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2020 Women's Paddleboard Buyer's Guide

by Kelly Vance on March 06, 2020

The growth of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) over the past few years has led to an explosion of products on the market, making it confusing for women to find the best paddleboard for them - but not to worry, we've talked to our ambassadors about what they've loved over the years, and have recommendations for the most loved paddleboards for all of the different styles of SUP - from family fun on the lake, to racing, surfing and more!   

From playing at the lake with the family, to yoga and fitness, to fishing, adventure touring, surfing and even white-water river running, stand up paddleboarding is a varied discipline that has something for almost every adventure lover, whether you're looking for adrenaline rushes or the natural beauty of exploring your local waters. 

Want more? Read the first article in this series about paddleboarding disciplines, and our article covering different paddleboard styles here. 

Support SheShreds by buying your paddleboards through the affiliate links included in this page! 

Sizing Your Paddleboard 

Paddleboards are sized primarily based on the rider weight... as well as the weight of all of the stuff you plan to carry.  You cannot be too small for a paddleboard, but a small rider may find a large board difficult to maneuver or paddle quickly.  If you are too heavy for the board, it will sit too low in the water, causing difficulty with balance and movement. 


- This guide is focused primarily on inflatable stand-up paddleboards (ISUP) as for most people, they're a great choice - easy to store, easy to transport, and loaded with great technology.  We've also heard from ambassadors that a good quality ISUP is the most durable they've used - even preferred by ambassadors who really put their boards through rough white-water SUP. 

- When purchasing a paddleboard, take into account what you plan to do with your paddleboard.  Most beginners will appreciate the stability of a larger board, as will those who enjoy yoga, fitness and fishing on a paddleboard.  Those looking to race, surf, or run rivers with their paddleboard will often prefer a shorter board. 

- Think about the weight of what you may carry on your paddleboard - from dogs to fishing gear to children, paddlers often travel wi th more than just their own weight on the board. 


Paddleboards For Beginners

In the learning stages, it's easiest to have a somewhat shorter but wide board (not too short for your weight!). Having a wide board will make it more stable so you can focus on paddling technique instead of standing. I have a friend with a smaller, narrow board, and the board is much easier to navigate but also a whole lot harder to balance on!
 - Ambassador Brianna Smith


Choose Beginner SUP Board
Ambassador Ava Cook on her paddleboard.

Paddleboards for Beginners & Affordable Fun

If you're just looking to get out on the lake and have some fun occasionally without spending too much money, there are still quite a few options in the under $400 price range. 
One option is Polyethelene paddleboards (think rigid hollow plastic like an inexpensive kayak) are both affordable and durable, and perfect for someone who just wants to play around out on the water.  These boards tend to have a lower weight capacity and are a great option for kids and smaller riders. 
Another choice?  Check out the off-season sales shopping online for a paddleboard in the fall through early spring can get you a killer discount - up to 70% off a good quality board.  Shopping around is always a good idea, but right now we're seeing some amazing deals at


Sapient Inflatable SUP

We did a little hunting around to find a great deal that's perfect for a beginner on a budget. This board is designed to be stable for beginners and SUP yoga enthusiasts, and you can't beat the price - the off-season discount makes it under $400! 

Performer 11' 2020 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (ISUP) with Bag, Paddle & Pump

This redesigned paddleboard from our partners at Body Glove includes everything you'll need to get started.  A stable shape with fixed fins that track well in water, plus a large grippy deck mean this board will be one you'll love for a while

Paddleboards For Yoga & Workouts

I personally I prefer a longer board, about 11ft+ long for taking out to practice yoga on flat water. It's slower in the water (so not the best for exploring and covering large distances) but it's much more stable and forgiving. Make sure your board has bow deck rigging. That way if you want to bring a cooler or some personal items in a waterproof bag you can secure them under the rigging. I took on a large boat wave the other day... and the wave won.  I was very glad I had secured my bag to the board instead of having to dive to the bottom for my keys! - Ambassador Brindley Faile
Our picks: 


Affordable Inflatable - Bic Cross Fit Paddleboard

This all-around fitness-focused paddleboard has a large pad for all of your yoga positions and a stable, wide shape, while still retaining a rigid feel that some inflatables lack.  Inflatables are perfect for those of you who lack storage space or drive a smaller car, and the technology has improved over the years to give you a firm feel despite being filled with air! 

Yoga-Focused Features: Hala Rival Asana Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard

The full-length traction pad and wide, rockered shape make this an easy choice for yoga lovers.  Rigging straps are included to hold your keys, water bottle, and more, while the wide platform makes it versatile enough for your full yoga flow. 



Bic Classic SUP

For those who enjoy the rigidity and maneuverability of epoxy paddleboards, this classic wide shape and large deck pad would be ideal for playing at the lake and practicing some yoga while you're out there. 


Starboard Yoga Harmony Zen Inflatable SUP Paddleboard

This inflatable was truly built with a yogi in mind, from the wide shape and large volume - giving enough space to practice solo or even tandem, with a friend.  It also features D-Rings designed for SUP Yoga beginners to connect and dock their boards in a class setting. 

Inflatable yoga boards are ideal for yoga - some have a super wide shape that keeps you way more balanced! However, they do not cut through water well and make it more difficult to catch speed. I would only buy a yoga specific board if that is all you will use it for. Otherwise, a wide all-around board can be used for yoga as well as other fun.  - Ambassador Brianna Smith
Paddleboard for Fishing or Yoga
Ambassador Brianna Smith is ready for a paddle. 

Paddleboard for Fun and Fitness

When using the board for fun and fitness, look at the shape of boards as well as the features and think about what you plan to do with the board: 
- More space means more camping/hanging-out accessories, and more exploration.
- Boards with a narrow tip, no matter the width in the middle, will travel faster through the water, if longer trips are your goal. 
- The most versatile boards are long and wide because they can carry all your adventuring gear and still be used for fitness.
-  A cargo net is key for these uses - some boards have bungee cords or nets on the front and back, and some have the attachments embedded in the material but lack the actual cord.
Above all others, I recommend hard foam/fiberglass SUPs.  Inflatable paddle boards are intriguing because of their storage advantages and easy transport, but an avid paddle boarder will quickly tire of the time-consuming pumping, and these boards don't move through the water nearly as well. For a recreational paddleboarder, inflatables are a great solution to the enormous board issue!    - Ambassador Brianna Smith
Brianna Smith recommends a board with lots of space for your adventuring essentials.

Body Glove Raptor Plus 10'8

Combining the speed and efficiency of a touring shape with the convenience of an inflatable, this versatile and lightweight paddleboard is a go-anywhere choice, and can even be used on rivers or in light surf. 

Naish Alana Fusion Inflatable SUP Paddleboard

For a more intermediate paddleboarder looking for a great ISUP for touring and fun, this speedy and maneuverable paddleboard is designed to bridge the gap between a high-end race board and a beginner board.  With a stiffer feel and a soft deck pad, this board will get you where you want to go, fast! 


Touring Paddleboards - Fast and Sleek 

The fastest paddleboards are better for advanced paddlers because they can lack stability, but they're certainly fun - and great for long-distance paddles and exploring big lakes and calm rivers.  These boards are typically epoxy construction, and often feature beautiful wood veneers and a sleek shape - though expensive, they cut through water like no other.  The downside?  They tend to be a bit longer and can be unwieldy to transport.  

Boardworks Chinook Touring Stand Up Paddleboard

This board is designed with efficient gliding in mind, making it ideal for traveling longer distances.  With plenty of room to strap your gear to the deck, and a super comfortable deck pad, this is perfect for those looking for longer trips and camping via SUP. 

Surftech Chameleon TEKefx Hybrid Touring Stand-Up Paddleboard

With a race-focused shape, this touring paddleboard features a single fin, allowing for more maneuverability and a nose that'll glide quickly through the water.  


For the Kids

Inflatable paddleboards are ideal for young learners - they're affordable, easy to transport and, quite durable.  




Solstice Fiji Inflatable SUP Paddleboard

This compact 8' long paddleboard is affordable and small enough for kids and teens to maneuver.   Good up to 175 pounds, they won't outgrow it, either! 

If you're looking for a more traditional hard paddleboard for your kiddo or a smaller rider, check out this small 8' long board - perfect for an older kid through teen or even a small adult! 








Crusader Multi-Person Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Package

Family Fun
If you prefer to all go out on the lake together, many brands are now carrying multi-person paddleboards - these boards can be a bit bulky and hard to maneuver, but that's part of the fun, right?  From floating your local river to paddling out for a picnic and a swim, you'll have fun with this jumbo-sized board for 2-6 people. 
With a beautiful native american inspired design, a long, sleek profile and plenty of tiedowns for gear, this paddleboard will track powerfully through the water and help you explore uncharted waters. 

Whitewater/Downriver Paddleboards

The inflatable is great for traveling and ease of putting in a car. It's also a good option for downriver paddling since it will hit many rocks, but you need an inflatable that is good quality.  I've ridden an inflatable by Fisher based out of CA. HALA makes some great downriver boards as does Starboard. Badfish has a really nice inflatable board as well made with Boardworks. Some of the boards have a front protector on the front that helps to give it extra protection from rocks and debris.  Currently, I own a Badfish board that is 9 feet and a hard board. It's more of a downriver board but I manage to surf with it too.  The board has handled well but has taken many many bumps and bruises. Hitting rocks is quite a hard thing to avoid so I'll run it into the ground until it sinks.  - Ambassador Jessica Oatman

NRS Quiver Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard

If you want to run rivers, this paddleboard is for you - designed specifically for the rigors of whitewater paddleboarding with double wall construction for added durability, a stable shape and added rocker for maneuverability.


Badfish River Shred Stand Up Paddleboard

Designed for running rivers, this nimble rockered inflatable paddleboard is super fun and a favorite of our ambassadors who love paddleboarding in whitewater.

Want more information?  Check out the first article in this series for more about paddleboarding disciplines and styles, and our article covering different paddleboard styles here. 

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