Top 5 inflatable SUP boards
We asked a large number of people how the rated their inflatable SUP board. We asked instructors how long their boards lasted. We asked beginners how stable their inflatable SUP was. We asked experts which boards were the most rigid. Over 1,200 responded to a public survey to rate their inflatable SUP board against a number of criteria. Using the survey results we ranked the boards based on the responses.
What did we find?
How to use the interactive graph: Pressing play will show the different criteria that the board manufacturers were ranked against. You can click on the colour representing each company on the legend to toggle that company on an off, so you can see exactly how the company your thinking of buying compares against the other SUP board companies.
OVERALL Number 1 inflatable SUP board company:
The small ethical family brand McConks ranked the best overall stand up paddleboard company. They were number one inflatable SUP company for rigidity, longevity, build quality, quality of accessories, and value for money, giving them number one ranking overall.
The top 6 inflatable SUP companies (based on overall score across all criteria) were:
#1 McConks (scoring 93 out of 100). McConks scored top for an impressive six out of seven criteria. The only criteria they were beaten on were overall happiness, where another small UK family company just beat McConks into second place.
#2 Fatstick (scoring 90 out of 100). Fatstick scored number one for one of the seven criteria, second for value for money, and in the top 5 in all performance measures, meaning Fatstick were a clear and worthy second place overall.
We asked riders to rate their boards for build quality and aesthetics; how well the board was finished, whether the deckpad looked like it had been cut by a child with a knife and fork, whether the rails were finished evenly, whether the fin boxes were stuck on properly. The difference between a good board and a bad board can be quite stark, with some fin boxes even being stuck on back to front!
#1 McConks. Small family company McConks again came top of the list for build quality, scoring 94 out of 100. McConks provide an impressive amount of information their SUP build quality, demonstrating that they really understand how and why their boards are put together, and showing that they don’t just use generic off the shelf SUP. Something even some of the bigger brands are known to do.
#2 Red Paddle Co. Coming a very close second, Red Paddle were just one point behind scoring 93 out of 100. Here’s what they say about their technology. It;’s worth noting that Red Paddle claim that MSL fusion is unique to them. That’s not strictly true. They have copyrighted the term MSL, but have no patent on the technology. Many of the best quality boards use the same technology, and quite a small few now use better technology.
#3 Fatstick. Another small UK brand scoring 92 out of 100. Here’s what Fatstick have to say about their construction methods.
#4 and #5 Jobe and JP Australia tied, scoring 91 out of 100.
Top 5 SUP boards that are built to last
We asked riders to rate their boards by how long they last and how quickly they lose performance or their looks. Some boards made of lower quality materials (even by some of the premium brands it turns out) can look pretty shabby pretty quickly. On the other hand, some boards are clearly meant to last a long time.
#1 McConks. Again McConks came top of the tree, scoring 94 out of 100
#2 Quroc. Another relatively small and new UK direct sales brand coming a close second scoring 92 out of 100
#3 Red Paddle Co were slightly behind for build quality scoring 91 out of 100
Fatstick appear again at #4 scoring 90 out of 100
#5 is Naish
Top five Most rigid / stiffest inflatable SUP boards
So this is a little subjective, but we asked riders to rate how stiff their boards were, and how much flex they felt when riding. And although subjective, if you ask enough people, then you should get an objective overall score.
The stiffest and most rigid board manufacturer according to the survey respondents was McConks, scoring 95 out of 100.
#2 Loco. A small UK company specialising on surf SUP, and relatively late to the iSUP game, Loco beat the established SUP brands scoring 93 out of 100.
Another relatively small and new UK direct sales brand coming a close second scoring 92 out of 100
#3 JP Australia scoring 91
#4 Fatstick scoring 90
#5 Starboard, Red Paddle, Quroc, Jobe all scoring 89
Top 5 best value inflatable SUP
We asked paddlers to consider which board was the best value for money overall based on the price they paid for their board.
Unsurprisingly the smaller direct sales brands proved best value for money. With smaller overheads and closer customer service than the large watersports brands, McConks were voted number one best value for money inflatable SUP, scoring 95 out of 100. Fatstick were just behind at number two scoring 93. McConks and Fatstick are advertised at similar price points, although Fatstick SUP are normally available at a discount. However, the three brands coming in quite a few points lower at joint third operate at very different price points, with Loco offering premium pricing, Sandbanks offering budget prices and Aquamarina offering very low prices,
#1 best value inflatable SUP – McConks (95)
#2 Fatstick (93)
Joint #3 Loco, Sandbanks SUP style and Aquamarina (88 out of 100)
Top 5 brands for accessories included with inflatable paddleboards
We asked paddlers to rate how good the accessories were included with their inflatable paddleboard package.
#1 McConks (87)
#2 Quroc (85)
Joint #3 Loco, Red Paddle Co, Fatstick