First a little bit of education on board thickness and why its important - what 4”, 4.75" and 6” actually mean to your paddling experience
When Inflatable paddleboards were 1st invented, the paddleboard companies went to factories that were using drop stitch for other products like temporary cinema screens and outdoor advertising signs, this meant they had to choose from 4” or 6” thick drop stitch material, 4” is too thin really for a 10’6 board and it doesn’t allow for enough stiffness, 6” is a bit too thick detracting from the paddleboarding experience when a side wind or wave hits the side of the board.
Red Paddle Co, The inventors of the Paddleboard, worked with factories to build a 4.75 / 5” thick drop stitch, This drop stitch was not only thinner but also increased the quailty and numbers of drop stitch threads within the board, which meant they had invented a material with perfect qualities to make THE PERFECT inflatable SUP.
From here, other paddleboard companies that wanted to offer a high end board had to agree with Red Paddle Co’s logic and also found factories to work with them to provide 4.75 / 5" high quality drop stitch. This newer drop stitch is only available is select factories. Here at SUP Inflatables we bench mark the quality of a brand on which material they use on the 10’2 to 10’6 all-round boards, you will notice that none of the brands we choose to stock use 6” in that size range as it shows a lower quality material which then flow's across the range.
Generally when you go longer that 11" then most brands will use 6” to get the stiffness required on a longer board, although with this 6" they are still be made from the increased quality drop stitch threads to keep the quality through the range, RED is an exception to this and can continue to use 4.75" in some of the Sport range because they have the patiented stiffing battens down the side to allow extra stiffness.
There are many different all-round inflatable paddleboards to choose between, our favourites being those from Red Paddle co, Anomy, Gladiator Pro, Fanatic, and Starboard. There are lots of reasons why these SUPs are great so read on for our handy run-through to help you get to grips with the pros and cons of each of the boards.
The Red Paddle Co 10’6 Ride inflatable paddleboard has long been our favourite that we recommend for most of our family customers. Why? Because it has been tried and tested for 10 years as the most durable SUP on the market, with MSL laminated construction, incredible drop-stitch tech, 20 PSI rigidity which gives incredible stability, heat resistant glue and a glued on fin system. This board really is incredibly durable with no compromise. The bag's fantastic too, with travel wheels and rucksack, designed to fit all the kit inside including paddle and pump which means when you go on holiday this board can come too - even on budget airlines as the whole thing weighs under 20 Kilo’s inside the bag.
Any bad bits about this board?? One major drawback of this board for the more budget conscious is it's one of the most expensive at £849 for the full SUP package. BUT have no fear as this board also has an amazing resale value, with most 2nd hand Red 10'6 SUP boards selling for about £600.
The range of Anomy 10’6 SUP inflatable boards are OMG gorgeous, dreamt up by some crazy and amazing Catalans in Barcelona. These boards will make you stand out from any crowd. And why do I say these rather than this board? That's because Anomy bring out new limited edition boards every year with graphics designed by different artists to give every SUP rider a choice of stunning individuality.
It’s not all about the looks though! Like the Red Paddle Co 10’6 these guys really have gone all out on high quality manufacturing, with laminated construction, great drop stitch and a board that pumps to 20 ps. This board is as rigid as any of the high quality SUPs, with 2 glued on side fins and 1 central slide in fin construction this board has amazing tracking ability too! The bag is well designed, with wheels and rucksack, the bag is all black and looks great and is well made. Anomy have decided not to bring out an alloy paddle as part of their basic package, instead including an Anomy branded Glass paddle, which is a pretty cool thing to offer so not only do you get even more SUP pleasure with a lovely upgraded paddle as standard you get to look even more amazing on the water with matching kit.
Any bad bits with this board? Not really! The board is again top budget for a 10’6 at £879, this is again for the full package including, paddle, pump, phoncase and leash and of course board and ba This is an all round family board but the fin is slide in and not as durable as the Red; you won't appreciate it been rammed up the beach by clumsy kids so you might want to keep the stunning graphics of this board too yourself.. SHAME! :)
The GLADIATOR Pro - It’s been a long time coming but we have found a budget board that we are happy to put our name to! The name Gladiator Pro gives vision of some kind of Marvel movie character and maybe they're not too far off! For a budget board the graphics are pretty decent, it has a very strong, double laminated construction, excellent dropstitch and boasts a 25psi and 4.75 inch thickness which is the same as the Red and Anomy boards. The paddle that comes with the basic package is fibreglass, it's well made and gave us a surprise in the office as they have made it look like a carbon paddle which is a nice little tweak. To be honest we are hard stretched to find anything wrong with this board… in fact we have fallen a little in love with it! It tracks well, allows all the family to SUP and at £549 means that the more budget-conscious can now have a SUP that’s pretty awesome!
Any bad bits with this board? Not really! The board is great, graphics are OK, they're not going to win awards but nor are you going to be covering it with a towel either. The bags pretty good, unbranded but large and has wheels and rucksack option.
The Starboard Wide Point Zen is ever so slightly shorter at 10,5 and is our favourite all round SUP-surf board for quite a few reasons. It’s a great allround board but has been tweaked to be very efficient in surf, with a wider nose and a thinner tail giving the Zen added manoeuvrability in the waves. Little details like a leash ring on the deck and the tail make all the difference. They have gone for the glued on fin system which means there's another board to choose from if you prefer this no hassle option. Starboard are also planet conscious. Their manufacturing process minimises offcuts of the laminated fabric meaning less landfill waste, they give you a little hook for your paddle to hook bottles out the ocean and they try use less to no plastic in there packaging opting for cardboard protection instead. Oh and their bags are gorgeous which is a nice extra when taking your board on holiday. The starboard is double layer with stringer tech, keeping the board light and very stiff.
Any bad bits with this board? At £769 it's a bit cheaper than a Red Paddle Co 10'6 Ride or Anomy SUP, but if I was choosing an all round family board I would probably choose a round tailed board to give more stability for flat water paddling. The starboard is built with a surf tweak which may not suit those who mainly do flat water paddling quite so well. I'm also not a big fan of the starboard alloy paddle but think the Tuffskin paddle is great, so would recommend upgrading to that or our own SUP paddle which means the package would actually be £810. This board comes into its own if you're wanting an allround board you can surf with... I would definitely get this board over a rounder tail board if I wanted a board I could flatwate paddle with but with an overriding edge towards surfing.
Fanatic have come up with 3 options for the family all round SUP board, all 10'4 in length. The Fanatic Pure Air 10’4 single skin construction allows for a budget conscious option at £599, it’s a great option budget board with Fanatic quality and brand attached. This board comes with the Fanatic alloy paddle, fanatic bag and pump etc. The bag is just a rucksack with no wheels though! After that Fanatic offers the Fanatic Fly Air 10’4, which is their middle price range board, at £769 with glass paddle as standard. This board comes with stringer construction, which is a single skin with a stiffening 2nd skin band going round the board, nose to tail. At 33’' wide it is slightly wider than the other choices giving a little more stability with great tracking as the slide in centre fin is quite long. Finally the Fanatic fly Air Premium 10'4 is all singing and dancing double laminated construction with glass paddle, wheeled bag and glass paddle as standard. The Fanatic Premium range also has a windsurf attachment as standard so the Fanatic premium is one of my go-to choice's for an all round board for the families who want to learn to windsurf or play around on the board on slightly windy days too!
Any bad bits to these boards? Not really! I really like that Fanatic have offered different budget conscious choices within their range; 3 all-round boards at different price points. The 10’4 being slightly shorter offers a nice difference in the market and the 33” width gives possibly a slightly more stable board. The glass paddle as standard with the Fly Air and Fly Air Premium is also a nice touch. I really like the windsup option in all their premium range as it's great fun for the kids to have a go windsurfing if you can beg or borrow a sail. If you're led by budget it's a little tricky to get everything and my only bug bear is the bag doesn’t come with wheels on the two Fanatic budget options.
O'Neill came to us this year with this well priced board and, well, we haven’t looked back since! at £449 for board, paddle, pump and bag with leash and phone case too its a heck a lot of board for its buck. Its single skin construction and 5 inches thick means its a well built board and light. It is an all-round board for the family and at 10’4 and 33 inches wide is a stable board that lends itself to SUP Surfing... what more would you expect from O’Neill?! The bag has a suitcase style zip making it easy to get the board in and out with a comfortable rucksack making carrying the board to the beach easy. Any bad bits to this board? Even though it's only £449 O’Neill haven’t cut corners on making a great single skin board; it tracks well and is loads of fun when catching a wave. The Paddle is what we would possibly call ‘occasional use’ and could possibly do with an upgrade to our SUP glass/nylon paddle at £40 if you think you're going to be using the board most weekends. The pump is single action, just making it a little slower to pump the board, but at £449 this is an incredible priced branded budget board that will give the whole family a heck of a lot of fun.
So all in all - if I was buying a board tomorrow....I'd go for the....
- Red Paddle Co 10'6 Ride - For full on, no compromise, kid proof durability with Reds unfaltering warranty and high resell value.
- Anomy - For stunning design to stand out from the crowd there's no doubt this is the board to get!
- Gladiator Pro - Is an Incredible budget board that does everything a branded board does.
- Fanatic - Have 3 constuctiones to suit budget with great colours, with the added bonus that you can put a windsurf rig on the Premium and Diamond ranges
- Starboard - For the guys who want to surf The 10'5 has a narrower tail and currently is probably the most environmental inflatable SUP
- O’Neill - A beginner budget board for the whole family