If you are on this page, chances are you are looking for a SUP with a specific activity in mind. The good thing is Inflatable SUP’s are great for all kinds of activities on the water!
Granted for certain types of activities you may need more specialist SUP’s. This is because each set of activities has favored dimensions that makes a certain kind of SUP better suited than others.
Example: You wouldn’t take a Surfing SUP out for a SUP Race because the board would be too short to compete and you wouldn’t be able to track too well either because Surfing SUPs are made to be maneuverable and nimble in the waves.
Below is a list of activity/ specialist ISUP’s that will help AMPLIFY your experience immensely.
- Paddle Boards for Ocean Use
- Inflatable SUP for Surfing
- Paddle Boards for Lakes
- Paddle Boards for Yoga
- Fishing Paddle Boards
For Our list of the Best Inflatable Paddle Boards click here.
Fun Paddle Board Activities You can do on Inflatable Paddle Boards
Inflatable Paddle Boards can do almost anything a hard board can do. Plus you got that good old portability factor that’s handy! Below is a list of paddle board activities that you can do and what kind of boards are suitable for them.
1. Paddle Board Fishing
If you are an avid fisherman I bet that this one made your heart sing! SUP fishing is becoming increasingly popular and it could become the biggest fishing trend since rigged kayaks.
A big advantage the paddle boards have is that you can sight fish. Meaning your standing position will give you a more aerial view of little fishies you can catch, specifically in the shallows.
Paddle Boards that are great for these types of fishing are usually wider and longer in stature. If you really want to make your life easier you can get a specialist fishing SUP like the Sea Eagle FishSup 126 or the Blackfin Model X. These models are great because they have mounting brackets that are compatible with many types of rod holders.
If you already have a SUP then you can find mounting or suction brackets on Amazon that you should be able to install.
2. Paddle Board Yoga or Fitness
Namaste on the water thank you. Ok that was an awful joke and I already regret typing it out. SUP Yoga is a very real thing and it adds a unique balancing dimension to yoga. Paddle Boarding Yoga has really taken off over the last few years. Heck you can now sign up for yoga classes on the water!
If you are a little bit more secluded like me you can practice it on your own time in the heart of nature. Just make sure that the water is calm and there are no currents!
Inflatable SUPs that are ideal for paddle boarding yoga are usually wide to give you that extra stability. Some fantastic specialist SUP yoga boards include the Nixy Venice, Advanced Elements Lotus YSUP.
If you are on a budget I actually really liked the stability of the Serenelife Free Flow. I tried my friends recently and I was really surprised with its primary stability!
3, Paddle Board Surfing
We can thank (and probably send a thank you card to) surfers for inventing Paddle Boarding to begin with! Paddle Boarding was invented as a new unique way to start catching waves. From there it transformed into a lot of the great activities that you see on this page!
The characteristics of a SUP surfing board is that they are shorter in length (ideally 10ft and under) and have more nose and tail rocker (board curves up). Many ISUP surfing boards also feature multiple fin set-ups that you can play around with.
Good Surfing SUP Boards include the Red Paddle Whip 8’10 or the Earth River SUP Dual 9-6 S3. Both of these boards are under 10 feet while the Earth River SUP has 4 sets of fin combinations for the different surf you want to tackle.
4. Lake Paddle Boarding
This is one of the more common forms of paddle boarding and chances are you will be doing this at least a few times during the summer. It’s a bit harder to characterize what exactly is the perfect lake paddle board because it depends what you are wanting to do!
Common Lake Paddle Boarding Uses include
- Beginners Starting Out
- Casual/ Recreational Paddling
Look at this bulleted list above and decide what you want to use your paddle board for. Paddle Boards that I’ve particularly enjoyed paddling on lakes include the iRocker All Around 11’, The Nixy Newport and the more budget-friendly SereneLife Freeflow.
Honestly, if you see a Paddle Board that has 4 Stars and above on Amazon, chances are it will be an adequate lake paddle board.
5. Touring Paddle Boarding
Touring should be done for more intermediate paddlers who really want to have a day or multiple days of adventure. Touring paddle boarding is usually done in larger lakes or ocean coastlines.
As a result touring paddle boards have a longer and thinner profile than all around boards. Many of them also feature a more pointy nose.
If you really want to give touring boards a proper go, I’d recommend the Red Paddle Co 12’6 Sport or the Thurso Expedition. Touring Paddle Boards are typically more expensive as opposed to their All Around cousin but you can find some good ones under $500. Such as the Freein Inflatable Paddle Board.
6. Paddle Board Racing
A lot of people (including me in the beginning) get mixed up between touring paddle boards and racing paddle boards. So what’s the difference? The main difference is racing paddle boards are meant to get out there and race other people!
Racing paddle boards are typically much more expensive and specialist. They have an even thinner profile than their touring cousins and are therefore less stable. Meaning you need to be on a pretty advanced level to be paddling these things full tilt.
If I’m being honest here. If you are registering yourself in races and want to be competitive, chances are you will be wanting to use a specialty hardboard. This is due to the fact that hard boards glide better in the water than one that is inflatable. But don’t fear! There are inflatable racing SUP available if you don’t have the space nor the budget.
Boards such as the NRS Escape 12’6″ and the Hala Carbon NASS-T come to mind because of their thin under 30” width and their 14’ length.
7. Ocean Paddle Boarding
This is a little bit more generic in terms of what you want from a paddle board but we’ll give it a go! Ocean Paddle Boarding can take on a few meanings so we will mostly go through what you can do on a paddle board in the ocean.
You can use them for:
- Yoga (in calmer bays)
One of the main things you want to look for in an ocean paddle board is a board that is stable. A SUP I thought felt stable while paddling was the iRocker All Around Board. It is also an ideal ocean companion because it has a lot of storage space, mounts for lots of accessories and it can be transformed into a hybrid kayak for those more wavey days.
When I was paddling around in wavy White Rock it tackled the waves better than most all around boards and it maintained its stability even when they hit the board from the side.
8. White Water Paddle Boarding
The popularity of this is growing, especially among surfing enthusiasts. White Water Paddle Boarding requires a lot of preparation, advanced SUP training and being able to read the river in front of you. A surfing and river kayaking background certainly helps when getting into this sport.
White Water Paddle Boards that are good for this are short and have a higher rocker than all around boards. The NRS Whip is a good specialty paddle board for this task.
9. Paddle Board Camping
While this could be grouped into “touring” this specialises in overnight excursions. These boards have a slightly narrower profile to all around boards but are on the longer end of the spectrum. However, they are shorter and wider than racing SUPs.
Boards such as the NRS Escape 11’6” and the Blackfin Model V make solid inflatable boards to go on camping excursions with. This is because they have plenty of bungee deck storage on the front and back of the board as well as the longer shape that allows you to glide on the water more efficiently.
10. Snorkeling/ Scuba Diving
If there’s a nice little reef just off shore getting a boat or a kayak may be a bit too much effort to get. But if you got an inflatable SUP just pump it up and you are off! Admittedly it’s easier to haul snorkeling gear as opposed to scuba gear but there are plenty of inflatable SUPs up for the task! Just don’t forget to grab an anchor!
For Snorkeling you can use almost any SUP as long as it has some sort of deck rigging. For Scuba Diving it’s best to have a SUP that is more stable and has a high maximum capacity like the Black Fin Model X which has a 450 lb maximum capacity.
It’s Up to You Now!
Inflatable SUP’s have come a long way from being flimsy things you could only take to a small lake. Below is a little summary of what we have learned and the requirements needed for each SUP.
- Fishing Paddle Boards Need to be Steady and have a lot of deck room onboard
- Yoga or Fitness SUP’s need to be wider in stature to allow you to practice more balance intensive poses like Astavakrasana
- Surfing Paddle Boards Need to be Short with a more uplifted nose and tail rocker
- Lake-suited paddle boards can come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. It just depends what you are going to use it for!
- Touring Paddle Boards feature more deck room and are narrower than their All Around cousins
- Racing Paddle Boards are meant for advanced users. Their board profile is usually very long and thing
- Ocean Paddle Boards can come in a variety of different sizes but you should make stability your priority here.
- White Water Paddle Boarding requires a lot of training and an advanced skill-set. These boards are usually shorter and have uplifted rockers.
- Paddle Board Camping SUPs need lots of bungee deck rigging and storage room
- Snorkeling Sups require some deck rigging and need an anchor. Scuba Diving SUPs require a higher maximum capacity and plenty of storage space onboard.
So what activity sounds good to you? Anything we find that is viable and safe we will add to this list. So keep an eye out and check back every so often!