5 Best Beginner Paddle Boards in 2023

Inflatable Stand up Paddle Boarding has grown exponentially in popularity in the last few years.

For beginners to the SUP world, it can be difficult to know what paddle board is best, so we’ve compiled a list especially for this purpose.

The best paddle board for beginners is easy to find when you consider your size and ambition for learning.

Read these reviews and you’ll easily figure out how to choose the best beginner SUP.

The Top 5 Beginner Paddle Boards in 2023

All the Beginner Paddle Boards we've reviewed

An excellent no-frills choice for beginners as an entry level board, the Surfstar Flight 10’6″ is one of the best budget options available right now.

With an extra inch of width, this board is more stable and sturdy than similar models. While speed is hampered because of this, it’s a trade-off over which most casual users and beginners won’t fret.

Families as well as occasional paddle boarders who travel a bit will also find this board a decent choice.

While it is affordable, it includes all the essentials, ensuring an easy jump into paddle boarding experience, great for new suppers who are starting out.

Specs & Features

  • Best Suited For: Beginner/Recreational
  • Material: PVC with Drop Stitch construction
  • Volume: 260L
  • Capacity: 300lbs
  • Dimensions: 10'6"x33"x6"

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:


Things we like:

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    Great stability
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    Lightweight and portable
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    Great entry level board for beginners
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    Offers lots of storage
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    Good style and colors

Things we don't like:

  • check-markChintzy pump
Read full review

Where to buy:


Surfstar Flight 10’6″

The Bluefin Cruise 10’8” is best suited for touring and is perfect on flat water surfaces and riding through calm waters. With enough stability for beginners, and plenty of maneuverability this board is excellent for everyone from beginners to advanced paddle boarders. The ultimate ‘all-round’ board the Bluefin Cruise 10’8” is an excellent board made of premium materials and at an affordable price.

As well as excellent materials the board can be purchased for an affordable price thanks to the accessories that come with it. This board comes as a full package including a fiberglass shaft paddle, a dual-action pump, a backpack, a coiled leash, a kayak seat kit, a user manual, a waterproof phone case, and a repair kit.

This extensive SUP package is perfect for those looking to start off paddle boarding as it includes all the necessary accessories needed for convenience and comfort. The kit is also perfect for more advanced paddle boarders who want to expand on their current materials and use their SUP for more activities, such as kayaking.

Specs & Features

  • Best Suited For: Touring with freight/riding through calm waters/doing yoga
  • Material: Military-grade PVC w/drop-stitch technology
  • Volume: 260 liters
  • Capacity: 331 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 10’8 x 32.9” x 6.3”

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:


Things we like:

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    The materials the board is crafted from are of high quality
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    It comes with a full set of accessories (including, especially, the kayak set)
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    The board has a great reputation among SUP board enthusiasts
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    It has a 5-year warranty
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    Suitable for beginners and skilled paddlers

Things we don't like:

  • check-markThe paddle isn’t made from the new carbon blend
  • check-markThe paddle lacks the length indicator
Read full review

Where to buy:


Bluefin Cruise 10’8”

Great for Beginners

The Waterwalker 132 from Thurso Surf is a solid contribution to the all-around stand up paddle board world.

There are precious few boards that provide the kind of stability and solid performance potential like the Waterwalker for those starting out in the sport.

Its extra weight (30 lbs) provides stability with which lighter boards can’t compete. Likewise, this SUP offers the yoga enthusiast and family equal amounts of possibility and joy.

The accompanying accessories reflect a company that both listens to its customers and demonstrates the capacity to grow, making design tweaks that show thoughtful evolution. While not included in the basic pack, the kayak add-on gives this product another useful dimension.

From the moment you grab the smart transport bag to the process of blowing it up with the smart pump to the time when you realize what a decent paddle means to paddling a straight track, you’ll be pleased. Even in choppy water with some unwanted winds or subject to the wake of motorboats, the 132 stays stable and steady.

Like what you see? Then jump ahead and get this SUP.

Specs & Features

  • Best Suited For: Beginners/moderate touring/horseplay/doing yoga
  • Material: Triple/Quad layer Military-grade PVC
  • Volume: 300 liters
  • Capacity: 330 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 11’ x 32” x 6.”

Our Overall Review


Things we like:

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    Crazy stable, also in choppy waters
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    The carbon shaft paddle with dihedral blade is amazing
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    Great for fitness, like yoga, stretching, etc.
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    Impressive construction makes it robust and rigid
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    Accessories, including the paddle holder are great

Things we don't like:

  • check-markThe 132 is a heavy board. Transport isn’t fun but the bag’s wheels help.
  • check-markThe D-ring-holding PVC patches hurt the aesthetic of the natural wood look
Read full review

Where to buy:


Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11

Solid All-round SUP

The iRocker All-Around 11’ SUP board is a mid-priced, versatile iSUP of high quality that’s a great entry board with performance that will impress even experienced paddle boarders. The features and accessories on the iRocker 11’ iSUP combine many high performance characteristics.

This board is great for all levels and activities (except perhaps for speed in competitions), including touring, surfing, fishing and chilling on the water. At 11 feet it glides effortlessly and, thanks to the 3 fins, it tracks well too.

We recommend this board to anyone. Not only is it beginner-friendly, but it also caters to skilled paddlers, fishermen, yoga gurus, and families with kids. The All-Around 11’ is a good board for beginners as well as advanced touring and can even be used for surfing.

Specs & Features

  • Best Suited For: Touring through flat waters/fishing/yoga/some surfing
  • Material: Military-grade Triple Layer Composite PVC w/drop-stitch technology
  • Volume: 246 liters
  • Capacity: 265 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 11’ x 32” x 6”

Our Overall Review


Things we like:

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    All the handles you need
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    2+1 fins and shape make for good tracking
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    Side fins are also removable
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    More cargo space than average
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    Mounts for extra accessories like rod holders

Things we don't like:

  • check-markSlightly heavy board
  • check-markNo wheels on bag
Read full review

Where to buy:


iRocker All-Around 11’

Great Maneuverability

The NIXY Newport G4 10’6” Paddle board is a popular choice for those looking for a beginner-friendly and affordable all around paddle board.

A cool looking recreational paddle board, the NIXY Newport is versatile and stable. Its wide build makes it stable without compromising on the board’s maneuverability.

With a combination of fusion technology and carbon fiber rails the NIXY Newport is very rigid and sturdy, making it ideal for beginners or for advanced paddle boarders who want to bring along their dog or a friend.

It has a high weight capacity that adds to the stability of the board on the water, whilst also being extremely lightweight, this makes it ideal for traveling and carrying to and from the water.

It is similar to the 10’8’’ Cruise from Bluefin, except the G4 is maybe a little more maneuverable and has an extra inch of width for slightly more stability too.

Overall, the NIXY Newport is a great and affordable recreational paddle board for people looking to get into paddle boarding or those looking for a recreational touring board.

With quite a few features too, it will satisfy even more advanced paddlers as well.

Specs & Features

  • Best Suited For: Beginners, intermediate
  • Material: Dual layer advanced fusion laminated woven drop stitch technology
  • Volume: 300 litres
  • Capacity: 300-350 lbs
  • Dimensions: 10’6” x 33” x 6”

Our Overall Review


Things we like:

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    Super Lightweight
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    Rigid and stable, ideal for beginners
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    Probably the best pump available
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    Nice aesthetics
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    High weight capacity considering board weight

Things we don't like:

  • check-markMiddle fin is only compatible with standard US fins
  • check-markThe paddle holder
Read full review

Where to buy:


NIXY Newport G4 10’6”

Related Reviews


Paddle Board Hull

A beginner paddle board should have a planing hull. A planing hull board is generally wide and flat and is somewhat reminiscent of a surfboard.

It is intended for on-top-of-the-water rides and is easily maneuverable. That’s where rigidity is important.

If you are a beginner or into surfing, yoga, and recreational paddling, this is the hull type to buy.

Some boards have double chambers-like Bluefin’s Cruise Carbon 10’8 and Starboard’s iGo Zen.

Paddle Board Material

Inflatable SUPs tend to be made using strong PVC with drop-stitch technology for reinforced, durable seams. Make sure to look for boards that are constructed using these materials for the best beginner paddle experience.

Check out the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11’ Paddle Board for an example of good quality materials!

SUP Volume and Capacity

Volume and capacity are the main factors to consider and are determined by your size. To ensure your board is stable and provides the best buoyancy you will want to purchase a board made for your size. This will also make it easier to maneuver the board once on the water too.

Volume and weight capacity are primarily influenced by your weight, however, the board width, height, and thickness will also influence these factors and will determine the board performance.

Volume of the SUP:

The volume is measured in liters. The higher the volume the higher the weight capacity of the board and the more stable and buoyant it will be on the water.

Paddle Board Weight Capacity:

Measured in pounds, the weight capacity lets you know how much weight the board can take and remain efficient on the water. If you are heavier than the weight capacity the board won’t float as well and it will affect the performance of the board.

Boards like the Tower Yachtsman have high volume high weight capacity, for example. These are good for cargo and tandem riding.

Paddle Board Length

The length of a board will affect the performance of the board and most notably the speed. The length also determines what water conditions the SUP can handle. Paddle board length is measured using feet and inches. Beginner paddle boards are usually of medium length as this provides a good balance between stability and maneuverability.

Medium (10’ to 12’):

Medium length boards tend to be best for all-round paddle board use, recreational use, or yoga. They tend to have a rounder shape and planing hulls making them stable and buoyant with the ability to handle most water conditions.

Check out the iRocker All-Around 11’ paddle board as an example of a medium paddle board!

Paddle Board Width

The width influences the performance of the board as well as the weight capacity and volume. Generally the greater the width of the board the better the stability, and for this reason you will want to buy a wider board if you are a beginner.

When choosing the correct width you will want to consider your body type, weight, and ability.

Wide Paddle Boards:

Wider boards are excellent for stability and usually have a higher volume and weight capacity. These boards are perfect for recreational use and excellent for activities such as surfing and yoga, however, the length will also need to be taken into consideration.

Paddle Board Thickness

For a beginner paddle board you will want to consider thicker boards as thicker boards will generally have better stability.

6 inches is standard for inflatable boards, but there are 5” models whose weight and profile make them more portable.

Additionally, thicker boards have higher volume and therefore higher weight capacity.

Thickness will also determine how well the board handles water, thinner boards will be better on flatter water surfaces, whilst thicker boards will handle chop and waves better.

Paddle Board Fins

For beginner paddle you will be looking for a fin setup that provides stability and good tracking. The most common fin set-ups for beginner boards are the tri-fin and the 2+1 fin setup.

Most fins are removable, especially the larger center fin. Paddle boards, with the 2+1 fin setup, will have permanent smaller fins attached.

Larger fins will provide straighter tracking whilst smaller fins, especially in a tri-fin and 2+1 fin setups will improve the stability and maneuverability of the board.

Fin setups are the same in both solid and inflatable SUPs, however, they are more likely to be removable in inflatable SUPs to make them easier to store.

Paddle Board Accessories

Each SUP will come with its own added extras and accessories. There are a range of accessories available and most of the time you can purchase these extra accessories separately to add to your board like a leash or a D-ring, or add to the experience with water shoes for example. The most important accessories for paddle boarding are:

Paddle: The most important accessory to any paddle board is the paddle. SUP paddles are like kayak/canoe paddles, with an extended handle and blade. When choosing a paddle there are a few factors to consider, including whether it floats, the weight and the handle of the paddle.

Most paddles will have adjustable handles which you can adjust to best suit the paddle boarder’s height. The length should reach your wrist when standing straight with your hand straight above your head.

Check out our list of best SUP paddles for 2021 here!

Leash: A leash ensures you are attached to the board, this is important for when you fall into the water, to ensure you do not lose the board. Most leashes tend to be coiled, which means they do not get in the way when paddle boarding, however, there are specific leashes for other uses, i.e. paddle surfing, river paddle boarding. Leashes are sometimes sold separately.

Life Jacket: The importance of wearing a good quality life vest can not be understated. Every year people drown in water sport related activities because they were not wearing a life jacket. Make sure to be safe and wear a life jacket.

Check out our list of best Life Jackets for 2021 here!

Attachment points/ D-rings: D-rings are an excellent extra when looking for a board. D-rings provide attachment areas where you can tie-down personal belongings, add seats, fishing rods and many more to your board. They provide the freedom to customize your board as you see fit.

Bungee systems: Bungee systems are a great added extras that often come included with the paddle board, however, you can also buy these separately. They allow you to secure personal belongings when on your board, making sure your cargo stays safe and secured and allowing you to bring more on your trips.


Frequently asked questions

What are the best beginner paddle boards?

There are many good beginner paddle boards but to be the best they need to meet certain criteria.

See our top 5 beginner paddle boards:

  • Thurso Surf Waterwalker – Best for Beginners
  • Bluefin Cruise 10’8 – Best for Stability
  • iRocker All-Around – Best All-round SUP
  • NIXY Newport G4 10’6 – Best for Maneuverability
  • SurfStar Flight 10’6 – Best Budget SUP

Read our review to see the best beginner paddle boards. If you really just want to get started and want something that’ll actively assist you on the water, however, you might want to invest in a motorized paddle board.

How hard is it to paddle board?

Paddle boarding is relatively easy compared to other watersports. The most common criteria to learning this sport are balance, patience, and confidence. Read more about SUPs and techniques here.

What size paddle board do I need?

Beginners should invest in paddle boards with a greater width and thickness that provide more stability and balance on the water. A good example is the NIXY Newport G4 10’6.

Where to launch your stand up paddle board if you're a beginner?

Flat waters are ideal conditions for beginner paddle boarders, lakes or canals allow for a more comfortable experience compared to the wavey and unstable conditions of the sea.

How much should a beginner paddle board cost?

A good quality beginner paddle board should cost anywhere between $300 and $900.

If you already have a paddle board or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

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