Honu Byron Inflatable SUP Review

Honu is an Australian Inflatable SUP brand that has recently released a range of high-end boards that are both eco-friendly and engineered for performance. The range includes the Airlie (Kids), Bondi (hybrid-surf), Byron (all-round), and the Sorrento (touring). These boards not only look great, but have been designed to compete with the best in the industry in terms of performance.

Honu was kind enough to send us one of their Byron All-Rounders to try out and share our thoughts.


Key SPecIFICATIONs

  • Length: 10’6″
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 4.72″
  • Volume: 245 L
  • Rider Weight: 40-120Kg
  • Inclusions: Bag, HP8 pump, coil leash, repair kit, fins
  • Board Weight: 7.7 Kg
  • Warranty: 2 + 2 year manufacturer’s warranty

Product Overview

The Byron is Honu’s all-round board, designed to be suitable for almost all environments and for a range of riders. It’s perfect for exploring rivers, cruising on lakes, or having fun in small waves.

It measures 10.6 feet long and 32” wide, which is in line with most all-round SUPs on the market. However, at 4.7” in thickness it is thinner than many boards, providing increased stability and responsiveness. At only 7.7kg the Byron is also very lightweight but doesn’t compromise on stability, being suitable for riders in the weight range of 40-120kg.


Versatility

The Byron represents the most versatile board in the Honu lineup. In fact, Honu describe it as “the Swiss army knife of inflatable paddle boards”. It’s designed to perform well in flat water as well as the surf and be suitable for a range of skill levels and rider weights.

We’re yet to test the Byron in the surf but have tested it in a range of flat water conditions with a variety of rider weights and skill levels and have found it to excel in all situations.


Construction

Weight

At only 7.7kg the Byron is very lightweight. Compared to other boards we’ve used, the Honu felt noticeably lighter both when packed away and when fully inflated. This is a big plus if you intend to carry the board at all and it also contributes to it being more responsive in the water.

Rigidity

Rigidity is extremely important in an inflatable stand up paddle board as it impacts the maneuverability and responsiveness. There are a range of factors in construction that influence rigidity, including the air pressure the board can be inflated to, which is measured in PSI.

The recommended PSI range of the Byron is 16-20, which is pretty standard for this type of board. However, Honu also incorporates their X-Woven Drop Stitch and Triple Bonded Rail technologies which add extra strength to the board, meaning it can retain rigidity without the need for additional thickness. In fact, SUP Boarder Mag found the Honu boards to be up there with the most rigid boards they have tested.

We used the board at around 17-18 PSI and found it to be rock solid, with no noticeable flex.

Thickness

The Byron is 4.7” thick, which makes it one of the thinnest boards on the market. This contributes to its lower weight, as mentioned above, but also provides additional stability and responsiveness.

As explained by Earth River SUP, much of the industry has moved towards 6” boards to gain extra rigidity, and “while rigidity is an attribute we look for in a paddle board, it can be better achieved with proper use of materials and construction methods, without having to resort to the shortcut of making the board thicker than it should optimally be.”

Traction Pad

The traction pad on the Byron features a hexagonal design which we found provides ample grip along with being comfortable underfoot during longer paddles. There is also a raised kick pad at the tail to assist with SUP surfing. The traction pad incorporates the boards colourway and adds to the overall aesthetic.


Performance

Stability

We found the Byron to be super stable thanks to the impressive rigidity and low profile design. We tested this board with first timers as well as experienced SUP riders, all of whom found the board to be well balanced in the water.

Maneuverability

At 10’6” in length and 32” in width, the Byron is the perfect size and shape to achieve a balance between maneuverability and tracking/glide. Compared to other boards of the same length, we found the weight and thickness make the Byron very responsive to quick turns and maneuvers. This makes it a great option if you expect it to be used by a range of riders and skill levels, including smaller riders who may struggle to maneuver a more bulky board.

Tracking/Glide

At a longer length than Honu’s Bondi or Airlie, the Byron will provide superior water tracking and glide, without compromising on stability. It also features a premium US box style fin to assist with tracking in the water.

If, however, you’re looking to cover longer distances, you may want to consider a touring board such as the Honu Sorrento, which features a longer, narrower shape, and a touring style fin, providing superior glide and speed.

View the full range of Honu inflatable paddle boards.


Other Features

  • Safety Leash
  • Dual bungies
  • iSUP Backpack
  • Dual Action Pump

Verdict

In summary, the Byron is an excellent all-round SUP. It integrates cutting edge technology to deliver industry leading thickness and weight without compromising on rigidity and stability.

It makes it an excellent option for beginners, families, or those looking for a board to use in a range of environments. We have no hesitation in recommending the Byron as an all-round option.

What’s more, you’ll be supporting an Australian business that is committed to environmental causes and implementing the best environmental practices for their products.

Click here to shop the Byron.


Related Articles:

The Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP) in Australia

Stand up paddle boarding is one of the world’s fastest-growing watersports, and it can be enjoyed by almost anyone as long as you have a strong and stable board to paddle on.

However, with so many paddle boards on the market, finding one that is high-quality, durable, lightweight, and easy to transport can be a challenge.

To help in your search, we’ve rounded up the best inflatable stand up paddle boards in each price bracket and assessed them against a range of criteria including weight, capacity, ease of use, and accessories. Use the reviews and comparisons below to find the best inflatable SUP for your adventures on the water.

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Cheap Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards (under $500)

Stand Up Paddle BoardSizeThicknessWeightWeight CapacityPaddle IncludedPump IncludedWarranty
Komodo10’4″ x 30″5″10.5kg125kgYesYes1 year
Hydro-Force Aqua Journey9′ x 30″4.7″9.5kg100kgYesYes1 year
Tahwalhi Palm Beach10’6″ x 32″6″Not listed150kgYesYes
Feath-R-Lite10′ x 30″6″7.57kg127kgYesYes1 year

Top Pick: Komodo Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Size: 10’4″ x 30″
Weight Capacity: 125kg

Pros: Versatile, removable kayak seat, repair kit included
Cons: Narrow width compared to other options

The Komodo is a versatile paddle board that is durable, responsive, and very stable. One of the unique features of the Komodo is that it comes with a removable kayak seat so you can turn your paddle board into a kayak if you want to. This is great for those longer paddles and for getting the most out of your board.

The Komodo is 10’4″ x 30″ and offers a thickness of 5″ making it longer but not as thick as the Feath-R-Lite. The 125kg capacity is ideal for individual use and the board is even pet friendly so you can have your pooch out of the water with you too.

The kit comes with everything you need to get started and includes a double action pump with a pressure gauge. There is also a 1-year warranty, the standard warranty period for a paddle board in this price range.

Runner Up: Hydro-Force Aqua Journey Inflatable SUP

Hydro-Force Aqua Journey Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board, 9' x 30" x 6" | Inflatable SUP for Adults & Kids | Complete Kit Includes Adjustable Aluminum Paddle, Hand Pump, Travel Bag, Surf Leash

Size: 9′ x 30″
Weight Capacity: 100kg

Pros: Suitable for use in small surf, good quality
Cons: Not as stable as other options

The Hydro-Force Aqua Journey is great in flat conditions but you can also use it in rivers or to catch small waves at the beach. It uses a single centre fin system to give you control and excellent tracking allowing you to maintain a straight path through the water.

This board is more than a foot smaller than all of the other budget options we have listed. At only 9′ x 30″ it is not as stable and has a lower capacity of 100kg.

This should not be a problem for kids, or adults who have used a paddle board before, but if you are new to the sport, you may want to consider the Tahwalhi Palm Beach or the Komodo instead.

The smaller size makes this a fun and manoeuvrable option great for kids, surf, or quick manoeuvres.

This kit comes with a paddle, leash, hand pump, backpack, fin and a repair patch so you have everything you need to start paddle boarding.

Also Great: Tahwalhi Palm Beach Inflatable SUP

Size: 10’6″ x 32″
Weight Capacity: 150kg

Pros: Very stable, large capacity, drop stitch fabric
Cons: Total weight not listed

If you’re looking for a slightly longer or more stable entry-level board then the Tahwalhi Palm Beach 10’6″ is worth considering.

This board is 32″ wide, the width of many higher range boards. It is also 6″ thick and has a capacity of 150kg, the highest in our cheap inflatable SUP category.

This paddle board comes with a pump, leash, paddle, carry bag and repair patch. It is made with a dual-layer PVC deck with an EVA deck pad so you still feel stable even when the deck is wet. For added durability, the Tahwalhi uses a drop stitch fabric construction.

This is a large, stable board that is great for paddle boarding on calm water. The carry bag is spacious so it isn’t difficult to pack the inflatable paddle board away after use.

Also Great: Feath-R-Lite Ultra-Light SUP

FEATH-R-LITE Inflatable 10'×30"×6" Ultra-Light (17.6lbs) SUP for All Skill Levels Everything Included with Stand Up Paddle Board, Adj Paddle, Pump, ISUP Travel Backpack, Leash, Waterproof Bag

Size: 10′ x 30″
Weight Capacity: 127kg

Pros: Great value, lightweight, easy to paddle
Cons: Narrow width compared to many others

If you’re looking for an entry-level paddle board that is lightweight, stable, and affordable, the Feath-R-Lite is one of the best available. This board weighs just 7.57kg making it one of the lightest options on our list (the much more expensive Honu Bondi is only a fraction lighter at 7.1kg). This makes the board easy to carry around and a lot less tiring to transport to or from the beach than others. For example, the Bluefin Cruise weighs over 4kg more at 12kg.

At 30″ wide, this board is a couple of inches narrower than many other paddle boards listed which can impact the overall stability, particularly for taller or heavier users. However, the 6″ thickness and 10′ length come together to make sure this is a solid board that can support up to 127kg.

The attention to detail with this board is a definite plus. The padded carrying handle for example is comfortable to hold and gentle on your hands. The board also comes with a backpack for safe storage. The backpack is all you need for short journeys but it may be slightly uncomfortable if you need to carry the paddle board for longer periods.

Although this board has a minimalistic design overall, it does offer a few handy features including the bungee cord on the front, a D ring for attaching the leash and it comes with a useful waterproof phone bag too. Like many of the more expensive boards, the Feath-R-Lite uses multi-layer PVS, making it reliable and durable.

Overall, this is a great stand up paddle board for beginner and intermediate paddlers and is best for casual use on calm water such as lakes and rivers.


Mid-range Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards ($500 – $1000)

Stand Up Paddle BoardSizeThicknessWeightWeight CapacityPaddle IncludedPump IncludedWarranty
Honu Byron10’6″ x 32″4.7″7.7kg120kgNoYes4 year
Bluefin Cruise10’8″ x 32″6″12kg130kgYesYes5 year
iRocker Cruiser10’6″ x 33″6″11kg181kgYesYes2 year
Honu Bondi9’3″ x 31″4.7″7.1kg95kgYesYes4 year
Itiwit X10011′ x 34″6″10.5kg320kgNoNo5 year

Top Pick: Honu Byron 10’6 All-rounder

Size: 10’6″ x 32″
Weight Capacity: 120kg

Pros: Lightweight, stable, ideal all-around board, 4-year warranty
Cons: Paddle sold separately

Honu is an Australian brand that produces high-performance inflatable paddle boards. They have a wide range of boards to suit a variety of riders and conditions, all at a competitive price point considering their quality.

The Byron is their all-around board, designed to be suitable for almost all environments and for a range of riders (40-120kg). It’s perfect for exploring rivers, cruising on lakes, or having fun in small waves.

We’ve personally been using this board for almost a year (as discussed in our Honu Byron Review) and can’t fault it. We particularly like that at only 7.7 kg it is very lightweight and is also compact when packed away.

Impressively, Honu achieves all of this without compromising on stability or responsiveness. This is down to cutting-edge and performance focussed engineering. The result is a lighter, thinner board than competitors that doesn’t sacrifice on performance.

One of the updates this board has seen is the addition of a Honu Compact fin box that fits a standard fin without the need for screws or tools making it quick and easy to pack away after use.

Runner Up: Bluefin SUP Cruise Paddleboard

Size: 10’8″ x 32″
Weight Capacity: 130kg

Pros: High quality yet affordable all-around SUP, available in three sizes, comes with everything you need
Cons: More expensive than other options

UK brand BlueFin is disrupting the market by producing high-quality inflatable SUPs and selling them at a reasonable price point. The boards also come with an impressive 5-year warranty, the best warranty of all of the paddle boards listed.

Their do-anything board is the Cruise. Versatility is the name of the game with this one, so it’s suitable for a range of conditions and skill levels.

The Cruise is available in three sizes: 10.8′, 12′, and 15′. The board is easy to paddle and stable with the 10’8″ size offering a great blend of stability and speed.

The Cruise has great rigidity which helps with overall performance, and is also lightweight and durable, making it easy to store and transport.

This board comes with one of the most complete kits we have seen; it includes a fibreglass paddle, a durable backpack, 3 fins, a waterproof phone case, an action camera mount, an ankle leash, and a kayak conversion kit.

Also Great: iRocker Cruiser 10’6″ Paddleboard

Size: 10’6″ x 33″
Weight Capacity: 181kg

Pros: Very stable, suitable for one or two people, complete kit
Cons: Slower and less manoeuvrable than other boards

The new and improved iRocker Cruiser is large, high volume, and incredibly stable with a wide 33″ base and a broad tail. The latest improvements include a carbon matte paddle that is lighter than the previous fibreglass paddle and a wheeled travel bag so you can easily transport the bag on your adventures.

As its name suggests, the Cruiser is designed for casual paddling. It boasts a whopping 181kg capacity meaning it is perfect for taking the kids out or for tandem adventures.

The stability makes this inflatable SUP easy to stand up on and suitable for a range of rider sizes and skill levels. With that said, this isn’t the board to choose if you want speed.

The triple layer military grade PVC makes this board durable and long-lasting and it is backed by a warranty period of 2 years.

A notable bonus with this board is that it comes with iRocker’s new Full Throttle, Dual Chamber-Triple Action Hand Pump. This is regarded as one of the best pumps on the market and makes inflating your board a breeze.

Best for Surf: Honu Bondi 9’3 Hybrid Surf SUP

Size: 9’3″ x 31″
Weight Capacity: 95kg

Pros: Australian brand, super high-quality construction, lightweight and stiff, 4 year warranty
Cons: Low weight limit compared to others

Created by Australian brand Honu, this high-performance board is designed for the surf but is also perfectly at home on flat water. It features triple bonded rails which enhance strength and durability, along with stringers that are stacked along the full length of the board to achieve impressive stiffness.

The Bondi has a shape and rocker that work together to allow easy and quick turns on waves. Lightweight, durable, and responsive, this is one of the best boards on the market for enjoying the surf.

As a brand, Honu is focused on employing industry-leading technology such as Woven Drop Stitch and Multi Layer Fusion to create world-class paddle boards. They are equally focussed on celebrating and preserving the ocean and environment, with commitments to a range of environmental causes and also working towards green packaging for their products.

Also Great: Itiwit X100 11′ Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Size: 11′ x 34″
Weight Capacity: 320kg

Pros: Large and stable, impressive carrying capacity, suitable for SUP yoga
Cons: Doesn’t include a paddle or a pump

The largest inflatable SUP on our list is the Itiwit X100. This 11′ x 34″ paddle board is designed for maximum stability. The X100 also offers the heaviest weight limit at 320kg allowing 2 people to use it comfortably.

Although large, this paddle board only weighs 10.5kg so is still easy to move around. The included bag has foam padded shoulder straps for additional comfort when carrying.

This is a great touring board and the nose makes it suitable for catching small waves too. The Itiwit X100 is suitable for beginners and advanced paddlers making it a great board to progress on. It’s also big enough and stable enough for SUP yoga.

One of the downsides to this board is that it does not come with a paddle or a pump, but you do get a fin, leash, bag, repair patch, and a valve tightening tool.


Premium Inflatable Paddle Boards ($1000+)

Stand Up Paddle BoardSizeThicknessWeightWeight CapacityPaddle IncludedPump IncludedWarranty
Bluefin Cruise Carbon10’8″ x 32″6″11.3kg150kgYesYes5 year
Blackfin Model X10’4″ x 35″6″12kg204kgYesYes2 year
iRocker All Around11′ x 32″6″12kg197kgYesYes2 year

Top Pick: Bluefin Cruise Carbon Inflatable SUP

Size: 10’8″ x 32″
Weight Capacity: 150kg

Pros: Versatile, high-performance, durable
Cons: Heavier than other options

The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is a high-performance board designed to be used in a range of paddling environments. It’s incredibly stable while not sacrificing on performance so is great for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is also super durable, making it very versatile and perfect for camping trips or beach days.

We’ve personally been testing the 10’8 model for several months and have found it suitable for a wide range of riders in mostly flat conditions. We’ve found it very stable and responsive with good water tracking and speed (thanks to its carbon-reinforced construction).

The deck pad is comfortable and provides great grip while the kickpad helps with quick manoeuvres. It’s also easy to pump up and pack away, with plenty of excess room in the backpack. It does take up a bit more room in the boot than our Honu Byron discussed in the previous section, and it is also noticeably heavier (11.3 kg for the 10’8″ model and 12.7 kg for the 12′).

One thing you will notice when you receive this board is that from the backpack to the paddle to the pump, to the board itself, everything is of great build quality and a lot of thought has gone into the design and construction. The quality and durability of Bluefin boards are some of the main reasons they are so popular.

While its price tag is slightly higher than what you’ll find in the mid-range boards, it comes with everything you need to get out on the water including a carbon fibre paddle which weighs about 70% less than standard paddles. It also comes with a kayak conversion kit so you have the versatility to switch positions if you desire.

Runner Up: Blackfin Model X Inflatable SUP

Size: 10’4″ x 35″
Weight Capacity: 204kg

Pros: Multiple action mounts, suitable for fishing, extremely stable, ideal for larger paddlers or multiple people
Cons: Heavier than other similar boards

The Model X has a reputation for being stable. At 35″ wide it is the widest option on our list, offering up to 5″ more width than some of the other inflatable paddle board models. This extra width makes the Model X less likely to tip and wobble.

This inflatable SUP boasts a triple-layer composite PVC construction, a carbon matte paddle, and 3 flip-lock nylon fins. This is a premium quality board that is built to last. It can handle up to 204kg, one of the highest capacities of the boards listed making it a great choice for bigger paddlers or multiple riders.

This paddle board is perfect for a day at the lake and for touring. Having 8 action mounts and 20D rings may sound excessive compared to other inflatable SUP models, but this offers the user plenty of space and versatility for whatever adventure they choose to go on.

If you love fishing, you’ll certainly appreciate the built-in fishing rack mounts and the fact this board is compatible with a sand spear attachment too.

Also Great: iRocker All Around 11′ SUP

Size: 11′ x 32″
Weight Capacity: 197kg

Pros: Manufactured by a proven market leader, suitable for a range of skill levels and activities, very durable
Cons: Smaller riders may struggle to manoeuvre this board

iRocker is one of the most celebrated SUP brands on the market and the best-seller globally.

The All-Around 11 x 32 has been recently redeveloped and is perfect if you want a board that will suit a wide range of rider sizes, skill levels and types of activities.

The most notable upgrades include a new full-carbon matte paddle that is sleeker and lighter than the previous carbon fibre paddle and a wheeled bag so you can pull your SUP behind you for easier transport.

The All-Arounds 32” width provides ample stability while its shape and hull design are designed to reduce drag and maximise speed through the water. Compared to the Blackfin Model X, the All-Around is longer and thinner making it more streamlined. This translates into less resistance in the water meaning the All-Around is able to go faster.

IRocker makes some of the toughest, most durable inflatable SUPs on the market. This board uses a Triple Layer PVC designed to withstand whatever your paddling adventures throw at it.

This package also includes a dual chamber hand pump, adjustable carbon matte paddle, a centre fin, 2 side fins, coil ankle leash, repair kit, and carry bag, so you can get straight to paddling.


Inflatable SUP Buying Guide

The key things to consider when choosing your Inflatable SUP are the shape or type of board, and the size. Once you have figured these things out, you can be a lot more confident as you start to look at the different brands and products available.

This guide takes a look at the types of boards available plus the accessories you may want to make the most of your new board.

Types Of SUP

  • All-around SUP – All-Around SUPs are designed to be used in a range of conditions and types of paddling. We recommend most people start out with this type of board.
  • Surf SUP – These boards are short with a narrow tail and wide nose, making them highly manoeuvrable. They are designed to make catching waves easy.
  • Sport SUP – Designed for speed and tracking, these boards will be less stable and manoeuvrable than other options. Sport SUPs are best suited to experienced users.
  • Super Stable SUP – Wide boards designed to be very stable and often to support larger riders or groups of two or more. These are also the best option for SUP Yoga.

Shape And Size

Stand Up Paddle Boards come in a range of shapes and sizes. Here are some general rules to keep in mind:

  • Narrow boards are faster but will be less stable than wider boards.
  • Longer boards track straighter and are faster, which is good for long-distance paddling, while shorter boards are more manoeuvrable and perform better in the surf.
  • Narrow tail, wide nose boards are better for surfing and quick turns, but are less stable than wide tail boards.
  • Thicker, higher volume boards support more weight but can feel unstable if too thick for the rider.
  • A Planing Hull design is more stable and best for casual use or surf, while a displacement hull is faster and tracks straighter, better for fitness and long-distance paddling.

Accessories

As you can see in our comparison, different boards come with different accessories. If you’re not sure what accessories you are going to need, use the list below to help:

Paddle

The majority of inflatable SUP models will come with a paddle included. Most commonly, this will be either an aluminium paddle, a carbon fibre paddle or a carbon matte paddle – depending on the price point and manufacturer.

Some boards do not come with a paddle, and with these kits you will either have to buy a paddle separately.

Hand pump

Many inflatable sup kits come with a hand pump included. The quality of the pump will vary depending on the price range.

The inclusion of a pump means you’ll be able to get the paddle board up and running straight from the box. Some kits don’t come with a pump so if you don’t already have one it is worth checking if the kit comes with one or whether it is going to be an additional cost.

Note that the more chambers the pump has, the faster you’ll be able to inflate your board. Boards like the Bluefin Cruise Carbon come with a triple action pump that allows for must faster inflation than basic pumps.

Leash

All inflatable paddle board models come with a leash. You can attach the leash to the board and to your ankle so you won’t lose the board if you fall off. The length of the leash will usually depend on the length of the paddle board or the type of activity it is designed for.

Backpack

One of the key factors about an inflatable SUP is that it is easy to transport. Having a backpack is essential for this so you can expect your new SUP to come with a bag or backpack of some kind.

It is worth checking the quality and features of the bag as you want it to at least have padded shoulder straps for comfort while carrying.

Other useful features include storage pockets for keeping all of your equipment together. Many models, such as the latest from iRocker, also now come with a wheeled bag. The iRocker bags that are not wheeled may be compatible with the wheel plate add-on.

Fins

The fin set up also varies from board to board and is usually a removable centre fin or a 3 fin set up. Having side fins is recommended for surfing and touring but isn’t necessary for cruising.

The fins either clip into position or need to be secured using screws. Whichever fin set up you prefer, fins are critical for tracking when in the water. If your board doesn’t come with fins it will be much more challenging to move in a straight line.

Repair Kit

A repair kit is a very useful accessory to have in your SUP bag. It can be used to fix minor problems with the board ensuring you can continue to use it. This is particularly important if you plan to take the inflatable paddle board camping or on longer trips where you won’t be able to easily solve any issues unless you have a repair kit with you. The repair kits are small and simple so can be kept in one of the bag pockets in case it is needed.

Waterproof Phone Bag

One of the extras we’ve seen included with some of the boards listed above is a waterproof phone case. This is a useful addition, particularly for safety, as you can take your phone with you on the water allowing you to request help if you need it. Some paddle boarders may already own one of these but it is a great addition as part of a beginners kit.

Action mounts

Another feature you may notice on mid-range and premium SUPs is action mounts. Action mounts give you the freedom and versatility to bring certain kit with you such as an action camera so you can record your adventures completely hands-free allowing you to focus on paddling and enjoying yourself.

Some action mounts can also be used for attaching a fishing rod, allowing you to paddle or relax while your line is in the water.

Whether you want to attach your action camera or a fishing rod, there’s no question that action mounts are a convenient addition to an inflatable SUP.

Removable Seat

A removable seat lets you to turn your inflatable SUP into a kayak. The seat simply needs to be secured to the D-rings on the board with straps and then you can sit down and enjoy kayaking.

Having the freedom to turn your SUP into a kayak is great for longer adventures when you are likely to get tired and want to spend time sitting down.

If this is something you think you will want to do frequently, you can even buy another blade for your paddle to turn it into a kayak paddle.

Warranty

A long-term warranty for an inflatable SUP is 2 – 5 years. The best warranty period we’ve seen is 5 years (the Bluefin range) while a cover period of 1 – 2 years is more common.

The lower budget boards tend to come with a warranty of 1 year as standard.

As paddle boards are an investment and you will be putting them through their paces out on the water, you need them to be reliable and long-lasting. A long warranty period is a clear indication that the manufacturer believes in the quality and longevity of its product.

FAQ

What Is The Best Inflatable SUP For Beginners?

We recommend beginners start with an all-around board, as they provide the stability required to build confidence and learn how to paddle, but also offer good performance in a range of scenarios. A basic kit for a beginner should include a paddle, hand pump, leash, bag and fins.

Why You Should Take Your Kids Snorkelling

Children Snorkeling Australia

If you’ve ever been snorkelling in crystal clear water with colourful coral and marine life, you'll know it can be one of the most enjoyable activities available to us.

What makes it even better is it’s something people of all ages can enjoy, and this includes your kids.

If you haven’t taken your kids snorkelling yet, here are 7 reasons why you should:


1. ​It’s great for their health

A recent study found that two-thirds of children are not getting enough physical activity to sufficiently aid their growth and development. With childhood obesity on the rise, and an increase in sedentary lifestyles, it’s important to do all we can to keep our kids active.

As discussed here, one of the best ways to stay active is to exercise “with a purpose”. Snorkelling is a great example of this, and your kids are likely to rack up hours of low-impact exercise without even knowing it.


2. ​It Teaches them about marine life and the environment

As these kids discovered, when you look under the water, you get a whole new perspective on the types of life that exist on our planet and why it is important to look after our natural environments.

This family found that once they got home, their daughter had a newfound passion for marine life.

She wants to study sea urchins, the strange spiky creatures that we dread seeing under our feet, so we look them up online. Whatever they want to know, we try to find the answers. This is how passion is found, and how a lifelong desire to add and give back to the ocean starts; I can see her analyzing and planning and working on building her “reef”, and I wonder if she realizes that she can continue to do this her whole life if she chooses. - theeverydayjourney.com


3. It Teaches them to overcome fear

Any snorkelling adventure is full of temptations: to explore a little further, or dive a little deeper. But the underwater world can be as intimidating as it is exciting.

Kids will learn to push their boundaries and be rewarded for their efforts - a great life skill to acquire at a young age.


4. It Strengthens their swimming

It’s hard to overstate the value of being a competent swimmer. While swimming is a fun activity in itself, it is also an essential life skill for anyone who spends time around water.

Being able to swim also opens up a whole range of other activities for your child to enjoy, such as kayaking, surfing, scuba diving and sailing.

It can, however, be difficult to encourage our kids to practice swimming. What better way than to mix it with an exciting activity like snorkelling.


5. It’s an Adventure to look forward to

Involve your kids in the planning of your snorkelling trip. Get them to help choose their gear and start discussing the types of things they might see underwater. The anticipation and excitement will build as the day approaches, getting everyone ready for the adventure.

It’s cliche, but having a good attitude is one of the most important factors for an enjoyable day out. Getting your kids excited prior to their snorkelling trip is one of the best ways to ensure everyone comes with a positive attitude.


6. It’s a Great Family Activity

As discussed here, snorkelling is one of the best family outings available. Not only does it combine physical exercise with a real sense of adventure, but it genuinely offers something for everyone.

Spending quality time together is often a recommendation of psychologists, psychiatrists and family counselors, but often it is difficult to find a family oriented activity that everyone will enjoy. Snorkelling is a great sport for the entire family. It's a wonderful way to build bonds and reinforce positive relationships between everyone. - scubadoctor.com.au


7. They will love it

We all know kids love the water. Whether it's jumping in puddles or squirting each other with Super Soakers, kids have always been fascinated by water.

If you plan your snorkelling adventure correctly, it’s likely to be the highlight of your holiday, and will create some magical memories for both you and your children.

Finally, while snorkelling is no doubt one of the most exciting family activities available, it does have its dangers. Make sure everyone in your group snorkels well within their abilities and you follow snorkelling safety best practices.

The Best Bodyboards in Australia for 2022

Bodyboarding is one of Australia’s favourite past times and is a great way to enjoy the surf during the summer months. However, with so many brands on the market, as well as ever-changing technology, it can be difficult to know which bodyboard is best for you or your family.

To help in your search, we’ve rounded up the best bodyboards on the market and assessed them against a range of important criteria including construction material, key features and the skill level they have been designed for. This review and comparison can help you find the best bodyboard for your next beach trip.

Best Performance Board: Versus Winny Motion PP Bodyboard

Core: Kinetic PP
Slick: HDPE

Pros: Well crafted, fun for all-around use, light weight, versatile
Cons: More expensive than other options

The Dave Winchester “Winny” bodyboard is a fun, versatile board that is suitable for beginners right through to more experienced riders.

This 42″ board features a single stringer making it strong for all-around use and performance. Although this is still an entry-level bodyboard, it is well-crafted and shaped for speed. This is the kind of board that will last you years as you progress in bodyboarding.

The shape and design make the Winny Motion a suitable option for tackling airs and gaining enough speed for tubes. It also has nose bulbs, a feature that is more often seen on high-end models. This is a high-quality board that offers a stepping stone between beginner and pro bodyboards.

Best All-Rounder: Stealth Delta PE Bodyboard

Core: Wavecushion Air PE
Slick: HD

Pros: Fun, mesh reinforced, double stringer
Cons: PE is usually best for cooler climates

The Stealth Delta can handle most conditions making it a fun board for any user.

Although the PE core has a softer feel compared to other core materials, this bodyboard uses double stringers which gives it a stiffer feeling compared to the single stringer Winny.

It has also been reinforced with slick mesh to ensure it can hold up against more powerful waves.

For improved performance, the Stealth Delta includes nose bulbs as well as deck contours.

Best for Turns: NMD Bodyboards 360 PE

Core: PE
Slick: HDPE

Pros: PE core, perfect for small to medium surf, crescent tail for control, single stringer for extra strength
Cons: Tail design less suitable for spins (vs a bat tail)

Founded in New Zealand, NMD is one of the most respected names in the Bodyboarding world. With team riders such as 3x IBA World Champion Ben Player, NMD is at the forefront of bodyboard technology.

The 360 is an Extruded Polyethylene bodyboard designed for small to medium-sized waves.

This bodyboard is perfect for beginners and intermediate riders. The 360 allows for smooth turns and provides a nice balance between support and speed. The crescent tail adds versatility and will provide improved control and bite into the wave.

This bodyboard also includes a double stringer for extra strength and pop.

Best Progress Board: Funkshen Dual PE Dual Stringer Bodyboard

Core: PE
Slick: HDPE

Pros: Highly manoeuvrable, great for turns, carbon fibre stringers
Cons: Polyethylene slick isn’t as durable as surlyn

The Funkshen Dual is a great board for carving as it feels responsive and can handle tight turns with ease. The clipped crescent shape, the same as the NMD 360 PE above, is ideal for getting more turns in during a ride.

One of the main differences between the NMD 360 PE and this bodyboard is the channels. The Funkshen Dual uses a single channel to help direct water flow to assist you with turns while the NMD features graduated channels.

This bodyboard also uses dual carbon fibre stringers to prevent over flex so riders can enjoy a responsive ride even at high speed. As with most of the board we’ve reviewed (aside from the Manta Phantom and QCD Drive) this board uses a high-density PE (HDPE) slick.

If you’re looking for a mid-range board for progressing your bodyboarding skills, this is one of the best options.

Great Value: Manta Phantom PE Core Bodyboard

Core: PE
Slick: XPS

Pros: Great mid-level bodyboard, PE core, double stringer
Cons: More expensive than beginner options, wrist leash not included

Manta was Australia’s first bodyboard brand and remains a popular entry to mid-range option.

The Manta Phantom would suit beginner through to intermediate riders. It features a PE core, providing impressive rigidity and durability while maintaining flex and responsiveness.

A double stringer adds extra strength and pop and allows the rider to place more faith in the flex of the board. This board also features 60/ 40 rails.

Best Budget Option: Morey Mach 11 Tube Rail Bodyboard

Morey Mach 11 Tube Rail Orange

Core: EPS
Slick: HDPE

Pros: Leash included, low cost, ideal for beginners
Cons: EPS core is less durable than PE or PP core

The Morey Mach 11 is a great budget boogie board for first-timers.

The Morey Mach is one of only two boards on our list that has an EPS core rather than a PE or a PP core. The EPS core is a cheaper option that is suitable for entry-level, beginner bodyboards.

This is one of the best bodyboard options for complete beginners. The Morey Mach 11 is also the only board on the list that comes with a leash included. The coil wrist leash keeps you connected to your board so it doesn’t get away from you.

This boogie board features ergonomic palm locks to help beginners comfortably hold onto the board and be in control when in waves.

Premium Option: QCD Drive – Kinetic Bodyboard

Core: Kinetic PP
Slick: HDPE

Pros: Durable materials, surlyn slick, built for speed and control
Cons: More expensive than other options

Australian brand QCD makes some of the best bodyboard on the market.

The QCD Drive stands out from the other models on this list as it uses a Kinetic PP core and a surlyn slick. Both are features found exclusively on high-end boards.

The majority of the bodyboard options we have discussed use a high-density polyethylene slick, a material that is more prone to creasing than surlyn. This makes the QCD Drive a reliable option for frequent use.

The QCD Drive bodyboard is available in 39.5″ or 41.5″, with both options having 55/45 rails.

The design of this bodyboard makes it fast and easy to control. The combination of the straighter curve, crescent shape and thumb grooves ensure you can keep your position as you move down the line quickly.

The QCD Drive is a suitable option for intermediate and advanced riders who want a lightweight bodyboard that offers a blend between control, speed and comfort.

High Performance: Found Mitch Rawlins ULTRA PP Crescent Tail

Core: Freedom 6 PP
Slick: Woven HPDE

Pros: PP core, unique round stringer, best for carving, 4 size options
Cons: High price

This is a high-performance bodyboard, similar to the QCD Drive discussed above. The Mitch Rawlins ULTRA also uses a strong PP core to handle advanced riders who want speed and performance.

A unique feature of this bodyboard is the round stringer configuration. This carbon fibre stringer is positioned so the core can twist and flex during high-performance rides. The ULTRA also has the signature curve of Mitch Rawlins boards and a clipped crescent shape that is great for carving.

This is a high-quality bodyboard that is perfectly suited to high-performance riders.

Great for Smaller Surf: NMD Bodyboards Storm EPS

Core: EPS
Slick: Crosslinked PE

Pros: Light, stiff, great beginner option
Cons: Won’t perform as well in bigger waves and heavy manoeuvres

The Storm is an entry-level option from experienced bodyboard manufacturers NMD.

This bodyboard is lightweight and is designed with both volume and shape to provide the best possible experience for beginners.

The Storm has an EPS core which is a common material for beginner boards as it offers a blend of flex, strength and floatation. The single stringer makes this great for riding in small waves and for practising bodyboarding as a beginner.

At an affordable price point and from a respected brand, the Storm is a great option for the family beach kit.

Bodyboard Comparison Table

BodyboardOur VerdictCore MaterialSlick MaterialStringerChannelsTailOther
Vs Winny MotionBest Performance BoardKinetic PPHDPEEXTVenturiCrescentNose bulbs
Stealth DeltaBest All-RounderWavecushion Air PEHD2 x S5GraduatedCrescentSlick mesh reinforcement
NMD 360PeBest for TurnsPEHDPE2 x EXTGraduatedClipped crescentIXLPE Crosslink deck
Funkshen DualBest Progress BoardPEHDPE2 x Carbon FibreSingleClipped crescent4 colour options
Manta PhantomGreat ValuePEXPSTwinYesCrescent60/ 40 double rails
Morey MachBest Budget OptionEPSHDPE/2 full channelsCrescentColi leash included
QCD DrivePremium OptionKinetic PPSurlynCFTAKU CNCCrescentNose bulbs
Mitch RawlinsHigh PerformanceFreedom 6 PPWoven HPDEFound full torsionGraduatedClipped crescentAeromesh construction
NMD StormGreat for Smaller SurfEPSCrosslinked PESingleGraduatedRolled crescent50/50 double rail

Bodyboard Buying Guide

With so many factors to consider and with the majority of bodyboard models looking the same at first glance, choosing a new bodyboard can be a challenge.

Below we break down the key features you should keep an eye out for during your search and how each one can impact your ride. Use this guide to narrow down your favourites and find the best bodyboard for you.

Basics

Before we get into the finer details of stringers, channels and tail shapes let’s take a look at the basics:

Size

The most important thing to consider when choosing your bodyboard is the size. A smaller board is generally more maneuverable but is slower, while bigger boards reduce drag from the rider’s body and provide stability at high speeds.

Bodyboard sizes are stated in inches, which represents the length of the board. The key factor influencing board size selection is your height and weight.

Each bodyboard has its own weight capacity based on its size and volume. If you’re not sure what size bodyboard is best for you, the table below provides a rough guide based on these factors.

Rider Height (cm)Rider Weight (kg)Bodyboard Length (inches)
110-14020-3032”
115-14525-3534”
120-15030-4536”
123-15335-5037”
130-15535-5537.5”
135-15535-5838”
137-15838-5838.5”
140-16240-6039”
147-16542-6539.5”
157-16742-7240”
158-17050-8040.5”
160-17355-8541”
165-17960-9041.5”
168-18365-9542”
170-18770-10042.5”
172-19070-10543”
175-19075-13043.5”
175-19575-13044”
185-20080-13545”
190-22085-145> 46”

The size of the wave you will be riding can also be a factor in determining which size is best. If you stick to smaller waves you may want to opt for a slightly larger board to reduce drag and maximise speed, while big wave riders will be able to get away with a smaller board.

Materials

The most common materials used in the core of bodyboards are listed below. Choosing a board made from one of these materials is a safe bet and as you become more advanced you will start to notice the differences between these options.

  1. Polypropylene foam (PP) – Stiff, fast and lightweight, this material is common on more high-end bodyboards. Polypropylene foam handles choppy waters with ease and is great for high speed, high-performance manoeuvres.
  2. Extruded Polyethylene foam (PE) – This is more flexible than polypropylene and is a very popular material for beginner boards. PE is also known as Dow. An extruded polyethylene core gives users a bit more flex and is a popular material choice for use in colder waters.
  3. Extruded Polystyrene (EPS) – This is the cheapest material and is often used in beginner boards. An EPS foam core is light in weight but is not as durable or strong as other options.

Slick Material

In addition to the core material, it is also important to consider the slick material that is being used. This is what covers the underside of the bodyboard. The slick bottom of the bodyboard is the part that is going to be in contact with the wave. Common slick materials include:

  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE) – this is the material most commonly used on entry-level bodyboard models. It looks and feels similar to the more expensive surlyn but is more prone to creasing.
  • Surlyn – this is a resilient, high-performance slick that is more durable and less prone to creasing than high-density polyethylene.

RELATED: The Best Surf Watch

High-Performance Options

As you begin to look at the finer details of the bodyboard, you’ll notice there are a few performance options. These will impact how much control you have and how the board is going to feel when in waves.

Stringer

The stringer is a power rod that prevents the board from overflexing when riding. The stringer adds weight to the board and is found in most bodyboards. The positioning of the stringer varies depending on the bodyboard:

  • Standard: This is the basic central stringer that is best suited to all-around use.
  • Flex Tip: This stringer gives a bit more flex at the nose of the bodyboard. This eliminates that stiff, unused feeling that some bodyboards have. The flex tip stringer is great for lighter riders and works well when bodyboarding in cooler waters.
  • Double: Double standard stringers give the bodyboard a stiff, rigid feel. They are a popular option for people who want a stronger board and they work well in warmer water.
  • Double Halves: This is a blend of the single and double setup. You get the standard middle stringer with 2 half stringers on either side (on the bottom half of the board). This set-up keeps the back of the board strong while giving you flex in the nose when you need it.
  • Drop Knee: If you are a drop knee rider then you may prefer this stringer as it ensures the board is supported in the impact areas.

Tail Shapes

The width of the bodyboard’s tail will impact the performance of the board, a thinner style makes it easier to do quick turns and spins while a wider option is harder to turn but will pick up speed quickly. The tail needs to be able to support the weight of your legs and hips too.

There are also different shapes to consider, the most common options being:

Crescent Tail

A crescent tail or clipped crescent tail is great for use in any surf, it is a comfortable shape that doesn’t restrict your legs or hips. This shape is user-friendly for both prone and drop knee riding while the bat shape below is not recommended for the drop knee bodyboarding stance.

The clipped crescent provides pivot points perfect for carves and bottom turns but the blocks need to be the right size to do this effectively.

This shape is the most popular as it is versatile and can perform well in all conditions.

Bat Tail

A bat tail is a better choice for weak or unpredictable waves. It gives a looser feeling that is great for performing turns and manoeuvres. If you are going to be bodyboarding in mostly small waves then you may find the bat style to be the better option for you.

RELATED: The Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Channels

The slick bottom of a bodyboard may have channels to maximise contact with the wave. A bottom with channels can make it easier to hold a high position on the wave, allowing for more power and faster turns.

The channels act similar to a fin but if the depth of the rear channels are too deep or wide then the bodyboard won’t feel good to ride. The most common channels for small surf are graduated, these are smooth, shallow and have a wide profile.

Rails

The rails (the edge of the bodyboard) are separated into two sections: the rail and the chine. The rail is the lower part while the chine is the part that wraps around to the deck.

The configuration of the rails is displayed as two numbers e.g. 60/ 40, 50/50, 55/45. The first number is the rail and the second is the chine.

60/40 Rails

A 60/40 rail configuration gives you plenty of hold but not as much speed.

50/50 Rails

A 50/50 configuration would give you less grip but is faster.

55/45 Rails

Many bodyboard brands use a 55/45 rail configuration as this suits most riders. A 55/45 rail is great for the majority of situations and suits almost all waves and riding styles.

The Best Inflatable Kayaks in Australia for 2022

Inflatable kayaks are perfect for summer adventures where portability, storage and ease of use are essential. There are many different options available and they vary in quality so it is important to understand what to look for before buying.

To help you find a safe, durable and fun inflatable kayak, we have analysed the most popular options on the market and assessed them against a range of important criteria including size, capacity and durability. Kayaks can be designed for different uses such a sea, whitewater or fishing so use the reviews and comparison to find the best one for your summer adventures.

Best Entry Level: Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak

Weight: 15.2kg
Weight Capacity: 180kg
Material: Vinyl
Pros: Available in 1 or 2 person models, great value, removable skeg
Cons: Single skin only, less durable than high-end alternatives

The Intex range of inflatable kayaks is ideal for beginners and anyone on a budget. The Challenger series is an entry-level kayak and comes in a 1-person and a 2-person version.

It’s constructed from heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl and has an inflatable I-beam floor for extra comfort and rigidity. This kayak has a capacity of 180kg, which is one of the higher limits on our list, making it ideal for two people.

One thing to note about the Intex Challenger is that it includes many of the features that are found on more high-end kayaks such as grab lines on the bow and stern, a storage cargo net, and a removable skeg for directional stability.

This kayak also comes with everything you need to get started including a carry bag, repair kit, aluminium oars and a high-output hand pump.

Best Value: Bestway Hydro-Force Ventura Double Kayak

Weight: 16kg
Weight Capacity: 200kg
Material: Nylon
Pros: Great value, suitable for one or two paddlers, includes carry handles, pump and paddles
Cons: Not suitable for rough conditions

The Hydro-Force Ventura is a popular kayak for people looking for a high-quality, wallet-friendly option.  Like the Intex Challenger, it’s suitable for one or two users and comes with comfortable adjustable seats that provide great support, even over long distances. 

A premium coated nylon hull protects the outer shell and means the kayak will stand the test of time, while a heavy-gauge PVC floor adds further durability and stiffness. This kayak can hold up to 200kg so it can hold a couple of people with ease. The pack includes carry handles, pump and aluminum paddles.

Overall, this is a great quality, no-fuss kayak, perfect for summer adventures.

Best For Stability: Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak

Weight: 16.7kg
Weight Capacity: 180kg
Material: Vinyl
Pros: Easy inflation and deflation, stable design
Cons: Bulky compared to others

The Explorer K2 is a two-person touring kayak that offers comfort and stability without compromising manoeuvrability. This kayak is slightly wider than other models making it more stable and less likely to wobble and flip. This doesn’t mean it can handle choppy water conditions though, go for the Advanced Elements Attack Whitewater for rougher conditions.

The seats in the challenger are adjustable and removable but when both seats are in position the person at the back has limited leg room so it’s best for the taller person to sit in front. As there is limited legroom taller people may find this kayak uncomfortable if used for long tours, in this case, a larger option such as the Sea Eagle may be better suited.

Compared to the Intex Challenger, the Explorer is wider making it better suited to recreational trips rather than speed. The Explorer doesn’t feature the front storage cargo net seen on the Challenger but there should be enough space in front/ behind the seats to place any bags.

Upgrade Pick: Advanced Elements Advancedframe Sport Inflatable Kayak

Weight: 11kg
Weight Capacity: 113kg
Material: Ripstop fabric
Pros: Handles well, stable, durable
Cons: Expensive, small carry bag

This is one of the best inflatable kayak models for solo summer trips. The Advancedframe Sport is a lightweight version of the popular Advancedframe inflatable kayak. Aside from the weight difference, the sport version is almost identical but does have a slightly larger cockpit.

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport has an aluminium-reinforced keel that provides stability and cuts through water well. This inflatable kayak handles well and glides faster than many standard options but it does also have one of the lowest capacity ratings of 113kg so it’s best for solo use. Despite being just 11kg, the lightest of the listed kayaks, the AdvancedFrame Sport doesn’t catch the wind easily so still feels stable.

This is a single-seat option and the seat is adjustable and there is plenty of space for extra gear in the cockpit too. This isn’t the easiest boat to put away as it doesn’t have a drainage port at the bottom like most other kayaks.

The storage bag is also quite small so it is difficult to fit everything in on the first go. With that said, once you are used to it putting the kayak away is straightforward but a bit of patience may be needed initially.

Best 2 Person Kayak: Sea Eagle 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

Weight: 14.5kg
Weight Capacity: 295kg
Material: K80 PVC
Pros: Affordable, suitable for class III rapids, stable design, large load capacity
Cons: High profile means it may catch the wind easier

From one of the most popular inflatable kayak brands in the USA comes this great value, very reliable 2 person inflatable kayak.

Aside from the price tag, major advantages of the Sea Eagle include it being very lightweight, and its open design making entry and exit a breeze. This kayak is very durable and is manufactured with a sun & saltwater resistant hull material.

The Sea Eagle is a very solid kayak, with a load capacity of 3 people or 295kg. It provides a very stable paddle and is suitable in up to Class III whitewater. It can also be used by one person in calm waters making it a versatile option. If you are looking for a kayak for the family or for longer trips, the large load limit and stability makes this an ideal choice.

Easiest To Store And Carry: Itiwit X100+ 2 Person High-Pressure Inflatable Kayak

Weight: 16kg
Weight Capacity: 150kg
Material: PVC Tarpaulin
Pros: Spacious, robust, storage backpack
Cons: Low load limit compared to others

The X100+ is a well designed inflatable kayak that is a great fit for short recreational paddles. This kayak offers good stability and several user-friendly features. There are 4 carry handles, a luggage net and a spray cover for additional storage too.

To help this kayak turn and track it has 3 small skegs that are suitable for shallow waters. This is a well-thought-out kayak that offers great performance for the price. The X100+ is best suited to shorter adventures of a few hours at a time as it offers stability over speed.

This inflatable kayak comes in a storage backpack which is easy to carry and far more convenient than a standard carry bag. The backpack is good quality and has additional storage pockets too. The kayak weighs 16kg so you still won’t want to spend too long carrying it but the backpack design is appreciated.

Budget Family Option: Bestway Hydro Force Lite Rapid

Weight: 13.8kg
Weight Capacity: 160kg
Material: PVC
Pros: Low cost, lightweight, grab ropes
Cons: Not as stable or fast as other options

The Bestway Hydro Force Lite Rapid is an affordable double kayak with a weight capacity of 160kg. This is the lightest double kayak on this list weighing only 13.8kg, this makes it easier to carry to and from the water.

The kayak is quick and easy to inflate and deflate, it also has an integrated drain valve so you won’t need to worry about water getting in while you’re paddling. The adjustable seats are inflatable with comfy backrests. There is also a removable middle keel tracking fin to help provide directional stability.

One of the features we like on this kayak is the grab ropes with built-in grommets. These ropes make it is easy to get back into the kayak from the water. This is a low-cost option that offers some family fun for first-time kayakers. It’s a good choice on lakes but won’t stand up against white water.

Best For Whitewater: Advanced Elements Attack Whitewater Inflatable Kayak

Weight: 15kg
Weight Capacity: 102kg
Material: PVC
Pros: Suitable for any water conditions, self-bailing ports, manoeuvrable
Cons: Open design so more exposed to the elements

The Attack Whitewater model is a heavy-duty kayak that you can rely on. It is suitable for the most extreme conditions, Advanced Elements rate this kayak for full whitewater, with river class determined by the paddler’s experience/skill level.

The increased width provides advanced stability for rough conditions, while a raised rocker improves manoeuvrability. As this kayak is designed for the thrill of whitewater it is going to be a bumpy ride so we like that it has a cushioned floor and a lumbar support backrest.

Self-bailing ports mean any water that makes its way into the kayak can drain out, and a durable PVC hull and independent air bladders provide superior durability. If you need an inflatable kayak that will handle all conditions, this is the one to get.

Best For Fishing: Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Pro Kayak

Weight: 20.5kg
Weight Capacity: 181kg
Material: PVC Tarpaulin
Pros: Stable, drop-stitch floor, removable deep fin, high-backed chair with ventilation
Cons: Expensive

The StraitEdge Angler Pro offers all the usual fishing-specific features and more, making it the ultimate inflatable fishing kayak.

Stability is paramount with any fishing vessel, and Advanced Elements have held no punches in this area. Their drop-stitch floor construction (which comes as an optional add-on for their other kayaks) comes standard on the Angler Pro. This provides extreme rigidity, giving you the freedom and confidence to move around the vessel as you need to while out on the water.

A removable deep tracking fin helps the kayak hold its course, while a high-backed “AirFrame PRO” seat with mesh panelling offers superior support for extended sessions.

It is also very durable, made with high-quality materials and extra abrasion pads in high use areas. Other features include a front and rear bungee deck, paddle holders, 2 accessory frames, a duffel bag with shoulder straps and a repair kit.

Inflatable Kayak Comparison Table

Inflatable KayakOur VerdictSingle/ DoubleCapacityWeightSizeMaterialWhitewater RatingPaddles
Intex ChallengerBest Entry LevelEither180kg15.2kg3.51m x 76cmVinylNot listed2 x aluminium
Bestway Hydro-Force VenturaBest ValueEither200kg16kg3.30m x 86cmNylonNot listed2 x aluminium
Intex Explorer K2Best For StabilityDouble180kg16.7kg2.12m x 91cmVinylNot listed2 x aluminium
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame SportUpgrade PickSingle113kg11kg3.18m x 81cmRipstop fabricClass I and IIN/A
Sea EagleBest 2 Person KayakUp to 3 People295kg14.5kg3.81m x 86cmK80 PVCClass I, II and III2 x aluminium
Itiwit X100+Easiest To Store And CarryEither150kg16kg3.65m x 103cmPVC TarpaulinNot listedN/A
Bestway Hydro-Force Lite RapidBudget Family OptionDouble160kg13.8kg3.21m x 88cmPVCNot listed2 x aluminium
Advanced Elements Attack WhitewaterBest For WhitewaterSingle102kg15kg2.9m x 89cmPVCFull whitewaterN/A
Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler ProBest For FishingSingle181kg20.5kg3.2m x 98cmPVC TarpaulinClass I and IIN/A

Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide

There are several factors to consider when searching for the best inflatable kayak for you. As you can see, there are many different kayaks available and each design is suited for a certain use. This buying guide will help you find a kayak that suits your needs.

Types

There are 3 main types of inflatable kayak available:

  • Sit On Top – this kayak looks a bit like a raft as you are sitting on a seat that is level with the sides. One of the good things about this type is the water mostly washes over rather than accumulating in the kayak.
  • Sit In – a sit-in kayak has higher sides that offer more protection against the elements. Unlike hard-shell kayaks which are more enclosed, a sit-in inflatable kayak usually doesn’t have a covered cockpit so it is easy to get in and out. This is a good choice for keeping dry in rougher conditions.
  • Canoe Style – fishing kayaks are often more of a canoe style as they are wider and deeper. They are a great option when you need additional space.

Use

When choosing an inflatable kayak, consider what you want to use the kayak for. Do you want your new kayak to be able to go fast or would you prefer it to be more stable? Should it be good for long trips or short trips? Is it for playing in waves? Do you need storage space?

The list goes on but the point is the shape, size and features of the kayak will help to accommodate certain uses. Keep your planned use in mind during your search, here are the 3 most common uses:

1. Surf or Whitewater

Be sure to choose a kayak designed for these activities and check with the manufacturer what rapid class (1-5) the kayak is suitable for. Personal preference will dictate whether you want an open or closed kayak. You will also need to decide whether you want a self-bailing kayak, that comes with drain holes built into the floor.

2. General family use

If people of all ages and abilities are going to be using the kayak, you will want to ensure you get something that suits everyone. Many people prefer the open, sit-on-top variety of kayak for ease of use, however, they are slightly less stable. You’ll also want to check the max weight capacity of the kayak to make sure it will be suitable for the people using it.

3. Fishing

There’s a host of extra features available to anglers. Most important is stability, and inflatable fishing kayaks are usually designed with this at front of mind. Other things to keep an eye out for are rod holders, additional storage, and a comfortable seat.

Number of Kayakers

  • 1-seater: if you are planning some solo kayak adventures or you want to play around in the surf, take your kayak on hikes etc. then a shorter, lighter 1-seater kayak is ideal.
  • 2-seater: a tandem kayak is the most popular inflatable kayak thanks to its versatility and convenience. These kayaks are often suitable for just one person to use as well thanks to customisable seating arrangements. This is a great choice for larger paddlers, longer trips or 2 people (up to the listed capacity).
  • 3-seater: these larger inflatable kayaks are great for families or for longer trips where there is lots of equipment so the kayak needs plenty of room and storage space. 3 seater kayaks have high capacity ratings and are often designed for stability rather than speed.

RELATED: The Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards

Materials

The most common materials used in inflatable kayaks are PVC, Hypalon, and nitrylon, each coming with its own benefits and drawbacks. 

  • PVC construction is the most affordable option, and provides a good level of durability, but is not very eco-friendly.
  • Hypalon is the most durable and long-lasting option, but also the most expensive. It fairs best over time against sunlight, mildew and fungus. It is usually used as a coating over polyester or nylon.
  • Nitrylon is made from a combination of synthetic and natural rubber. It provides superior performance and durability over PVC and sits in between PVC and Hypalon for price.

Whatever you choose, the material needs to be high-quality and resistant to punctures and tears. The quality of the material that is used for inflatable kayaks varies greatly.

Some kayaks are triple-layer, some have a tarpaulin bottom, some have built-in aluminum ribs. Each manufacturer uses different ways to help strengthen the kayak and make sure it will stay afloat use after use. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for so paying a bit more for quality is worth it with an inflatable kayak.

It is likely the kayak will scrape against rocks or other objects at times so it’s vital to choose one that can withstand standard wear and tear. Looking at inflatable kayak reviews can be invaluable for finding more information on how the products withstand real-life use.

Many inflatable kayaks also come with a repair patch kit so you can fix any smaller issues yourself.

Air Chambers

While on the topic of materials and durability, it is worth looking for an inflatable kayak that uses multiple air chambers. Most have a left, right and floor air chamber as standard but if the kayak also has an inner and an outer chamber it can provide extra protection and peace of mind if the kayak gets a puncture.

A kayak with multiple air chambers will be easier to get back to shore if there are any issues while on the water.

Portability

The portable nature of an inflatable kayak is one of their key selling points. The size and weight of the kayak when it is deflated and packed away should be noted as this will vary between models. The kayaks we’ve reviewed weigh from 11kg to over 20kg.

When choosing the best option for you, it’s best to make sure it’s light enough that you can carry it to and from the water and that when packed away you have enough space to store it in your car.

Ease of Use

While easier to transport than a hard-shell kayak, it takes some time to get the inflatable kayak set up and ready for launch. Some kits come with a pump included, it generally takes 5 – 10 minutes to get a kayak fully inflated with a hand pump.

Once on the water, the kayak should be easy to control. Some of the high-end inflatable kayaks are nearly as responsive as a hardshell kayak while others are more difficult to paddle and direct. A skeg can help with tracking and keeping the kayak on course and the size and shape of the kayak is often a good indication of its manoeuvrability.

One helpful feature is drainage holes along the bottom of the kayak. Something else we look out for is a quick-release valve as this is the simplest way to deflate the kayak after use. Most inflatable kayaks come with a carry bag and it should be relatively easy to pack it away after use.

Comfort

How comfortable the kayak is to sit in and paddle is important too. Having padded seats help to keep paddlers comfortable during longer adventures. The amount of space in the cockpit also impacts comfort, especially if you are taller so need more leg space.

Value For Money

Compared to a hardshell kayak, an inflatable kayak offers excellent value for money. You can buy everything from a lightweight 1 person inflatable kayak on its own to a tandem inflatable tandem kayak kit that comes with aluminium paddles and a hand pump ready for use. While the price is often a good guide for the quality and features of the inflatable kayak it is not always the case so don’t choose one based on price alone.

Inflatable Kayak FAQs

Are inflatable kayaks worth it?

Yes, good quality inflatable kayaks offer great value for money. They are safe, durable, reliable and low cost.

Do inflatable kayaks flip easily?

No, despite what people think, inflatable kayaks are very difficult to flip. They are extremely buoyant and designed to be stable. If the kayak does flip it is very easy to flip it back over and get back on.

Do inflatable kayaks puncture easily?

Most inflatable kayaks are designed with durable material that is strong and puncture-resistant. They also use multiple chambers to keep you safe and a repair kit can be used for small punctures.

How to Stand Up Paddle Board for Beginners

stand up paddle boarding tips

Water activities are a great way to enjoy the warm summer months, and stand up paddle boarding is one of the best options available. This popular new sport can range from relaxing to exhilarating. However, if you’ve never tried it out before and you want to make sure that your first time stand up paddle boarding goes smoothly, then it never hurts to be informed.

We’ll go over everything that you’ll need to know so that you can get started with this activity, and you can feel free to jump to any of the sections which interest you. First, we’ll go over the necessary equipment for stand up paddle boarding, before discussing some of the fundamental techniques.


Equipment 

The first thing that you’ll need to ensure is that you have all of the necessary gear to go stand up paddle boarding. Keep in mind that you won’t always have to buy your own gear, especially if you’re trying stand up paddleboarding for the first time, as many venues offer all of the necessary gear for rental.

Board

The most crucial piece of gear is the board itself, and there are a few different types to choose from. You’ll have to determine whether you want a planing or displacing hull, whether you want a solid or inflatable stand up paddle board, and you’ll also have to determine the ideal size based on your weight.

Leash

While a leash isn’t the most obvious piece of equipment, it can help you from being separated from your board when you fall off of it. If you plan on buying your own stand up paddle board, don’t forget to buy a leash separately, as a lot of them don’t come with a leash included.

Paddle

Getting a paddle of the correct size will ensure that you can move around as efficiently as possible. If you want to check whether a paddle is the right length for you, raise your arm straight up and see whether or not the handle of the paddle reaches your wrist.

Lifejacket

As with any activity in relatively deep water, it's highly recommended that you wear a personal flotation device while you're stand up paddle boarding. Even if you're a proficient swimmer, you can end up dazed if you hit your head while falling into the water, and a lifejacket can keep you afloat.


What to Wear 

You'll also want to be sure to wear the right clothing when you go stand up paddle boarding. Take a close look at the predicted weather conditions and the temperature for the day before you head out. You should also take into account the water temperature. If it's going to be a hot summer day, you'll likely only need to wear a bathing suit and your lifejacket.

However, if you're going stand up paddle boarding in the cooler seasons, then you'll likely need to wear a wetsuit or a drysuit. The main difference between these suits is that the wetsuit keeps you warm but still eventually soaks through, while the drysuit can withstand colder temperatures and keeps your skin dry.


Getting on and Maintaining Your Balance 

The first thing you'll have to do is get on the paddle board. Bring it into the water until you're up to your waist, and maneuver yourself onto the center of the board. While you get on, keep a firm grip on both sides of the board to ensure that it doesn't flip into the water.

Take a moment to kneel down on the board and get balanced, this may take a few moments. 

While in a kneeling position, you can start to paddle gently while getting used to the feeling of being on the board.

Once you feel like you’re ready, firmly position your hands on the center of the board and smoothly rise to your feet, taking care to avoid any jerky movements that can unbalance you.

Holding Your Paddle

Once you have your balance, you’ll need to get accustomed to holding your means of locomotion: the paddle. First, make sure that you’re holding the paddle in the correct orientation. When moving forward, you’ll want the concave side of the paddle to face you so that it extends further away from you.

Take a moment to determine which side will be your dominant side while you paddle. When the paddle is on the left side, your right hand will be at the top grip, and the left will hold the shaft of the paddle. If you're paddling on the other side, just swap where your hands are placed.

The Basic Strokes

The last thing that you’ll need to know so that you can finally move around on your stand up paddle is the set of three basic strokes. This will allow you to move forward, backward, and rotate your paddle board on the spot.

Forward Stroke

This is the fundamental stroke and the one that everyone learns first. The forward stroke allows you to move the board along the water, and you can gradually turn by favoring one side when you forward stroke.

To get the most out of your forward stroke, you’ll want to exert more force on the top part of the handle, using it as a pivot point so that you can move more efficiently. End your stroke when it reaches your leg and then plant the paddle once again, repeating the motion.

Reverse Stroke

If you want to get yourself out of tough situations, then you'll need to know the backward stroke. You'll mostly have to reverse the motion of the forward stroke, placing the paddle near the back of the board and pushing towards the front. Reset the motion when you reach your leg.

Sweep Stroke

The sweep stroke will let you turn in place or when moving at a slower speed. Position your paddle near the front of your board, at a slight inward angle. You will then want to sweep the paddle along the side of your board in a semi-circular motion which looks like a “C”, with the inside of the curve facing the board.




Conclusion

Stand up paddle boarding is a lot less intimidating when you have an idea of what to do and how to do it. We hope that this guide has been able to prepare you for your next attempt. Good luck, and be sure to have fun!