If it’s summer and there’s water around, there should be a SUP in sight. This sport that grew out of surf culture shows no signs of stopping. You can use a SUP for a leisurely paddle on a lake, test your skills in an ocean bay, and maybe try to gently float before you know it. Use it for SUP yoga or take your kid or dog for a paddle.
It is an equal piece of sports equipment that people of more reasonable fitness can use. They can also use it to develop a higher level of fitness.
My first experience with SUP was probably 15 years ago when I covered a lake on a heavy and sturdy SUP. Those boards looked a lot like a heavy surfboard and were the only way to get back then. It took two of us to carry the car, and while we rented it, it was clear that storage was going to be a big issue.
Here’s to the genius that came along and decided that an inflatable SUP was what we needed. Inflatable SUPs usually have a PVC outer and an air core. They come with a pump and storage bag and become surprisingly strong and rigid when fully inflated. Better yet, you can travel with them.
Planning a trip to the lakes of Maine, Minnesota or Michigan? Or maybe just cruise the Outer Banks, Cape Cod or Southern California beaches? Now there is no excuse to leave your board at home. Take it to Europe for that week in Mykonos or the Caribbean or Australia, where the driving possibilities are endless.
Inflatable SUPs are ideal for those with limited storage space. They are easily carried – when deflated – in their storage bags, many of which have back straps for easier carrying. Inflatable SUPs can easily be stored in a closet or carried in the trunk of your car. They’re also ideal for air travel, so go ahead and pop them in the overhead bin if you can or check-in.
Here are three inflatable SUPs worth checking out. Note that these boards are already on sale as it is the middle of summer.
Body glove 2022 Performer 11 Stand Up Paddle Board
This 11 foot board is 34 inches wide, 5.4 inches thick and has incredible weight for an inflatable. I found it to be very stable and that’s due to its width, laser-etched foot placement guides, and three fixed fins. It comes with a hand pump and an electric pump that connect to your car’s cigarette lighter. Using the latter, it inflated in minutes, making it ideal for quick trips. The single handle makes it easy to carry the 24-pound board. It’s puncture-resistant and once deflated, it rolls up into a sturdy yet lightweight backpack that’s easy to carry. I also love the attractive faux wood grain design and the thoughtful inclusion of a cell phone dry bag. At home, this SUP is easily stored in a closet. It comes with an adjustable paddle, pump and carrying bag. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and find it suits my easy riding style. MSRP $999. If you’re a Costco member, it’s yours for $399.
ISLE Pioneer 2.0
This board weighs 24 lbs and fits into an easily managed 15″x38″ backpack. The board is 34 inches wide and 10 feet, six inches long. It’s on the shorter side, but perhaps a touch more maneuverable for beginners. It comes with a paddle, pump, board and removable fin. For beginners, it is a good choice and easy to drive. MSRP $795, but currently on sale for $595.
WOLF’S WORLD Aero 10′4″ Native Flower Inflatable Paddle Board
Aimed at beginners, this 10 foot four inch board is good for beginners getting into the sport. BOTE is a well-known board company, so even in this lower-end model, the quality is there. It weighs only 20 pounds and comes with a hand pump, a removable central thread, a coiled chain and a travel bag. MSRP $529, but is currently on sale for $476.10.