Stand-up paddleboarding started gaining a lot of attention from water sports enthusiasts around the world in the early 2000s – and that hype is yet to show any signs of slowing down, let alone dying out.
If anything, SUPs are becoming more popular by the day.
And for someone new to or who’s just getting into the paddle board world, that means two things:
One, you’ll have a ton of different SUP manufacturers, sizes, models, features, and price points to choose from here. And two, knowing whether you’ve scored a great SUP or got scammed by a random seller on the Internet will be tricky – if not flat-out impossible at times.
So, to help you out, I’ve put together a list of the best paddle board brands!
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Why Are Brands Important: Do You Need A Branded SUP?
No, this isn’t an attempt to convince you that branded is ALWAYS better or that you must spend a ton of cash on a board from one of the high-end SUP companies – and if you don’t, you’ll get a subpar product.
But at the same time, I’m aware – and you should be, too – that your choice of SUP determines a lot more than just how big of a hole you’d burn in your wallet. It dictates the overall quality of that board’s construction, its reliability, performance – and your experience in general.
And if you’re new to all this, one low-quality SUP could be enough to ruin the whole thing for you – and put you off of paddleboarding altogether.
That, I believe, is one of the many reasons why you do, in fact, need a branded SUP. And it’s far from the only one:
- Reputable Manufacturing – Leading brands earn their reputation by delivering excellent quality and a stellar customer experience – time and again. Their names inspire trust and a sense of reassurance you won’t get otherwise.
- Design & Build Quality – Compare a branded SUP and a generic one side by side, and the difference in design, build quality, and finishing touches will be like night and day. It’s easy to see when the manufacturer’s been cutting corners. Statistically speaking, the average lifespan of an unbranded SUP is only 2-3 years, while a good quality board will last 10 years plus with proper care.
- Safety Regulations – Beyond just using superior materials, top SUP manufacturers will also take the time to test their boards, ensure their quality, stick to national (or even international) safety regulations and standards, and often pioneer new standards in the paddle boarding industry.
- Warranties – “If the manufacturer doesn’t believe in the quality of their SUPs enough to offer a warranty, then why should you?” That pretty much sums up how I feel about any brand that doesn’t offer some form of warranty, aftercare, or money-back guarantee. In my book, the very best paddle boards are backed by at least 2-3 year warranty.
Top Paddle Board Brands List – Industry Leaders That Deserve Mention In 2022
Some of the brands outlined below have very humble beginnings. Others were probably a result of a long-awaited expansion. But what each and every one of these paddleboard companies still have in common is their passion for and dedication to serving the paddleboarding community.
And before we even get into it, I’d like to make something clear:
This round-up of the best paddle board brands isn’t set in stone. And I’m in no way implying that these are the absolute best global SUP companies ever.
What makes these brands stand out is the fact that they make paddleboarding accessible while still maintaining above-average design and manufacturing standards.
And that, I believe, is what makes one SUP brand better than another.
But rather than turning this into a lengthy introduction that may or may not seem like I’m trying to convince you that you should trust these particular SUP brands just because I said so, I’ll let this list do the talking.
So, let’s get to it!
Red Paddle Co continues to top the charts as one of the world’s leading inflatable SUP brands – and for a good reason, too.
I mean, when you have a team of paddleboarding enthusiasts who are passionate about getting as many people out on the water as possible – and make it a point to design boards for paddlers of all levels – you’re bound to make some waves.
John Hibbard, the co-founder of Red Paddle Co, came up with the idea of creating an inflatable paddle board more than a decade ago.
Their line-up includes a wide range of inflatable SUPs, with the most popular one being the Red Paddle Ride 10’6. And while the boards differ in size and intended uses, they all have one thing in common:
They’re reliable, stiff but lightweight, easy to travel with, and made from innovative materials.
It’s easy to see why many consider them to make the best inflatable paddle boards. Oh, and did I mention that each inflatable board comes with a five-year warranty? That is an indicator of a brand that stands behind its products – especially considering that few SUP manufacturers offer that level of coverage.
Many people think they make the best inflatable paddle boards on the market today, which is not surprising given their reputation. From their industry-leading inflatable boards to their reliable paddles and accessories, Red Paddle Co has everything you need to get out on the water and enjoy paddle boarding.
“A relatively young, family-run business eager to create premium-quality boards that won’t break the bank” – that’s how I would introduce Bluefin in a single sentence.
Bluefin Paddle Boards is a family business – founded by William Vaughan and his partner, Charlotte Smith – but interestingly enough, the company started out as Bluefin Kayaks back in 2013. Shipping kayaks from the UK to the US and the rest of Europe turned out to be a logistical nightmare, though.
It wasn’t until they gave paddle boarding a try that they realized there was a gap in the market – and the need for high-quality boards that were still reasonably priced.
And, well, they decided that Bluefin SUP could be the brand to fill that gap.
Today, there is a Bluefin SUP for everyone – from absolute beginners to seasoned paddlers – but the Bluefin Cruise 10’8” stands out as their most popular model. And it is easy to see why, its well balanced and durable board, shipped as a complete package with an adjustable paddle, removable center fin, travel bag and pump.
It’s also worth noting that all of the Bluefin inflatable SUP boards have been built to be versatile, as they come with specially positioned D rings to support a kayak conversion kit – that allows for the attachment of a kayak seat to the board.
By the way, you’re getting a five-year warranty with Bluefin’s SUPs, too.
BIC Sport and Tahe Outdoors, two legendary companies with decades of dedication to paddling and all things water-sports-related behind them, have joined forces. And that’s how TAHE came to be.
I know that “BIC” doesn’t really make you think about paddling; their ballpoint pens are probably what comes to mind first. But they’ve actually been in the business since 1979.
Tahe Outdoors entered the market in the late 1980s.
And for almost four decades, both brands were undisputed legends of their respective markets – until the somewhat unexpected but no less successful merge a few years ago.
Combine the decades of experience, manufacturing expertise, and core values of these two, and you get TAHE – a brand made by and for the new generation of watersports enthusiasts.
And no matter your skills, age, or preferences, TAHE promises one thing:
Endless Play Time.
Jacksonville-based iRocker is yet another young, innovative SUP brand that hasn’t been on the market that long but has worked tirelessly to establish itself as one of the best manufacturers of inflatable paddle boards.
iRocker paddle boards was launched nearly a decade ago, in 2013, and has since expanded its SUP line-up to include boards for every budget and intended use, deemed some of the most feature-rich iSUPs on the market.
Speaking of expanding their offering, I’d like to add that there are actually three SUP companies under the same umbrella here:
- Nautical – Budget-friendly inflatable SUPs
- iRocker – Mid-range inflatable SUPs
- Blackfin – Premium-range, performance-oriented inflatable SUPs
So, iRocker definitely has plenty of options – no matter how much you’re willing to spend on your board. Plus, you will get a 30-day money guarantee and a two-year warranty for added peace of mind.
ISLE believes that paddleboarding offers you – and I quote – “the perfect balance between mind, body, and soul.” I couldn’t agree more.
That’s far from the only reason I’ve included this SUP brand on my list, of course.
It is a brand with a slightly longer tradition, started in 2004 by two San Diego surfers who, at the time, were fresh out of college and eager to follow their passion. They launched ISLE from their parents’ storage unit – and, over the years, it grew into one of the biggest online SUP retailers in the world.
Their line-up currently includes a mix of inflatable SUPs and hard boards, so I’m confident you’ll find one that’s right for you. If you’re a beginner, though, I’d recommend the ISLE Pioneer – a wonderfully versatile board suited to all sorts of different SUP activities.
It’s a complete paddle boarding package – and one of the best inflatable SUPs for beginners.
If you’re in (or near) San Diego, ISLE is definitely worth checking out. They have a store there – and a huge distribution center. And if you’re not in the neighborhood, know that they ship to 48 states and worldwide, too.
The best part is:
You get a 60-day money-back guarantee and a two-year limited warranty with your board.
Tower Paddle Boards is a Southern California-based direct-to-consumer SUP company founded in 2010.
If that name sounds familiar, that’s cause you likely saw it on an episode of Shark Tank, when one of the investors, Mark Cuban, backed Stephan Aarstol’s idea:
Supporting what was, at the time, a small start-up company turned out to be a great idea. Tower Paddle Boards became one of the fastest-growing businesses and one of the leading names in the SUP community.
Being a direct-to-consumer brand, Tower Paddle Boards cuts out the middleman, meaning there are no wholesalers and third-party retailers. And for you, that means lower prices:
You’ll pay half of what you would otherwise spend if you were to buy your SUP from a traditional retail store.
If you’re considering Tower Paddle Boards, here’s a great tip:
You can use their SUP selection tool to find the perfect board for your exact needs and intended use.
Launched on the banks of the Yampa River, Hala Gear was founded by Peter Hall just a decade ago, in 2011.
At the time, Peter was just a regular Denver-raised guy who happened to have a thing for sports – and, as it turns out, an inherent passion for inventing stuff.
He first gave paddle boarding a try on the Yampa River – and fell in love with the sport right then and there. Soon after, he made his first paddle using only spare parts from other broken paddles – and eventually launched Hala Gear with the idea of revolutionizing whitewater stand-up paddle boarding.
Today, Hala Gear’s line-up includes over a dozen inflatable boards – including specialized SUPs for whitewater, touring, surfing, yoga, and fishing – all made using industry-leading technologies.
The Carbon Hoss seems to be one of Hala’s best-selling boards, though.
Oh, and each Hala Gear SUP is backed by a five-year warranty. And you know how much I love a brand that stands behind its products and believes in their quality.
Jobe is another well-known name in the world of paddle boarding. In fact, it’s recognized as one of the most reputable SUP manufacturers in the world.
And while many of the brands I’ve mentioned so far are relatively young – some no more than a decade old – Jobe has quite a history behind it.
Jobe’s story begins back in 1974, meaning the company’s been in the SUP game for nearly half a century now.
How’s that for impressive, huh?
As the company proudly states on its site, “Jobe is for everyone.” And given the extensive range of SUPs they offer, I actually agree with that.
Besides the boards – both inflatable and rigid – Jobe also has a wide selection of SUP wear and accessories. In short, they have everything you could possibly need as a paddler to start your paddle boarding adventures. The company definitely stays true to its tagline:
Jobe: Gets you on the water.
“Pau Hana is a Hawaiian phrase that means “Time after work,” and it’s all about the spirit of play” – that’s what the company starts off with when describing themselves.
The phrase really does encapsulate the approach that the founder – and leading designer – Todd Caranto has had with their SUP boards since founding the company in California back in 2006.
Their selection covers all types of boards you could possibly need, but they always design them with a “personal twist” that makes them stand out in the crowd – and on the water.
It’s an avant-garde approach, to say the least.
Pau Hana is known to implement ideas like SUP boards with visors, a kayak paddle extension – even a SUP with a marine engine dock. And these aren’t just some random wacky ideas, either.
People genuinely turn to Pau Hana for these kinds of innovations.
The crowd favorites are definitely the Inflatable SUPs, with the Solo Backcountry Inflatable SUP coming out on top because it weighs 14 pounds and is deemed backpacking and hiking-friendly.
YOLO Boards consider themselves – and for a good reason – a lifestyle brand.
The company started out back in 2007 in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. And while they remained faithful to the Sunny State, they moved to Miramar Beach, where they’re stationed today.
The founder, Jeff Archer, admits that trying paddle boarding was a life-changing experience, and well, he decided to start a business based on it.
He even drove around Florida in a van, delivering paddle boards to customers!
YOLO Boards now sells its SUPs through more than 60 licensed dealers across the country and has definitely earned the respect of the SUP community that Jeff was so inspired by in the early days.
So, what’s in the offer?
Well, high-quality boards that everyone can use, from children and older beginners to advanced paddlers. Their flagship “Original” epoxy board collection definitely shows that to the fullest, as it aims – and hits the mark – to offer something for everyone.
The lifestyle brand part also comes from the fact that besides the high-quality SUP boards, they offer paddles, bikes, apparel, and – get this – coffee.
And you wanna know what the kicker is?
They’re pretty darn good at all of those things, too.
The next SUP brand is a family business – except that it isn’t some big father-and-son company from the fifties. It’s Corey and Magda Cooper. They’re a couple that basically grew up on water, and that, back in 2008, tried paddling and decided that they, and I quote:
“Loved the idea… but hated the product.”
So, the duo created the company in Destin, Florida. The plan was to produce boards that were much more stable on the water – something that had the capabilities of a regular boat but with the simplicity of a board. Hence the name, BOTE.
And boy, did they deliver on that.
BOTE SUPs come in two regular flavors – rigid and inflatable.
Rigid SUPs use BOTE’s signature Gatorshell Technology, a blend of plastics and ballistic-grade composites. Aero Technology, on the other hand, is reserved for inflatable boards, featuring the AeroBOTE inner cores and military-grade PVC “skin.”
The best part?
They focus on the design as much as they do on construction quality.
Okay, let’s take a look at a group with a bit more experience.
The NRC brand is situated in Moscow, Idaho, and has been here for almost four decades – ever since its President and founder, Bill Parks, started the whole operation.
Bill (who’s now in his 80s) decided to do something wonderful with his company back in 2014:
He helped finance a deal to sell the company to his employees, meaning that NRS is now 100% employee-owned.
And it shows.
NRS is a brand that believes in its products. In fact, some even come backed by a decade-long warranty!
Their most popular collections are the NRS Escape, Whip, and Star SUP boards, which include both solid and inflatable models.
Bill always said that he’s been drawn to water – and loved how it can take him from one beautiful place to another. That’s what he tried to give to others – and what the brand will continue to do in years to come.
Aquaglide kicked off its adventures on the water in 2007, specializing in inflatable water sports products. That’s a category that they’ve almost perfected in the 10+ years that they’ve been in business.
While they established the company in White Salmon, Washington, they eventually moved their headquarters in 2018 to Bend, Oregon.
What do these places have in common? Access to great waters – that’s what. White Salmon’s a small town nestled in the Columbia River Gorge. And to quote the founders:
“Access to water is in our DNA.”
They currently offer two classes of inflatables:
Aquaparks (commercial and residential), and more importantly, paddlesports inflatables – kayaks and SUPs, to be more precise.
They’re known mostly for their Cascade, Kush, and Roam series of inflatable SUPs, but they do update their line-up often.
Superb designs, robust SUPs, and outstanding quality control are what they aim for as a brand – and they hit those marks well.
Thurso Surf is a brand that goes out of its way to do one thing better than anything else – make high-quality boards at lower price points.
They are pretty much leaders in the bang-for-buck SUP department.
Thurso Surf’s manufacturing process is experiment-driven and research-based. And that’s what allows them to discover new solutions, maintain quality, and keep the prices low.
While they have multiple styles of boards, the absolute crowd favorite – and the one Thurso Surf is known for – is the all-around board series called Waterwalkers.
Their boards often go for as low as $600 (if you time your purchase right and get a good deal) – while still being proudly situated in the same quality range as brands that charge you double (or even triple) that.
The absence of stores and dealers is another trick up their price-reducing sleeve. Just go to the website and buy directly from them; you’re in for a good deal.
If there’s one watersports brand that you probably recognized even while skimming this list – it’s Connelly.
The company’s been in the game since 1965, which gives them a 40-year advantage over most other brands that dominate the current market and a total of 50 years of experience in all things watersports-related.
While they’re mainly known for water skis and wakeboards, their skills have perfectly translated into their SUP line-up.
They make inflatable and solid SUP boards, and you’ll probably be able to find incredible quality for the price that they’re charging.
Granted, I’m not talking about a budget brand here. But there are far more expensive brands out there that don’t offer half of what Connelly does with its half-a-century-long history.
Their inflatable Pacific boards are crowd favorites – but the Classic and Highline models take the lead when it comes to rigid SUPs. Whatever you choose, though, Connelly will ensure you get a quality board.
The California Board Company managed to gather up quite the reputation since it was launched in 2008. Seriously, they’re killing it out there!
Five-star reviews across their SUP board collections and good prices to match; that’s the dream combo, right?
But does California Board Co live up to the hype?
Yup – and then some.
The founders are four friends who sat down one day and decided to turn their love for paddling and water into a well-respected business. To be precise, they launched Keeper Sports Products, LLC; with the motto:
“If it’s made by us… it’s a Keeper!”
Who doesn’t love a good play on words?
The group specializes in surfing, paddle, and bodyboards. But when it comes to SUPs, the CBC Soft Top Boards seem to be the most popular choice – rugged and well-made, especially for the price.
That said, their fiberglass and inflatable SUPs meet the same quality standards – and definitely deserve mention here, too.
What’s The Best Brand Of Paddle Board?
I know you think that’s a pretty simple question that warrants an equally straightforward answer – but I’m afraid that’s not the case here at all.
I mean, technically speaking, I could pick out a brand or two that I believe is better than the rest and provides the right balance of quality, affordability, and availability and highlight it as the best of the bunch.
But that’s the thing:
I would pick the best stand-up paddle board brand based on my own set of preferences – which may or may not differ from yours. And that would not only be quite misleading but unfair to many other fantastic brands out there.
Can you tell where I’m going with this?
The matter of the “best SUP brands” is anything but universal. Instead, it’s highly subjective and based on what you want – and expect to get – out of your board.
While I could recommend a specific brand because I personally like the design of their SUPs or their performance, there’s no real guarantee that board would work for you, too. That said, there is a SUP brand out there that’ll be “just right” for you.
So, here’s what I’ll recommend instead:
Consider the type of paddleboarding you’ll be doing and put together a list of must-haves – such as the optimal length and width, weight capacity, specific features, and accessories. Then, think about how much you’re willing to spend.
Once you’ve defined your requirements and budget, it’s easier to narrow down your options, find reputable SUP brands that tick all the boxes – and make an informed purchase.
What About SUP Brands To Avoid?
The SUP market is much broader than I could possibly cover in one place and goes well beyond the brands I’ve covered earlier. I’m sure you’re aware of that.
Another thing you might be aware of here is that with a market so vast – and one that continues to grow at a rapid pace – there are many opportunities for some “bad apples” to sneak their way into this proverbial basket.
When you fail to recognize these “bad apples” in time and make the mistake of purchasing one of their SUPs – which are typically characterized by lower build quality – it can very well ruin the whole paddle boarding experience for you.
Here’s the universal truth of retail:
Whenever there is a big market with dozens of reputable brands and quality products, there are also manufacturers of knock-offs hoping to trick you into spending your hard-earned money. We, unfortunately, live in an era of fake products.
Yes, they might look like the “real deal” at a glance – but:
The longer you look at the SUP, the more apparent it gets that there is something “off” about it – whether it’s the lower-than-expected quality, the not-quite-finished feel, or the lack of some key features, for example.
And sooner or later, you end up regretting your purchase.
Now, I don’t want to point any fingers here; that’s never been my thing. That said, I’d hate to see you get tricked into buying a knock-off SUP – because you won’t get to experience the wonders of stand-up paddleboarding with one.
It’s a tough position to be in, honestly.
So, instead of just giving you a list of SUP brands to avoid, I’ll share some tips that will hopefully help you navigate the market and avoid falling into the trap of buying a cheaply made knock-off:
- Buy a paddleboard from a reputable seller. In other words, know who you’re buying a SUP from and avoid small, third-party vendors unless there’s a way to verify that they’re authorized retailers.
- Research SUPs in your price range. You might think that all branded SUPs are pricey, but that’s not necessarily the case.
- Read customer reviews before buying. I mean, the reviews are there for a reason, So, why not put them to good use and browse them to see how others feel about the board’s quality, customer service, or which issues they’ve had?
- Be wary of extreme discounts. If the offer seems too good to be true… well, it probably is. Discounts are great – but suspiciously low prices are not.
- Don’t forget to check the second-hand SUP market. And sure, you won’t be getting a brand new SUP, but as long as the board’s in good condition, you’ll get an amazing deal – and avoid spending too much.
Oh, and while we’re on the topic, I’d like to add something:
Sometimes, the SUP manufacturer is not to blame at all. It’s entirely possible that you’ve simply purchased the wrong board for yourself.
If you’re worried that may be the case, I suggest asking yourself the following questions the next time you’re about to buy a SUP:
- What type of SUP do I need?
- Where and how will I use the board?
- Would I prefer an inflatable or rigid SUP?
- Will the shape and fin setup work for me?
- Do I need any extra features or accessories?
- How much am I willing to spend?
Best Paddle Board Companies: Summary
While this list is far from final – companies change, and new SUP brands enter the market all the time – the following manufacturers stand out as the best paddle board brands in 2022:
- Red Paddle Co
- Bluefin SUP
- BIC Sport/Tahe Outdoors
- Tower Paddle Boards
- Hala Gear
- Pau Hana
- Yolo Boards
- Thurso Surf
- California Board Co