Best stand-up paddle board UK 2022: paddleboards, from inflatable SUPs to Red Paddle, Decathlon, Aquafin

One of the most fun ways to enjoy the water, paddleboarding is the hot sport of the summer

The best stand-up paddle boards in the UK, including inflatable SUPs
The best stand-up paddle boards in the UK, including inflatable SUPs
The best stand-up paddle boards in the UK, including inflatable SUPs

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Paddle boarding has quickly become one of the most popular water sports in the UK. It’s one of those wonderful sports suitable for many people, regardless of your fitness ability or bravery levels.

Most people are able to kneel on board and glide across a glassy lake and enjoy a relaxing, mindful and enjoyable workout. Other paddle boarders may choose to ride the waves and turn it into an adrenaline-fuelled adventure sport.

While most of us are somewhere in the middle, we can all agree that paddleboarding is one of the most relaxing yet challenging ways to enjoy the water.

Whichever rider you are, there’s a paddle board for you and we’re going to run through the best paddle boards on the market.

To inflate or not to inflate?

Before we begin, let’s talk about inflatable boards vs hard boards.

The introduction of inflatable paddle boards has definitely contributed to the popularity of the sport.

Inflatable boards are packed away into relatively small backpacks, meaning storage and transport couldn’t be easier. Inflating and deflating a paddle board is simple and electric pumps are available to make inflation a breeze.

We’ve found inflatable paddle boards are incredibly stiff and stable whilst also being lightweight.

They’re also more durable than their non-inflatable counterparts and have a softer deck for those inevitable falls. Combine this with their transportability and we believe inflatable paddle boards really are the best option for the majority of paddlers.

It is worth noting that the majority of inflatable paddle boards are heavy and uncomfortable to carry once they’re packed away into their backpacks.

We do have one comfortable option on the list but this is a rarity. If you’re planning to carry your board long distances then it might be worth investing in a bag with wheels or a more comfortable carrying position.

What do inflatable paddle boards come with?

Most inflatable boards will come as part of a package which includes a basic pump, paddle, a bag, a detachable fin and an ankle safety leash.

This is everything you need to get started and all of these items can be upgraded for more efficient, lighter or more comfortable options.

If you’re wondering what to wear on the waves, check out our guides to ladies wetsuits, the best men’s wetsuits, or our guides to men’s swimsuits, or women’s swimsuits.

The Red Paddle Co Boards offer unrivalled quality and stability. Quite simply, they are the best!

Red’s ‘All Round’ range genuinely is a brilliant option for everyone. Beginner riders will appreciate the stability of these boards thanks to the 4.7’’ thickness which provides incredible stiffness.

More experienced riders will enjoy the versatility as they take it from high waves to a calm lake. The diamond cut rear allows riders to perform step back turns and the twin fins make for a faster, more agile ride.

If budget allows and this is your first paddle board then we would 100% recommend a board from the Red All Round range. You won’t outgrow this board as you progress and the durable design ensures you’ll be using it for years.

Decathlon is our go-to store for budget-friendly, quality products and their fantastic range of beginner paddle boards is no exception.

The Itiwit board is ideal for beginners thanks to the extra wide design (34”) and the thickness (6”) which gives it extra stability. It’s available in 9’, 10’ or 11’ options depending on your height.

This stable design will give you the confidence to get up on your feet and cruise across smooth water and small waves.

We found the deck to be extremely comfortable, making it ideal for long distance paddles as well as playful trips up the river.

The maximum weight capacity for the 11’ board is an unusually large 320kg, meaning two people can comfortably paddle together or the kids can hop on for a ride.

It’s worth noting that this board doesn’t come with a pump or paddle so these will need to be purchased separately. The bag is also a cumbersome lump to carry so it may be worth upgrading your backpack if you plan to carry it far.

While it is perfectly possible to pop a child on the front of any paddleboard, if you’re paddling with multiple users then you’ll want one of the larger paddleboards.

Even inflatable paddle boards come in enormous sizes and this XL Ride from Red is one of the biggest at a whopping 17ft long and 60” wide.

It can comfortably hold eight adults, making this board the ultimate in sociable SUP. Despite the size, this board is surprisingly easy to carry, inflate and paddle and the super stiff double layer construction ensures it is sturdy enough for a paddle party experience!

The Bluefin Cruise SUP is one of the most versatile and sturdy boards on the market, making it a great option when being used by multiple people with different requirements.

At 6” thick and 10’8” long, it provides a sturdy base whether you’re sitting, kneeling or standing on the board.

The board also comes with a detachable kayak seat enabling you to sit down and paddle comfortably, a great option for nervous paddlers or those wanting a more leisurely sport.

It’s also one of the most budget-friendly options and comes with an unusual five-year warranty, while most boards come with just one to two years. Everything is included in this package, including a fibreglass paddle which isn’t often included with budget boards.

Yes, it’s another Red paddle board making it onto the list thanks to their revolutionary designs and high quality boards.

Red’s Compact range comes in two sizes, 9’6” or 11’0”, and both boards pack down into a small and comfortable backpack which is almost half the size of other paddleboards.

We found the backpack is much easier to carry compared to anything else on the market, so whether you’re carrying this through the airport, on public transport, a long walk to the beach, cycling with your board or you’re planning to get off the beaten path and explore, Red’s compact range is a brilliant option.

The packed weight of the board is 12.7kg which might not be the lightest option on the market but the small size and highly adjustable backpack made it the easiest to carry of all the ones we tested.

SUP yoga is gaining in popularity and we love the added challenge of yoga on the water. It makes for an extra mindful, relaxing and really fun way to exercise.

If you plan to practice your Downward Dog on your paddle board then you’ll need something wider, thicker and more stable than your average board, so look for something that’s 6” thick and at least 30” wide. While it won’t be the quickest board, it will give you the ability to practice yoga and enjoy a paddle too.

If you’ll be using your board just for yoga then you can’t beat the Aqua Marina Peace, a revolutionary rectangular board that’s 35” wide from top to bottom and has a huge volume of 340L.

These SUP yoga boards look more like a floating yoga mat and give you the ultimate water platform for a full body workout that challenges your core and stability like nothing else. Due to the shape, these boards are best used in swimming pools and small lakes.

If speed is the aim of the game while you’re paddle boarding then you’ll want a long, narrow board that cuts through the water and glides over waves.

The 14’ Aquaplanet CUDA SUP provides exactly that and we found it to be effortlessly speedy. Our tester described it as ‘an absolute joy’ as the board provided a fast, smooth ride.

This board performs best on calm waters and is ideal for touring and racing. It is best suited to experienced riders who can maneuver the long design and handle the narrow deck.

The O’Shea 9’8 HDX inflatable SUP is designed with lightweight riders in mind and performs best for those 75kg or under. It’s still a great board for experienced riders under 85kg who may enjoy the smaller design and maneuverability.

The premium HDx boards are a range of highly durable, stiff paddle boards that keep their shape over time with a smooth, wrinkle-free surface.

The tangerine colours not only look great but they give you a highly visible board, helping you to stay safe and seen while on the water.

We love the comfort of this board thanks to the Durable Die Cut Crocodile Grip Deck Pad, which is a fancy way of saying it’s very spongy but also grippy underfoot. Our petite tester found the smaller length much more manageable when carrying the board in and out of the water, particularly when carrying it across a windy beach on a busy day!