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The Best Paddle Boards for Surfing: SUP Surfing Guide

In this SUP surfing guide, learn all about the best paddle boards for surfing.

When it comes to riding the waves on a paddle board, choosing the best sup surfing board makes all the difference.
Here are some jump links to the main sections of this post to help you quickly find the information you need.

Best Paddle Boards for Surfing

Surfboard vs SUP vs Surf SUP

Types of Paddle Boards

Skill Level

Best Paddle Boards for Surfing

I classified the best boards for SUP surfing into 3 categories:

  • All-Around Surf SUP
  • Best Performance Surf SUP
  • Touring Surf SUP

All-Around Surf SUP

Bote 11’6″ Breeze Inflatable Paddle Board

Versatile SUP boards easily transition into surfing SUPs while remaining excellent for everyday paddling.
In fact, most women’s SUP boards for women work well in small surf conditions.

The key to finding the perfect board for paddling and surfing lies in finding a balance of length, width, and thickness that aligns with your preferences. 

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to choose a length between 9’6″ to 11’6″ and board thickness between 5 to 6 inches.

Best Performance Surf SUP

Starboard Spice Performance SUP

For those seasoned in surfing, choosing smaller boards makes the most sense.
This tends to bring more advanced riders closer to the authentic surfing experience. 

Don’t get too excited – big wave surfing is out of the question on a performance SUP.
However, these boards may be difficult to paddle in a large body of water.

While handling may differ and pose a challenge in larger waves than the all-around SUP., the broader options cater to the dynamic preferences of experienced surfers.

Touring Surf SUP

Bote Rackham Aero

A touring SUP may be a better choice for experienced stand-up paddlers to experience surfing.
The touring board primarily maintains a steady course and doesn’t slash or handle sharp turns well.

Despite its lack of nimble turns, a stable touring long board is a lot of fun in small waves.
Moreover, it emerges as an excellent choice for paddling out to the open ocean.

Traditional Surfboard vs Stand-Up Paddle Board vs SUP Surfboard

types of paddle boards

Traditional surfboards, stand-up paddle boards (SUPs), and SUP surfboards each serve distinct purposes. 

A traditional surfboard, known for its shorter and narrower design with a pointed nose and tail, is specifically crafted for riding ocean waves. 
Surfers employ use a low-lying stance to navigate the steep faces of waves. 

In contrast, stand-up paddle boards are designed for standing and paddling on flat water. 
With a longer, wider, and thicker profile, SUPs make it easy to stand.
They offer greater stability and make it easy for beginners to participate in recreational paddling.

SUP surfboards represent a hybrid, versatile board.
It bridges the gap between a standard SUP and traditional surfboard.
A surf paddle board blends the features of traditional surfboards and stand-up paddle boards.

Tailored for stand-up paddle surfing, SUP surfboards typically feature a more pronounced rocker.
This allows SUP surfers to catch waves using SUP paddles while maintaining the agility and responsiveness of traditional surfboards. 

As a result, it provides the perfect choice for people who want to use a single board for the whole family.

Type of Paddle Board

To kick things off, two main types of paddle boards dominate the market: inflatable and hard boards.

Inflatable Paddle Boards

Inflatable stand up paddle boards (or inflatable SUP boards) have gained popularity.
These ultra-durable paddle boards offer portability and convenience.

The light weight of inflatable boards makes them easy to transport.
Obviously, inflatable paddle boards work great for those who enjoy exploring different conditions.

Hard Paddle Boards

On the flip side, hard boards, often made of epoxy resin or fiberglass, provide a traditional experience for paddle boarders. 
These traditional hardboards are known for their stability and responsiveness.

Hard boards come in different shapes, different styles, and sizes.
As a result, this caters to different environments and a wide range of skill levels. 

Matching Your Skill Level

The ideal paddle board for surfing varies based on your skill level. 
Let’s break down the considerations for both surf SUP beginners and experienced surfers.

paddle boards for surfing skill level


For those catching their first waves, a larger board for stability works best.

Inflatable paddle boards with a wide deck and a higher volume are excellent choices for beginners.
These characteristics provide a stable platform and make it easier to find your balance and catch those initial waves.


If you’re an experienced surfer looking to get into SUP surfing, a traditional hard board might be the right fit. 

Consider a smaller board with less width to mimic the feel of a regular surfboard. 
Experienced surfers enjoy the responsiveness and speed offered by hard boards for challenging conditions and bigger waves.

Paddle Board Characteristics for Surfing

Whether you ride small waves or big surf, common characteristics make a paddle board ideal for surfing.

Stability and Maneuverability

One of the best ways to increase stability is to choose a wide SUP. 
On the other hand, a narrower board with a more pronounced rocker enhances maneuverability.

Size and Length

The size and length of a paddle board play a significant role in its performance on the waves. 
For example, shorter boards (under 9 feet) work well for performance.

Longer boards provide better stability and make them suitable for beginners.


The most basic fin setup for SUP boards includes a single center fin.
Additionally, most modern boards include side fins.

Side fins help paddle boards track in a straight line in the water.

Specialized Paddle Boards for Surfing Activities

Beyond traditional surfing, paddle boards cater to various activities on the water. 
Let’s take a closer look at how different boards enhance your specific interests.

Surf SUPs

SUP surfing boards, designed specifically for stand-up paddle surfing, feature a blend of features to help you paddle and surf.

These boards offer a more pronounced rocker and a rounded tail to help quick turns and better control.
Additionally, SUP surfboards commonly incorporate a grippy deck pad to optimize stability and performance while riding waves.

SUP Yoga Boards

For those looking to incorporate a great workout with the water and sun, SUP yoga boards are an excellent choice. 
These boards typically have a wider deck and a stable platform, ensuring a peaceful yoga session on the water.

Fishing SUP Kayak Boards

touring stand up paddle board

The combination kayak fishing stand-up paddle board offers unmatched versatility to sit, stand, and fish.
It allows you to remove the paddle seat, grab your paddle, and stand up for a better view of the fish.

Most offer fishing accessories such as rod holders, tackle storage compartments, and mounting points for additional gear.


I hope this SUP surfing guide helped you learn about the best paddle boards for surfing.
With the right board, you are on your way to a great time riding waves.

traditional paddle board

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