Inflatable SUP Reviews

Best Non-inflatable Hardboard Paddle Boards

I love paddleboarding, somehow simultaneously relaxing and stimulating, yet always serene, always a great break from the mundanity and the busyness of city life. You can get back to nature.

But to paddleboard successfully you need the right equipment. With a hardboard paddleboard, there’s no need for any tiresome inflating or deflating, you can just get straight out on the water.

Hardboard paddleboards are way better than their inflatable counterparts. They provide a more stable feel, they have a better, smoother glide, they’re faster and more agile, and it’s easier to catch waves on a hardboard paddleboard.

There are some great hardboard paddleboards out on the market today, and we’ve really been checking them out.

After much deliberation, we were able to handpick our top 5 favorites, and we’re going to be showing you our reviews on them very shortly.

But we get that buying your paddleboard can be tricky, especially if you’re not too sure what to look out for.

That’s why we’ve drawn up our handy buying guide. It walks you through everything you might want to think about before you buy.

And that’s not all - we’ve also got another section later on, where we tackle some of your most frequently asked questions on hardboard SUPs.

Let’s get straight to it, shall we?...

OUR TOP PICK

Lifetime Horizon 100 Hardshell Stand-Up Paddleboard (Paddle Included), Teal

This is our favorite of the bunch, nice and stable, and perfect for both beginner and more intermediate level paddlers.

It comes in the standard size, which is 10 feet long and 34 inches wide, giving it some great volume, and making it very stable to paddle.

It can take up to 230 pounds of weight, so you could stash a few belongings on there too. You could stash a small bag in the bungee on the front of the deck.

There’s a textured EVA deck pad, so there’s plenty of traction and your feet can remain in place without danger of slipping or sliding.

We love the addition of the universal accessory mount - you could take a waterproof camera on your adventures or maybe some speakers!

We also love that there’s a retractable fin. When in place, it helps you keep a straight line on the water, and when in storage or being transported, it’s tucked neatly away so as not to get accidentally damaged.

The hull has a nice, stable shape, and there are hull rails for ultimate stability.

Of course, being a hardshell SUP, it’s certainly heavier to carry than an inflatable one, but there’s a molded carry handle in the center plus a rear handle for convenient transport.

It’s a durable board, made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and is UV-protected, meaning the color will not fade, and the finish won’t crack or split.

And of course, it comes with a paddle too.

If you buy via Amazon, you can opt to pay in interest-free installments on approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card.

We were also impressed with the 5-year limited warranty - very reassuring.

Pros:

  • Universal accessory mount
  • There’s a retractable fin
  • Can pay in installments
  • 5-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • A little heavy to carry

EDITORS CHOICE

Lifetime Freestyle Paddleboard, 9 Feet 8 Inch, Lime Green

This is a great board too, coming again from top brand Lifetime.

Their Freestyle SUP edition is a different size to the usual standard, a little shorter and a little wider. Specifically 9 foot 8 inches long, and 35.5 inches wide.

The advantage of a short and wide SUP like this is that the wider nose is good for getting into waves. And you get a higher swing weight when you’re turning it.

There’s a textured EVA deck covering, so there’s plenty of traction and your feet can remain in place without danger of slipping or sliding.

The hull has a nice, stable shape, and there are hull rails for ultimate stability.

It also features two retractable fins, and this really aids your tracking, balance, and stability. They’re great for light surf or flatwater paddling.

Plus, being retractable, you get the advantage of the fins not getting damaged during transport.

Of course, being a hardshell SUP, it’s certainly heavier to carry than an inflatable one, but there’s a molded carry handle in the center plus a rigid carry handle at the nose for convenient transport.

It’s a durable board, made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and is UV-protected, meaning the color will not fade, and the finish won’t crack or split.

It comes complete with a fiberglass paddle, so you won’t need to go out and buy one separately. And there’s a leash attachment loop for it.

Most sellers who supply this board via Amazon offer free shipping - that’s a huge saving right there.

Lifetime boards typically come with a 5-year long warranty, and this should be something you verify with the seller before you buy.

Pros:

  • Best Selling brand
  • Short and wide deck
  • Two retractable fins
  • Free shipping available

Cons:

  • Only available in lime green
  • Not a lot in the way of bungee cord for stashing a few belongings

BEST VALUE

Pelican - SUP - Hardshell Stand-Up Paddleboard - Lightweight Board with a Bottom Fin for Paddling, Non-Slip Deck - Perfect for Youth & Adult (Cyan Blue, 10 ft), Model:FAS10P207-00

Now, this is a great hardshell SUP too!

It has a standard length, coming in at 10 feet long, but is a tad narrow I suppose at 31 inches.

That said 31 inches should be enough for most people, and it still has plenty of volume to get that much-coveted stable feel. And it’s more maneuverable than a wider board.

It has a weight capacity of 230 pounds, so you can get away with strapping some belongings in the bungee cord at the front of the deck.

And if you wanted to secure some extra gear, there are also eyelets toward the back of the deck if you could get your hands on some extra bungee cord.

We love the inclusion of a bottle holder on the deck - perfect for keeping yourself hydrated as you relax on the water.

It’s quite lightweight for a hardshell SUP, and the various handles also help make it easy to carry.

The deck features an anti-slip pad for your feet, which not only prevents your feet from sliding, but it’s also cushioned too, for optimum comfort.

There’s a 5-inch flexible rubber fin underneath to help aid stability and to help keep the SUP moving in a straight line.

We also like the addition of a drain plug to prevent water from infiltrating. And we were also impressed with the 2-year limited warranty.

It’s available in two colors. We like the cyan blue, but there’s also a lime green if you prefer.

If you buy via Amazon, you can opt to pay in interest-free installments on approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card.

If you do decide to buy this one, please note that there are two size options on the Amazon page: a 10 foot long and a 10 foot 6 inches version. Please be careful to select the one you want.

Pros:

  • Bottle holder on deck
  • 5-inch flexible rubber fin
  • Can pay in installments
  • 2-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • A little narrow
  • It may be lightweight for a hardshell, but it’s still a little heavy to carry around

RUNNER UP

Lifetime Amped Hardshell Paddleboard with Paddle, 11', Glacier Blue

Here’s another great hardshell SUP from the top SUP brand, Lifetime. And it’s a bestseller with retailers.

What we love the most about this SUP has to be the length. It measures 11 feet long and is 32 inches wide. This makes it a great option for those who like to paddle fast and go long distances.

And we just love the universal media mount - great for taking smartphone videos of your antics!

There’s some bungee cord on the front of the deck, giving you somewhere to stash your gear on board, yet keeping it easily accessible.

And you don’t need to worry if the SUP can take the added weight of your gear. This SUP has a 230-pound weight capacity.

We also love the inclusion of the retractable fin. When in place, it helps you keep a straight line on the water, and when in storage or being transported, it’s tucked neatly away so as not to get accidentally damaged.

The hull has a nice, stable shape, and there are hull rails for ultimate stability.

Of course, being a hardshell SUP, it’s certainly heavier to carry than an inflatable one, but there’s a molded carry handle in the center for easy transport.

It’s a durable board, made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and is UV-protected, meaning the color will not fade, and the finish won’t crack or split.

And of course, it comes with a paddle too, so you’re good too as soon as the shipment arrives. And there’s a leash attachment loop on the board, so you won’t risk losing the paddle.

We were also impressed with the 5-year limited warranty - very reassuring.

If you buy via Amazon, you might be able to catch one of their occasional deals. Or you can opt to pay in interest-free installments on approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card.

Pros:

  • Long length for speed & distance
  • Universal media mount on deck
  • There’s a retractable fin
  • Can pay in installments
  • 5-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • Only available in glacier blue

RUNNER UP

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Seaquest Stand Up Paddleboard (Tangerine, 10-Feet)

Now, Sun Dolphin is also a great brand, they produce loads of different water sports equipment, like canoes and kayaks. And their SUPs are great too. 

Their Seaquest hardshell SUP is a nice size, specifically 10 feet long, and 33 inches wide, so you can expect some nice stability.

It can take up to 230 pounds of weight, which means you can safely stash a few items on there. You can simply tuck them into the bungee cording at the front of the deck.

There are non-slip foot pads for secure footing - essential I.M.O. And the deck also features a recessed cooler area with a strap, which would be a great place to stash your sunscreen.

It’s easy to paddle and to keep it in a straight line in the water, which is thanks in part to the fin underneath the board.

It’s a durable board, made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and is UV-stabilized, so you can be assured that the color won’t fade in the sunlight.

It’s relatively lightweight for a hardshell, and there are plenty of handles to make it easy to carry.

It comes with a paddle too, so you’re ready to go as soon as it’s shipped to your address.

It’s available in 3 different colors. We like the red, but there’s also a lime or a tangerine option if you prefer.

It’s made right here in the USA and comes complete with a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros:

  • Great watersport brand
  • Recessed cooler area 
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Some customers weren’t satisfied with the board’s traction and carved some grooves into the board’s material so their feet won’t slip

Best Non inflatable Hardboard Paddle boards Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. Let’s walk you through a few things you might want to think about before you buy.

Stability of the Board

The most critical factor to look for in a paddleboard, and this is the case whether it’s inflatable or if it’s a non-inflatable hardshell, is how stable it is to stand on.

And this stability depends on the board’s dimensions, it’s length, width, and volume. The longer, wider, and more volume a SUP has, the easier it will be to balance on it.

Moreover, the more volume a paddleboard has, the smoother it will glide across the water, and the more weight it can support.

Let’s look at dimensions in a little more detail.

Dimensions

The most commonly produced hardshell SUPs for adults are 10 to 11 feet in length and are 32 to 34 inches wide. This size is favored for its stability on the water and is the best size for beginners to go for.

We mostly chose SUPs of 10 to 11 feet long because they’re best for all-around use.

Longer boards are faster than shorter boards, but shorter boards, on the other hand, are more maneuverable.

A wider board is more stable than a narrow board, but on the flip side, a wide board can often be slower and more difficult to paddle.

When looking at a SUP’s dimensions, don’t forget about transport - you’re going to have to be able to fit it in your vehicle.

Fins

A fin is not necessarily essential for a SUP, but it does add to the board’s stability, and it also helps with tracking, the ability for the SUP to move in a straight line on the water. All good quality SUPs have at least one fin.

The flip side to having a fin, however, is that they can be more likely to get damaged during transport.

But you can prevent this from ever happening by investing in a SUP with a retractable fin, like the one in our number one pick, the Lifetime Horizon 100, or in our number two pick, the Lifetime Freestyle, and our number four pick, the Lifetime Amped.

Brand

We found that certain brands of hardshell SUPs are way better than others.

And that is why we included not one, not two, but three Lifetime brand SUPs in our top 5 picks.

Cost

We’re going to level with you here. Hardshell non-inflatable SUPs are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. You can expect to pay at least $300 for a good one at a minimum.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get one. You can consider buying one second-hand or looking for ones that you can pay for in installments. We included some of the latter variety in our top 5 picks.

Namely, our number one pick, the Lifetime Horizon 100, our number two pick, the Lifetime Freestyle, and our number four pick, the Lifetime Amped.

Customer Reviews

You don’t tend to find as many customer reviews for non-inflatable paddle boards as you do for the inflatable ones.

That is because hardshell paddle boards are way more expensive than their inflatable counterparts, and most people just go for the more affordable options.

You will find that customer reviews on hardshell paddleboards are quite critical compared to other products. We put this down to people expecting a lot for their money. 

But if you find yourself torn between two different hardshell SUPs, then a quick gander at how customers have found them can really help you decide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hard or inflatable paddle boards better?

We would argue that hardboard paddle boards are better. We put our case forward in the introduction, but it’s worth repeating here.

They provide a more stable feel, they have a better, smoother glide, they’re faster and more agile, and it’s easier to catch waves on a hardboard paddleboard.

What is the best stand up paddle board for beginners?

For beginners, we recommend our number 1 pick, the Lifetime Horizon 100, simply because it’s the largest and most stable of the bunch.

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