Are you looking to get out on the water on an inflatable paddle board but don’t know where to start? Not sure if it makes sense to get an inflatable paddle board or a rigid paddle board? We’re sharing what we think is the best inflatable paddle board for beginners and why we love the inflatable aspect of our SUPs!
Disclaimer: We received our Waterwalker inflatable paddle boards complimentary from Thurso Surf. All opinions are our own. Please note that some of the links in the below article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. Click here for the full disclosure statement.
The Best Inflatable Paddle Board for Beginners: The Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-Round SUP
As someone who is new to paddle boarding, there are so many questions about this still relatively new sport that is taking all of the local waterways and lakes by storm.
Is Paddle Boarding Fun?
Without a doubt, yes! Paddle boarding is one of the easiest ways to spend a day out on the water. You can spend time exploring lakes, relaxing or doing yoga on the board, hanging out with friends, fishing, or so many other things on a stand up paddle board.
One of the best features about paddle boarding is how accessible purchasing a board is compared to other water sport items, with so many options at different price points, and the ease of transport. Paddle boards are light, and easy to handle by one person. Of course, if you go for an inflatable paddle board you can pack it into any car, check it as luggage on a plane, or even take it on a short hike to a remote lake.
With all of these options, paddle boarding is almost guaranteed to be a great time!
What type of paddle board is best for beginners?
For someone new to paddle boarding, the number of options available can certainly be intimidating. The first major decision to make is whether or not you want to have a rigid board, or an inflatable paddle board? A rigid board can be more expensive, harder to transport and store, and can be relatively easily damaged. However, rigid boards are faster to get out on the water, as you don’t have to inflate them, and can offer higher performance or the ability to go surfing.
Inflatable paddle boards offer more flexibility for storage and transport, are more affordable, more durable, and are more ideally suited to beginners. These are just some of the decisions you need to consider when looking for the best paddle board for beginners.
As we are primarily focused on inflatable paddle boards here, the next decision is what is the best inflatable paddle board for beginners?
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-Round Stand-Up Paddle Board
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker series is a great choice for best inflatable paddle board for beginners. It offers a wide range of features and excels in all types of water and uses. Not only is it a top contender for the best inflatable paddle board for beginners, but it is also well-suited for experienced paddlers that are looking for a great all-round board that can be used in any situation.
Thurso Surf Waterwalker Features
The Waterwalker SUP is available in 3 different sizes, the 120, 126, and 132. These translate to 10 feet (3.05 m), 10.5 feet (3.2 m), and 11 feet (3.35 m) long. The larger the board, the slightly wider it becomes as well. To determine which size is right for you, consider being comfortably within the weight capacity of each board, as well as your intended use. You can take the SUP Selector Quiz to help you decide.
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker SUP’s come in three great color combinations, and all feature durable double layer construction, reinforced seams, and more of the latest technology in inflatable paddle boards. The top of the board is full of features to keep you happy when out on the water.
There is a large padded area for standing/sitting on the board, and you have D-rings and a bungee at both the nose and tail of the board to safely secure anything you bring along with you.
When carrying the board, there are convenient and sturdy handles at the nose, tail, and middle of the boards. There are also Velcro straps on the side of the board to hold the paddle when not in use. And if you want to capture your time out on the water enjoying the best inflatable paddle board for beginners, there is a GoPro mount fixed to the front of the board.
Thurso Surf Waterwalker: What Else Do You Get?
When you order a Waterwalker, you get the full Thurso Surf Ready-To-Paddle Package. This includes the size of Waterwalker SUP that fits best to you, a 3-piece carbon hybrid paddle, 3 removable fins, and 10 foot (3.05 m) coiled leash.
The Carbon hybrid paddle that comes with the Waterwalker is a real stand-out feature. It is incredibly light, and easy to adjust on the fly as you transition from seated, to kneeling, to standing while out on your paddle board.
In addition to these items which you will use while on the water, you also get a dual chamber, triple action pump to inflate the SUP, a storage and carry bag for your SUP, and a patch kit if you ever get a puncture. The hand pump works really well to inflate the board fast, and in a controlled manner. You should be able to easily inflate the paddle board in five to ten minutes. Additionally, if you are traveling with your inflatable SUP or need to transport it a far distance, the carry bag has both straps to use it as a backpack, or wheels so that you can roll it like a suitcase.
If you want to up your paddle board game, you can also purchase additional accessories such as an electric pump, deck coolers, and even a SUP kayak seat.
Thurso Surf Waterwalker: What is it Like to Use?
Taking the Thurso Surf Waterwalker with you on a trip is easy thanks to its carry bag. It will take a few minutes to unroll it, inflate it, and snap-in the fins. You’ll soon be able to get out on the water and will be having fun in no time!
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker is eary to carry thanks to its many grab handles, whether you have two people or are going out alone. Once the board is on the water, strap on your leash, and get out there. The first thing that is surprising about the Waterwalker is how stable it is for an inflatable board. If inflated properly, you shouldn’t feel anything that would suggest the board is not super rigid.
Inflating the board up to the recommended 12-15 psi is important, as an under-inflated board will not be as stable. Another thing to keep note of is that all inflatable paddle boards can sometimes use a top-off of air after being placed on cold water, as the cold water drops the air pressure in the board.
Out on the water, the Thurso Surf Waterwalker is easy to paddle. It is stable for those new to getting their sea legs, and is also highly maneuverable thanks to its design and fins. You can easily bring along snacks, extra clothing, or more by placing them in the secure bungee straps at the nose and tail of the board.
It is also important to be prepared by bringing along or wearing the required life jacket or life belt. With the larger Waterwalker boards, you can also go out on the water with a dog, or by fitting two people on the same board to relax and enjoy the water.
After going out on the water for our first time with the Thurso Surf Waterwalker, we were easily convinced that it is the best inflatable paddle board for beginners.
The Best Inflatable Paddle Board for Beginners: The Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-Round SUP Conclusion
If you are looking for the best inflatable paddle board for beginners, you really don’t need to look further than the Thurso Surf Waterwalker. It offers a great mix of features in a premium product that is designed to adapt to all situations out on the water.
Frequently Asked Questions on Paddle Boarding
We’ve got answers to some of the most common questions we get asked when it comes to paddle boarding and how to choose the best inflatable paddle board for beginners.
Is an inflatable SUP worth it?
Having an inflatable stand up paddle board is absolutely worth it! The freedom you have to easily pack it along with you and get out on the water is unmatched with other options such as rigid paddle boards, kayaks, or canoes.
Do inflatable paddle boards puncture easily?
Surprisingly, inflatable paddle boards can actually be more resistant to damage than rigid boards. Any paddling situation that might be dangerous for an inflatable board would be just as dangerous for a rigid board, such as near sharp rocks. Inflatable paddle boards are designed to have multiple tough layers to be resistant to punctures and scrapes. Inflatable paddle boards are actually more resistant to impact than rigid boards, and can easily withstand a drop that might fracture or crack a rigid board.
What size paddle board should I get for my height or weight?
There is no clear-cut definition of which paddle board size is best for you, however there are general guidelines that are recommended for you to follow. The most important factors is that your paddle board is rated to support your weight, and the weight of anything you are bringing with you. If you are placing significantly more weight on the paddle board than it is rated for, the paddle board will not function as it is designed.
Thurso Surf has a great SUP Selector Quiz to help you decide, not only what type of paddle board is best for you, but to make sure that you have the right sized paddle board as well.
Is it easier to kayak or paddleboard?
Both kayaking and paddle boarding are great for beginners, however paddle boards are easier because if you fall in the water, it is much easier to get back onto a paddle board than into a kayak! Additionally, paddle boarding gives you the easy flexibility to stand, kneel, or sit while out on the water to keep your body moving and avoid sore spots. When in a kayak on longer trips, it can become uncomfortable as you have little room to move.
Thurso Surf also offers a kayak seat which can be used to convert your SUP into a kayak. The seat easily clips onto the SUP and gives you a best of both worlds experience with a comfortable place to sit for longer paddles.
Are you ready to start paddle boarding yet? Let us know how much you enjoy stand up paddle boarding in the comments below!
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