regularly practicing this transitioning can help the individual get accustomed to the board’s balance.

Additionally, practicing on dry ground can also help. Mimicking the paddling motion while lying on a fitness ball can improve your balance and coordination without the risk of falling into the water.

Mastering Advanced Prone Paddleboard Techniques

Gradually, as you become comfortable with the basic maneuvers of prone paddleboarding—using your board and paddle—you can start challenging yourself with advanced techniques. Successfully mastering these can involve fine-tuning actions like navigating through waves and performing smooth-sailing turns. One impactful way to execute the latter is to lean into the direction of the turn, pull towards the same side with your paddle and kick your legs towards the opposite side to execute a complete turn.

But remember, proficiency in such techniques comes only with time and continued practice. Patience is key in this learning journey. Keep practicing, be attuned to your body’s reactions, and make sure you are making the time on the water enjoyable. Prone paddleboarding is not just a matter of speed and skill—it’s also about fully experiencing and enjoying the aquatic environment.

prone paddleboarders racing

Health Benefits and Safety Measures

The Healthful Rewards of Prone Paddleboarding

Embarking on the journey of prone paddleboarding doesn’t only take you on aquatic adventures, it also serves as a comprehensive form of exercise. It stands out as a full-body endurance workout that synergistically engages every muscle from your toes to your head. It offers cardiovascular benefits similar to running or aerobics, however, it is much easier on your joints, minimizing the risk of serious damages or stress fractures. Toning the arms, shoulders, and back muscles forms a crucial part of the paddling process while your core and legs put in continual work to keep you balanced on the prone paddleboard.

According to diverse scientific research, prone paddleboarding is associated with increased calorie burning, strengthened endurance, and enhanced cardiorespiratory health. It has also gained recognition for its ability to amplify balance, coordination, and holistic body strength. The constant neuromuscular training that comes from trying to stay balanced further reinforces functional core strength and lower body stability.

Besides physical returns, prone paddleboarding also promotes mental health. Immersing yourself in the outdoors and being on the water is a naturally stress-relieving experience. The rhythmic and meditative layers that paddling adds can significantly help lighten moods, ease anxiety, and reduce stress levels.

Safety Measures in Prone Paddleboarding

Despite the numerous benefits, prone paddleboarding can come with inherent risks, mostly when conducted without proper safety measures. The first step towards safety is ensuring the use of appropriate gear, including a suitable board, a personal flotation device (PFD), a safety whistle, and, in certain conditions, a wetsuit or drysuit for heat retention.

Water conditions, including temperature, currents, and weather, should be thoroughly assessed before entering the water. Sudden changes can present hazards to paddleboarders, especially those new to the sport or unfamiliar with the specific body of water.

Understanding basic first aid procedures, being able to swim, and knowledge of local marine life and hazards are all essential tools for a safe prone paddleboarding experience. Also, beginners should consider paddleboarding in groups or supervised by experienced paddlers before attempting to paddle alone.

Board handling and control are crucial factors in paddleboarding safety. This includes knowing how to quickly exit the prone paddleboard board in the event of a fall and being aware of how to maneuver the board to avoid obstructions and collisions.

In the end, while paddling a prone paddleboard is a highly beneficial and therapeutic sport, it mandates responsible and safe practices to prevent accidents and injuries. Regularly reviewing safety measures, staying updated about weather and water conditions, and wearing the right gear are good practices that will ensure a paddler’s safety and enjoyment of the sport.

wooden prone paddleboard on a lake

As our journey through the waters of the prone paddleboard comes to an end, we find that this immersive sport is more than just staying upright on a board. It pushes us, challenges us, and rewards us with beautiful experiences and substantial health benefits. It is a practice that needs respect for safety measures and an appreciation of the skills and equipment involved. In the ebb and flow of its waves, prone paddleboarding carries us closer towards a blend of fitness, mindfulness, endurance, and an inevitable bond with the water. Whether you’re just dipping your toes in or fully submerged in its global community, may the essence of prone paddleboarding keep your spirit riding high. So, grab your paddles and hit the water, because the ocean awaits, ready to etch a tale on the surface of your adventurous spirit.

Choosing Your First Paddle Board: Top Picks for Beginners

Paddleboarding is a popular water sport that offers a unique blend of relaxation and physical activity. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful glide on calm waters or an adventurous ride on rolling waves, paddle boarding has something to offer for everyone. If you’re new to this awesome sport, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is choosing your first paddle board.

The right paddle board can make all the difference in your initial experiences on the water. It can enhance your stability, boost your confidence, and help you progress quickly in mastering the sport. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting the best paddle boards for beginners, ensuring that your first steps in the world of paddleboarding are smooth and enjoyable.

We’ll explore various factors to consider when choosing a paddle board, such as stability, size, weight, construction materials, and budget. Additionally, we’ll present a curated selection of top picks for beginner-friendly paddle boards, highlighting their key features and benefits for novice riders. Finally, we’ll share some additional tips to help you get started on the right foot.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to confidently make an informed decision about your first paddle board. So, let’s dive in and discover the best paddle boards for beginners that will pave the way for your exciting paddle-boarding journey!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Paddle Board for Beginners

Woman carrying an inflatable paddleboard on the beachBefore diving into the wide array of paddle board options available, it’s essential to understand the key factors to consider when selecting the perfect board for beginners. By keeping these factors in mind, you can ensure that your chosen paddleboard aligns with your skill level, preferences, and goals. Let’s explore these crucial considerations:

Stability: As a beginner, stability should be your top priority when choosing a paddleboard. Look for boards with a wide and long design, as they offer better stability on the water. A stable board will provide you with a solid platform to build your confidence and balance skills.

Size and Weight: The dimensions and weight of the paddle board play a crucial role in its overall performance and maneuverability. Generally, longer and wider boards offer more stability but can be slightly slower in the water. Consider your body weight and the intended use of the board to find the right balance between stability and maneuverability. For a stable beginner board, we recommend boards that are 32″ or wider and 6″ thick.

Construction Materials: Paddle boards are commonly constructed using different materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Fiberglass boards are lightweight and offer excellent performance, while inflatable boards provide easy storage and portability. Other materials, such as plastic or foam, may offer durability and affordability. Consider the trade-offs of each material and choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Price Range: Paddle boards can vary significantly in price, and as a beginner, you don’t need to break the bank for your first board. Determine your budget range and look for options within that range. Remember that while higher-priced boards may offer advanced features, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available that can still provide a great experience for beginners.

By considering these factors, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and find a paddle board that meets your specific needs as a beginner. In the next section, we’ll delve into our top picks for the best paddle boards for beginners, taking into account the factors we’ve discussed here.

Top Picks for Beginner-Friendly Paddle Boards

Now that we’ve covered the essential factors to consider when choosing the best paddle boards for beginners, let’s explore our top picks for boards that are specifically designed to cater to novice riders. These boards have been carefully selected based on their stability, maneuverability, durability, and overall suitability for beginners. Let’s dive in:

Inflatable Paddleboards:

Due to their packability and portability, we prefer inflatable paddleboards over rigid paddleboards.  Inflatable paddleboards offer a paddleboard experience that’s very similar to a rigid SUP, but in a package that’s much more flexible and convenient and typically can be found at a much lower price. Due to the lower cost of entry and the ease of transport, beginning paddleboard will find themselves using an inflatable more often than a rigid board at a lower financial risk.

ROC Inflatable Paddleboard

At 33″ wide, the ROC Inflatable paddleboard hits the sweet spot for a beginner board. Rated at a weight limit of 350lbs, this board is forgiving for beginners of all sizes. Complete with a full range of accessories (including paddle, pump, leash, and carrying bag), the ROC paddleboard has everything you need to get out on the water. ROC is a US-based company with top-rated customer service. The ROC inflatable paddleboard is available in 11 colors each between $200 – $250.  With a 2-year warranty at this price point, this inflatable board is a great value for those looking at getting into paddleboarding.

Skatinger Super Wide SUP

The Skatinger Super Wide is an inflatable paddleboard that all beginners should consider.  At 11’6″ long and a crazy 35″ wide, the Skatinger might be the perfect setup for those getting started paddleboarding. Capable of carrying 430 lbs, the extra 3″ of width makes for a more stable board for beginners or can haul additional cargo or pets for experienced SUPers. We love the design of the Skatinger that reminds us of a cross between a high-tech and yet uber-clean look and feel. Like other boards on our list, the Skatinger comes with a plethora of included accessories to offer a complete beginner’s package. The only downfall of the Skatinger is the 6-month warranty – only half of the industry standard and much less than the ROC and BOTE 2-year plans.

Drift Inflatable SUP

Drift is a sister brand of one of our favorite paddleboard manufacturers, BOTE, and offers similar, yet less expensive paddleboards under the Drift name. Drift boards look great and their 11’6″ x 33″ offering is a great size for beginners. The Drift’s center and nose grab handles make it easy to transport and the 6″ thickness gives beginners the stability they need.  The Drift SUP comes with all the essential paddle board accessories: coiled leash, removable fin, repair kit, 3-piece aluminum paddle, paddle board pump, and backpack carrying bag.  The Due to its association with BOTE that yields quality boards at lower prices, the Drift SUP is one of our favorite choices for a beginner SUP.


In our eyes, BOTE is the brand to beat in the SUP world.  This uber-cool inflatable manufacturer includes magnetic cup holders in most of its products and sells pool rings for $250.  But if you refuse to be seduced by their overpriced and overhyped products, you’ll find some solid and industry-leading products offered by BOTE. The Wulf Aero paddleboard is a great example. In our opinion, the Wulf’s 10’6″ length and 33″ is the sweet spot for an inflatable paddleboard – balancing stability and speed in a single design. It’s a great-looking board and the BOTE name will make your friends think you paid a lot more than the mid-$400 price this model is offered at. Overall, it’s a great option for those who prefer to pick up a brand name board with a great warranty should something goes wrong.  The BOTE Wulf Aero comes with an industry-leading 2-year warranty that proves that BOTE builds a superior product that they stand behind.

Rigid Paddleboards:

Though inflatable technology has vastly improved in recent years, rigid paddleboards, made of fiberglass or other durable materials, will outperform their inflatable counterparts.  For those looking to start paddleboarding, but wanting to have the best-performing platform, a rigid SUP may be the best choice. While more expensive and more difficult to store and transport, rigid SUPs appeal to the purists of the sport.

Lifetime Amped Paddleboard

The Lifetime SUP is an HDPE-constructed rigid paddleboard that has “beginner board” written all over it. Its 11′ long x 32″ wide size is great for those just getting started in the sport.  You can pass the rigid Lifetime SUP down to your kids and grandkids with their unheard-of 5-year limited warranty.  This SUP is a tank that will most likely outlast you.  While it’s not the sexiest board on our list, the Lifetime SUP makes up for it with a practical, durable design at a decent price for a rigid SUP.  If you choose this board, think of it as the beginner’s platform that all of your friends and family will pass around on their way to getting a board of their own.  In a way, it’s the most beautiful role a board can play and for this reason, don’t look past the Lifetime rigid SUP.

Isle Versa Rigid SUP

We’ve been a fan of ISLE paddleboards for a while now.  ISLE is a quality brand with products that are elegantly designed and high quality.  ISLE paddleboards aren’t cheap, but they offer a great product that should last a long time. These ISLE rigid boards are epoxy boards – meaning they are lighter and 35% durable than fiberglass boards – perfect for beginners who may experience a ding or two.  The design of ISLE boards are sexy – they look great and exude quality. The best part? ISLE offers a 60-day trial period on their boards. “Ride it and love it OR return it” as they say.  And if you do keep your ISLE board and run into any issues, a standard 1-year warranty has you covered.

By presenting these top picks, we aim to provide you with a starting point in your search for the perfect beginner-friendly paddle board. Remember to consider your personal preferences, budget, and intended use of the board when making your final decision. In the next section, we’ll share some additional tips to help you make the most of your beginner paddle-boarding experience.

Looking for a list of “must-have” SUP accessories? Check out this article from our friends at Outward Spaces.

Additional Tips for Beginner Paddle Boarders

Congratulations on selecting one of the best paddle boards for beginners! As you embark on your paddle-boarding journey, here are some additional tips to enhance your experience and ensure a smooth transition into this exciting water sport:

Proper Paddle Length and Technique: Adjusting your paddle to the correct length and using proper paddling technique is crucial for efficient and comfortable paddling. Ensure that the paddle is adjusted to a height that allows for a slight bend in your elbows when standing upright on the board. Learn the proper paddling technique, which involves using your core muscles and engaging your whole body for efficient strokes.

Importance of Wearing Safety Gear: Safety should always be a priority when engaging in water sports. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket, especially if you’re a beginner. PFDs provide buoyancy and can be life-saving in case of an emergency. Additionally, consider wearing a leash that attaches you to the board to prevent it from drifting away if you fall off.

Choosing the Right Location for Your First Paddle Boarding Experience: Selecting the appropriate location for your maiden paddle boarding adventure can greatly impact your overall enjoyment. Opt for calm and flat waters, such as lakes, ponds, or calm bays, as they provide a more stable and less challenging environment for beginners. Avoid strong currents, crowded areas, and areas with hazardous obstacles.

Practice Balancing and Basic Techniques: Before venturing into deeper waters, take some time to practice balancing on your paddle board in shallow areas. Get comfortable with the feeling of the board beneath your feet and practice basic techniques, such as paddling in a straight line, turning, and stopping. This will help build your confidence and improve your overall paddling skills.

Learn from Experienced Paddle Boarders: Seek guidance from experienced paddle boarders or consider taking lessons from a certified instructor. They can provide valuable tips, teach you proper techniques, and share their knowledge about paddle boarding safety and etiquette. Learning from others will accelerate your learning curve and ensure you develop good habits from the start.

By following these additional tips, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your beginner paddle-boarding experience. Remember to be patient with yourself, have fun, and enjoy the serenity of being out on the water. In the final section, we’ll recap the importance of choosing the right paddle board for beginners and share some closing thoughts.

Older woman paddleboarding in calm marina waters

The Bottom Line

Choosing your first paddle board as a beginner is an exciting and crucial step in your paddle boarding journey. By considering factors such as stability, size, weight, construction materials, and budget, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and skill level.

In this article, we explored the essential factors to consider when selecting a paddle board for beginners. We discussed the significance of stability and the impact of size and weight on maneuverability. We also delved into the various construction materials available and provided guidance on finding the right price range for your first board.

Furthermore, we presented our top picks for the best paddle boards for beginners, highlighting their key specifications, notable features, and suitability for novice riders. These recommendations serve as a starting point to help you narrow down your options and find a board that instills confidence and joy as you embark on your paddleboarding adventures.

We also provided additional tips to enhance your beginner paddleboarding experience. From adjusting your paddle length and wearing safety gear to selecting the right location and practicing basic techniques, these tips will contribute to a safe and enjoyable journey as you explore the beauty of paddle boarding.

Remember, paddle boarding is not just about physical activity—it’s about connecting with nature, finding inner peace, and discovering new perspectives. Embrace the learning process, cherish the moments on the water, and celebrate your progress along the way.

Now that you’re equipped with valuable insights and recommendations from our list of the best paddle boards for beginners, it’s time to choose your first paddle board and start your exhilarating paddleboarding journey. So, get out there, paddle with confidence, and let the waters guide you to unforgettable experiences!

Happy paddling!

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