How to choose an inflatable stand up paddle board Australia

You already know you’re looking for an inflatable stand up paddle board. But sifting through the five-star reviews to find one that suits you is an endless task. Fortunately, we have the best paddle boards in Australia in 2022. We’ve also got an insight into all the accessories you could need to shop for with an inflatable SUP board, from your camping shower to your rash vests.

What Is An Inflatable Stand up Paddle (SUP) Board?

Paddle boarding is a fun variation on surfing, where you stand up on a board and use a paddle to propel yourself through the water (called paddling). You can use it for a range of sports activities, like yoga or surfing.

Your inflatable stand up paddle boards are the intelligent solution to the completely impossible task of getting a regular board to fit in your camper van. Inflatable paddle boards are perfect for rolling up, deflating, and storing neatly in your bag.

As a bonus, they can also hold more volume than a rigid board, making inflatable SUPs more stable. They are also more durable and perform better than hard boards because they won’t dent, chip, or crack.

Paddle boards each have their own weight capacities in case you want to bring more storage or even a pet.
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SUPs each have their own weight capacities in case you want to bring more storage or even a pet.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide me income at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a linked product.

Top Inflatable Paddle Board Picks

This top five list is for the solo female traveller looking for an inflatable paddle board.

#1 Aqua Marina Vapor Inflatable SUP

Aqua Marina enthusiasts will already know that the brand is one of the world’s most popular stand up paddle board brands. This 10’4″ inflatable Aqua Marina SUP by Anaconda is perfect for beginners and experts across flat water and small ocean wave scenarios. This SUP board is a visually pleasing marine blue, made of reinforced PVC and a superior diamond grip footpad. A strengthened stainless steel D-ring provides support on small waves. The SUP board also comes with Aqua Marina’s Drop Stitch Light Technology, creating a lightweight, durable, and versatile board.

The Vapor range comes with additional volume and carrying capacity. It is a firm favourite for accessories, with a lightweight, customised zip backpack, safety leash, repair kit, instruction manual, slide-in centre fin, and double-action pump for fast inflation and deflation. It has all the accessories you need in an inflatable SUP. The bungee leash is perfect for transporting and securing luggage.

Top Features

  • Super lightweight and portable
  • Suitable for all conditions
  • Lots of accessories

#2 Tahwalhi Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

The Tahwalhi iSUP by BCF is ideal for beginners, with a width of almost 80cm, making it easy to balance out on the water. The included adjustable paddle is excellent for those trying to work out the best paddle length on the water. The EVA deck grip is perfect for those learning to get their footing and is commonly used on footwear due to its grip capabilities. The board has a huge carrying capacity of 150kg, making it perfect for transporting all its extra accessories. If you wanted to, you could transport kids and pets without difficulty. 

The Tahwalhi is perfect for women solo travellers, with everything you’ll ever need – a double-action pump, leash, adjustable paddle, carry bag, and repair kit. It even comes with a built-in pressure gauge for the pump itself. The 4-point bungee is ideal for securing all the items you’ll need on your SUP.

The board also has a double-layer PVC deck, giving it strength and potential as a touring SUP. The centre paddle and adjustable side fins give it added stability over other inflatable SUP boards on the market.

Top features

  • Ideal for a beginner
  • Large carrying capacity
  • Extra stability

#3 Red Paddle Co Ride MSL

The Red Paddle is one of the top touring SUPs, offering all-rounder capabilities that suit river water, lakes, flat water, and small waves if you want to surf. The new product release of this model comes with an extended deck pad and a diamond-cut rear for extra stability. The two ‘iFins’ are also more stable than a three-fin scenario, while the textured surface gives you more grip when on the board.

The SUP has three self-closing bungee straps with a dry bag, one of the best SUP storage solutions on all of the boards on this list. The storage options get even better as the board comes with a Red all-terrain backpack with wheels, a rubber bumper, and a handle making it easy to carry across all terrain types.

This 10’6″ board is 32″ wide and 4.7″ thick, making it one of the larger boards on the market and ideal for beginners. The recent product design has shaved 2kg of its carrying weight, making it lightweight for its size and durability. It is one of the higher price tags on this list, but the quality and stability make it one of the top picks for the frequent women paddler.

Top features

  • Superior storage options
  • High-quality and well-designed
  • Superior stability

#4 Itiwit X500 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

The Itiwit is another firm favourite as a touring SUP. It has added speed and a sharp profile designed to propel you as much as possible with each stroke. Great if you want to explore or surf, the Itiwit is an exceptionally stable board, 6″ thick and 31″ wide. The reinforced drop-stitch construction makes it durable, solid and suitable for flat water, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.

The speed of the Itiwit is ideal for intermediate learners and unsuitable for young kids. However, it does offer placement markers to help with positioning and skill development. Stand up paddleboarding is a skill made easier with the Itiwit’s smooth glide performance, comfortable and grip-capable foam EVA deck, and stability. This model has no included paddle or pump, unlike other inflatable SUPs on this list.

Top Features

  • Great touring SUP
  • Suitable for a range of water types
  • Strong and extremely stable

#5 Funwater Feath-R-Lite Inflatable Paddle Board SUP

The Feath-R-Lite is easily the most lightweight and portable SUP on this list. Suitable for all paddling levels, from novice to veteran, the board comes with a PVC board rail layer, making it solid and sturdy. It’s the right SUP if you are a solo female traveller looking to enjoy using a SUP on your vacation. You can also use it for kids if you’re looking for a novice board you can share with family.

Despite its lightweight strength, it has an exceptional carry weight of 220lbs, allowing you to transport your pets or small kids with you should you want some company on your journey. The best part of this paddle board is that it is incredibly cost-effective yet still comes with the gear and all the accessories you’d expect from a stand up paddle board, including a pump and bag.

Top features

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Excellent value for money
  • Suitable for all experience levels
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There are many SUPs to suit the needs of each individual.

Inflatable Paddle Board Information Deep Dive

Even though we’ve recommended our top five inflatable SUPs for solo women travellers, there are an infinite number of stand up paddle boards to suit your needs. Read on to explore the factors you need to consider when finding the right SUP board for you.

Stand Up Paddle Board Price Points

Stand up paddle board costs tend to find into three key categories:

Low-tier

The low-tier boards are ideal for beginners or kids, although results apply to the usability of the low-tier product. The quality and price will be lower than boards for more experienced or frequent paddlers. It’s important to note that you may see these boards mentioned on top 10 lists or featured lists. The asset to these boards is the price in most cases. Nonetheless, they are still a fantastic option if you are a beginner. They may also be missing critical items like a pump or a bag.

Mid-tier

Optimally performing inflatable stand up paddle boards are ideal for those committed to developing their SUP or surf skills and prepared to invest in equipment that lasts beyond the summer. They may be suitable for kids or adults with intermediate skill levels or a longer-term commitment to developing their skills as a beginner.

High-tier

The high tier range is usually for speciality and regularly used boards. These models are often for multi-use, multi-function, and also touring. You may find that they also function as kayaks or canoes.

Before you select an option from one of the above, you should consider:

  • Am I confident I will continue paddle boarding or do I want to try a low-tier model first?
  • How often will I be able to paddle board?
  • Should I invest in a better quality product to use it for longer?
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Paddle boards can also be used as canoes or kayaks.

What Will I Be Doing In Addition To Paddle Boarding?

Your stand up paddle board is not just for paddling. That’s why you should explore which activities you might want to do when you purchase your paddle board. Additional activities will also influence the prices of your paddle board and what accessories you buy.

Yoga

A stand up paddle board is ideal for yoga. An inflatable SUP on flat water brings an added challenge for yoga enthusiasts to explore. You’ll need to factor in the added dimension of balancing on the water.

Canoeing or Kayaking

You can convert some brands of inflatable SUP into a canoe or kayak. They are known as a SUP-yak, a stand up kayak, or a SUP kayak hybrid. They range from a small seat on the board to a paddle board that looks more like a kayak or a canoe. They also require a double paddle rather than a single paddle.

Surfing

If you like to surf, using a SUP creates a unique change to traditional surfing. With the added stroke power of your paddle, you can tackle small ocean waves using surfing SUPs. Some paddle boards even have footholds or enhanced grip, making it possible to paddle board over river rapids.

Touring

A touring SUP is an inflatable stand up paddle board used as a form of transport for camping or when you want to explore. You might traverse a range of rivers or lakes using your board, and bring hiking gear and clothing as you would for traditional camping. Touring SUPs tend to be larger and give you room to bring kids or pets if you want a break from solo travelling.

Sport

SUP racing has become a popular sport. In the summer, you’ll often see SUP boards used in races. They usually have a sharper and more streamlined design to cut through the water more effectively.

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Paddle boarding is the perfect sport for the solo female traveller.

How Do I Find The Right Board For My Paddle Boarding Activities?

SUP boards come with a range of qualities that make them suitable for your needs:

  • Wide and stable boards – these two qualities will make SUP boards suitable for yoga.
  • Narrow and streamlined boards – these lend themselves better to racing.
  • Shorter boards – more suitable for a surf.
  • Longer boards are suitable for yoga or touring, where additional storage is a priority. Length will affect your board’s stability, speed, and weight capacity.

Additional accessories may also be helpful, depending on the activity. A comfortable deck pad will help you relax if you use your paddle board for yoga. If you are fishing, paddle storage will help you use your rod, while more storage options are also beneficial when you are touring. Review the accessories when you purchase the board to ensure you have all the necessary items.

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Each SUP will come with its own accessories, but may also come separately.

What Accessories Will I Need Alongside My SUP Board?

When you purchase your SUP board, you should always check whether you have:

  • A paddle
  • A pump
  • A bag to carry your SUP board
  • A leash or bungee cord to secure items
  • A repair kit

If these items aren’t included, you will need to buy them, especially a pump and a paddle, before you get started.

There are also additional items that can enhance your paddle boarding experience, like:

Electric pumps

You can order unique electric pumps if you want to save time on pumping. You may also need to order pumps if your paddle board doesn’t come with one.

Life jackets

Life jackets are highly recommended (and mandatory in some places) for paddle boards, especially in deep water, traversing the ocean, or in areas with small waves. They are essential for your safety and are one of the critical items of SUP clothing. There are specific lightweight life jackets that you can purchase for paddle boards that won’t affect your weight on the board.

Rash Vests

A rash vest and clothing types that use the same material protect you from sunburn and, you guessed it – rashes. A rash vest is a thin vest or t-shirt that is traditionally used as surfing clothing. You can also wear it over your life vest (a couple of sizes bigger) if you’re keen to go over rapids.

Footwear

If you’re only occasionally inflatable stand up boarding, you can paddle barefoot. However, suitable footwear is ideal for longer-term or regular SUP use. Any footwear like trainers will get your feet soggy and add weight to your board, while flip flops or open-toed wear could get caught and injure your feet. Water shoes are the safest form of footwear for inflatable stand up paddle boarding.

A wetsuit

Getting your clothing right is essential for safety when using paddle boards. If you wear dry clothing like leggings or a tracksuit, you can wear them under a dry suit, a type of water-repellant clothing that provides insulation during colder temperatures. A wetsuit is the best clothing item when using SUP boards regularly. You can also wear neoprene as a form of clothing, a type of rubber worn as leggings, jackets, or trousers.

Storage options

When touring, storage is an essential option for your paddle board. Having a dry bag to store dry clothing is necessary, as naturally, you will get wet when using SUP boards. Many storage options also come with bungee cords to help secure your items. Some stores include these items in the sale of the paddle board. If you’re travelling, you’ll always need a secure bag to store essential items like your pump and repair kit.

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A specialist board retailer should be able to advise on appropriate SUPs.

How Do I Decide Which Stand Up Board Retailer Is Right For My Needs?

Now you know all there is to know about paddling. The only thing left is to explore which sale retailers you should get your paddle board from. Online retailers and physical shop locations both exist and offer the sale of paddle boards. Larger stores that sell an extensive range of outdoor products will be less able to advise on the best paddle board for you. Smaller, specialised eCommerce retailers can advise you on the most suitable boards. However, if you know what board you want, exploring any legitimate retailer with the best sale price should be perfectly adequate for your needs.

Check out the sale section of each retailer to explore if any popular items appear in the sales. If you’re looking for a specialised board or gear, approaching specific brands with a history of making a range of boards might be the best option. If you can’t afford the new products you want, then shop when they hit sale prices or explore an older model that still meets your needs. You should also make sure they stock paddling accessories and clothing in addition to the board.

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Experience the joy of exploring the waters with a SUP.

That’s A Wrap

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to explore the waters around you, finding the right SUP is the best way to do it. Inflatable SUPs allow you to combine the joys of paddling with the realities of fitting a board in your bag. Once you know how you’re going to use it and where you’re going to use it, all you need to do is find the right brands and invest in some clothing and accessories. 

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