Best budget Paddle Boards Under $350

$350 is the least amount of money that can get you an inflatable stand-up paddleboard that does one thing, which is stand-up paddleboarding.

At this price range, expect fast fatigue when paddling because the board and the paddle (if included) are made from heavy materials.

Best budget Paddle Boards Under $550

This is the price range where most beginners buy their first paddleboard. It can get you an all-rounder board that you can start with.

Best budget Paddle Boards Under $750

Around this price, companies start to include some of their best technologies like lightweight materials, advanced hand pumps, etc.

At the price of $750, you can select between activity-specific paddleboards.

BEST BUDGET SUP BOARDS COMPARISON

PRODUCT SPECS PROS CONS RETURN/
WARRANTY
PRICE
 FunWater Tiki

BEST: Inflatable SUP Most Affordable
Inflatable

10’6 × 33″ × 6″

17.6 lbs
330 lbs 
Perfect for beginners
Great Bang for Your Buck!
Rigid and sturdy
Can be inflated in about five minutes with moderate effort
Very firm when fully inflated and does not flex
Held its pressure for days
Decent paddle and easily adjustable
Does not track really well
Great graphics, deck pad, and tie downs
Lightweight making it easy to carry 
Super easy to deflate and store
Quite stable on the ocean chop
Huge and durable backpack that can fit two boards
Can carry 250 lbs paddlers comfortably
Quickly deflates for pack up
The customer service send a new buyer a replacement fin at no charge
One owner received the carry bag completely missing one of the straps, and the replacement bag was smaller and had only one opening on the top … long story short, bad customer service for her case when another purchaser was happy with the customer service.
Hand pumping is hard for some, making them purchasing an electric pump
A bit too high to climb on (get on it from the back is much easier)
Fins completely broke off after a few minutes in the water for a new owner even he is not heavy and knows how to ride a SUP.
Pump broke quickly for three owners
Emailing customer service took forever to respond for an owner that encountered a hole shortly after the return date expired
Plastic fins are just awful quality
The cheap plastic paddle does not lock in place for the correct height
One owner complained that the valve leaks after using 3 times
A buyer was sent a board that looks like it’s been patched and a non-working pump
Another buyer said that the pump outlet doesn’t fit with the inlet of the board
Return:
No risk returns within 30 days. Learn more.
Warranty:
1 year manufacturer warranty. Learn more.
Check Price
on
Amazon.com
SereneLife Free-Flow

BEST: Best and affordable inflatable paddle board
Inflatable

10’6 × 32″ × 6″

19.6 lbs
275 lbs
Great for the price
Takes about 15 minutes to manually inflate by a 62-year-old and 9 minutes by another person
Enough room to take your dog with you
Materials do not feel cheap
All seams are well sealed.
Lightweight and easy to adjust paddle
Very stable for a woman and a girl on board
Super easy to carry when inflated
Double action pump is pretty good
Intake port to completely deflate it
Deck is very comfortable on my feet 
Inflating is a workout in itself
Very difficult to ride by 5 years experienced solid SUP paddler
One buyer received a non-working pump
Paint peels after 2 months
Two owners lost their paddle. One of them said that it sinks like a brick.
The bag buckle broke and sliced the hand of its owner
One user received a used board with a hairball stuck in the velcro
A buyer received a broken paddle
Fins can be broken with lake rocks
One buyer received it with seams not glued down 
Return:
30 days – Full refund. Learn more.
Warranty:
1 year manufacturer’s warranty. Learn more.
Check Price
on
Amazon.com
 Roc Explorer

BEST: Best Affordable Inflatable SUP
Inflatable

10’ × 32″ × 6″

17.5 lbs
300 lbs
 – Lightweight and super easy to fill and carry down to the lake
– Material is thick and sturdy
– Easy to turn
– Reasonable price
– Comfortable even for large paddlers
– Stable and cuts through the water fairly quick in somewhat choppy water with a strong current
– Felt sturdy but not as much as a hardboard
– Backpacks with lots of straps and padding
– A floating paddle that fits long arms
– Deflating and storing is super easy
– Very easy to secure fins
– Good gripping, no feelings of slipping at all
– Come with everything right out of the box
– Easier on your feet/knees for long trips
– The bag is big enough to the board and all your goodies
– Can hold an adult and two little kids or two teenagers
– The paddle adjusts easily and fit over 6′ tall paddlers
 – One user received a used SUP
– The included hand pump can be a workout for some
– The white gets dirty quick but is also easy to clean
– The pump is not two way like with the SereneLife
– One buyer received a used SUP as a replacement
– Poor customer service experience with more than one buyer
– The paddleboard was leaking air from the seal around the plug just after its third use
– Another buyer complained that its board leaks air around the valve just after one use
– Multiple users complained about the air leaking valve
Return:
30 days – Refunds greater than $1,000 may be subject to a 3% restocking fee. Learn more.
Warranty:
1 year manufacturer’s warranty. Learn more.
Check Price
on
Amazon.com
 Bote Drift

BEST: Easy to Control Budget SUP for a Petite Adult
Inflatable

10’8″ × 33″ × 6″

19 lbs
250 lbs
– Reasonably priced
– Super stable, making it good for beginners
– Very rigid
– Easy to maneuver
– Tracks well even against the current
– Dog nails resistant
– Pretty cool design
– Roomy and very well made bag
– Sturdy enough to support TWO adults with TWO small dogs
– Very easy to get back into the bag
– Customer service was top-notch 
 – Paddle is probably the weakest part, many buyers said that they have problems tightening it
– Take a little time to air this up using the included pump
– Does not come with a repair kit
-The pressure gauge was not working for some buyers
Return: Returnable for a refund or replacement. Learn more.
Warranty:
1-year manufacturer’s warranty. Learn more.
Check Price
on
Amazon.com
 Thurso Surf Prodigy Junior

BEST: Budget Paddle Board for kids
Inflatable

7’6 × 30’’ × 4’’

19 lbs
165 lbs
Great for tweens
Stable even in chop
Excellent quality
Pretty design
Sturdy and solid
Light carbon fiber paddle to not tire out your kid
Beautiful design
Great customer service
Does not come with a pump Return:
30-day guarantee
Warranty:
2-year warranty
Check Price
on
ThursoSurf.com
 Nautical (by iRocker)

BEST: Very Stable and Easy to Maneuver Affordable SUP
Inflatable

10’6 × 32” × 6″

20 lbs
240 lbs
Very stable
Easy to maneuver
Feels very sturdy
Lightweight for carrying
Rock-solid on the water
Convenient transport
Rides very smoothly
Easy setup
Nice for the money
Lots of loops to attach things to
Takes about 10 minutes to inflate it manually
Multiple owners said they will get a second Nautical 10’6
Amazing customer service
One user complained that the seam tape started peeling up on both boards after the first day out
Another used complained that glue is showing on the handle and two places on deck
Return:
60-day guarantee
Warranty:
1-year warranty
Check Price
on
iRockerSUP.com
 Bluefin Cruise

BEST: Affordable SUP with a 5-years warranty
Inflatable

10’8 × 32’’ × 6’’

24.9 lbs
330 lbs
Very stable
Reliable
Great value for the price
Super tough and rigid
Comes with a kayak seat
Grippy deck pad with a kick-tail for quick turns
Ergonomic shaft
Great customer service
A little bit heavier, making it harder to carry to the water
Carry bag has no wheels
Fin box is not universal
Return:
60 days
Warranty:
5 year warranty
Check Price
on
BluefinSUPboards.com
 Gili Air

BEST: Stable and Lightweight Affordable SUP
Inflatable

10’6 × 31″ × 6″

19 lbs
280 lbs
Price is right
Sturdy
Lightweight
Stable
Great quality
Easy to pump
Rides smoothly
Super easy to transport
Cool looking
Durable enough to handle dog nails
Versatile and easy to use and set up
So many rings to hook accessories to and bungees to hold everything on
Great customer service
Pumping with the hand pump may be difficult for some
One buyer received a pump with a top that “held” in place with two screws that do not secure into anything
Customer service was not at the top with some buyers
Return:
60 days money back
Warranty:
2-year manufacturer warranty
Check Price
on
GiliSports.com
 iRocker All-Around

BEST: Very Stable and Well Built Affordable Paddle Board
Inflatable

10′ × 32″ × 6″

24 lbs
370 lbs
Tracks nicely
Very stable even if it is windy
Easy to setup
Tracks nicely
Maneuverable
Enough room for gear
Materials are very durable
Can handle a bit of choppy water and slightly windy conditions
Comes with everything you need to get on the water except the life jacket
Does everything very well while still be functional for beginners
Easy to carry even for a 4’11 paddler
Comes with the best available hand pump
Very easy to inflate and deflate
All 3 fins are detachable, which makes packing much easier
Great customer service
Pumping it up is a bit of a workout but very doable
Not the absolute fastest or most maneuverable out there, and it’s not supposed to be
White pad is a little hard to keep clean
One user has air leaking seems just after the first use
Another user said there is excess glue around a bunch of the padding
Return:
60 days guarantee
Warranty:
2 years
Check Price
on
iRockerSUP.com
 Nixy Newport All-Around G4

BEST: Quality Board that Track Well in Flat Water
Inflatable

10’6 × 33” × 6”

21 lbs
300 lbs
Good value for the money
Stable
Solid feeling
Sturdy
Lightweight enough to be carried by a 61yo
Easy to steer
Track well in flat water
Easy to assemble
Can carry 2 people and a dog all around the lake
Excellent craftsmanship
Takes about 5-6 min to pump up with the included pump
Backpack is top-notch
Great customer service
Pumping it up is a workout in itself
A buyer on Amazon received a used one to check it as soon as you receive it
Return:
Risk Free Returns within 30 Days
Warranty:
2-year warranty covering everything outside of normal wear & tear
Check Price
on
NixySports.com
 Thurso Surf Waterwalker 120

BEST: Stable and Maneuverable even for Beginners
Inflatable

10’ × 30” × 6”

22.5 lbs
150 lbs
Felt reasonably stable for a beginner
Build quality/materials are top-notch
Sturdy
Tracks well if you know how to paddle correctly
Quite stable and maneuver well
Carrying bag can fit extra gear
All the fins are removable
Roomy for a second person, dog, or lots of gear
Very little to no flex with 175 lbs paddler
The included hand pump makes it quite easy to inflate
More than one buyer said that they will get a second one
Great customer service
No action mount on the rear
Quick start guide and instructions could have been more clear
Not ideal for beginner paddlers taller than 5’8’’
Return:
30-days for a full refund
Warranty:
2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty
Check Price
on
ThursoSurf.com

BUDGET PADDLE BOARD REVIEWS

FunWater Tiki 10’6 ($249.95)

BEST: Paddle Board Under $300

PROS:
– Perfect for beginners
– Great Bang for Your Buck!
– Rigid and sturdy
– Can be inflated in about five minutes with moderate effort
– Very firm when fully inflated and does not flex
– Held its pressure for days
– Decent paddle and easily adjustable
– Does not track really well
–  Great graphics, deck pad, and tie downs
– Lightweight making it easy to carry 
– Super easy to deflate and store
– Quite stable on the ocean chop
– Huge and durable backpack that can fit two boards
– Can carry 250 lbs paddlers comfortably
– Quickly deflates for pack up
– The customer service send a new buyer a replacement fin at no charge
CONS:
– One owner received the carry bag completely missing one of the straps, and the replacement bag was smaller and had only one opening on the top … long story short, bad customer service for her case when another purchaser was happy with the customer service.
– Hand pumping is hard for some, making them purchasing an electric pump
– A bit too high to climb on (get on it from the back is much easier)
– Fins completely broke off after a few minutes in the water for a new owner even he is not heavy and knows how to ride a SUP.
–  Pump broke quickly for three owners
– Emailing customer service took forever to respond for an owner that encountered a hole shortly after the return date expired
– Plastic fins are just awful quality
– The cheap plastic paddle does not lock in place for the correct height
– One owner complained that the valve leaks after using 3 times
– A buyer was sent a board that looks like it’s been patched and a non-working pump
– Another buyer outlet on the (came with the iSUP) doesn’t fit with the inlet of

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: Dual layer PVC
  • Length: 10’6
  • Width: 33″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Weight: 17.6 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 330 lbs 
  • Return: No risk returns within 30 days. Learn more.
  • Warranty: 1 year manufacturer warranty. Learn more.

SereneLife Free-Flow 10’6 ($338.59)

BEST: Good Budget SUP Board

PROS:
– Great for the price
– Takes about 15 minutes to manually inflate by a 62-year-old and 9 minutes by another person
– Enough room to take your dog with you
– Materials do not feel cheap
– All seams are well sealed.
– Lightweight and easy to adjust paddle
– Very stable for a woman and a girl on board
– Super easy to carry when inflated
– Double action pump is pretty good
– Intake port to completely deflate it
– Deck is very comfortable on my feet
CONS:
– Inflating is a workout in itself
– Very difficult to ride by 5 years experienced solid SUP paddler
– One buyer received a non-working pump
– Paint peels after 2 months
– Two owners lost their paddle. One of them said that it sinks like a brick.
– The bag buckle broke and sliced the hand of its owner
– One user received a used board with a hairball stuck in the velcro
– A buyer received a broken paddle
– Fins can be broken with lake rocks
– One buyer received it with seams not glued down

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: Reinforced Engineered PVC
  • Length: 10’6
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Weight: 19.6 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs

TODAY’S PRICE

Roc Explorer 10′ ($349.95)

BEST: Budget Lightweight Inflatable SUP Under $400

PROS:
– Lightweight and super easy to fill and carry down to the lake
– Material is thick and sturdy
– Easy to turn
– Reasonable price
– Comfortable even for large paddlers
– Stable and cuts through the water fairly quick in somewhat choppy water with a strong current
– Felt sturdy but not as much as a hardboard
– Backpacks with lots of straps and padding
– A floating paddle that fits long arms
– Deflating and storing is super easy
– Very easy to secure fins
– Good gripping, no feelings of slipping at all
– Come with everything right out of the box
– Easier on your feet/knees for long trips
– The bag is big enough to the board and all your goodies
– Can hold an adult and two little kids or two teenagers
– The paddle adjusts easily and fit over 6′ tall paddlers
CONS:
– One user received a used SUP
– The included hand pump can be a workout for some
– The white gets dirty quick but is also easy to clean
– The pump is not two way like with the SereneLife
– One buyer received a used SUP as a replacement
– Poor customer service experience with more than one buyer
– The paddleboard was leaking air from the seal around the plug just after its third use
– Another buyer complained that its board leaks air around the valve just after one use
– Multiple users complained about the air leaking valve

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: Military grade PVC with DuraWeld Technology
  • Length: 10’
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Weight: 17.5 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Return: 30 days – Refunds greater than $1,000 may be subject to a 3% restocking fee. Learn more.
  • Warranty: 1 year manufacturer’s warranty. Learn more.

TODAY’S PRICE

Bote Drift 10’8 ($448):

BEST: Easy to Control Budget SUP for a Petite Adult

PROS:
– Reasonably priced
– Super stable, making it good for beginners
– Very rigid
– Easy to maneuver
– Tracks well even against the current
– Dog nails resistant
– Pretty cool design
– Roomy and very well made bag
– Sturdy enough to support TWO adults with TWO small dogs
– Very easy to get back into the bag
– Customer service was top-notch
CONS:
– Paddle is probably the weakest part, many buyers said that they have problems tightening it
– Take a little time to air this up using the included pump
– Does not come with a repair kit
-The pressure gauge was not working for some buyers

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: Military-grade PVC
  • Length: 10’8″
  • Width: 33″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs
  • Return: Returnable for a refund or replacement. Learn more.
  • Warranty: 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. Learn more.

TODAY’S PRICE

Thurso Surf Prodigy Junior ($449)

BEST: Budget Paddle Board for kids

PROS:
– Great for tweens
– Stable even in chop
– Excellent quality
– Pretty design
– Sturdy and solid
– Light carbon fiber paddle to not tire out your kid
– Beautiful design
– Great customer service
CONS:
– Does not come with a pump

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: Triple Layer Coating PVC – Woven Drop-stitching
  • Length: 7’6
  • Width: 30’’
  • Thickness: 4’’
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 165 lbs
  • Return: 30-day guarantee
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty

Nautical 10’6 – 20 lbs

Great Lightweight board for beginners

PROS:
– Very stable
– Easy to maneuver
– Feels very sturdy
– Lightweight for carrying
– Rock-solid on the water
– Convenient transport
– Rides very smoothly
– Easy set up
– Nice for the money
– Lots of loops to attach things to
– Takes about 10 minutes to inflate it manually
– Multiple owners said they will get a second Nautical 10’6
– Amazing customer service
CONS:
– One user complained that the seam tape started peeling up on both boards after the first day out
– Another used complained that glue is showing on the handle and two places on deck

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: Dual-Layer PVC – Drop Stitch Core
  • Length: 10’6″
  • Width: 32”
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 240 lbs

  • Return: 60-day guarantee
  • Warranty: 1-year warranty

Gili Air 10’6 ($515)

BEST: Stable and Lightweight Affordable SUP

PROS:
– Price is right
– Sturdy
– Lightweight
– Stable
– Great quality
– Easy to pump
– Rides smoothly
– Super easy to transport
– Cool looking
– Durable enough to handle dog nails
– Versatile and easy to use and set up
– So many rings to hook accessories to and bungees to hold everything on
– Great customer service
CONS:
– Pumping with the hand pump may be difficult for some
– One buyer received a pump with a top that “held” in place with two screws that do not secure into anything
– Customer service was not at the top with some buyers

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: Dual layer military grade PVC – Drop stitch
  • Length: 10’6
  • Width: 31″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 280 lbs
  • Return: 60 days money back
  • Warranty: 2-year manufacturer warranty

Bluefin Cruise 10’8 ($584)

BEST: Affordable SUP with a 5-years warranty

PROS:
– Very stable
– Reliable
– Great value for the price
– Super tough and rigid
– Comes with a kayak seat
– Grippy deck pad with a kick-tail for quick turns
– Ergonomic shaft
– Great customer service
CONS:
– A little bit heavier, making it harder to carry to the water
– Carry bag has no wheels
– Fin box is not universal

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: ESL Military Grade PVC – Drop-stitch core
  • Length: 10’8
  • Width: 32’’
  • Thickness: 6’’
  • Weight: 24.9 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 330 lbs
  • Return: 60 days
  • Warranty: 5 year warranty

iRocker All-Around 10’ ($639)

BEST: Very Stable and Well Built Affordable Paddle Board

PROS:
– Tracks nicely
– Very stable even if it is windy
– Easy to setup
– Tracks nicely
– Maneuverable
– Enough room for gear
– Materials are very durable
– Can handle a bit of choppy water and slightly windy conditions
– Comes with everything you need to get on the water except the life jacket
– Does everything very well while still be functional for beginners
– Easy to carry even for a 4’11 paddler
– Comes with the best available hand pump
– Very easy to inflate and deflate
– All 3 fins are detachable, which makes packing much easier
– Great customer service
CONS:
– Pumping it up is a bit of a workout but very doable
– Not the absolute fastest or most maneuverable out there, and it’s not supposed to be
– White pad is a little hard to keep clean
– One user has air leaking seems just after the first use
– Another user said there is excess glue around a bunch of the padding

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction:
  • Length: 10′
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Weight: 24 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 370 lbs
  • Return: 60 days guarantee
  • Warranty: 2 years

Nixy Newport All-Around G4 10’6 ($695)

BEST: Quality Board that Track Well in Flat Water

PROS:
– good value for the money
– Stable
– Solid feeling
– Sturdy
– Lightweight enough to be carried by a 61yo
– Easy to steer
– Track well in flat water
– Easy to assemble
– Can carry 2 people and a dog all around the lake
– Excellent craftsmanship
– Takes about 5-6 min to pump up with the included pump
– Backpack is top-notch
– Great customer service
CONS:
– Pumping it up is a workout in itself
– A buyer on Amazon received a used one to check it as soon as you receive it

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction: dual layer advanced fusion laminated woven drop stitch technology
  • Length: 10’6
  • Width: 33”
  • Thickness: 6”
  • Weight: 21 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Return: Risk Free Returns within 30 Days
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty covering everything outside of normal wear & tear

Thurso Surf Waterwalker 120 10’ ($699)

BEST: Stable and Maneuverable even for Smaller Beginner Paddlers

PROS:
– Felt reasonably stable for a beginner
– Build quality/materials are top-notch
– Sturdy
– Tracks well if you know how to paddle correctly
– Quite stable and maneuver well
– Carrying bag can fit extra gear
– All the fins are removable
– Roomy for a second person, dog, or lots of gear
– Very little to no flex with 175 lbs paddler
– The included hand pump makes it quite easy to inflate
– More than one buyer said that they will get a second one
– Great customer service
CONS:
– No action mount on the rear
– Quick start guide and instructions could have been more clear
– Not ideal for beginner paddlers taller than 5’8’’

QUICK SPECS

  • Type: Inflatable
  • Construction:
  • Length: 10’
  • Width: 30”
  • Thickness: 6”
  • Weight: 22.5 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 150 lbs
  • Return: 30-days for a full refund
  • Warranty: 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty

LET’S DEFINE WHAT IS “ON A BUDGET”

For me, “on a budget” are any paddle board under $500.

I am always looking for the best value for money. This is why, in this article, I don’t present you with the cheapest paddleboards on the market, instead they are the cheapest quality ones.

CAN I DEPEND ON A BUDGET PADDLEBOARD?

It depends on your choice and how you take care of it.

Even if the majority of budget paddleboards are unreliable and won’t last, there are still ones that you can count on, like ones on sale or something that suits best your proper needs or something that if you take proper care of will last you years.

Another thing that can help found a budget paddleboard that you depend on is to see if it offers a warranty on it or no, because if the manufacturer itself does not trust its product, how can I? More warranty duration means more lifespan.

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR BEST BUDGET SUP

WHAT ARE YOUR NEEDS FIRST?

Because there is no paddleboard that suits everyone, you should define your needs first to get the best paddleboard for you.

These are some questions that can help you in this:

  • Where you will mainly paddle on? flat-water, chop, waves, or white-water
  • What paddleboard activity do you want most? fishing, touring, racing, surfing, or a little bit of all.
  • Are urgent or you can wait for a deal? Because you can get last year’s model at a discount.
  • What is your skill level? If you are experienced you can get an activity-specific SUP.
  • Are you good at balance? If yes, you can get yourself something narrow and fast even if you are still a beginner.
  • Where you will store it and how you will transport it?

DIFFERENT TYPES OF STANDUP PADDLE BOARDS

Now that you started understanding what is best for you, let’s see the different types of paddleboards and what purposes they serve.

ALL-AROUND PADDLEBOARDS

All-around standup paddleboards have rounded noses and usually are 9’ to 12’ long, slightly smaller than touring boards, and bigger than surfboards.

Their shape makes them stable and relatively maneuverable, which is ideal for beginner paddlers.

These SUP boards can be used in multiple water types from flat water, to chop, to small waves, and gives you room to get different experiences through a wide range of SUP activities.

All-around standup paddleboards are large enough to let you share your paddle experience with a kid or a pet.

All-around SUPs are jacks of all trades (fishing, touring, surfing, river, white-water), but master of none.

The majority of the recommend SUPs above are all-around boards because they are the best budget paddle board to start off with.

FISHING PADDLEBOARDS

Fishing paddleboards are commonly longer, between 11 and 12’6, wider between 32 and 36”, and have a lot of attachment points for fishing rod holders, GPS, tackle boxes, etc.

These boards are usually stable to help with your main task which is fishing.

SURF PADDLEBOARDS

Surf stand paddle boards range in length between 6’ and 11’ and an increased rocker in order to increase maneuverability in ocean waves.

Surf SUPs between 8’ and 11’ in length are good for surf and for flat water.

If you want to practice standup paddleboard surf or wake surf behind a boat with something that will not take much space is storage and easy to transport, an inflatable surf SUP will be ideal.

TOURING PADDLEBOARDS

Touring standup paddleboards are long, between 11’6 and 12’6, and have a pointy nose shape.

Their design makes them glide efficiently but unable to turn fast. This is why touring SUPs are ideal only if you want something to paddle long-distance, quickly, and efficiently.

A Board of this type makes a great 2nd board for times when you want something faster than your all-around board.

RACING PADDLEBOARDS

Racing SUPs are longer than much narrower than the already narrow touring SUPs. This shape makes them faster with less drag.

They are less convenient, with less cargo space, and hard to stand on.

KIDS PADDLEBOARDS

These boards are between 8’ and 10’ in length to suit kids and youth.

They are similar to all-around boards in their use and are preferred by parents that want something to introduce their kids to the water.

I recommend parents to avoid kids’ paddleboards with childish graphics because most of the younger generation want to feel old.

If you are an adult paddler and you fall in the weight range of kids SUPs, there is no shame to get you one, because you will get better performance, and will be easy for you to carry it.

INFLATABLE OR HARD BUDGET SUP – WHICH IS BETTER?

INFLATABLE STANDUP PADDLEBOARDS

Inflatable SUPs (or iSUPs) have exploded in popularity after 2014 for good reason.

Because you are here for a budget paddle boards, I recommend you to get an inflatable SUP because they are generally affordable.

PROS:

  • Generally cheaper.
  • Easy to transport in small cars when deflated.
  • Support more weight than similarly-shaped hard SUPs.
  • More stability than similarly-shaped hard SUPs.
  • Does not require upgrading your car with a rook rack or straps.
  • Can be checked for the standard baggage fee in airports.
  • The incredibly tough make them almost impossible to puncture.
  • Falling on one is less painful.

CONS:

  • Inflating is a bit of a workout and takes some minutes (electric pumps make this less of a problem).
  • Needs to be deflated before putting it back in its carry bag (electric pumps have a feature of deflation).
  • Requires to always carry a pump.
  • Needs to dry completely before storage to prevent mold.

HARD STANDUP PADDLEBOARDS

PROS:

  • Performe better in water than inflatables.
  • The true displacement hull make them cut through the water instead of just floating over it.
  • The straight tracking and better speed makes you paddle longer for the same effort.
  • No inflation needed makes them always ready to use.
  • Some are lightweight and durable (made of carbon or bamboo).

CONS:

  • Carbon or bamboo hard SUPs are expensive.
  • Affordable hard SUPs are heavy making them move slower on water.
  • Got scratch and dent easily.

LENGTH

SUP boards come in three ranges of length:

  • SHORT PADDLEBOARDS (<10’): Boards this short are ideal for surfing because they are easy to steer and maneuver but harder to stay straight in the water and slower.
  • MEDIUM PADDLEBOARDS (10’ to 12’): Most SUPs fall in this range because it’s great for almost any use, but they’re not fast as touring boards or maneuverable as shorter boards. This length is the best for beginners and intermediate paddlers. If you weigh over 200 lbs, you should get something at least 10′6″ long.
  • LONG PADDLEBOARDS (>12’): Board this long are meant for touring and racing because they track well and are fast, but harder to steer.

WIDTH

Width plays a major role in the board stability, more width means more stability.

  • NARROWER BOARDS (<32″): These boards are less stable, this is why they are only good for smaller, lightweight, or advanced paddlers who don’t have a problem with balance.
  • WIDER BOARDS (32″ to 36″): This is the recommended board width for beginners, large paddlers, or just ones that want to bring a pet or a kid with them because they are more stable. Unfortunately, more width means more drag which makes them slower.
  • EXTREME WIDE BOARDS (>36″): These boards are limited to you if you have experience and you really know what you want, because if you are a beginner or a short paddler, you paddle will be forced to be away from the centerline of the board, making it turn a little bit after each stroke instead of moving straight.

THICKNESS

Because you are looking for a budget standup paddleboard, you are more likely to get an inflatable SUP. This is why you have to get yourself something at least 6″ thick to be rigid, keep you higher out of the water, and not bend in the middle.

The only situations when its acceptable to get you a 5″ thick:

  • If it’s a hard SUP.
  • If you are lightweight.
  • If you are mainly paddling in flat water.

WEIGHT CAPACITY

Paddleboard weight capacity means the total weight of anything you will put on the board (including your body weight) that the board can support and stay afloat.

For anglers, do not forget to consider the weight of your catch.

Avoid getting a SUP with a weight capacity very close to your total weight because the board will sit lower in the water, slow, and hard to turn. Instead, move to the next board with a bigger weight capacity to get the best performance.

CONSTRUCTION

Not only the quality of the material used but even the number of layers plays a huge role in how sturdy the board is. Higher quality inflatables have 2 or 3 layer PVC, making them rigid for a longer period of time.

Cheaper SUPs are often made with one single layer of PVC, which makes them less able to keep their rigidity for long period.

Be careful of brands that try to deceive by saying that their SUP has 2 layers of PVC when in reality, it’s only limited to the rails and not the entire board body.

NOSE AND TAIL ROCKER

Nose and tail rocker mean how the nose and the rear point upward. More rockers are ideal for wavy water.

DISPLACEMENT VS PLANING HULL

The hull means the shape of the underside of the SUP, choosing it depends mainly on where you will paddle.

  • PLANING HULL

SUPs with a planing hull have a wide, flat, and smooth underside, which makes the standup board skims on top of the water, easy maneuverable keeps balance in small waves, which is good for beginners.

A planing hull is best for SUP activities like surfing, fishing, recreational, and whitewater.

  • DISPLACEMENT HULL

SUPs with displacement hulls have a pointy nose that lets the board slice through the water making it tracks straight and be faster, but less maneuverable and less stable, which beginners don’t like.

I recommend this hull only for experienced paddlers that want something that helps them paddle for long-distance and at a faster speed.

FINS

Fins are what provide stability and good tracking. Larger fins offer more stability and more tracking, and smaller fins make the board more maneuverable.

SUP boards come in multiple fin setups:

  • Single fin: Good for lake paddling because they have minimal drag.
  • 2+1 setup: It is the most common setup, it has small two side fins and a larger one in the center.
  • 3-fin setup: Boards that have this setup offer a nice control that makes them good for surfing.

DECK PAD

The deck pad is the soft part that is usually underneath your feet on the top of the SUP.

A comfortable deck pad will let you paddle for long, and will not cause blisters.

Deck pads should also be grippy even when wet, this is why they add little texture in order to help the water drains away.

My best deck pad right now is one that is textured and made with EVA foam.

HANDLES

Handles are what let you carry your board from the water to your car.

The best handles are made of neoprene lining in order to have a comfortable feeling in your hand.

For the center handle, it’s better to be flat in order to let you sit or lay on your board comfortably.

The rear handle is a good feature to have because it let you pull your board when you are alone without damaging the fins.

TIE-DOWNS AND MOUNTS

D-rings are essential because they will let you attach things like an inflatable seat. A bungee cord mounted to them means a place to store your gear inside a dry bag.

If your budget board comes with not D-ring or you need additional ones, you can always glue new ones. Check youtube videos for tutorials.

Action mounts are useful to attach a camera or a fishing rod holder.

WARRANTY

Having to buy a second SUP because the first is damaged is not budget-friendly. This is why you have to get a warranty with your budget board.

When the manufacturer gives no warranty or one of only a few months, that means this board will not last you years and you should avoid it even if it fits your budget.

Get a budget SUP with at least one year of warranty.

USEFUL ADD-ONS

  • ELECTRIC PUMP

Hand pumps that come included, especially with budget standup paddle boards are single-chamber and single-action pumps making them take more time and require more energy.

An electric pump is the first thing you should consider when you are thinking of upgrading because it will make your life a lot easier by inflating your board with less effort and in a short time.

When most electric pumps need to rest after inflating two SUPs, OutdoorMaster Shark II SUP Electric Air Pump can inflate three SUPs in a row.

  • LESS-TIRING PADDLE

The aluminum paddle that comes with the majority of SUP boards (even high-end models) is not the best available. This is why the paddle is amongst the first things to upgrade because a light paddle will let you paddle more distance before tiring your body.

The best paddle materials are fiberglass or all carbon fiber because they are lighter.

Features that you can consider when you looking to upgrade your SUP paddle are the ability to float if it falls into the water, being lightweight, and how comfortable the handle is.

For length, it should be 4 to 7 inches taller than you when standing straight.

  • LEASH

If your budget SUP does not come with a leash, you have to get one because it’s what makes sure to keep your board close to you when you fall from it.

A close SUP board means also a floating object that can help you stay afloat and save your life.

The best SUP leash is one with a soft cuff for comfortable wearing, a coiled cord instead of a straight one, and dual swivels to prevent tangles.

  • PFD AND LIFE JACKET

If you want to know the importance of a life jacket, watch surfers that fall during the surf and what lets them stay afloat in the white water… it’s the inflatable life vest. Because you are not likely to paddle in extreme conditions, a simple life jacket is enough to help you stay afloat and visible for help around you.

In the U.S and Canada, you are required by law to wear a life jacket and have a PFD if you paddle outside the swim and surf area or you will be fined by the coast guards.

  • CAR ROOF RACK

If you go with a solid SUP, which is less likely to happen since you are looking for a budget stand-up paddleboard, you will need a roof rack in order to transport your solid SUP in a vehicle.

HOW TO GET A HIGH-END SUP WITH A DISCOUNT

Because new models are released each year, this gives you a huge opportunity to get a higher performance paddleboard with a discount if the last year’s model is enough for your needs.

If all you want is the current year model, all you have to do is to wait until the next season if you are truly dedicated to getting your best SUP while being on a budget.

The second way to get the best budget standup paddleboard is to wait for end of summer sale and holiday sales.

TIPS TO GET BETTER PADDLING EXPERIENCES WITH BUDGET PADDLE BOARDS

  • DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS TO COMPENSATE FOR THE SUP LOW PERFORMANCE

Why developing your skills is key when you are using a budget SUP board, because if your board has low weight capacity for example you can still manage to stay afloat if you are experienced.

The same thing with tracking, if you know how to paddle well, you can keep your SUP stay almost straight.

Low maneuverability can also be compensated if you know how to perform the step-back or the sweep stroke turning technique.

If this is not enough to totally compensate for the SUP’s low performance, at least, it will minimize the performance differences between your budget paddleboard and a high-end one.

  • USE YOUR LEASH AND PFD EVEN IF YOU PADDLE IN FLAT WATER

Since you are more likely to fall from a budget SUP because its more likely to bend than a premium SUP, using your leash will help you a lot to not lose your investment and the most importantly your life, because a close by paddleboard can help you to stay afloat and not drown.

PFD is also another smart investment to do especially if you get yourself a budget paddle board.

ADVICES TO STAY SAFE WITH A BUDGET PADDLE BOARD

  • Master at least one quick turn technique, the sweep stroke or the step-back one.
  • Search online about the place that you plan to head over to know what to expect.
  • Leave information about your paddling session to someone and let him know when you are expected to return.
  • Have a whistle with you.
  • Use your leash, wear your life jacket and have a waist belt PFD in case things turn bad with you.
  • Pack light to help your budget standup board stay afloat.
  • Be friendly and ask locals, people around you, or guards about what to avoid and what to look out for in order to stay safe.

FAQ

WHAT IS THE BEST BUDGET INFLATABLE SUP FOR SURF?

Unfortunately, there is no quality inflatable SUP for surf under $500.

But the affordable quality one that I can recommend is the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 120 All-around SUP (SUP review here) because it is durable, rigid, speedy, and responsive.

WHAT ARE THE BEST BUDGET PADDLEBOARD BRANDS?

  • Goosehill
  • SereneLife
  • FunWater
  • Aquaplanet
  • Run Wave
  • Aqua Marina
  • Vilano
  • PEAK Paddle Boards

*Sharing this list of brands does not mean that I recommend them.

WHAT IS MY BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY STAND-UP PADDLE BOARD?

At the time of writing this line, my best budget-friendly standup paddleboard is Nautical by iRocker. For only $469, you get great performance due to the dual-layer military-grade PVC construction, which is not common in entry-level SUPs.

WHAT DO I NEED IN ORDER TO START STANDUP PADDLING?

Apart from the SUP board with fins, a paddle, a leash, and a pump if inflatable, you need some courage and a flatwater body like lakes or calm rivers.

DO I NEED TO BE FIT TO PADDLE BOARD?

It is not necessary, but being fit will definitely help you to paddle for long-distance before tiring your body.

CAN I TAKE MY DOG WITH ON A BUDGET PADDLE BOARD?

Yes, if your budget paddleboard has enough space and weight capacity.

HOW LONG WILL MY INFLATABLE SUP LAST?

This depends largely on your choice and how well you take care of it.

You can expect at least three to five years of service if your inflatable board is a medium to high-quality one.

In order to take care of your inflatable SUP to make it last, try to avoid direct UV-rays for an extended time to not damage the PVC shell and always rinse it with clean water when you paddle in saltwater.

CAN YOU LEAVE YOUR INFLATABLE SUP INFLATED?

Of course, and it will not damage it. But just keep in mind that you will need to inflate it a little bit to compensate for the little lost air.

Updated on August 24, 2021 by Ben

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