Best Lightweight Paddle Board

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What are some advantages of having a lightweight paddle board? 

  • You can travel with them
  • They are significantly easier to carry across the shore
  • You can take them on hikes
  • Some can fit within the baggage limits of airplanes
  • You can easily transport them via bike, train or automobile

There are a good number of lightweight paddle boards out there. So how do you know which one is right for you? Below we reveal the best lightweight paddle boards as well as pinpoint specific things to look for when buying one.

Let’s get into it!

Table of Contents

Best Lightweight Paddle Boards That Are Inflatable

Below is our list of inflatable lightweight paddle boards. We chose all inflatable boards because:

  1. We are an Inflatable Paddle Board Website
  2. Inflatable Boards of this weight will be the most compact and the highest performers. 

Below is our list of noteworthy lightweight paddle boards:

  1. Nixy Newport G4 – (Editors Pick)
  2. iRocker All Around 10 Ultra – (Smaller Rider Pick)
  3. Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact – (Travel Pick)
  4. iRocker Blackfin Ultra CX – (Speed Pick)
  5. Gili Air 10’6” – (Budget Pick)
  6. Gili Komodo – (Dog Pick)
  7. Atoll 11 – (Hiking Pick)
  8. BOTE Breeze Aero 10’8” – (Stability Pick)
  9. Serenelife Free Flow – (Popular Pick)
  10. ROC Explorer – (Lightest Pick)

1. Nixy Newport G4 (Editors Pick)

Features

  • Length: 10’6”
  • Width: 33”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: advanced FusionTech dual-layer laminated woven drop stitch
  • Weight: 21 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

The Nixy Newport G4 gets my nod as the best lightweight paddle board of 2022. It’s definitely not the lightest on the list so what gives? 

The Newport G4 is, in my opinion, the most value-packed board on the list. It features smart technology coupled with good-quality accessories that come with the board. This is all coupled with a lightweight 21-pound board. More on what we like below. 

On-Water Performance

The Nixy Newport G4 rated very well in our On-Water performance ratings with a score of 8.5/10. This is pretty good for an all-around inflatable board!

The stability was more than sufficient in calm water conditions, although in wavey conditions it can be a bit tricky to stay on. The board’s lightweight build coupled with its board design allowed it to paddle pretty well in the water to get up to a pretty respectable speed

But what impressed me the most was the tracking ability and the board’s maneuverability. With many paddle boards you often have to trade one for the other but the way Nixy designed their board makes it easy to do maneuvers like sweep strokes without having to put too much effort. 

The tracking is pretty remarkable for a 10’6” board as I found it to do just as well in this category as longer boards like iRocker 11 and Atoll 11

Board Features and Design

The Nixy Newport G4 features 3 rows of deck bungee lacing in the back for larger items. It has 2 rows of smaller deck padding in the front, which I use for my water bottles and sandals that I bring with me. The Newport G4 also features 5 action mounts located at the front and rear of the board for add-on accessories like:

The Board is also constructed very well using technology that more expensive boards like Red Paddle and Starboard use. It uses Fusion layered drop stitch material coupled with woven drop stitch technology and carbon side rails for an added layer of protection on the sides. The fusion layer allows the board to be more lightweight by using less glue. This is done by using a machine to fuse 2 layers of PVC together. 

Another thing that is one of my favorite features with this board is the accessories that it comes with. The Newport G4 comes with a spacious bag, very high quality, and lightweight carbon hybrid paddle as well as a triple-action dual-chambered hand pump which makes the job of hand pumping a little easier!

What Customers Think

Being a Nixy customer myself, I’ll start off by saying that the board pleasantly surprised me in many different areas. It’s a nice playful board that is great for beginners in calm water conditions. Advanced paddlers won’t grow out of this board either as you can maneuver and catch some small surf in the waves. It’s an easy board to grow and test your SUP skills with which is something I look for in a SUP.

Lots of customers like Steve S. believe that this board is vastly superior to competitors at its price point and were also impressed with the paddle. Betty  A. stated:

As a 61 yr young woman for 1st time ever using SUP, and having some issues with balance, find the NIXY Maui board very stable & firm, standing right up from its inaugural launch. Manageable both on the water and to carry about for my slight stature/low muscle mass (5’3+”/80 lbs).

– Betty A (Nixy Customer).

Pros

  • Accessory Rich
  • Very well made both in materials and manufacturing
  • Board is well designed and tracks well
  • Board maneuvers well
  • Lots of onboard features/ Add-ons you can include

Cons

  • Can be a bit unstable in more wavey conditions
  • A bit more expensive
  • I found glue coming off on some deck padding areas

2. iRocker All Around 10 Ultra (Smaller Rider Pick)

iRocker All Around 10 Ultra SUP

Features

  • Length: 10’
  • Width: 32”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Cross thread drop-stitch construction
  • Weight: 19.8 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 260 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

One of the biggest criticisms of iRocker was the fact that their boards tended to be more on the heavier side. With their new Ultra lineup of boards, iRocker has addressed both the weight issue as well as being a more compact and transportable package.

The iRocker All Around 10 Ultra is 19.8 lbs heavy and has a maximum capacity of 260 lbs. Heavier paddlers should consider the All Around 11 Ultra package or the Blackfin Ultra CX. More on the latter below. 

On-Water Performance

The All Around Ultra 10 is a great board for responsive maneuverability. Its thinner width coupled with its 10’ length and 19.8 lb frame allows you to do sweep strokes with relative ease. 

The board is rated for intermediate paddlers. But If you are of a smaller/ lighter frame you will be just fine on this SUP.  Although truth be told this may not be the best paddle board to get if you want to load it up with gear due to its smaller 260 lb capacity. Look at the regular iRocker models for the purpose of loading gear.

The boards 2 fin setup makes it a bit more maneuverable compared to boards with tri-fin set-ups. Especially when paddling at a slower pace. As you pick up pace, however, the board can track fairly well. Stability-wise the board feels stiff although larger paddlers are better off with the All-Around 11 Ultra models due to the extra length, volume and capacity. 

Board Features and Design

The All-Around 10 Ultra is designed a little differently compared to its All-Around 10 cousin. The biggest thing is the fact that the board folds in half lengthwise. This extra fold allows the board to be more compact, hence the smaller bag and 5-piece paddle that comes with the package. One of the things that we really loved about this package is the fact that it comes with the iRocker electric pump and a carry bag. The pump itself is a 129.99 value so this is a nice little added bonus iRocker added.

When doing more comparisons with the Ultra and the regular All Around 10 board. The Ulta has a row fewer deck bungees as well as the tail D ring being more to the side. There are also only 3 action mounts compared to the 4 in the regular series. 

What Customers Think

Because the All-Around 10 Ultra is a new line that just came out in 2022 there are not a ton of reviews on it yet. But here are some commonalities I’ve found so far. 

Many people who have bought the Ultra 10 were previous iRocker customers, so there are some comparisons they made. 

Madison H Said

I have always been a big fan of IRocker’s quality and design and have owned two boards prior to this. Although they have all been great quality boards, I was excited to learn that this board was up to 30% lighter! I’m a petite woman who has struggled to carry the boards and backpacks in the past. Since purchasing this board it has been a total breeze!

Sherry Stated:

I have a 2018 10 ft iRocker that has been my trusted companion for the past six years. I taught my dogs how to ride on it with me. I took it out on my way to work many times. Now, if I want to ride without going far from home, I can go down to the local lake, but I have to scale down a hill with all my stuff and usually tethered to a dog.

Read more about review stating I freaking LOVE this board.

I was cruising around the iRocker website the other day and saw the new Ultra line. It’s about 3 lbs lighter than my first rig. My birthday is coming and it’s been a while, so I figured I’d upgrade. I cannot tell you the difference. It is astounding how much a difference three little pounds make. The offset handle makes maneuverability to the water a breeze. I absolutely LOVE the leashed fins. (I have lost one or two over the years). And it’s so fast in the water compared to the same board with a few extra lbs. If you’re considering, just get it. It’s fantastic.

Pros

  • Board is lightweight and has the same iRocker quality as previous lineups
  • Very maneuverable in the water
  • Tracks surprisingly well
  • Great board for smaller beginners
  • Changed to woven drop stitch for this model (more rigid)

Cons

  • Not as feature rich as other iRocker boards
  • Larger paddler may not feel as stable on this board
  • Can’t stash as much gear as regular All Around 10

3. Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact (Travel Pick)

Features

  • Length: 9’6”
  • Width: 32”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Advanced FusionTech dual layer laminated woven drop stitch
  • Weight: 18.75 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 250 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

The Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact is a great lightweight pick because it weighs 18.75 lbs and is one of the lightest boards on the list. It’s also a board that is constructed with FusionTech layered woven drop stitch. These two materials make the board more rigid and durable, all the while using less glue to reduce the weight. 

The Huntington Ultra Compact is also a great travel pick do those who want to do their paddle boarding in more exotic locations. The Ultra Compact 9’6” comes with a bag that measures 26” x 20” x 13” which makes it an easier bag to not just transport by plane but also by car, scooter, bike, or bus. 

On-Water Performance

The Huntington Ultra Compact is a board best used for smaller paddlers who are just getting started paddle boarding. Or larger paddlers with an intermediate to advanced skill level range. Its 9’6” length coupled with its double fin set-up makes it a pretty maneuverable board that can still track in the water respectfully. 

As mentioned above, the stability of the board will depend on your skill level and the paddlers size. I’m about 6’1” in height so if I was starting out I would personally prefer to start on the Newport G4. But if free space is limited you can always grow with the board as long as you accept that you may fall into the water a time or two. 

Board Features and Design

The Nixy Huntington is designed to be a much more compact package compared to the Newport G4. And the advantage of having this SUP over the G4 is that the bag and accessories do not take up as much space. For this to be possible, the Huntington Ultra-Compact folds in half in the middle. 

The Huntington Ultra Compact has fewer action mounts available compared to the Newport G4 with 3. Its fin set-up consists of 2 9” center fins that are US/FCS compatible. 

This is where the iRocker All Around 10 Ultra and the Huntington differ. I personally have found in my experience that FCS set-ups are less likely to fail as opposed to manufacturers who have snap in fins like the All Around 10 Ultra does. You also get more fin set-up choices as you can buy other paddle board or surfboard fins that have the same US Fin Box/ FCS compatibility. 

What Customers Think

Some of the most common comments from people come from customers stating that the maneuverability is fantastic. 

James G. Stated:

I really enjoy how easy it is to turn this board and the extra effort it takes to stabilize it compared to solid longer touring boards. It’s more fun and far more challenging than heavier large boards with more center fins. It’s exactly what I has hoping for when I ordered it.

Smaller people like Cindy also stated:

I was thrilled to find that this SUP is so lightweight that I have no problem carrying it for 1/2 mile inflated.

Pros

  • One of the lightest SUPs on the list
  • Very travel and transportation friendly
  • Great board for smaller people
  • The board is very maneuverable which is good for smaller waterways

Cons

  • Does not have as many action mounts
  • No Carbon side rail like the G4 series

4. iRocker Blackfin Ultra CX (Premium)

Features

  • Length: 10’6”
  • Width: 32.5”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Cross thread drop-stitch construction with Carbon Rail
  • Weight: 19.8 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 320 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

Like the All Around 10 Ultra series, the Blackfin Ultra CX is a newer addition to the iRocker lineup. It is also much lighter compared to any of the other Blackfin boards. So you get the premium quality of the Blackfin series with an average of 7-9 lbs less weight. 

Like the All Around 10 Ultra, this model also comes with an electric pump. If you’ve gone paddle boarding as much as I have you will grow to appreciate the fact that this is included with the purchase. 

On-Water Performance

This board is considered more of an advanced board which is built more for speed. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get this model if you are a beginner, far from it. Just expect a bit more of a learning curve compared to the All-Around 10 Ultra

Part of what makes this SUP more speed-oriented is the board’s shape. Specifically the pointed tail. This gives the board less drag in the water compared to wider-tailed boards. The pointier tail will also make this board a bit less stable compared to boards like the Blackfin XL series

The maneuverability will be at about the middle-end of the spectrum. It won’t be as maneuverable as the Huntington Ultra Compact but it also will be easier to maneuver compared to other Blackfin boards the XL due to it being 8 lbs lighter. 

Board Features and Design

iRocker has built the CX package to be 33.3 lbs heavy with everything included in the bag. The package weight is almost 19 pounds lighter than the Blackfin Model XL and 18 pounds lighter than the Blackfin Model X which is the same length. 

Besides the weight, some key differences are the fact that this board has a dual fin set up, has a split deck pad, and has its valve on the left side of the tail.

Compared to other compact boards like the All Around 10 Ultra and Huntington Ultra Compact, this board will be faster in the water thanks to its narrower board shape and the 10’6” length. 

What Customers Think

Since this is a new board for 2022 there is not very much in the way of reviews.  As of now what I could find came from one customer who stated that after paddling twice with it. They compared the similarity of performance to the iRocker Cruiser and appreciated the fact that they kept the carbon side rails for this board. 

Pros

  • One of the fastest boards on this list
  • Almost 8 lbs lighter than other Blackfin Boards
  • Board is pretty minimalist in design
  • Less effort to maneuver compared to other Blackfin Boards
  • Great performance board to travel with

Cons

  • It will not maneuver as well as other “compact” boards on this list
  • It May feel less stable to a beginner

5. Gili Air 10’6” (Budget Pick)

Features

  • Length: 10’6”
  • Width: 32”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Single Layer PVC
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 280 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

The Gili Air 10’6” board is great for folks who are on a budget and don’t want to throw a good portion of the next paycheck at a paddle board. The board has gone through some rather drastic upgrades in the past few years but we believe they are for the better. One of them includes modifying the shape of the board to give it a bit more speed in the water.

Gili Air’s sole purpose is to get beginner paddlers out on the water. It’s wider board shape allows for the board to be perfectly steady for beginner paddlers about 5’10” and under. For those who are bigger in stature take a look at the Gili Air 11’6” board. But it can be used for other activities too like a kayak hybrid, light surfing, and day touring. 

On-Water Performance

Gili Air’s on-water performance is good for a paddle board of its price tag but it won’t get better ratings than any of the higher-rated boards on our list above. The Gili Air got a good maneuverability rating but it won’t be a speed demon. 

Plenty of paddlers have found this board to be steady in the water, To fully utilize the board it’s best to be a smaller person to get ideal stability

Board Features and Design

For a budget board, the Gili Air package actually provides a good amount of value. It features a tri-fin setup (with a racing fin), a good quality bag as well as 3 action mounts where you can attach a variety of different Gili accessories like rod holders and action camera holders

One of the things that I was not too crazy about was the SUP’s construction. Gili Air uses a single-layer PVC construction with an added layer on the sides. This is by no means the worst thing in the world but on a whole, single-layer boards have a shorter shelf life than boards that are dual-layered, triples layered or fusion layered. 

What Customers Think

Gili Air gets a lot of love from customers. In fact on a 3rd party platform like Amazon, Gili Air got a 4.7/5 star rating based on almost 300 review ratings

Most of the reviewers would be beginners so when looking at on-water performance look at reviews that specify comparisons to other boards. 

In terms of negative reviews, a lot of them were directed at Gili Air’s fins. Some of them had a manufacturing defect and could not fit into the fin slot. Most of these were from years back so it appears Gili has rectified this now

Pros

  • Very budget-friendly SUP
  • Has an excellent customer review rating on Amazon
  • Comes with good quality accessories you would expect from more expensive boards
  • Great for smaller paddlers

Cons

  • Single-layer construction is not ideal
  • Stability could be suspect if you are a larger paddler
  • The single chamber pump is underwhelming

6. Gili Komodo (Dog Pick)

Gili Komodo passenger

Features

  • Length: 10’6”
  • Width: 33”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Dual Layer Fusion PVC
  • Weight: 21 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 340 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

The Gili Komodo is a great pick for those who want a great board for A) bringing your pup along for the ride or B) doing yoga or other on-water fitness activities. It also only weighs 21 lbs so it’s a solid pick for paddlers of all sizes to hit the water on a stable board. 

The Maximum capacity on this SUP is 340 lbs which makes it a good board for most sized paddlers to feel stable on regardless of skill level. It’s also a solid passenger board for those who have small kids or fur babies who have a nose for the water.  

On-Water Performance

Gili Komodo Big dog

The Komodo performed well on our On-water performance ratings with an 8.5/10. Of course one of the most important things to look for in a SUP is the stability of the board. The Komodo is a solid pick for beginners just starting out and wanting to get their water legs under them. Even more so than the Gili Air series due to its more rigid construction.  

The board also tracks very well in the water. It may not be the fastest one on the list but it’s no slouch with speed either. Its maneuverability was also impressive with sweep strokes, side paddle strokes and pivot turns. 

Board Features and Design

The Gili Komodo SUP has a good amount of accessories for a lightweight paddle board. The board features a large bungee deck storage space located at the front of the board, as well as 5 spots where action mounts sit for a variety of different Gili Add-on accessories. 

Just like the Air series, the Komodo comes with snap-in fins (racing center fin), a bag, a single chamber pump, and a fiberglass paddle. This fiberglass paddle that comes with the Komodo is a big upgrade from the Air series. Another upgrade that the Komodo has is that it’s made of dual-layer fusion laminated PVC. This makes it a more durable SUP compared to the Air series, hence the price difference

What Customers Think

One of the two biggest commonalities that customers talked about with the Gili Komodo is the fact that the board is super stable and a great SUP to get for dogs. In fact 3 Gili customers had dogs that were 90+ pounds stay on the board with no problem

The reason why Gili is a great pick for dogs is the fact that it’s super stable and the fact that the whole top of the board is covered in deck padding. Which provides extra grip for puppers nails and paws to grip in windy/ wavey conditions. 

Pros

  • One of the most stable boards on the list
  • Fantastic board for beginners to start on
  • Full deck pad makes it a great board for dogs
  • Comes with a wide array of add-on capabilities
  • Has solid on-water performance metrics

Cons

  • Not the fastest board on this list
  • The pump that comes with it is basic

7. Atoll 11 (Durability Pick)

Features

  • Length: 11
  • Width: 32”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Dual Layer Fusion PVC
  • Weight: 21 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 315 lbs (Tested to 550)

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

The Atoll 11 is a solid pick for people who want a budget-mid-range priced board with high-quality materials and manufacturing involved. The Atoll 11 is also one of the oldest series of boards in this list with a TON of positive reviews from 3rd party sites like Amazon and Reddit.

The board itself weighs 21 lbs but is a great pick for bigger paddlers who want to load the board with gear. Some have done many multi-day camping trips on their board. 

On-Water Performance

Having tested this board in the water myself, I was very impressed with the board’s tracking ability. It took me around 14 strokes before I had to self-correct which is really good for a board that has smaller side-bite fins that are glued on. 

When I tested the Atoll 11 it was super steady. In Fact, I did a bit of a high-stakes test myself where I paddled this board in mid-March over a small lake in Salt Spring Island, Canada. In Fact we rated the Atoll 11 as one of our most stable rated All-Around boards for 2022. 

The speed and maneuverability were also impressive with the board. Doing maneuvers like sweep strokes was not too difficult. The narrow shape of the SUP also made it a smooth ride in the water. I really put the board through the wringer in the Caribou and the speed felt very impressive when putting some umph in each paddle stroke. 

Board Features and Design

Compared to many of the other boards on this list, the Atoll 11 has a bit more of a simplistic design. 3 rows of bungees in the front, a diamond-grooved deck pad and 4 rows of unused D rings that sprawl the rest of the board. These D rings can be used for bigger items like strapping down camping gear, coolers or much much more. It’s an ideal set-up for the creative do-it-yourselfer who wants to add their own custom contraption to the board. 

I’m not entirely sure how Atoll did it but somehow their board tracks within the same tier as boards with bigger 5” side fins like the Nixy Newport G4. It could be the extra 6” length that the Atoll has but in my experience it was a pretty quick and nimble board!

What Customers Think

If you are a frequent Redditor you will find in many threads that this board is mentioned a lot. Reddit is not always the best place to get life advice but I find with paddle boarding it’s actually a pretty honest and accurate source. 

Lots of customers also appreciated the durability of the Atoll. You will find a few reviews where tough outdoorsmen (and women) put the board through the ringer by dragging it on rocks, accidentally hitting logs with it and even throwing the board in some white water. Despite its lighter weight, the Atoll 11 is one tough cookie!

Pros

  • Very durable board
  • Did well on my on-water performance tests
  • Very stable board, especially in wavey/ windy conditions
  • Deck pad is very grippy

Cons

  • No deck bungees on the rear of board
  • Not many on-board features that make the SUP stand out

8. BOTE Breeze Aero 10’8” (Stability Pick)

Features

  • Length: 10’8”
  • Width: 33”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Inflatable AeroULTRA Technology (Sort of like Dual Layer Fusion)
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 250 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

The BOTE Breeze Aero is a great introductory board for folks who don’t want to pay too much or too little for an inflatable paddle board. It is also a supremely stable pick for beginner and intermediate paddlers alike.

At 20 lbs in weight the BOTE Breeze Aero is the lightest board for adults on their menu. 

On-Water Performance

The BOTE Breeze Aero is more of a cruiser type of board where the main priority is stability. This is great for people starting out as its wider nose and tail provide a platform-like surface for trying out your sea legs. 

In terms of tracking and speed the Breeze Aero is rated as fair. Its not as fast as some of the other models on this list but its more than capable for paddlers who want a smooth gliding board. 

Board Features and Design

The BOTE Breeze is a bit of a plain Jane when it comes to extra accessories and onboard features. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. Many paddlers actually prefer a less cluttered board when paddling. The Breeze 10’8” features 3 rows of deck rigging at the front, and 4 free D rings in the middle for kayak seats. 

I do wish there were more D rings like the Atoll 11 provided though. This allows you to have room for bigger things like coolers and tents that you want to use if you are out on the water longer. 

What Customers Think

Overall, the most common compliment of this board was the fact that it had great primary stability in the water. Many first-timers got up for their first time and felt more and more comfortable as they paddled on. 

One customer who bought multiple inflatable paddle boards even said that this board was his favorite because the package was compact enough to travel with. 

Pros

  • Great board for first-timers
  • Stability on this board is very good
  • Has a solid brand name behind it
  • Good warranty 

Cons

  • The package that comes with the board is pretty basic
  • Not many available D rings
  • Fins could be longer and either FCS or snap-in style

9. Serenelife Free Flow (Popular Pick)

Features

  • Length: 10’6”
  • Width: 32”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Single Layer PVC
  • Weight: 19.6 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 275 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

The Serenelife Free Flow is one of the most popular paddle boards on Amazon. And to their credit, they have been there for a really long time. While certain SUP manufacturers in the Amazon jungle come and go, the Free Flow has always remained one of the most popular inflatable paddle boards. 

I got to try my friend’s Free Flow board, and I have to say, I was not originally expecting much, but it impressed me!

On-Water Performance

One of the things that really impressed me about this board was its stability on the water. If you are brand new to paddling and want to stand on something that feels like a platform without spending too much money the Free Flow is a solid pick. I actually found this paddle board to be more stable than the Tower Yachtsman which had a similar price point.

In terms of speed and tracking the Free Flow is decent but it will probably be one of the slowest on the list. This is because it features more of a planning hull. The nose does not have very much of a rocker (bends upwards), so as a result, the SUP tends to plow the water ahead instead of part it like many of the above SUPs on this list do. 

Board Features and Design

As of the time of me writing this, the Serenelife Free Flow has 12 different choices on Amazon. Some of the boards are designed differently, have different shapes, and feature different designs. 

Most of the designs feature 3 rows of deck bungees with some models having 4 free D rings for kayak seats or other items you wish to attach. 

The Serenelife boards are all made of a single-layer PVC construction which allows them to be cheap. Although they probably won’t be durable as any of the other picks on this list. Time will tell how long my friends Serenelife SUP will last them. 

What Customers Think

The board features a 4.7/5 star rating on Amazon which is pretty respectable, it’s also the same rating as the Gili Air SUP. While they may have similar constructions and ratings I still give the edge to the Gili Air as its accessories and board features are more well thought out. 

One customer compared this board to the Body Glove Performer and actually gave the upper hand to Serenelife due to the board having more space on the nose for their dog and the fact that the bag has mesh to drain water. 

Pros

  • Can usually be had at a great price
  • Lots of different styles and designs to choose from
  • Lots of positive reviews on Amazon
  • Very stable to paddle on

Cons

  • Not a lot of features on the board
  • Bag is not easy to carry
  • Features are underwhelming

10. ROC Explorer (Lightest Pick)

ROC SUP

Features

  • Length: 10’
  • Width: 32”
  • Thickness: 6” 
  • Materials: Military grade PVC with DuraWeld Technology
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 350 lbs

Why is it a Good Lightweight Pick?

The ROC Explorer is a great lightweight pick because it is the lightest SUP on this list! At 18 Lbs the ROC Explorer is great for the smaller paddler who wants a really lightweight board to transport around. This is a particularly good board to transport to the shoreline during those calm days as well.

On-Water Performance

The ROC Paddle Board is a solid, stable package for paddlers that are around 5’10” and under. The board’s wider shaped tail and nose allows the board to perform more like a platform in the water. Its maneuverability is also good with 2 side bite fins and a slide-in center fin the board can be used in tighter waterways.

In terms of speed and tracking, this board will be on the lower spectrum of this list. Its speed and tracking will be a bit more hindered due to a few reasons

  1. The shape of the board
  2. The Length of the board
  3. The smaller side fins

Board Features and Design

The ROC board, like Serenelife, features a relatively simplistic design. Three rows of bungee deck rigging area at the front of the board. But unlike the Serenelife Free Flow, there are no free D rings at the center of the board. Some of the models do, however, have some on the back of the board. It just depends what model you get.

Like the Serenlife Free Flow series the ROC paddle boards have 12 different varieties to choose from. ROC also has a diagram on their Amazon page of the ROC paddle board having 3 layers or protection including the cloth. I would consider this to be dual layer though as the cloth is not really a waterproof layer in my opinion. 

What Customers Think

ROC paddle boards have a 4.8/5 star rating on Amazon. Many of the customers were impressed with the affordability along with the quality of the board. 

One critical review I found was of a customer stating that you should be careful in choosing which ROC paddle board model. It appears some models are a bit better than others. In this scenario this customer recommended the ROC Explorer model over the Scout model she purchased. So be wary of that.

Pros

  • Great entry board for beginners
  • Lightest board on the list
  • Is Dual-layer construction
  • Board has good stability

Cons

  • According to some customers, some ROC models are better made than others
  • Not the best speed on this board
  • Not great for bigger paddlers 

How to Choose a Lightweight Paddle Board

So what are some things you need to look for when choosing a lightweight paddle board for your needs and uses? 

Lightweight Does Not Always Mean Quality

Probably the first thing you should look at when choosing a lightweight paddle board is what kind of construction they are made of. Terms like “Military grade”, “Fusion” and “Dual layer” pop up an awful lot. 

So what does it all mean? 

Well, there are basically 5 different PVC construction types that paddle boards can be constructed from. Each has its own pros and cons.

  • Single Layer: drop stitch fabric that is coated with a single layer of PVC. This is where you will find the cheaper range of paddle boards, both in manufacturers and Amazon/ Big box retail stores. Theres nothing inherently wrong with getting one of these SUPs but just be wary that their lifespan will be around 2-3 years
  • Double Layer: This is where two layers of PVC coatings go over the drop stitch fabric. This construction makes the board more watertight and they will typically last longer than single layer. The caveat is that most of these boards tend to be heavier.
  • Triple/ Quadruple Layer: These boards have 3 or 4 coatings of PVC over the drop stitch fabric. While they may be a bit more durable than Double Layer boards, they are usually 3-5 lbs heavier
  • Fusion Layer: This is quickly becoming the standard in the ISUP industry. Fusion layer construction is drop stitch sandwiched and machine pressed together to make it into one fused layer. This process requires less glue, is more environmentally friendly and has almost double the shelf life of what single layer construction would provide. Most of the boards on this list are made of Fusion Layering. 
  • Inhouse/ Custom Layer: This is construction that is done in-house. This process is done by more expensive paddle boards manufacturer whose boards are over the $1,200 price range.

Another thing to consider is drop stitch material. Not all drop stitches are the same! These days there’s a new process flooding into the SUP market and that’s woven drop stitch. Woven drop stitch is wrapped by a criss-cross pattern which gives the threads less play compared to the regular knitted drop stitch construction process. 

Photo part of Starboard Explainer Youtube Video

We have a Guide explaining exactly what paddle boards are made of here. 

Paddle Board Shape

Lots of blogs will keep hammering into your head the fact that the biggest difference for stability is the length and the width. While they are not wrong, something many forget about is the shape of the board. 

So while width does matter with SUPs, the shape will truly define how steady or fast the board is on the water. If you have a board that’s 33” wide but then the width greatly tapers off at the tail, it will not be as steady as a board with the same width but has a wider nose or tail. 

However, if you are looking for a quicker board with more “play” then it would be wise to look for a SUP who’s width greatly narrows at both the tail and nose of the SUP. 

Paddle Board Length

Simply put, the longer the paddle boards length, the more volume it will have. This means you have more surface area to stand on which usually means a more stable Platform. 

However, the stability of the board will be based on both length and width. You could have an 12’6” board but if it’s only 28” wide like the Nixy Manhattan it will not feel as steady as something that is 10’6” and 33” wide like the Nixy Newport

One thing that is usually true about length, is the fact that longer boards will track better in the water, provided they have decent fin displacements (8” center fin with side fins). This also means that longer boards will be faster in the water. But like I mentioned above, the width will have its part to play in this. 

If you are looking for a board that is more maneuverable it’s best to get a shorter board as they usually weigh less and there is less board to maneuver on the surface of the water.

Paddle Board Width

Like length this will be a determining factor on the stability of the board. As a rule of thumb:

The Wider the Board -> The More Stable it will be 

The Skinnier the Board -> The Faster it will be

If you are just starting out, its best to get a board within the 32” – 34” width range typically. Although a lot of this will depend a lot on your height and weight. Luckily we have a paddle board sizing guide that you can use.

Paddle Board Weight

This is the whole point of this article, isn’t it? I would consider a lightweight paddle board to be between 18 to 23 lbs.

One of the biggest advantages to having a nice lightweight SUP is carrying it to the shoreline. You will find there is a big difference between carrying a 19.8 lb SUP like the Blackfin CX Ultra vs a 29 lb SUP like the Blackfin XL to the water’s edge. Especially if there are obstacles like rocks, pebbles and people to bob and weave around. 

Lightweight SUPs are also a must for smaller folks who want to go solo paddling without any troubles. 

Package Compactness

One thing that not a lot of people consider is the compactness of the entire SUP package (board, paddle pump and accessories in bag). In certain circumstances like hiking, biking, public transportation or airplane travel, you need a package that is more compact and lightweight. 

Options like the Irocker All Around 10 Ultra or the Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact provide great options for having a smaller package that you can take on the go. 

When looking for a bag its best to skip the wheels if you are strictly looking for a compact package. The wheels add a few pounds extra weight and take up more room in storage. 

FAQ’s

Below are some common questions we get from people looking to get into the world of paddle boarding with a lightweight SUP.

What is the Lightest Paddle Board on the List?

The lightest paddle board on our list is the ROC Explorer Paddle Board weighing in at 18 lbs weight. However we personally like the Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact Package better which comes in at 18.75 lbs

This is due to the fact that the Huntington is made with higher quality materials and cane be packed down to be more compact.

How Much Does An Average Inflatable Paddle Board Weigh?

The average paddle board weight range is typically between 21 – 30 lbs. In this article the range of the average paddle board is from 18 to 23 lbs. 

We have a full article on How Much Paddle Board Weigh Here. 

Are Heavier Paddle Boards More Stable? 

Heavier boards are not necessarily more stable. What dictates stability more is the above factors and outside factors like wind and waves

In windier conditions, heavier paddle boards will be more stable but in white water conditions where you need maneuverability, it is actually better to have a lightweight, more responsive board. 

I realize most of you won’t be jumping into white water conditions but wind and waves are definitely something to consider when asking this question. 

Can you Travel with an Inflatable Paddle Board?

Yes, You can travel with an inflatable paddle board. In Fact many manufacturers are now making a push to make their boards more compact so that people can travel with their paddle boards. 

Inflatable paddle boards like iRocker All Around 10 Ultra and the Nixy Huntington Ultra-Compact are excellent lightweight picks that come in compact bags that you can travel with. 

So What’s The Best Lightweight Paddle Board?

The Best Lightweight Paddle Board in our opinion is the Nixy Newport G4. The Newport is lightweight at 21 lbs while featuring a good array of bungee deck riggings, D rings, and add-on action mounts all while coming with some very high-quality accessories. 

If you are looking for a compact pick and are a smaller paddler we recommend the iRocker All Around 10 Ultra due to its ability to fold in half lengthwise while providing a bag half the size of other SUPs. 

If you are unsure as to how to pick the best lightweight paddle board for your needs below is a few pointers. 

  • Make sure the SUP is made of a Good Construction and has good verified customer reviews
  • Figure out what Shape paddle board you want
  • Look at Length and Width and board weight and compare it to what your bodytype and experience level is
  • Look for stats on the full package weight and package compactness of the board for transportation purposes

Have you got any experience or recommend any specific lightweight SUPs? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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Author:
Hey, My name is Derek and I'm the owner of Inflatable SUP Authority. I've had over 20 years experience with watersports. My new-found passion is learning about and testing SUP's. I love teaching people what to look for.