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Advice on a SUP Inflatable Paddle Board

Hi, I am 5'2, 150 lbs. and I am looking to purchase an inflatable SUP paddle board.  I am a little confused on where to start.  I will be using it for mostly lake usage to paddle out and do some fishing/yoga/just exploring.  I will also have my 9 yr old son using it with and a Labrador retriever expected to be 60-80 lbs.  I'm not sure if I need three fins vs. one and I am a beginner so I want to make sure I have a good board for balance and maneuver.  I was curious if I could get some recommendations on size and features that would best fit me.  Thank you! 

2 Replies

Hey there @Alli!

Thanks for reaching out to the Community with this question!  SUP's can be so much fun and with lots of options it can be hard narrowing it down.

I think this article about How to Choose a Stand Up Paddleboard is a great place to start!  Many of your questions will be answered there.  As you mentioned, weight capacity is definitely a consideration, not to mention stability as you add kids and a pup to the mix.

As you begin to look through the information and weigh your inflatable paddleboard  options, please reach out to us with additional questions.  In addition I am going to tag our resident SUP enthusiast, @REI-JohnJ, so that he can add his personal recommendations in this arena! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@Alli Thanks for joining the community!

Getting out on the water with your kiddo or doggo is such a fun time! I hope you got a chance to read the article @REI-AlyS linked to as it will likely answer a lot of your questions. If you have any more don't hesitate to reach back out to us here.

I've been enjoying paddling with my family and dog for almost 8 years now. In fact, I specifically purchased a paddle board so that I could more easily get out on the water with my dog. My whole family has come to love the sport of paddle boarding.

Generally speaking, for a beginner, the wider the board the more stable it will be. Additionally, the longer the board is the wider it tends to be. There are two hull types for paddle boards, 'displacement' (pointed like the hull of a boat) and 'planing' (like the end of a surfboard). Displacement paddle boards tend to be much longer (12-14 feet or more) and are designed for longer distance open water paddling. Their hull shape helps them cut through choppy waves and hold a straighter line when paddling. Planing paddle boards are shorter (10-12 feet) and are a little wider, more stable, and are shaped in a way that they are a bit more nimble in the water and easier to turn. Planing paddle boards are great for lakes and rivers where you aren't dealing with a lot of choppy waves or too much current. They are a great recreational paddle board for all ages and abilities.

For the kind of paddling you are describing, you will likely only need one fin on your paddle board. Three fins can help you track a straight line a little bit better but often times they're designed for surfing mainly.

The inflatable paddle boards that we carry are very rugged and durable, so you won't have to worry too much about your dogs claws, however, you do want to make sure you keep them trimmed. What I have found is that a paddle board that has a standing pad that runs the entire length of the board is super helpful for your pup to be comfortable on the board with you. If your board does not have a full length pad, you can purchase an aftermarket pad designed for your dog. Also, even if your dog is a water loving dog like a lab, we recommend a life jacket. I really enjoy the Ruffwear FloatCoat Dog PFD as it is comfortable for my dog, runs under he chin to help keep her head above water when swimming, and has a really robust handle on the back which is key for getting her on the paddle board when we are out on the water.

Lastly, I'd recommend going with an inflatable SUP that comes with an adjustable paddle so you and your son can each use it comfortably. Here is our selection of inflatable stand up paddle boards that come with adjustable paddles. Of the lengths of boards there will be a good fit for you in terms of weight. The Bote Flood Aero Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Paddle 11' looks like a great balance of all your needs. It is 11' long so nice and stable, it comes with an adjustable paddle, and the standing pad runs the entire length of the board so your dog will have a place to sit comfortably.

Hopefully this helps, please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions!

To help spread more paddling stoke here's a photo of my dog and I living our best paddling lives in Alaska!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.