Over the past few months, we have been lucky enough to get our hands on some of the best inflatable all-around standup paddleboards for 2018. We’ve taken some time to pump and prepare them before launching out into the abyss.
Now it’s the time to tell you exactly what we think.
We have prepared this inflatable SUP comparison to both introduce you to these boards, and to tell you exactly what we love (or hate) about them.
We have managed to cover some family favorites like the Thurso Surf Water Walker 11’ and the Aquaglide Cascade 11’. We’ve located some legends of the sport like the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 and the Starboard Atlas 12’. Then to round off our SUP review we’ve looked at some up and coming heroes in the Nixy Newport G2 10’6 and the iRocker Cruiser 10’6.
|iRocker Cruiser 10'6|
|Nixy Newport G2 10'6|
|Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11'|
|Red Paddle Co Ride MSL 10'6|
|Aquaglide Cascade 11'|
|Starboard Atlas Zen 12'|
Really whatever your preference is, we have you covered.
Continue on to our 2018 best all-around inflatable standup paddleboard review to find out exactly what we thought of each board. Or you can go directly to our conclusion of the best all-around paddleboard.
Quick Inflatable Paddleboards Reviews
iRocker Cruiser 10’6 Inflatable SUP
|Weight Capacity||25 lbs|
As a beginner or advanced, the iRocker Cruiser is a great looking paddleboard, sold in a great package with everything you need. At 33” wide the board is incredibly stable and can double up for some SUP yoga or fishing. We love boards that suit beginner and advanced riders alike and with a whopping 400lb capacity the iRocker Cruiser SUP really lends itself to any user in any location.
iRocker may be a relatively new company in terms of business but as a team, they have been riding hundreds of different boards over the past number of years. It is this experience and foresight that led them to bring iRocker to the market.
Each iRocker paddleboard is built using a military grade quad layer construction, this really does create one of the most durable boards we have come across. Because iRocker understands that everyone likes to be different they have chosen to release this board in 6 different colors for true personalization.
At 10’6 the iRocker Cruiser is definitely an all-around paddleboard, the tri fin set up is reassuring and really gives you the support you need to push the board to its limits. A stable confident design is what has propelled the Cruiser into our best inflatable stand up paddleboards review 2018.
- Super stable design
- Multiple color options available
- Quad layer material is strong and very durable
- Fiberglass paddle included as standard for a lightweight experience
- Not the fastest of inflatable SUPs due to its additional width but makes up in stability what it loses in speed.
- Quad layer PVC is a little heavy
Nixy Newport G2 10’6” Inflatable SUP
|Weight Capacity||300 lbs|
Nixy is a true family brand, a company built on a family’s commitment to finding the best blend of fun and performance, and still to this day are working together to improve and revolutionize the industry.
The Nixy Newport G2 10’6 has proven us wrong on so many levels initially we had passed this off as just another all-around SUP, but once on the water it just came alive. Giving us the performance and feel we had come to expect from higher priced packages.
The Nixy paddleboard was stable and capable, to turn and glide with ease, even handling small waves and whitewater in its stride. The grippy deck pad and super tough Fusion Core Technology has certainly become a game changer. By increasing durability and stiffness whilst reducing weight has allowed the Nixy Newport G2 to compete with many other top end boards.
The toolless Tri Fin Set up is a nice touch offering all the characteristics of a true all round board, but being able to remove the fins certainly makes storage easier. But then allows you to also tailor the boards set up to the conditions, quickly and easily. The large bag is well built and of premium quality, the three wheels really distribute the load and make it easy to handle and maneuver, even through busy terminals or airports.
- Six classy colorways to choose from
- The travel bag is really high quality and the perfect companion
- Super stiff and rigid board due to its fusion technology
- Toolless tri fin set up fast and effective
- The paddle is a bit low quality but does the job to get you going.
- Only one handle, personally we would have liked to see another to aid launching
Aquaglide Cascade 11’ Inflatable SUP
|Weight Capacity||230 lbs|
The Aquaglide Cascade is 11 feet long and 32 inches wide. Built by a company better known for their inflatable water parks, they definitely understand inflatables.
A lightweight design featuring just a single layer of PVC over the drop stitch core which is still capable of over 18 PSI of pressure. The Cascade is equipped with just a single rear fin but by utilizing the US fin box system it can be quickly interchanged for a different size depending on the conditions. This means fins can be easily bought in any local surf store.
The Cascade 11′ features a whopping 10 D rings, they are ready fitted to the board so you have plenty of space for any extra accessories and the option of fitting a universal kayak seat for a change of pace or just a different perspective.
The Cascade looks great, stylish and fun, on the water the board is definitely better suited to smaller riders but feels at home on a lake or canal. The board makes a great introductory piece for many users.
- Good looking colorful design
- Soft grippy deckpad
- Included bravo pump is easy to use
- US fin box is a nice addition to easily interchange a variety of fins
- Only a single fin set up
- US fin box requires a phillips head screwdriver so be sure to pack one
- No paddle or leash is included in the package
- Deck pad smaller than similar models
Red Paddle Co Ride MSL 10’6 Inflatable SUP
|Weight Capacity||220 lbs|
Described as the swiss army knife of inflatable paddleboards the Ride 10’6 MSL seems to have been around forever.
An incredibly popular design that has really been setting the standards in stand up paddleboards for many years. The Ride 10’6 now features both MSL and Tec Air Technologies. This refers to the ways Red Paddle Co actually build the boards by using a high-quality drop stitch then covering the core with a liquid PVC meaning that each and every board is perfect. Holding its air better than its competitors and able to take a pressure of over 25 PSI, which is far higher than any other board on the market.
The Ride 10’6 from Red paddle co is sold in a simple package containing just the board, bag, pump, and repair kit. The package does not include a paddle or leash so be sure to purchase one before arriving at the water’s edge.
Underneath you will find the ever-present tri-fin thruster set up, delivering the best mix of performance and durability, bouncing and bending on anything you may hit.
We have seen this board being tested to the limits, including a 22-tonne digger driving over it. For us, it has been a favorite for a long time, now like an old friend we know just what to expect each time we step aboard. Stable yet agile with a smooth confident glide pattern and great tracking. The Ride 10’6 is one of the true all-around designs that can really go anywhere and do anything.
- Friendly customer service always happy to help
- Tri-fin system super durable and user-friendly
- The bag is large and very easy to use one of the best on the market
- Titan pump is miles ahead of competitors
- One of the stiffest most responsive boards we have tested
- No paddle or leash included in the package
- Only one color option (plus one limited edition color for 2018)
- The pump is too quick, it will leave you waiting when paddling with friends using other brands pumps
- No option to use a kayak universal backrest
Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11’ Inflatable SUP
|Weight Capacity||450 lbs|
Thurso Surf is one of the newest companies on the market but has looked and listened to what people want, actively changing and working with its users to build a board that really suits its riders.
To be a little different Thurso Surf have gone against the grain in deck designs opting for a stunning wood effect pattern, finished with a really smart tricolor deck pad. Combining this with the dual layer PVC outer and you have yourself a super strong and durable board capable of a 450 lbs capacity.
The Waterwalker is equipped with a toolless fin system designed so that each fin can be removed depending on the conditions, this is a nice option if you want to switch between a tri fin all-around set-up and a single fin cruiser.
This has to be one of the best value boats we have come across sold with a fantastic package to get you straight on the water right out of the carton. The package includes a carbon shaft paddle, travel bag, board leash and even a lunch cooler bag to keep things cool whilst on the water.
- Insulated cooler bag included in the package
- Tooless fin system in perfect for fast changes
- Top deck design is beautiful
- Strong stable board perfect for a range of riders
- Only available in the one wooden pattern design
- Replacement fins are only available from Thurso Surf
Starboard Atlas Zen 12’ Inflatable SUP
|Weight Capacity||265 lbs|
Starboard have come from a generation where hand shaping was the norm. Building boards with love, sweat, and hard work. They moved into the inflatable business to provide an easier formula to introduce beginners but stumbled upon technologies that suit an advanced rider as well. With over 24 years experience in the industry, Starboard knows exactly what they are doing.
Year on year they are improving and redefining their range to truly offer something for everyone.
The latest Atlas 12’ to come out of Starboard HQ may look a little daunting at 12 feet long and a width of 33 inches it’s certainly one of the biggest all-around boards we have ridden.
Starboard have really stretched the upper limit of the all-around category proving that even a board this size can quite literally be taken anywhere. The reason is the fin position being placed well back at the tail, a solid tri fin set up allows the board to maneuver like any shorter board. All you need to remember is that you must move your weight. For cruising, we suggest you step forward a touch to engage the beautiful rail to gain maximum glide and finesse.
The strong deck with additional stringer and solid standing plate really add to the feel of the Atlas 12’ to the point you would be forgiven for thinking of it as a solid board.
The Atlas 12’ Zen package is sold with a really nice wheely bag for transport and a simple board leash suitable for flat water or touring, unfortunately, no paddle is included so remember to pick one up before heading for the beach.
- Super durable construction
- Really rigid form even with bigger riders
- Could be easily mistaken for a hard board
- Rear kick paddle offers control and precision not found on many other inflatable stand up paddleboards
- Only available in one color scheme
- Would of like to have seen added shoulder straps to the bag
- No paddle included in the package
The 2018 Best All-Around Inflatable Standup Paddleboard Comparison
So now it’s time to put the boards head to head, here we use a number of headings to really see what’s going to be best for you.
We have looked into performance by the feel underfoot, how each board responds how it turns and how it glides.
At the top of our list in terms of performance has to be the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 MSL. The Ride offers the feel and performance of a solid board without the stress of storage and transport. One of the main factors behind this is its excellent use of the tri-fin thruster set up. With three small rubber fins positioned to allow the board to easily glide on the flat or the option to grab the water and turn with ease.
Whether you want to explore in your backyard or surf some small waves both the Thurso Surf Waterwalker and the iRocker Cruiser 10’6 paddleboards offer the performance not to hold you back. Perfect as a beginner board or for the advanced rider looking to excel, both boards will be capable of whatever you throw at them.
One of the more disappointing boards in terms of performance had to be the Aquaglide Cascade 11’ SUP, the board just felt slow and sluggish. The excess flex caused by the single layer PVC didn’t give the Cascade the confidence we were looking for. For a lighter rider who wants a flatwater board, it will be suitable but it is very one dimensional and does not offer anything else. Difficult to paddle and the single fin just seems to drag.
To create a board that can both maneuver and track is a real skill and something that the team at Nixy Sports have really done well. The Nixy Newport G2 10’6 also has the option of removing the extra fins when you don’t need them, which is a nice touch that can really set the performance apart from some of the other boards we have reviewed.
The everpresent Starboard Atlas Zen holds its place among the best, but for this year we felt the gap certainly is getting much closer between the top end boards (like the Red Paddle co Ride MSL and the Starboard Atlas Zen) and the rest. While some of the cheaper boards actually paddling and performing on par with these “more premium brands”.
At 12 feet in length, the Atlas Zen was the longest board we have reviewed but its performance as an all-around board was really commendable. For such a big board it could still be nimble and fun. But had plenty of potential for longer cruising and journeys.
The team at Starboard really do try to push the boundaries of inflatables every year and by putting them side by side against hardboards in terms of style and performance is why the Atlas will remain a favorite for years to come.
Versatility is about where and how we use a board does it serve just one purpose or can it really be a true all-around standup paddleboard designed to go anywhere and do anything?
With versatility in mind, we will launch right in with the unbelievable ultimately tough, quad-layer iRocker Cruiser 10’6 SUP. The iRocker its 4 layers provide the extra stiffness needed to really lend itself to surfing and whitewater adventures as well as cruising and general family fun. The Cruiser is also equipped with enough accessory D-rings to add a shoulder strap or to use a universal kayak seat. This means you can try out a second sport (obviously kayaking but you could go for fishing on your SUP) or if you just want to sit and relax a while with a different point of view.
The iRocker Cruiser 10’6 provides a super stable platform which is great as a family paddleboard or for SUP yoga, and it’s boasting a 400lbs capacity, big enough to throw a small party and able to cope with whatever you might throw.
When we think of all-around inflatable stand up paddleboards all eyes go straight to the Red Paddle co Ride 10’6 MSL, one of the true all-around boards which can only be described as the 4×4 of iSUP.
The simple tri-fin thruster set up let the paddleboard do its thing whether playing at the beach or on a lake, to surfing and whitewater the Red Paddle Ride board will actually go anywhere.
The only downsides of this board are that it doesn’t have an option to add a universal kayak seat and a max capacity of just 220 lbs might only be enough for a small dog to join the fun. If you want to take a friend we would recommend you check out the rides bigger brothers at 10’8, 14’ and even 17’ Red Paddle Co have plenty of options in their range for even the biggest of families.
The Nixy Newport G2 10’6. We found to be a board built for versatility, one of the closest boards to the Ride we have ever tested. The stiffness and rigidity allowed the board to move and paddle in any situation with confidence we really felt the trust in our equipment.
The removable fins of the Nixy Newport paddleboard was also a nice touch being able to customize the board for whatever the conditions provided. We were a little disappointed that they offer a kayak backrest but it only secures on two D rings instead of the usual four, this meant the backrest felt unstable and quite unsupportive.
Thurso Surf states on their own website: “An All-Around paddle board for ALL paddlers and ALL water conditions. No matter your age, sex, skill, or fitness level, this board is ideal for you”. That’s a pretty committing statement and in honesty, Thurso Surf wasn’t lying, they really did build a board that in our opinion looks great, and really can go anywhere. The Waterwalker 11’ paddleboard boasts a whopping 450 lbs maximum capacity which is by far the largest of any board we have tested. On the water, the Waterwalker really did feel at home, nimble enough to surf and spin yet still enough length and stability to cruise for days on end, a great mix of versatility.
The Starboard Atlas 12’ really is hard to fault, offering incredible performance from the first stroke, incredible glide, and speed, but don’t make any mistake it is certainly not a one-trick pony. The extra length and stability allow the board to ride small waves with ease but personally, we wouldn’t be sending this board on too much whitewater any time soon. With a maximum capacity of just 265 lbs, we felt it was a little low for this sized board.
Again Starboard has not included any option for kayak seat attachment as they are a brand that believes in an uncluttered deck for stand up paddling.
The Aquaglide Cascade 11’ SUP to its credit does offer four accessory D-rings to attach a kayak seat and the interchangeable US fin box configuration means you could attempt to paddle it anywhere but the manufacturers maximum capacity of 230 lbs is a long way off of reality. We found the Cascade to be unstable and difficult to paddle anywhere but the calmest of waters making it not as versatile as the rest of the boards listed.
Stability must be one of the key considerations when purchasing any board. From beginner through to advanced riders the stability can make a huge difference that’s why all of the boards we have chosen are 32” or 33” in width.
Please remember its not only the width that’s important but fin size, shape, and positioning as well as board thickness and form that can affect the stability.
Starting with the least stable of our best inflatable SUP comparison we come to the Aquaglide Cascade 11’. The Cascade has all the makings of a great board and at 32” it is certainly wide enough but it’s really let down by its construction. The single layer of PVC doesn’t feel as firm and rigid as other models and this leaves the board feeling soft and extremely wobbly for a larger rider. For a small rider the Aquaglide Cascade actually felt ok and would be great for flat water but unfortunately, it just did not inspire confidence.
From our experience, you will actually go further, faster on a more stable paddleboard as it gives you the extra confidence to apply a quicker stroke rate.
The Waterwalker from Thurso Surf and the iRocker Cruiser are both built with the paddler in mind. Designed to offer extreme confidence no matter where you go. Each board offers the maximum stability through their great fin positioning and huge maximum capacities, even the largest of riders could take some time to dance into the night on either of these two boards.
The 4×4 of the inflatable SUP world is the Ride 10’6 MSL from Red Paddle Co. This board just keeps giving, it is always been highly regarded as the forefront of iSUP and for great reasons. This is the paddleboard that everyone else tries to aspire to, a proven formula that provides confidence and stability from the first stroke.
Not too dissimilar is the Nixy Newport 10’6, which utilizes a similar construction method keeping things rock solid underfoot with the larger fins creating a super rigid stable platform for all of the family.
The Starboard Atlas 12’ is also such a dream to paddle, the extra length providing the speed whilst the width and tri-fin set up keeping the equilibrium.
Over the past few years, the materials have really turned the SUP market on its head with the introduction of inflatable boards as a user-friendly solution for storage and durability. Now the manufacturers aim to build an inflatable which performs as well as a hardboard. 10 years ago this was a pipe dream now we are almost at a reality.
Red Paddle Co have adopted their own Tec air technology for a few years now but now incorporating the MSL process whereby they actually build the board at the raw material stage making the board lighter and stiffer in the process.
The super durable quad layer military grade PVC construction of the iRocker Cruiser has proven to be one of the best quality constructions for inflatable paddleboards. In terms of durability, we have been highly impressed with the ultra-tough materials used by iRocker in creating this masterpiece. The strong PVC holds its shape and pressure well to create one of the toughest boards we have come across.
The relatively new Newport G2 10’6 has been designed and built by the Nixy family to best serve their own needs. Luckily it’s worked out pretty good for everyone else too. The team at Nixy have spent much time implementing their own advanced fusion technology in a similar construction process to that of Red Paddle co and along with the dual layer of PVC they are certainly onto a winner.
Also boasting a dual layer PVC construction is the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11’, which is the process most common in many mid-range paddleboards and for many years has proven to be a good balance between weight and durability.
Alongside all of the other dual layer constructions, the Aquaglide Cascade is just not in the same league. The single layer may be strong and light but just doesn’t hold its air well. As a budget board overall the Aquaglide Cascade would be very good but compared to the other mid-range boards, it really struggles to hold its own in terms of stiffness and performance.
Starboard keeps the Atlas Zen 12’ simple with its high-quality PVC deck, which is super strong but lightweight. They are currently also offering the Atlas 11’ SUP and many others of their boards in a dual chamber construction whereby you actually have a center chamber inflated separately to the rest. This can be seen both as a safety feature of extra floatation in case of pirates as well as increasing the board’s stiffness.
A paddleboards value is both a relation between its price and its quality. We measure value by what it’s worth to us taking into account the board and its accessories.
The premium boards in the comparison are the Starboard Atlas 12’ Zen and the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 MSL. These are both higher priced boards but they have the premium quality to support this. They are both sold including the bag, pump, and repair kit only. This is due to the fact they are from premium brands who firmly believe in the right tools for the job and want you to decide which paddle will really suit your style. They also don’t want to include a super basic paddle as it just doesn’t best represent their interests in the sport.
Of the two brands, the Red Paddle co bag is probably a touch nicer with its foil inner and space for a paddle to be stored. Also, it has a set of padded backpack straps perfect for carrying your board in crowded places. These can also be hidden away when not in use whereas the Starboard bag is nice but misses the backpack straps for easy hauling.
The iRocker Cruiser and the Nixy Newport paddleboards both stood out this year providing excellent performance. Both sold as a great package offering everything you need from the glassfiber shafted paddle of the iRocker Cruiser or the premium tri-wheeled back of the Nixy Newport G2.
With accessories in mind, the Waterwalker paddleboard package from Thurso Surf has done a great job. Many companies opt for a basic aluminum paddle, not Thurso Surf they have chosen to include a lightweight carbon shafted paddle. The lighter weight and extra shaft stiffness are really nice on longer paddles and on cooler fall days the carbon is warmer to touch than similar aluminum shafts.
They have also gone to lengths to give you everything you need right from the off, including a bag, leash, repair kit and even a water-resistant cooler bag for keeping your lunch cool whilst out on the water.
The value of the Aquaglide Cascade this year for us was just too high, for a board which lacked great performance and any real accessories we found it to be overpriced and unsuitable for many users due to its light construction.
Who Excels Where
Looking at all-around paddleboards, you find features that are conducive to a jack-of-all-trades type of SUP. Some of these features make it more versatile in one condition type compared to another. Features like fin setup or perhaps body shape. Tweaking these details can make a board excel in certain areas of performance. The shape of the nose can increase speed, the fin setup can increase maneuverability. So, here we look at these features on the boards and see who is excelling where.
Let’s start with the Aquaglide Cascade 11’ as a budget board for the smaller rider the board will provide a nice mix of flatwater cruising but really when we put it against our mid-range boards it just isn’t in the same quality.
We move quickly to the opposite end of the spectrum with the Starboard Zen one of the boards that just oozes premium quality. Everything from the bag to the finish is just perfect. Unfortunately today the board lost a little ground due to its cruising credentials in an all-around review but this is exactly what Starboard want. A paddleboard to suit every niche so if you want a stable fast all-around board that is perfect for beginners and advanced riders alike then here it is.
The iRocker Cruiser is sold as a great package and the quad layer PVC is absolutely bombproof making one of the most durable and stable paddleboards we have come across. And if the color is important, then you should definitely keep an eye on the Cruiser 10’6 from iRocker with its six color options available. Mixing the colors up gives a bit of personalization which is perfect if you’re buying more than one for family or a group of friends.
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11’ was a board that came highly recommended and did not disappoint. The amazing mix of style and grace just wanted us to push this board even further. Well suited to all the family the Waterwalker inspires confidence and is super versatile for a host of conditions.
As we keep saying no review or best board comparison could ever be complete without the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6 MSL. A true all-around paddleboard and in our hearts, this is still the board to be beaten. We step aboard hundreds of boards to test and for fun and every time we found ourselves comparing everything to the Ride. This is certainly the benchmark and is going to be a tough cookie to beat.
The Swiss army knife of inflatable standup paddleboards is the Ride 10’6 MSL from Red Paddle Co. A board that time and time again has proven just why it is the most well known all-around inflatable SUP. Incredibly versatile and always of perfect quality, this really proves why again the Ride has come out on top. Sold with a premium bag and arguably the best pump on the market Red has made it an easy choice for us again this year. The only downside of the Red Paddle Ride will be its price.
For 2018 we definitely found the gap to be diminishing as we paddled away on the Nixy Newport G2. We had a defining nervous moment, was this the board to finally take the crown from Red Paddle co? Honestly, it was close but we think the Ride just pipped them on the materials and construction. That being said a little refining and development and we can see the Nixy Newport G2 coming back stronger than ever. Sold as a great well-priced package, the performance and accessories certainly make this the best of the rest.
|iRocker Cruiser 10'6||Buy Now|
|Red Paddle Co Ride MSL 10'6||Buy Now|
|Nixy Newport G2 10'6||Buy Now|
|Thurso Surf Waterwalker 11'||Buy Now|
|Starboard Atlas Zen 12'||Buy Now|
|Aquaglide Cascade 11'||Buy Now|
If you are after the best all-around inflatable SUP and budget is of no concern, then you should get the Red Paddle co 10’6” Ride. As far as versatility and ease of inflation and transport goes, it can’t be beaten. It’s the kind of SUP that will grow with you. If you don’t mind the higher price, you’ll love every aspect of the board.
If you’re looking for the best all-around paddleboard for a more affordable price, then the iRocker Cruiser is certainly on top of our list. It has a super strong construction, very stable platform and is easy to maneuver. The iRocker Cruiser will be fun for you and your whole family!
Now, if you are watching those pennies and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of performance because of it then look to the Nixy Newport. It’ll also be a bit more stable for a beginner.
Bigger riders or those taking gear/extras regularly try out the Thurso Surf, it’s the best bet for a solid base that won’t flex. Not only will you get a strong platform, the extra length will give you the extra stability you need, especially if you are tall too.
People who are just after a tender or very occasional use can get away with grabbing the Aquaglide but for the similar price range to some of the others like the Cruiser, we suggest looking elsewhere.
Really, we endorse all of these boards for their own individual use. So, it’s up to you to tell us what it is you want to do and where you want to go. We will gladly assist in any way we can to help find you the best inflatable paddleboard!