Best Inflatable SUPs for 2023

Best Inflatable SUPs for 2023

AQ Staff
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Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) has exploded in popularity over the years. Every season there are more and more shapes, features and manufacturers to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Whether you are just getting started with your first SUP board, or ready to find your niche, there is a board for you. 

All the SUPs listed below are on for big discounts in our SUPer Spring Sale where you can save over $800 on a premium paddleboard!

We've tried and tested all these SUPs (it’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it), used on our courses, received customer feedback and more. Here’s a breakdown by category of the best inflatable SUPs in 2023. 

SUPer Spring Sale on Paddleboards

SUP Brands AQ Outdoors Carries

Badfish

Based out of Salida, Colorado, year after year Badfish continues to produce progressive, performance-focused designs for every type of SUP paddler.

Kootenay PDL

A local company designing high-quality inflatable SUPs made specifically for the lakes and rivers of Western Canada. They are also a huge supporter of the local paddling community and sponsor many events and races. 

NRS

A paddlesports powerhouse business. Over the 21+ years we have worked with them they have morphed into one of the most recognizable brands in paddlesports. 

Boardworks

With more than 25 years of experience building quality surf and SUP boards, you can always expect innovative design, beautiful graphics and eco-friendly construction from the Boardworks lineup. 



What is an Inflatable SUP?

Inflatable SUPs start with an inner shell made of drop-stitch fabric. This consists of thousands of threads to connect the top and bottom layers of the shell and seals them, creating an airtight bladder when inflated that will hold the unique shape of the board. 

From there, different construction techniques will determine the overall quality and cost of the board. Here's a breakdown of the different types: 

Single-layer construction

Single-layer construction consists of a drop stitch core with the top and bottom layer made from one-ply fabric and is then sealed with a flexible PVC coating. The result is a more cost-effective board, but it will lack rigidity and durability. 

Fusion construction

With fusion construction, the top and bottom layer of the drop stitch core is made of two layers of fabric that have been bonded together. A PVC layer is then added to the two-ply fabric. This construction method produces boards that have more rigidity than a single-layer board and are still fairly cost-effective. 

Fusion boards are often the best compromise between performance and weight savings. 

Double layer construction

This construction type is popular in river SUP boards, as they are built to bounce off jagged rocks and debris from the shores. Boards made with double-layer construction have that same drop stitch core, but it is reinforced with another PVC layer. The result is a more rigid and durable board and gives the manufacturer the ability to increase the rocker profile of the board. The downside, though, is added cost and weight. 


Best all around SUP - Kootenay PDL Sustain

Kootenay Paddleboards Sustain Inflatable SUP Board

Kootenay Paddleboards Sustain Inflatable SUP Board

$1,087.00

Best Inflatable SUPs The Kootenay Paddleboards Sustain Inflatable SUP Board is designed for a smooth, and stable glide on flat water and on Class I rivers for new or intermediate paddlers or as a white water racing board for experts.… Read More

Overview

The Kootenay Sustain measures at 11’ long and 32” wide, making a stable platform for beginner and intermediate paddlers alike on flatwater lakes or class I rivers.  It also comes in a 5” and 6” thickness. The 5” version makes for a great downriver race board with effective edging. The best thing about this board? It’s much lighter than some of its competitors, coming in at about 25 lbs. 

best inflatable sup kootenay sustain

What we like

  • Beginner-friendly board that allows for paddling progression
  • Pointed nose allows for great tracking
  • Bungee tie downs so you can bring your gear with you
  • Raised foot pad helps you find the back of your board while pivot turning
  • Extra carry handles at the nose and tail of the board
  • Removable tri-fin set up 
  • Comes with a Bravo Super Pump - one of the best dual action pumps out there
  • Package includes a quick release leash that converts to an ankle leash, roller bag with backpack straps and a paddle
  • Designed locally with our rivers and lakes in mind

What we don’t like

Ever since Badfish came out with the Flyweight, we can no longer say this is the lightest high-quality inflatable, but it still ranks pretty good on the scale. These boards can feel a little unstable at first and can take longer to get used to than other similar boards on the market. 



Best touring SUP - Badfish Selfie

Badfish Selfie 14 SUP Package

Badfish Selfie 14 SUP Package

$1,053.00

Badfish Selfie Review: Efficient Speed Machine Badfish Selfie vs Rivershred Best Inflatable SUPs The Badfish Selfie 14 SUP Package is built for fast moving adventures. At 14', with loads of outfitting for packability it makes a great board to eat up… Read More

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Overview

This board was made for adventure. It was designed for self-supported trips, hence the name “selfie”. It is jam-packed with features and offers a stable, smooth ride with maximum glide for an inflatable. 

best inflatable sup selfie

What we like

  • At 14’ and a slightly more narrow width at 30”, this board glides really well throughout the water which helps you cover a greater distance
  • Bungee tie downs are strategically placed to allow for a balanced load on overnight trips (or days where you need a lot of gear)
  • Integrated water bottle holder gives you easy access to hydration
  • Extra carry handles at the nose and tail
  • The push pin for the pressure valve is really comfortable on your thumb - a totally underrated feature
  • Super rigid and durable construction with reinforced rails and stringer
  • Comes with a nice backpack, dual action pump and an ankle leash and multiple fin options

What we don’t like

It is one of the heavier boards on the market. 

[Also Read: Badfish Selfie Review]



Best flatwater race SUP - Kootenay PDL Pivot

Kootenay Paddleboards Pivot Inflatable SUP

Kootenay Paddleboards Pivot Inflatable SUP

$1,143.00

Best Inflatable SUPs For fitness, racing, and multi-day trips, the Kootenay Paddleboards Pivot Inflatable SUP is the one for you. With added length and a narrow width, this board delivers excellent glide. If you are looking for a fast touring… Read More

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Overview

If you want to try SUP racing but don’t want to invest in a high performance hard board (they can cost more than $3,500), this is the board for you. At 14’, the length offers excellent glide. It also comes in two different widths, 27” and 30”. The narrower option is great for advanced riders and will help improve glide. The wider option we would consider more of a touring board than a competitive race board.

Kootenay PDL also introduced a composite stringer into the construction of this board, which provides added stiffness making it perform more like a hard board. 

best inflatable sup pivot

What we like

  • The dimensions allow for great glide through the water for an inflatable
  • Very versatile board, it can be used for racing or touring
  • Bungee tie downs so you can bring your gear with you
  • Raised foot pad helps you find the back of your board while pivot turning
  • Carry handles at the nose and tail of the board
  • Comes with a Bravo Super Pump - one of the best dual-action pumps out there
  • Package includes a quick-release leash that converts to an ankle leash, a roller bag with backpack straps and a paddle
  • Designed locally with our rivers and lakes in mind

What we don’t like

We really don’t have anything bad to say about this board, except for this unpopular opinion: hard boards are faster than inflatables, however, a good motor (read: fast paddler) makes all the difference



Best whitewater SUP -  Badfish Rivershred

Badfish Rivershred River SUP Board

Badfish Rivershred River SUP Board

$902.00

Badfish Selfie vs Rivershred Comparison Best Inflatable SUPs The Badfish Rivershred River SUP Board is a high-performance inflatable paddleboard for hard-charging on the river. With an ample nose and tail rocker, it punches easily through whitewater and blasts through wave… Read More

Overview

Whitewater SUP design has come a long way in the last few years, and there is no better example than the Rivershred. The amount of rocker on this board has earned it the nickname the “banana board”, but that is only one of many features that make this board our top pick for whitewater SUP. Whether you are running drops or playing on every feature, this board can handle it all. 

best inflatable sup rivershred

What we like

  • Ample nose and tail rocker to handle drops and wave trains with ease
  • Pointed nose to punch through river features
  • The width carries from the centre of the board to the tail, providing max stability
  • PBR rails - triple enforced rails for added stiffness and durability
  • Extra carry handles at the nose and tail
  • The push pin for the pressure valve is really comfortable on your thumb - a totally underrated feature!
  • Comes with a nice backpack, dual action pump a quick release leash and 2 + 1 flexible tri fin set up

What we don’t like

Again, the weight! A canoe cart will go a long way with this board

If mellow river running on class I is more your thing, this board will feel like overkill

[Also Read: Badfish Selfie vs Rivershred]



Best travel SUP - Flyweight

Badfish Flyweight SUP Package

Badfish Flyweight SUP Package

$902.00

Best Inflatable SUPs The Badfish Flyweight SUP Package is a unique inflatable SUP design in that it weighs in at only 18 pounds. This revolutionary board weighs less and is more packable than the average inflatable paddle board, allowing you… Read More

Overview

One of the newest additions to the Badfish family and winner of Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year award. It packs in all the features we love from other Badfish boards into just about half the weight - weighing only 18 pounds! It’s easy to pack, has lots of room in the bag for the rest of your paddling gear and leaves you with a nice all-around board once you reach your destination - whether that is tropical waters or glacier-fed alpine lakes. 

best inflatable sup flyweight

What we like

  • It’s the best compromise of weight and quality construction
  • At 10’6” it’s a beginner-friendly, versatile length that can handle most conditions
  • Includes everything you need to get on the water - pump, 3 piece paddle, leash and backpack-style bag
  • Integrated water bottle holder and GoPro mount
  • Removable tri-fin set up
  • Bungee tie down straps

What we don’t like

More advanced riders may find this board limiting in surf and river running conditions, however, it will handle the small stuff just fine



Best Inflatable SUPs for 2023 Summary

So that's the rundown of our top inflatable paddleboards for 2023! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us below or visit us in store!

Shop SUPer Spring Sale on Paddleboards

Related SUP Articles

How to Choose a Paddleboard SUP

Planning a Multi-Day SUP Trip

Beginner Guide to Flatwater SUP

How to Stand Up Paddleboard -- Complete Guide

AQ Outdoors Contact

Edmonton:  (p) 780 463-4892 (e) info@aquabaticsedmonton.com

Calgary:  (p) 403 288-9283  (e)  info@aqoutdoors.com

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