We have carefully selected each and every one of our amazing boards from the finest stand up paddleboards this planet has to offer. Whether you are looking at established brands or some family fun we have six of the best inflatable SUP’s to take your fancy.
From the ever-popular Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 or the Starboard Atlas 12’ to the relative newcomers of the Nixy Newport G2 10’6 and the iRocker Cruiser 10’6. Finally, we have added the Aquaglide Cascade 11’ and the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11’ to round off our 2018 SUP comparison.
|iRocker Cruiser 10'6||Review||Buy Now|
|Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11'||Review||Buy Now|
|Nixy Newport G2 10'6||Review||Buy Now|
|Red Paddle Co Ride MSL 10'6||Review||Buy Now|
|Aquaglide Cascade 11'||Review||Buy Now|
|Starboard Atlas Zen 12'||Review||Buy Now|
There have been spills, we’ve had thrills. With so much fun, in the sun. Now here we are. Having stood upon, set out, and paddled all of these beautiful boards we are ready to pump them up and show you the 2018 best all-around inflatable stand up paddleboards.
We have been lucky enough to test all of our boards in a variety of conditions, from the flat lakes and estuaries and onto our favorite surf and river explorations. This SUP Comparison will guide you through our favorite aspects of each board and inform you of exactly what you need to know.
So buckle up and lets launch right in.
The 6 Paddleboard Introductions
iRocker 10’6 Cruiser
|Weight Capacity||25 lbs|
The iRocker 10’6 Cruiser is the perfect mix of usability, performance, and fun. The quad layer construction has to be the most durable in the industry combining military grade PVC to create a board that can be bounced, beaten and boogied just about anywhere. A large colorful deck pad can be chosen in one of 6 colors. This kind of choice really allows you to customize your style. Oh and extra board leash perfectly matching!
At 10’6 we feel it is the ideal length for many users. A solid tri fin set up featuring a larger center fin gives the board some direction and allows it to really grip the water and cruise with a great glide. The smaller outer fins come into play to turn and spin the board effortlessly making it the ideal board to try some slalom or whitewater also.
- An amazing lineup of 6 different colors available
- Matching leashes and paddles that go with your chosen deck pad color
- The inclusion of the lightweight fiberglass paddle
- Able to add a kayak seat
- 2-year warranty provides peace of mind
- A slower board to paddle than other narrower designs
- The bag even though it looks amazing is bright blue, sometimes we prefer to be a little more inconspicuous while walking through town
Thurso Surf 11’ Waterwalker
|Weight Capacity||450 lbs|
The Thurso Surf 11’ Waterwalker may look like a piece of timber but it definitely is anything but driftwood. The elegant top deck has been designed with a stunning wood effect pattern. Set apart beautifully with the classy tri color EVA deck pad. In our opinion, this is certainly one of the best looking boards on the market.
If looks and style aren’t your things then you will be pleased to know Thurso Surf have combined a dual layer PVC outer over a drop stitch core to give a solid stable board perfect for a variety of users.
At 11 feet long it’s a board that can suit larger riders and with a 450 lb capacity, it can be fun for all the family.
One huge aspect of the board is the tri fin set up, with all three fins being removable. This allows you to set the board up for whatever your adventure. Whether you choose a single center fin for cruising or tri fin for all-around performance! The swap out is quick, simple and most importantly your own.
Sold as a fantastic package including a carbon shafted paddle, board leash, travel bag and get this a lunch cooler bag! Perfect for keeping those drinks cool and those sandwiches dry.
- Beautiful wood grain effect deck design
- Traction pad is deep and grippy
- Coiled board leash is strong and comfortable
- Cooler bag is a really nice addition
- Center hand cover doubling up as a paddle holder is an ingenious addition
- Great value for the price
- Traction pad does not include a kick pad
- The bag is really nicely designed but lighter weight and less padded than other brands
Nixy Newport G2 10’6”
|Weight Capacity||300 lbs|
The Nixy Newport G2 10’6 all around paddleboard originally came to us as an outsider but once on the water it just felt right, like your mother’s home cooked meatloaf it all just fell perfectly into place. For us, this is certainly one of the best SUP boards we have ever ridden.
The Fusion core technology is something really exciting. By fusing the materials before manufacturing allows them to work in perfect harmony providing increased durability and stiffness across the entire board whilst keeping the weight low.
Both the looks and feel of the board felt like any of the higher priced premium boards. And also once afloat it felt just like one too, tracking and turning with ease. The super stable board is ideal for beginners and advanced paddlers alike.
From the oversized, comfortable EVA deck pad to the toolless tri fin set up this board just oozes usability. The Nixy Newport G2 10’6 is sold as a ready to roll package including hybrid leash, paddle, and the super stylish wheely bag. This bag really rounds off the package, allowing you to truly take the Nixy paddleboard anywhere with you at a moments notice.
- Fusion Core offers increased rigidity
- Wheely bag featuring large 3 wheeled design
- Quality hybrid leash included as standard
- Different color options available
- Toolless tri fin set up fast and effective
- Only one handle in the center of the board, personally we would have loved to see a rear launching handle also
- The paddle is very basic and could be improved
Red Paddle Co 10’6 Ride MSL
|Weight Capacity||220 lbs|
The Ride 10’6 from Red Paddle Co has been one of the best selling and most popular boards for many years now. The 2018 edition is no exception carrying the mantle from one of the top brands in the Inflatable stand up paddleboard business. By implementing careful changes to sleekly update the board for another season Red Paddle co have yet again created a masterpiece.
The Ride 10’6 is built on industry-leading MSL and Tec Air Technologies giving you the stiffness and rigidity you expect without compromise. The Red Paddle co Ride 10’6 is equipped with a solid 3 fin thruster set up, the rubber fins are grippy enough to hang onto a line and track whilst positioned well enough to turn and carve. Whether crushing the ocean waves or cruising on a lake you certainly will not be disappointed.
A strong dual layer PVC deck allows the board to be super durable in every situation along with the large grippy deck pad, comfortable for all day use. The Titan pump included with the Ride has proven to be the best in the industry, delivering air quickly and efficiently, making pumping an absolute breeze
We have tested this board time and time again constantly trying to fault it but yet still it is as predictable as ever providing a confident feel that just wants to be pushed, whether a beginner looking for a first board or an intermediate rider looking at something to use in more advanced conditions the ride really is a true all-around design and stays as one of our favourites.
- MSL and Tec Air technologies are the best in the industry
- Able to cope with 20+ PSI of pressure
- Front camera mount location a really nice addition
- Titan pump is the best on the market
- Sold as a board only, so you must remember to pick up a paddle and leash before you hit the water
Starboard Atlas Zen 12’
|Weight Capacity||265 lbs|
With over 24 years of board building and shaping the team at Starboard have been in the game longer than any other, always attempting to stay current with the newest designs and industry-leading technologies.
Starboard prove that boards can truly be used by everyone. The zen construction features an all-around duel stringer reinforcement to allow the board to better hold its form. In addition to a solid standing plate to give you the feel of a solid board beneath your feet, whilst still remaining lightweight and portable.
The Starboard Atlas Zen at 12’ is one of the longest all-around boards also with a stable 33” beam, certainly suiting those who prefer to cruise but offering the option of bumping and bouncing with a rocker profile designed to allow it to release and still turn as easy as many shorter boards. This is also partly due to the tri fin set up used as opposed to a large single fin to give you the all-around performance you want, with the extra glide speed and cruise for covering that bit of distance.
- Super stiff and rigid design even for the largest of riders
- A really stable board that is perfect for beginners
- A nice comfortable glide speed perfect for cruising
- We really love the wheely bag makes pulling through the airport an absolute dream
- No paddle is included in the package so be sure to order one when purchasing your new board
- We would love to see backpack straps on the sack also to aid carrying in busy places
Aquaglide Cascade 11’
|Weight Capacity||230 lbs|
A company with over 30 years of experience in the inflatable industry, they certainly know a thing or two about high-quality durable products. From inflatable water trampolines to kayaks and just about everything in between Aquaglide are one of the biggest inflatable manufacturers in the world. The Aquaglide Cascade 11’ stand up paddleboard has been designed and built with a great pedigree of fun, usability, and durability.
The high-quality drop stitch core and tough PVC deck are capable of over 18 PSI of pressure offering rigidity in a lightweight design.
Aquaglide is the only company in our SUP comparison which has opted for a single fin over a tri fin set up, this being said they have pulled it out of the bag by including a US fin box meaning you have a huge selection of aftermarket fins to choose from so you can quickly change it over depending on the conditions.
At 11 feet the Aquaglide Cascade is at home both on a canal or lake as it is in the ocean, combining a graceful glide, speed, and good stability. This board will allow you to explore and adventure off into the distance.
- Tough rugged backpack design
- Solid stable board
- Use of the US fin box system
- Colors are stylish and great looking
- Plenty of D-rings to add extra accessories easily
- Traction pad is smaller than other brands
- Single fin option does limit the board to more cruising and less all-around
- No paddle has been included in the package
The 2018 All-Around Inflatable Paddleboard Comparison
In our best all-around inflatables comparison 2018, we have sorted it into a number of headings to better understand just which board excels where.
We have looked at the board’s general performance in terms of speed and glide as well as its maneuverability. As an all-around board, we really expect a good mix of both to create the best performing boards in a range of conditions.
At the top of our list has to be the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 MSL. This really has been one of the most consistent boards of the past 5 years. Year on year it is reviewed and each time it is always on top for performance, the proven formula just seems to work. A solid board with a great rigidity that allows it to perform both on flat water and in more challenging conditions.
At the opposite end of the scale, we were quite disappointed with the Aquaglide Cascade 11’ SUP, for a brand that really specializes in high-end inflatables we felt the Cascades performance was mediocre at best. The single layer construction just didn’t give the board a premium feel, it felt cheap and flexed as soon as we stood aboard.
One of the other stands out performers for us this year had to be the Nixy Newport G2 10’6 all-around. A paddleboard that came to us as a bit of an outsider, but was soon placed an equal. The well-designed shape and form held true, adapting to our speed and then gliding with ease. Then we could switch it up, and when you most needed it, the three fins would catch and spin you into a frenzy.
The Starboard deserves its place at the table, having set the standard for so long. The Starboard Atlas Zen at 12 feet is the biggest all-around SUP in our review. With many aspects pushing it towards being a hybrid cruiser, it is only when you roll it over can you really unlock its true potential.
The Tri Fin Set up has been pushed further back to allow you to turn and maneuver the board with ease then as you step forward the board sets a steady rhythm gliding onwards with ease.
We were impressed to paddle the similar Thurso Surf 11′ Waterwalker and the iRocker Cruiser 10’6 boards with both boards comfortable and easy to paddle they certainly stuck their heads above the pulpit to stand up and be counted in this year’s comparison. Both boards performed exactly as you would expect from a mid-priced inflatable. Strong, durable and rigid enough to feel you can push yourself. Would these two paddleboards end up as the best all-around inflatable paddleboards of 2018? To find the answer, keep on reading…
Versatility is a hard subject to quantify, so what we are really looking at is how suitable each board is for a number of different environments, can it be used in the surf or on whitewater? Does it have a kayak seat option? For us, versatility is all about fun and what the inflatable paddleboard is really capable of.
The iRocker Cruiser 10’6 for us has been a stand out in versatility, built on a super tough quad layer platform, the inflatable paddleboard offers all the rigidity and durability needed to really go anywhere and do anything. Whether you want a flat water cruiser or a whitewater demon, the Cruiser 10’6 from iRocker is your guy! It’s also equipped with the option of adding a universal kayak seat.
As we said for us it is all about fun, and that is one place the iRocker Cruiser 10’6 really excels, with its huge 400 lbs payload means you can share the fun with friends, family or even a dog.
One of the other boards we were most impressed with this year had to be the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11’. Much like the iRocker Cruiser, the Thurso Surf Waterwalker has the option of adding a universal kayak seat for double the fun. At 11’ it is it slightly longer than the iRocker Cruiser 10’6 and has been designed as a slightly more touring orientated paddleboard due to its shape. It tends to cut through the water as opposed to lifting over making it a little more difficult in the surf. But where it picks itself back up into the spotlight is with its whopping 450 lbs maximum capacity. You can really bring the whole family!
Where versatility is concerned no one could ever forget the Red Paddle Co Ride MSL. This board is like a boomerang, no matter how hard you try to forget it and try something new, it just comes flying back at you with even more finesse.
The Ride MSL is a stalwart of the sport proving itself time and time again as a true all-around design that can go absolutely anywhere. Cruising on a lake or surfing small waves without breaking a sweat the Red Paddle Co Ride is super solid and comfortable on the water. This inflatable paddleboard just radiates fun, as you step aboard, it starts with a tingling in your toes, slowly coursing through your body, until it reaches your head and you break into a constant smile.
Next up the Nixy Newport G2 10’6. We generally found this board to be a fantastic SUP offering confidence and performance, a stable platform for SUP yoga or a pleasant cruise on lakes, rivers, and small surf. So yes it goes everywhere and with a maximum capacity of 300lbs, it was certainly big enough for an adult and child or dog.
The Starboard Atlas Zen is certainly one of the best-received boards with its sleek lines its strong form and all-around ability but in terms of versatility its a board with a purpose and really resting on the upper limit of all-around boards only that the tri-fin thruster set up allows the board to maneuver once you step back, with a single fin we would certainly be pushing it into a cruiser category.
Lastly in our versatility comparison comes the AquaGlide Cascade 11’. Still, a board full of promise is let down once again. For a single lightweight rider, the Cascade 11’ is an incredible board which can offer so much fun on flat water. But for just about everyone else the board feels soft and squidgy and generally lacks love. We wouldn’t recommend using this board in waves, surf or whitewater but could be a fun board on lakes.
For many, the board’s stability can be the make or break in the purchasing of a board, for others it’s the difference between speeding into the horizon or flapping around in a soggy state. We understand the importance of stability and that is why all six boards in our 2018 best stand up paddleboard comparison are either 32” or 33” in width. Of course, it’s not just the width that governs a boards stability but the materials, rigidity, fin position and shape. It is also important that the board can be stable yet still be super effective and able to perform.
Of our 6 paddleboard comparison, the Starboard Atlas Zen is not only our longest board but one of our widest, this extra width allows the Starboard Atlas to be both comfortable and stable. The added length and shape make the Atlas paddleboard a great option for cruising as it picks up speed and glides with ease.
Next up the iRocker Cruiser 10’6 and Nixy Newport G2 10’6 both also have an impressive 33” beam and a whopping 6” thickness to keep you high and dry. Both of these boards are the same length and will feel similar underfoot. If anything we found the iRocker Cruiser a touch more stable into turns due to the slightly wider fin positioning.
Now back to the old faithful the Red Paddle co Ride 10’6 MSL at 32” is a little narrower than the others but this is what makes it even more fun. Due to its rock solid rigidity, it will maintain its stability even for the novice paddler. Being a touch narrower does make it a little more agile and nimble.
The Thurso Surf at 32” is on par with the Ride 10’6”. The Waterwalker is a slightly longer board but with 3 larger fins to grip the water and keep it steady. It’s huge 450 lbs load capacity means it is super stable for even the largest of riders.
Lastly the AquaGlide Cascade 11’, at 32” it has all the potential for a stable platform but due to its materials it just doesn’t hold its air well and the spongy feel will have larger riders off balance even before the width comes into play. For lightweight riders, the Cascade can be made increasingly stable by using a larger fin to hold it steady.
With so much innovation at play, the development of new materials and techniques has really turned the inflatable standup paddleboard industry on its head in the past few years. With smaller companies allowed to figure out progressive building technologies to get the most air and best rigidity, then in turn better performance from their boards.
With the Starboard Atlas Zen and the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 MSL, you know exactly what you are going to get, a quality product every single time. These are the brands that really brought stand up paddling to the mainstream and turned it into a sport for everyone.
These brands only use the best materials and techniques to shape and build their boards. This being said, year on year they are still searching for ways to develop and improve making paddleboards lighter, stronger and more durable. Last year we saw Red Paddle Co drive a 22-tonne digger over their board in a publicity stunt that proved the board’s durability once and for all. Of course, we prefer to test boards on the water and for us, the feel underfoot is what’s important.
Nixy has really stepped up to the plate in 2018 not just content with using a standard dual layer construction. So they went back to the drawing board to improve it. They came up with their own Advanced Fusion Technology, whereby they actually fuse the core with liquid PVC even before it is built. This provides for better air retention and saves weight. The results are on par with the Ride 10’6 and truly narrowing the gap between the top brands and everyone else.
If durability is more your thing then iRocker have gone to the extreme not only using a quad-layer of military-grade PVC but dual heat fused rails to give maximum protection and durability. Due to the heavy use of materials the board is more rigid and capable of over 23 PSI which is enormous in comparison to some of the other boards at just 15 PSI. If you want to use your board in rocky coves or tackle some whitewater than this is certainly the board for you, really built to last and designed to take whatever you can throw at it.
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11’ actually seems fairly boring now in comparison to some of the other boards in our line up, but don’t be fooled. Thurso Surf has used a dual layer PVC combined with ultra-tough dual layer rails. Each is then treated with PVC coatings to make them long-lasting and ding proof creating one of the next strongest boards on the market.
Lastly, we come to the Aquaglide Cascade 11’ unfortunately it’s just not as the races today and unfortunately its single layer of PVC with a second reinforcing band won’t be helping it out of the gate. The single layer is very much a budget board criteria and the reinforcing does nothing to stiffen things up.
So now is the question of value, which of our inflatable paddleboards offers the best value for its price?
With the likes of the Starboard Zen and the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 MSL, they are both sold as a board only packages. Both of the brands have worked hard to create industry-leading technology and this extends to their travel bags. Both Red Paddle Co and Starboard truly believe in portability and have included plenty of hand grabs, and wheels to their bags so you have no excuses for not taking your board absolutely everywhere.
The other accessory that Red Paddle Co really excel at is the inclusion of their Titan pump. Every other brand uses a good dual action pump like the Bravo pump or the Starboard V8 double action. These are perfect for the job, but why settle for perfect when the Titan is available? This thing is a monster delivering more air faster and more efficiently than any other and that’s why we believe it to certainly be the best in the industry.
In terms of accessories and value, the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11′ is a real diamond in the rough, as one of the cheapest paddleboards in our 2018 best all-around stand up paddle boards review. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but the whole package is absolutely loaded full of accessories.
First out of the carton was the carbon shaft SUP paddle. Next out of the box was a board leash perfect for securing the board and avoiding it going on its own adventures. Then as well as the standard repair kit and pump. The large padded transport backpack then appeared and we kept on rummaging and were greeted by a water-resistant cooler bag. This is a really nice touch and something no one else is offering, perfect for keeping drinks and snacks cool on long days out on the water.
For 2018 we were really impressed by iRocker choosing to upgrade their standard pump to a dual chamber triple-action design, not too dissimilar from the Red Paddle co Titan pump. It certainly got us away faster than the standard pumps. Less time pumping and more time riding is certainly the best mix.
iRocker also offers the Cruiser 10’6 in six different color options, with both the board, fiberglass shafted paddle and leash matching it. It’s a really nice option if you want something a little different.
The Nixy Newport G2 10’6 package is also very similar, but they have chosen to include one of the best bags almost on par with Red paddle co bag. Nixy has opted for a tri-wheeled design to give the best traction whether running through the airport or across the sand on the way to the beach the bag is comfortable and strong with enough space for all of your accessories.
The Newport G2 10’6 is also available in 5 different color options which is great if buying multiple boards for family or friends.
Lastly, we come back to the AquaGlide Cascade 11’ This is actually one of the more expensive boards we have reviewed and really does not stand up to its price tag. The board is sold as a board only package including just a pump and a bag with no paddle or leash included it really is hard to justify this board as a competitor to the others with its single layer design and lack of performance. We really don’t see this board as good value for its current price.
Who Excels Where
Even within our best all-around paddleboards of 2018 comparisons, we have found ourselves creating subcategories with some boards better suited to a specific type of condition or exercise. This will always be the case with manufacturers looking for a niche.
Let’s take a look at some of the best points we have found along the way. Starting off with the Thurso Surf Waterwalker with its beautifully designed wooden effect top deck and its whopping 450 lbs maximum capacity at 11ft long the Waterwalker is ideal for the family to use as well as a solo adventure.
Next, we want to go into a whitewater frenzy we look straight to the iRocker Cruiser 10’6 with its quad layer military grade PVC perfect for deflecting water bombs and taking on nature at its finest. The super tough rails will bounce and bend time and time again allowing you to practice carefree without worry of breaking or damaging your board.
Starboard has been crushing paddleboard niches since they first stood atop an old windsurf board with a kayak paddle, the Atlas 12’ Zen was no mistake. An all-around paddleboard by nature able to release and spin but let’s be honest this is one of the fastest and easiest all round boards to paddle. Not only a dream to paddle but also has incredible stability and glide. The Atlas is one of the better cruising boards available but still gives you the option to mix it up from time to time.
As a budget board overall the Aquaglide Cascade is good to get going but with the mid-range boards, it really struggles to hold its own. We think that the price is too high and the performance is too low. For a lighter rider, it will work out well as an introductory board but is certainly no longer competing in the all-around inflatable paddleboard market.
The Best All-Around Inflatable Paddleboard of 2018?
|iRocker Cruiser 10'6||Review||Buy Now|
|Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11'||Review||Buy Now|
|Nixy Newport G2 10'6||Review||Buy Now|
|Red Paddle Co Ride MSL 10'6||Review||Buy Now|
|Aquaglide Cascade 11'||Review||Buy Now|
|Starboard Atlas Zen 12'||Review||Buy Now|
So having taken all of this into careful consideration our best all-around inflatable paddleboard of 2018 has to be the iRocker Cruiser 10’6: a true warrior and all-around machine, whether you want to cruise on your local lake or tackle a little surf the iRocker Cruiser always has you covered. For a beginner the Cruiser can grow with you and last you a lifetime, for an experienced rider the iRocker Cruiser will allow you to switch things up, casual whitewater on one day and a cruise at the beach the next, all taken in its stride without breaking a sweat and for an affordable price.
iRocker have proved with their 2018 paddleboard range why they are an industry leader, carefully refining their boards to get better and better with each edition. Classy, solid and always a whole heap of fun.
As runner-ups, the Thurso Surf Waterwalker and Nixy Newport G2 are very close to each other and are both very good inflatable paddleboards for the mid-price range. If you’re looking at the best paddleboard and don’t have to worry about the price, the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 MSL would certainly be on top. In general, the Red Paddle Ride is just a very good SUP but we think the price is just on the high side. If you find a good deal, you could buy two iRocker Cruiser paddleboards for the price of one Red Paddle Ride MSL board… For our SUP test team, it was an easy decision to mark the iRocker Cruiser above the Red Paddle board.
So buy your new paddleboard and let’s go paddle!