Reviews You Can Rely On

The 6 Best Stand Up Paddle Boards of 2024

We bought and tested SUP boards from Surftech, Boardworks, Starboard, SIC Maui, and more to find the very best
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Best Stand Up Paddle Board Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
By Sara James and Marissa Fox  ⋅  Mar 13, 2024

The Best Stand Up Paddle Boards for 2024


After researching scores of stand up paddle boards, we bought 8 of the best models currently available for this competitive lineup. We then subjected them to head-to-head testing to help you find the right SUP for your paddling needs. We have over 6 years of experience in hands-on testing and reviewing paddle boards side-by-side, paddling lakes, rivers, and streams in various conditions. We evaluated and compared glide performance, maneuverability, and stability, all in our quest to determine which SUP is superior to the rest. Whether you are looking for a beginner board on a budget or one that's perfect for a professional paddler, our expert recommendations can help you find the board you need.

Our reviews of the best water gear can help outfit you for your next day on the water. We've tested and rated critical essentials like the best SUP paddles and key accessories like the top dry bags and the best PFDs. If you think you'd be better off with something more portable and stowable, we've also reviewed inflatable SUPs and inflatable and foldable kayaks. Top it all off with a top-rated sun shirt and some stylish sunglasses, and you're truly ready for an epic day out on the water.

Editor's Note: Our stand up paddle board review was updated on March 13, 2024, to share info on how we tested these SUPs and offer more advice on how to select the right one for your needs. We've also recently added specs tables for our award winners to lay out each SUPs specs more clearly.

Top 8 Stand Up Paddle Boards - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 8
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Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $1,430 List$1,600 List
$1,423 at Amazon
$1,100 List$1,559 List$800 List
$717.68 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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72
Star Rating
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Pros Stable, high-quality construction, comfortable carrying handlesVery stable, good glideRobust, stable, maneuverableHigh performance, high-quality construction, well-balancedGreat value, stable, good glide performance
Cons Pricey, feels a bit more fragile than other modelsCumbersome to turn, not the most durableDoes not come with a paddle, not sleek or lightNot as easily maneuverable, expensiveHeavy, lower max weight limit
Bottom Line Sleek, stylish, speedy, and stable, this board is one of our all-time favoritesThis smooth-gliding board is a great all-round option, blending speed and stabilityA robust and stable option that is likely to outlast most other stand-up paddle boardsThis paddle board is known for its ability to deliver speed on flatwater, maneuver smoothly in the surf, and handle choppy conditions with confidenceIf you are looking for a great all-around performer at a reasonable price, look no further
Rating Categories Surftech Catalyst T... Boardworks Kraken SIC Maui TAO Fit AT Starboard Generatio... Tahe Beach Performer
Glide Performance (35%)
8.0
7.5
6.0
9.0
6.0
Stability (25%)
6.5
7.0
8.5
5.5
8.0
Maneuverability (15%)
8.5
8.0
6.0
5.5
6.0
Ease of Transport (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.5
Construction Quality (10%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.5
9.0
Specs Surftech Catalyst T... Boardworks Kraken SIC Maui TAO Fit AT Starboard Generatio... Tahe Beach Performer
Measured Weight 27.0 lbs 28.0 lbs 29.2 lbs 30.4 lbs 33.4 lbs
Board Volume 203 L 199 L 195 L 249 L 185 L
Weight Capacity 215 lbs Not specified 220 lbs 220 lbs 200 lbs
Width 32.5" 32.0" 33.2" 28.1" 31.5"
Length 11' 2" 11' 0" 10' 0" 12' 6" 10' 6"
Thickness 5.2" 5.0" 4.8" 6.2" 5.0"
Fin Configuration Single detachable center fin Large detachable center fin, 2 optional side fins 9" tool-free removable center fin Large detachable center fin with 2 optional side fins Large detachable center fin with 2 optional side fins
Bungee Cargo System? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


Best Overall Stand Up Paddle Board


Surftech Catalyst Tuflite V-Tech


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Glide Performance 8.0
  • Stability 6.5
  • Maneuverability 8.5
  • Ease of Transport 9.0
  • Construction Quality 9.0
REASONS TO BUY
Highly maneuverable
Good glide
Easy to paddle
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Shows scratches and scuffs

The Surftech Catalyst Tuflite V-Tech earns the highest score we have seen so far, so it wasn't hard to award crown this model our top honors for the best overall stand up paddle board. It's one of our all-time favorite SUps, offering a perfect combination of speed, stability, and glide performance, all in a sleek and stylish package. It looks great and feels super light both on and off the water, making it easy to turn when floating and then easy to carry back to your bar.

Unfortunately, all of this performance comes at a price, and the Catalyst is one of the more expensive boards we tested. This board also tends to show scuffs and scrapes more prominently than others, so you'll want to treat it delicately. However, the Catalyst is genuinely one of the best boards you can get in terms of performance, and we highly recommend it for those who can afford the high price tag and are willing to handle it with a bit of care. If you're looking for a board with a high level of stability, take a look at the SIC Maui TAO Fit AT.

Read more: Surftech Catalyst Tuflite V-Tech review

The Catalyst glides effortlessly between paddle strokes.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Overall Inflatable SUP


Bote Breeze Aero


REASONS TO BUY
Great price
Very light
Excellent stability
REASONS TO AVOID
Fins are fully removable
Leash doesn't come with your purchase

The Bote Breeze Aero is a breath of fresh air because it is available at a much lower price than most top-tier boards while still performing the best in our last round of inflatable SUP testing. Some of this is subjective, based on preferences and experience (and we do have a different tester for inflatable SUPs than we do for rigid models), but at the end of the day we think most users will be really pleased with the Bote. It's lightweight, durable, and has good features for towing, tying, or bringing along gear. The soft pad on the deck is great for resting or even for yoga, and the nominal weight means transport from your car to the water is that much easier.

We wish the Breeze Aero came with a leash, but for the price, we really can't complain. We also wish the fins were removable, but all things considered, that's another minor complaint. This board is stable, easy to move around on, and it glides nicely. So far, it also seems to be constructed really well (as always, we'll keep testing and report back if this changes). This likely isn't the board for advanced users or those who want something for niche uses like racing, but for the average paddler who just wants to get out and have fun, this is a heck of a deal. You can save even more money with the inflatable FunWater 11, which offers totally decent performance for anyone taking a SUP out a handful of times each summer.

Read more: Bote Breeze Aero review

Related: Best Inflatable SUP review

stand up paddle board - even in choppy and wind-affected waters, the breeze aero performed...
Even in choppy and wind-affected waters, the Breeze Aero performed well for all paddlers.
Credit: Jenay Aiksnoras

Best Bang for the Buck


SIC Maui TAO Fit AT


74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Glide Performance 6.0
  • Stability 8.5
  • Maneuverability 6.0
  • Ease of Transport 9.0
  • Construction Quality 9.0
REASONS TO BUY
Very durable
Stable
Decent glide
REASONS TO AVOID
Lower weight capacity

If you are searching for an all-around stand up paddle board that functions well and won't bust your budget, then we highly recommend the SIC Maui TAO Fit AT. This board is one of our favorite options to recommend to families or beginners, as it is significantly more durable than some of the fiberglass options while still offering a solid paddling performance. It's nice and stable for those just learning how to SUP and offers good enough glide performance that you can undertake longer tours without it becoming unduly fatiguing. This model also fares quite well in rougher waters and is fairly maneuverable.

One slight concern we had with this board is its lower-than-average recommended weight capacity of 220 pounds. This can mean a loss of stability for larger folks or those planning to transport cargo (kids, coolers, canines, etc). The TAO Fit AT is also a bit on the heavier side, though not by much. Despite these drawbacks, we are hard-pressed to find a better option for those wanting the most value in our current lineup, though the Tahe Beach Performer comes darn close.

Read more: SIC Maui TAO Fit AT review

The TAO Fit was relatively easy to turn thanks to its short length and planning hull.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Value for an Inflatable Model


FunWater 11


REASONS TO BUY
Extremely affordable
Very lightweight
Good performance for an inflatable
Easy to inflate and transport
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the most maneuverable
Poor glide compared to a rigid model
Lightweight design can get bounced around in chop

The FunWater 11 should be your first choice if you are looking for a truly bargain-basement budget option. This inflatable board is very lightweight and easy to transport, is reasonably easy to inflate, and provides surprisingly solid all-around performance. Its price also makes it easy to venture into the world of stand up paddle boarding without breaking the bank or needing a ton of storage space. The package includes everything you need to get started, including the board, fins, pump, paddle, leash, and carry bag. The FunWater is appropriately named, providing tons of fun on the water without breaking the bank or your back.

While the FunWater provides adequate performance for beginner paddlers and families compared to the competition, it definitely falls short of the performance capabilities of most rigid stand up paddle boards. Inflatable models are typically softer and more flexible than their rigid counterparts. While this makes them less susceptible to typical dings and dents, it also makes them less stable in choppy water and less capable of slicing and gliding at higher speeds. However, if high-end performance isn't a top priority and you're just looking to get out on the water without a big financial commitment, the FunWater is easily our top choice.

Read more: FunWater 11 review

We even loaded up the FunWater with an 2 and 4-year-old for a fun day out on the water in Australia.
Credit: Andrew Chino

Inflatable Most Like a Rigid Board


Bluefin Cruise Carbon


REASONS TO BUY
Excellent stability for an inflatable
Solid glide performance
Easy to transport
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy for an inflatable
Expensive

Most inflatable SUPs offer great value, durability, and ease of transport compared to their rigid counterparts. However, they usually suffer from poor glide performance and stability. The Bluefin Cruise Carbon bucks that notion, thoroughly impressing us with its top-tier stability and solid glide performance. This SUP has a separate inflatable deck chamber, making it feel much more like a rigid board, more fun to paddle, and better for rougher conditions. While not as speedy or efficient as the rigid race-style boards, it's not so far behind that we wouldn't mind taking it on a longer paddling trip. This is our top choice if you plan on going the inflatable route but don't want to sacrifice technical prowess.

The only notable downside to this stand up paddle board is the cost. It is a bit pricier than many inflatable models, on par price-wise with most rigid models that outperform it in some metrics. It's also nearly as heavy as some of the rigid boards (and heavier than some). You will have to decide if the extra cost is worth the ease of transport and increased durability against scrapes and scuffs you get with an inflatable model. For a lighter inflatable model, check out our favorite model, the Bote Breeze Aero, which is also lighter on the wallet.

Read more: Bluefin Cruise Carbon review

stand up paddle board - the second inflation chamber underneath the deck pad of the cruise...
The second inflation chamber underneath the deck pad of the Cruise Carbon provides a stable platform for the rider.
Credit: Jenay Aiksnoras

Highly Versatile with Impeccable Glide


Starboard Generation LT


73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Glide Performance 9.0
  • Stability 5.5
  • Maneuverability 5.5
  • Ease of Transport 7.0
  • Construction Quality 8.5
REASONS TO BUY
Excels across environments
Smooth and fast glide
REASONS TO AVOID
Not cheap
Heavier than some

The Starboard Generation LT offers impressive versatility, as it's designed to deliver exceptional performance across multiple scenarios, including crushing speed on flat water, maneuvering smoothly in the surf, and handling choppy conditions with confidence. The recessed deck pad provides stability and comfort, utilizing pine in the standing area for increased impact resistance. This board looks great and performs to match. If you are looking for one high-performance SUP to do it all, this may be it.

The Generation LT is available in an impressive lineup of six different sizes, enabling riders of various weights and skill levels to enjoy the performance of this board. As it's also made of more durable materials, it is heavier than some of the other high-performance models available from Starboard; however, we found it well balanced both on the water and when carrying it around, making this weight feel like less of a burden.

Read more: Starboard Generation LT review

Experienced paddlers will find that the Starboard Generation LT is able to handle dynamic currents well.
Credit: Sara James

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
80
Surftech Catalyst Tuflite V-Tech
Best Overall Stand Up Paddle Board
$1,430
Editors' Choice Award
77
Boardworks Kraken
$1,600
74
SIC Maui TAO Fit AT
Best Bang for the Buck
$1,100
Best Buy Award
73
Starboard Generation LT
Highly Versatile with Impeccable Glide
$1,559
Top Pick Award
72
Tahe Beach Performer
$800
71
Isle Versa 2.0
$1,545
69
Infinity E-Ticket Touring
$1,495
65
Pau Hana Malibu Classic
$899

stand up paddle board - we tested these sups side by side to get a clear idea of how they...
We tested these SUPs side by side to get a clear idea of how they each performed in comparison.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

How We Test Stand Up Paddle Boards


To help uncover the perfect stand up paddle board, our team logged dozens of hours on these boards, taking them out in all kinds of conditions — everything from early morning paddles with completely still waters to ferociously windy days with unsteadying waves. Along the way, we rated and scored each board, assessing their glide performance, speed and acceleration, and how maneuverable and stable each one was. Additionally, we evaluated these boards out of the water, comparing their ease of transport by seeing how much work they are to load up on a car or carry to the water and their overall quality by analyzing how much damage each board sustained throughout the normal course of testing.

Our stand up paddle board testing is divided into five key rating metrics:
  • Glide Performance (35% of overall score weighting)
  • Stability (25% weighting)
  • Maneuverability (15% weighting)
  • Ease of Transport (15% weighting)
  • Quality of Construction (10% weighting)

See our how we test article for more in-depth details on our testing procedures.

Nothing like a day of testing out on the water with friends. We work hard by playing hard.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Why Trust GearLab


Our review and testing process for stand up paddle boards is led by Sara James and Marissa Fox. Sara has spent a decade chasing rivers, traveling worldwide with her kayak for recreation and competition, and ending up in California in 2011, settling in the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Since then, she has done less traveling, but her adventures have continued, and she has expanded her crafts of choice, adding SUPing, skiing, skateboarding, climbing, and biking to her pastimes. Rapids or rain, snow or sunshine, surf or serene floats, Sara is on the water year-round. She also does the testing for our reviews on kayaks, kayak paddles, life jackets, and dry bags.

Marissa is a former competitive snowboarder, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, RYT yoga instructor, and AIDA freediver. She has also traveled the world working for various non-profits and marine conservation projects, such as satellite tagging whale sharks in the Philippines, monitoring Minke Whale behavior in Iceland, and promoting turtle conservation in the Caribbean. When she isn't working as a land-use attorney in the Lake Tahoe area or traveling, she spends her free time on — or under — the water as much as possible.

All lined up and ready to race.
All lined up and ready to race.
Strapping cargo onto the tested boards told us a lot about how they...
Strapping cargo onto the tested boards told us a lot about how they could handle with various levels of weight and distribution.
The Tahe weighs more than many of the other boards we tested, making...
The Tahe weighs more than many of the other boards we tested, making carrying a bit more awkward.

How to Pick the Best SUP for You


SUPs are a common sight in most bodies of water these days, and they're a great way to explore a lake or even the ocean shoreline on calm days. There are a lot of options, so how do you make sure you're getting the right type? Generally, the first thing you want to consider is rigid vs inflatable.

Rigid vs. Inflatable SUPs


Those with the ability to transport a 10+ foot long board might like to go with a rigid stand up paddle board. These boards don't require any setup or takedown — just unload it, and it's ready to go. Other pros are that they often have better glide performance than their inflatable counterparts, and you'll never have to worry about leaks or puncturing the board the way you might with inflatables. The cons of rigid boards are that they're often heavier, and you'll need to have the proper vehicle or rack to transport them. They also require more storage space in your home or garage.

Inflatable SUPs, on the other hand, are great for folks with smaller vehicles. These boards are usually lighter than fiberglass or hard plastic boards. They're also usually more affordable; you can get a totally decent inflatable SUP for as little as a couple hundred dollars. They often can be carried to the shoreline in their included backpacks, but you'll have to pump them up to get on the water, which takes time (as does deflating them and rolling them back up at the end of your day). There are usually some extra parts to keep track of, too. Lastly, inflatables slower than rigid models and can be less stable. We include some inflatable boards in this review, but we also have a review dedicated to our favorite inflatable SUPs, if you're leaning that way.

Types of Rigid SUPs


Among the rigid models, there are a few general types: touring/racing models, all-around boards, and surfing-focused boards. Touring or racing boards have pointed noses and are designed to move fast. They're often much longer and skinnier than all-around boards, and are designed for going longer distances. All-around boards have rounded noses and are better for a lazy day paddle around your chosen body of water. These are great for beginners and intermediate SUP enthusiasts. Surfing-focused SUPs are often shorter and smaller (and therefore more maneuverable), and they less stable than the other types.

Other Considerations


You'll want to look at a board's maximum weight level. Larger paddlers often prefer longer boards. We recommend that beginners choose a board with a max weight limit of around double their weight to ensure more stability. You'll also want to take into account what you plan to bring along — a kid? A pooch? A cooler? — and make sure the board you choose has room for the extra cargo. If you're hoping to do SUP yoga, you'll likely want to choose a wider board for added stability.

Analysis and Test Results


We took all of the results from each individual test and evaluation and divided them into the five weighted metrics listed above. Every board received a subscore in each metric, and each metric is weighted proportionally to its overall importance. While we think the weightings are spot-on for an average paddler, we encourage you to pay particular attention to how each board performs in the metrics that matter most to you. For example, if you value stability or ease of transport above all else, you can look for a high score in that metric. This will help ensure that you select the right board for your specific needs.


Value


While assessed and scored separately in our inflatable SUP review, the FunWater 11 is one of our favorite value choices for its super low price and totally decent performance. If you pump this board up to the recommended PSI, you will find it performs more than adequately. But for rigid boards, if you are shopping on a slightly less tight budget and want the improved performance of a noninflatable board, the SIC Maui TAO Fit AT would be our top recommendation. This thermoformed rigid board costs less than most of the higher-end fiberglass or composite models while still delivering a decent performance all around. The Tahe Beach Performer is another solid option as well. These boards make some concessions when it comes to paddling performance — particularly with glide — but if you are looking to get out on the water with less of a dent in your wallet, these are some great options to consider.

Tooling around on the Tahe Beach Performer with some incredible views.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Glide Performance


Boards that glide well allow you to travel further and move faster while expending less effort, all leading to more fun. A board that doesn't glide well will feel slow and sluggish, leaving you struggling to keep up with friends. To evaluate the performance of each board, we ran a time trial and a glide-per-stroke test for each board — both on flat water and in rough conditions.


The Infinity E-Ticket Touring and Starboard Generation LT tied for the top score in this metric, offering fantastic amounts of speed and lots of glide-per-paddle-stroke. This isn't surprising, as both are designed with a nod to racing. However, unlike dedicated racing boards, these models also offer decent stability, maneuverability, and ease of transport. Only stand up paddle boards specifically designed for just for racing will outperform these boards in regards to glide. Both these longer touring boards are exceptionally fast on flat water. However, expert paddlers will find they also excel in dynamic environments, including chop, surf, and downwinders.

stand up paddle board - the hull shape of the e-ticket has a gentle concave that starts in...
The hull shape of the E-Ticket has a gentle concave that starts in the center and deepens towards the rear of the board, which helps produce a clean wake that lends to its smooth glide.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The version of the Surftech Catalyst Tuflite V-Tech we tested was a foot shorter than the E-Ticket and Generation LT, which means it can't quite compare in terms of outright speed. However, the Catalyst feels light on the water and has tons of acceleration, letting you reach maximum speed without much effort. It's a breeze to paddle, and we wouldn't hesitate to grab it for longer tours, even though it isn't necessarily marketed as a touring board.

stand up paddle board - the catalyst glides effortlessly compared to many other boards we...
The Catalyst glides effortlessly compared to many other boards we tested.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Isle Versa 2.0 and Boardworks Kraken showcase more of an all-around design than a dedicated touring board, but each of these SUPs held their own against the top models, especially given their shorter stature. They have fairly typical hull designs and get up to speed quickly with a decent glide per paddle stroke, though a longer touring board will eventually overtake them on extended paddles.

The TAO Fit isn't the fastest board, not does it have the smoothest glide but it is completely adequate for most water adventures (and, to be fair, we are going against the current in this video).
Credit: Abriah Wofford

By far, the best glide performance of an inflatable SUP was delivered by Red Paddle Co Voyager+ MSL. Most inflatable models feel like soft barges, but not this one. It does an excellent job of mimicking a high-end, rigid touring board — almost to the point that you can forget that you are on an inflatable, though not quite, putting the board just behind the Kraken or the Isle Versa in terms of glide performance.

stand up paddle board - the red paddle voyager is an excellent inflatable option if you want...
The Red Paddle Voyager is an excellent inflatable option if you want to feel almost like you're on a rigid board.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Stability


A stable board can make all the difference between an awesome day out on the water and a frustrating one. It doesn't matter how well a board glides or how speedy it is if you can't stay on it. While skill obviously has a lot to do with this, we still evaluated how each board handled rough water and if it could carry canines and cargo with relative ease. We also polled a panel of beginner paddlers to rank each board's stability.


The SIC Maui TAO Fit AT stood out for its stability, offering a great flat platform for beginner paddlers. Those looking to challenge themselves also enjoyed gentle stretches and yoga moves on this stable board. On flat water, it's a fantastic option for beginners or entirely new paddlers and is excellent for hauling small dogs, kids, or cargo. In gentle currents and moving eddies, the TAO Fit can feel a bit less stable. It's shaped a bit like a whitewater kayak and offers edges that are easy for currents to grab. But overall, we were impressed.

Even when surfing small waves we found the SIC Maui TAO Fit AT...
Even when surfing small waves we found the SIC Maui TAO Fit AT stable and agile.
The TAO Fit was tested in gentle currents to see how stable it feels...
The TAO Fit was tested in gentle currents to see how stable it feels under pressure.

The Tahe Beach Performer offers good stability, but its deck is more rounded on top. Some folks may find it a bit harder to balance on than the flatter-topped TAO Fit.

stand up paddle board - while only a subtle difference, paddlers found that rounded decks...
While only a subtle difference, paddlers found that rounded decks such as the one of the Tahe Beach Performer, are slightly less stable on flat waters.
Credit: Sara James

Although they look more similar to race boards, the Starboard Generation LT and Infinity E-Ticket both consider the paddler's stability. Both have long flat rails offering stability both on the move and on edge. In addition, they are both designed with the widest point ahead of the center of the board, thereby increasing stability. In choppy conditions, advanced paddlers could keep these SUPs upright with relative ease.

stand up paddle board - despite being one of the fastest boards tested, the generation lt...
Despite being one of the fastest boards tested, the Generation LT performed adequately in the stability tests.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

When it comes to stability, inflatable SUPs are generally inferior compared to their rigid counterparts. However, it is worth mentioning that we are quite impressed with the stability of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon. This SUP features a separate inflatable deck chamber that drastically improves stability, helping it almost match some of the rigid boards in rougher conditions.

stand up paddle board - comparing an inflatable sup against a rigid model.
Comparing an inflatable SUP against a rigid model.
Credit: David Wise

Maneuverability


This metric consisted of two tests: completing a full U-turn and paddling around obstacles, slalom style. We set up buoys and steered around natural obstacles to determine scores, noting how close we could get at various speeds and still have time to avoid a collision. For the U-turn test, we paddled as fast as possible on one side and shifted our weight to tilt the board, comparing the amount of area it took to do a complete about-face without back-paddling.


Claiming the top spot in our maneuverability metric, the exceptional agility of the Surftech Catalyst made it stand apart from the rest of the group. It is supremely light on the water and receptive to both paddling and shifting your body weight to turn extremely quickly. This lets you easily avoid most obstacles even if you only see them at the last moment when other boards would crash into them. This also means that the Catalyst doesn't require a huge amount of space to turn, so you can execute a U-turn in relatively narrow channels and waterways.

stand up paddle board - the surftech catalyst tuflite v-tech is comfortable in small waves...
The Surftech Catalyst Tuflite V-Tech is comfortable in small waves and its rounded deck makes it easier to master edge to edge control.
Credit: Sara James

The Boardworks Kraken swings in close behind, with a similarly agile feel that is responsive to the paddler's weight shifts. The opportunity to adapt this board with the single, tri-fin, or quad-fin setup means you can adapt the board to best suit your environment.

The Kraken can turn with a few gentle paddle strokes.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The SIC Maui TAO Fit, Pau Hana Malibu Classic, and Tahe Beach Performer perform slightly above average when it comes to maneuverability. You can avoid obstacles easily enough on these boards if you see them early enough, and most don't take a ton of room to complete a U-turn, with the exception of the large Pau Hana Malibu Classic. The Malibu has a rather large turning radius, meaning you might need to frequently back-paddle and complete a three-point turn when trying to turn this around SUP in narrower areas.

stand up paddle board - pivot turning on the versa 2.0 is fun and easier in comparison to...
Pivot turning on the Versa 2.0 is fun and easier in comparison to the thicker boards we tested.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Starboard Generation LT and Infinity E-Ticket Touring will feel maneuverable when under the feet of an expert paddler. These boards can surf waves, ride gentle currents, and turn on a dime. However, if you are newer to stand up paddle boarding (while actually standing up), don't expect to be able to jump on these less stable boards and feel comfortable enough to maneuver them in this manner. If you are comfortable moving your feet around the board to transfer your weight, these boards are as maneuverable as any of the others we tested.

Performing a pivot turn on the Starboard Generation LT.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Transport


Our next set of tests rated and ranked how much work it is to get these boards to the water — a prerequisite to most paddling trips. We based our scores predominately on the measured weight of each paddle board. However, we also looked at the handles and factored in how easy it is to actually carry and load each board, considering the full experience of getting to and from the water.


As you might expect, inflatable boards are easier to move than rigid boards. Period. It's simply no comparison, as inflatables can be deflated and easily fit into the back of a car. You don't have to worry about strapping them down in a way that prevents your tie-downs from whistling and is tight enough to keep your SUP firmly attached to your car but isn't so tight that it damages the board or your car. On top of that, inflatable SUPs tend to be much lighter, again making them easier to load. However, you came this far because you want a rigid board, so let's talk about those.


We found the Isle Versa 2.0 to be the easiest to transport of the solid boards we tested. Not only is it one of the lighter boards, but it doesn't feel as fragile as other models, so we worried less about the impact of gentle scuffs. We also like the pop-out handles, which can make it a little easier to carry the board to the water, as well as maneuver the board into a truck or onto a roof rack.

stand up paddle board - despite being a large board, the secure pop-out handle on the isle...
Despite being a large board, the secure pop-out handle on the Isle Versa 2.0 makes it easy to carry around.
Credit: Sara James

The Surftech Catalyst and Boardworks Kraken are relatively light to move around and have incut handles, which we found secure to use for carrying. However, the more fragile nature of these boards makes loading and unloading them a slightly more laborious affair. Having a padded bag to transport these beautiful SUPs is something we recommend.

stand up paddle board - the catalyst was one of the lightest non-inflatable sups we tested...
The Catalyst was one of the lightest non-inflatable SUPs we tested, making for a more comfortable carry than most.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Although slightly heavier than most of the boards we tested, we found the durability of the SIC Maui TAO Fit AT and Tahe Beach Performer allowed us to be less concerned when loading and carrying these boards. This, in turn, makes the general ease of transport much more simple. We would be happy to throw these boards loose in the back of a truck, which is not something we do willy-nilly.

stand up paddle board - the recessed handle on the sic maui tao fit at is ok, but it isn&#039;t...
The recessed handle on the SIC Maui TAO Fit AT is ok, but it isn't as large as some of the other options we tested.
Credit: Sara James

Quality of Construction


This metric considers the materials used for each SUP as well as the construction techniques. Because we can't entirely speak to the long-term durability of these products after a testing period of a few months, we use two different methods to judge them. We carefully examined each board after all other testing, noting any scratches, scrapes, scuffs, or other damage incurred during our rigorous testing process. We also combed through user reviews and forums, noting any commonalities.


The SIC Maui TAO Fit AT and Tahe Beach Performer shine in terms of straight robustness. Thanks to the construction, you can realistically drop these SUPs while carrying them without worrying about any cosmetic or structural damage. This makes loading and unloading these SUPs less stressful, and you don't have to worry about padding out every corner and rail on your roof rack. All the other SUPs tested showed visible scuffs, and the most sensitive of them could be sidelined from even the most gentle of accidents. The Surftech Catalyst has a high-end finish with a quality design incorporated into the structure and finish of the board.

The deck of the Catalyst is comfortable and grippy.
The deck of the Catalyst is comfortable and grippy.
The SIC Maui TAO Fit AT really stands out for its durability, this...
The SIC Maui TAO Fit AT really stands out for its durability, this also made it more relaxing to paddle and transport as we were not worried about damaging the board.

The Starboard Generation LT stands out for its high-quality, lightweight construction. The attention to detail in the design and finish of this board reflects a superior level of craftsmanship compared to many of the other boards. This includes the pine standing area, which provides extra impact resistance and rigidity. This board also has a self-regulating valve, allowing it to ventilate to prevent damage from expansion when in warmer temps or at higher altitudes.

stand up paddle board - the inlaid handle of the generation lt is comfortable and secure for...
The inlaid handle of the Generation LT is comfortable and secure for carrying.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Downriver SUPing requires a unique set of river safety skills and gear. Although ankle leashes are highly recommended on flat water lakes, they are to be avoided at all costs when going downriver as they pose a serious snag risk, which can lead to drowning. Know your environment and seek relevant training. In river environments, if you use a leash, ensure it is attached to your PFD or a waist belt and easily accessible. If there are many overhanging trees and potential snags, consider going without any leash but paddle with friends; traveling downstream solo without a board is not as fun.

stand up paddle board - we enjoy testing these boards side by side in order to get the very...
We enjoy testing these boards side by side in order to get the very best analysis to share with you.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Conclusion


We bought all the best stand up paddle boards and tested them head-to-head to help you find the perfect board for your watery adventures. We hope this has been a helpful and comprehensive comparison of the top products, whether you are searching for a budget model for a beginner or a top-tier product for a high-performance paddler.

Sara James and Marissa Fox