This is a review of the Best SUP boards (Paddle boards) for surfing in 2022.
Hi, I am Angle, I am the water sports consultant of SSWBoardHouse, a retired professional kayak athlete, and a certified paddle boarding instructor with over 10 years of experience.
Choosing a stand up paddle board to fit your needs is challenging. There are a whole lot of things to consider before you make your choice. But choosing one that goes well with surfing? Well, that’s even more tricky. Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you.
Check out our list of four of the best SUP boards in the market that are also great for surfing.
- Best all-rounder: Boardworks Kraken
- Best for speed: South Bay 10’ Big Barco Pro Paddle Board
- Best for leisure paddling: ISLE Explorer
- Best budget for beginners: FunWater Tiki Cruiser Inflatable SUP
Best SUP Boards for Surfing – Our Picks
Here are our most recommended SUP boards for surfing.
- Key Features: Allows for an up to five-fin configuration, Integrated LiftSUP handle, 3 front tie downs with crossing bungee
Length & Width: Comes in either 9’9”x35”, 10’3”x35” or 11’0”x35”
- Weight Capacity: 170lbs
- Best for: All-Around Paddling
The Boardworks Kraken is an open water SUP that is specially designed with a wide stance and a sharp nose in order to accommodate stability in rough waters. It’s a great choice for people whose preference is riding waves and paddling for short distances.
It can even be set up to at least five fins to adjust your board to match the weather and environmental conditions. The center fin box also comes with its own 9” FCS2 Connect Dolphin Fin, which can be easily installed without the need for any specific tools. It’s quick and easy like that.
Aside from that, the Kraken also provides 3 front tie-downs with a crossing bungee, and an integrated LiftSUP handle. This allows for both portability and easy storage of any of your needed gear in and out of the water.
But as great as the Kraken may seem, it also has its own caveats. For one, this board does not come with a leash or paddle. So you may have to purchase these separately.
Also, despite boasting an EPS core laminated with layers of fiberglass and bamboo veneers, it can get some minor dings and cracks upon shipping. And they also seem to be prone to said damages after a few uses.
- Key Features: Double Pulled-In Tail, 2+1 FCS II Fin Box, Wax-Free Deck Pad
- Weight Capacity: 275 lbs
- Best for: Speed
The family-owned South Bay Board Co.’s 10’ Big Barco is a great choice for both beginners and advanced users. It has a wide outline that allows for stability and balance and a single to double concave bottom deck that gives it impressive speed and board control.
Its rounded-out thruster nose grants extra float, another feature that aids in its stability. It also has a double pulled-in tail that keeps the board loose and lets it glide well in turns.
Other than that, it is built with a 2+1 FCS II Fin Box and three removable fins. The FCS II fin control system is especially helpful, as it is fitted for speed, drive, acceleration, and better board response.
Rigidity and durability seem to be a priority for this board, with custom-designed carbon fiber wrapped rails and top and bottom deck stringer strips. It is also equipped with bamboo body armor, also on both the top and bottom decks. All these improve the board’s durability, rigidity, and even heat resistance.
A minor downside is that the board does not come with its own leash, so another trip to the store might be necessary if you really need one.
- Key Features: AirTech FusionLite, Front and Rear Bungee System, Portability
- Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
- Best for: Leisure Paddling
Unlike the previous options, the ISLE Explorer does include a leash, a manual hand pump (it is inflatable after all), a travel bag, and even a Hybrid 3-Piece Adjustable SUP travel paddle. And even without the bag, this board is easily portable when it is inflated as it also sports a rounded carry handle.
Constructed with a composite soft technology called Airtech Fusion Lite, it is extremely durable in different conditions due to its multiple layers of military-grade PVC. This construction also adds to the board’s comfortability, a good option for people who do SUP yoga or fishing.
As mentioned, it is built for comfort, featuring a 6-point front bungee and 4-point rear bungee system to hold your accessories and gear. It even has a nose and tail carry handle, as well as a paddle holder.
The ISLE Explorer is a jack-of-all-trades, king-of-none, type of board. It’s best for leisure and recreational paddling as it’s made more for stability rather than speed. It also comes with only one removable fin, so it isn’t very customizable either.
Key Features: Comes with a lot of nifty accessories, Sturdy and easy to assemble
Length & Width: 10’6 x 33”
Weight Capacity: 260 lbs
Best for: Budget for Beginners
The FunWater Tiki Cruiser is a budget paddle board that comes with a pretty good amount of accessories. It provides the customary travel backpack and high-pressure hand pump required for most inflatable SUPs.
And as an added bonus, your kit also includes a coil leash, adjustable aluminum paddle, three removable fins, and even its own waterproof case for your phone.
It is an easy-to-assemble board and is sturdy and rigid when inflated to the needed pounds per square inch (PSI). It is built with a drop-stitch core and a surrounding PVC layer, as well as a foam deck pad on top. Although a single-layer doesn’t make it very durable, it is pretty good for the average beginner.
It is said to be very stable for leisure cruising, SUP yoga, or even fishing. It also comes with a 6-point bungee storage system, perfect for storing items like your paddle, backpack, and more.
As noted, this board does have the con of it not being a very good choice for more experienced paddlers. This board has a tendency to bow a lot, especially when you are using all of your muscles when paddling. This is especially more common in choppier waters.
Best SUP for Surfing – What to Consider
Choosing the right type of paddle board is mostly going to be up to your own personal preferences and priorities. These are the following factors you need to consider when choosing the best SUP for you.
What kind of paddle board are you personally looking for? You might prefer a solid paddle board, which is rigid in its construction and known to be built more for speed and stability. Performance-wise, this is usually a better choice.
Or maybe you’re someone who prefers portability and leisure paddling, then you might want to go for an inflatable board instead. These usually come with their own travel bag and hand pump, and are much easier to bring along on your travels.
Length & Width
Length and width are more considerations that will help you decide exactly what kind of SUP board you need.
The former will tell you how the board tracks. The longer it is, the less you have to paddle to get traction. Shorter lengths, around 10’ and under, are great choices for racing as they are more maneuverable.
Medium length boards at a range of 10’ to 12’ are ideal for all types of board use. On the other hand, longer-length boards are a better choice if you prefer long-distance and faster paddling.
Meanwhile, width helps you determine your board’s stability. The wider it is, the more stable. However, you can’t choose one that is too wide, as that will make it much harder to paddle with.
A paddle board must be able to withstand both your size and weight while keeping itself stable. If not, this might cause your board to ride much lower and not allow you to paddle very well. Thankfully, shops that sell these boards will usually indicate to you their own weight capacity.
You should also know exactly what you want to use your board for, as many boards are constructed for different types of uses. Maybe you want to do more than just paddle boarding and surfing.
If you want to do some whitewater paddling, which will have you encounter a variety of different obstacles like rocks, get one that is particularly sturdy and durable.
Or maybe you just want to use it for some SUP yoga, so choose one that is more comfortable on your body. But you might also want to be able to do all of those things, too. So having a board that allows you to do everything you need is essential.