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January 11, 2022 19 min read

Best Soft Top Paddle Boards

Yellow and blue soft top paddle board on the beach

If you’re looking to take up a new hobby or you need a new soft top paddle board, you’ve come to the right place! 

We’ve broken down the 6 best soft top paddle boards that are suitable for all budgets and will get you out on the water, enjoying nature in no time.

Soft top paddle boards are a great board option for paddlers of all abilities, so if you’re a complete novice or have been paddle boarding for years, there will be a board on this list that suits you and your specific needs. 

Best Soft Top Paddle Boards

Isle Cruiser Soft Top Paddle Board

Isle cruiser soft top paddle board

Measurements Weight Weight Capacity Special Feature Price
10’5” x 32” x 4.5” 24 lbs 235 lbs Best All Around Price

The Isle Cruiser Soft Top paddle board is one of the best soft top paddle boards on the market and has remained at the top for the past few years. 

It’s the perfect board for people who are just starting out stand up paddle boarding because of its ready to go package that can get you out on the water in an instant. 

Its wide deck helps with balance, and its composite technology that features soft, textured padding means the board is easier to handle and comfortable to paddle on. 

The Isle Cruiser’s epoxy core makes it rigid and versatile in the water; combine that with its soft top deck, and you’ve got yourself a paddle board that has great performance and fantastic comfort all in one!

Soft top paddle boards are designed to be robust and take on bumps and dings that are inevitable while paddling, the Isle Cruiser is no exception to this, and you’ll find you won’t be so worried about damaging your board.

Stability

The Isle Cruiser is extremely stable thanks to its 32” width deck and epoxy core. The width gives you enough space to hang out on your board and even practice a yoga pose or two. 

This soft top paddle board can handle a maximum weight of 235 lbs, giving you a high enough limit to hold yourself and a four-legged friend or small child. 

Build

The construction of the Isle Cruiser Soft Top SUP is rigid like an epoxy SUP, because of its molded EPS foam core and dual wood stringers running down the middle of the board. 

The foam core is coated with a durable croc skin padded soft top deck to provide ultimate comfort and grip. 

Performance

The Cruiser's full grip deck pad makes this board suitable for people of all abilities and ages. The deck can withstand dings, dents, and dog claws and is safe and soft enough for children who are getting the hang of SUPing.  

The board’s high level of stability means it can be used for various SUP activities, like fishing, yoga, and surfing. We have named it the best all-around board because of its versatility and how easy it is to ride. 

Design

Soft top boards can sometimes be difficult to carry, but with the help of the Isle Cruiser’s pop-out center handle, you’ll be able to carry it to the water with ease. 

Its six-point bungee system at the nose of the board gives you adequate storage space for any additional gear you want to take on your adventure. 

A Gore Tex vent plug will give you protection against delamination should your board get too hot. This vent plug is maintenance-free, meaning you don’t need to worry about water getting in the board, or your board overheating on hot days. 

The Isle Cruiser comes in pink, blue, and grey, so everyone has a color option!

Package

When you purchase an Isle Cruiser Soft Top paddle board, you get everything you need to instantly get out on the water. 

The package includes an adjustable carbon hybrid SUP paddle with a nylon blade, a nylon center touring fin, and an 8’ coil leash. 

Board Specs and Special Features

  • Textured full deck traction
  • Durable EPS blank and dual stringer
  • Suitable for all skill levels
  • Six point front deck bungee system
  • Complete board package
  • Measurements: 10’5” x 32” x 4.5”
  • Weight: 24lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 235 lbs

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • It comes in a complete package
  • It is suitable for all abilities
  • It comes in 3 different colors
  • It is lightweight and easy to carry
  • The board could be thicker to give it more volume

South Bay Board Co. 10’4 Big Cruiser Soft Top

10'4 big cruiser sup south bay board package

Measurements Weight Weight Capacity Special Feature Price
10’4” x 32” x 5” 30 lbs with the included gear 300 lbs Best for families Price

The South Bay Board Co. 10’4 Big Cruiser is next on our list and is an amazing first-time paddle board that is lightweight and stable. 

Equipped with everything you would need to get paddling, you’ll be wasting no time heading out to the water. 

Its 5” thickness gives you a high level of stability, and can carry an impressive weight limit of 300 lbs.

Stability

The design of the Big Cruiser Soft Top paddle board is truly unique. The width is maintained along the length of the board, and has a rounded nose for extra float. 

The squared-off rails support its high weight limit and will keep you buoyant and balanced throughout your trip.

Build

The Big Cruiser Soft Top is constructed with three stringers. The center stringer is made from a fiberglass rod with two wooden stringers that run up the board’s entire core. 

The stringers are then covered with an EPS foam to make the core as robust as possible. 

A layer of bamboo is added to make the board rigid and stable, and help prevent the risk of heat damage. 

Finally, epoxy resin laminates the board, followed by a wax-free EVA foam deck to give the board that added layer of comfort. 

The underside has a layer of high-density polyethylene that protects against impact and reduces dents and scratches. 

Performance

The Big Cruiser’s size makes it highly stable and friendly for experienced paddlers and beginners of all ages. 

The rounded upward turned nose combined with the bottom deck and adjustable fin helps you glide through the water and enhances your tracking and ability to change direction. 

Design

When purchasing the Big Cruiser Soft Top, you can choose two colorways, white and black, or white, blue, and black. 

The board has four-point bungee systems on both the front and back, giving you storage for things like fishing gear or personal belongings. 

A heat release valve prevents heat and moisture from being built up in the core and potentially causing damage to your board. 

The integrated center lift handle makes the board comfortable to carry, and its 4 D-rings make it easy to install the detachable kayak seat that comes with the paddle board’s package. 

Package

You really do get the full kit when you buy a Big Cruiser. 

The board comes with an entry-level adjustable aluminum shaft paddle and a durable nylon blade. Although this is adequate for occasional paddles, you may prefer upgrading to a higher quality paddle. 

Also included in the package are tri fins, a paddle board leash, a detachable kayak seat, and a premium 11’ SUP board bag. 

Board Specs and Special Features

  • Three stringers for extra rigidity 
  • Bamboo layer to improve durability and prevent heat damage
  • High-density polyethylene under layer to protect against damage
  • Rounded upward nose to improve glide ability 
  • 2 x four-point bungee systems
  • Heat release valve
  • Four D-rings 
  • An extensive board package
  • Measurements: 10’4” x 32” x 5”
  • Weight: 30 lbs with the included gear
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The complete package has everything you need to get started
  • The D-Rings and storage give you adequate space for additional SUP gear
  • Its construction makes it rigid and durable
  • Has a high weight capacity
  • The paddle that comes with it is entry-level and may need to be upgraded

Boga Soft Top 8'0

Boga soft top paddle boards

Measurements Weight Weight Capacity Special Feature Price
8’ x 28” x 3” 20.9 lbs 176 lbs Best for Kids Price

The Boga Soft Top is one of the best soft top paddle boards for young paddlers because of its short length and width. 

The deck is designed to withstand bumps, and its squishy surface protects your child against falls or collisions. 

Stability

This soft top paddle board is suitable for both flat water paddling and SUP surfing, all while giving your child a stable platform to practice on. 

The shorter width of the board makes it easier for children to paddle and hold their balance. With a narrower board, their arms don’t need to stretch to get their paddle into the water so they can remain in an upright standing position at all times.  

Build

The Boga 8’ Soft Top is made from a sandwich epoxy construction with a 5mm EVA rail, bumper, and nose added for protection 

The deck has dual wood stringers running down its center to increase the board’s strength and rigidity. 

Performance

Because of the board’s smaller size, it is more agile than a longer soft top paddle board and makes a great board for the kids (or adults) to take out surfing.

Design

The Boga soft top paddle board comes in an aqua blue and green color, so it’s suitable for both boys and girls to improve their SUPing skills.

Its center handle makes the board easy for kids to carry, and you can use the front D ring to tow the board should your kids get tired. 

Anchor points throughout the board are available to add on and tie down various accessories and extra gear your kids may need when they’re out on the water. 

Package

The package of this board is one of its downfalls, as you only get the board itself without extra add-on accessories. 

Board Specs and Special Features

  • Diamond cut EVA foot pad
  • Front D-Ring for towing
  • Various anchor points
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Easy carry handle
  • Measurements: 8’ x 28” x 3”
  • Weight: 20.9 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 176 lbs

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • It is lightweight and easy for kids to handle
  • It has a vibrant color suitable for both boys and girls
  • It has anchor points to allow for additional gear
  • It doesn’t come with any accessories
  • Adults would struggle paddling on the Boga

BoardWorks Surge Soft Top 10'6"

Boardworks surge soft top paddle board

Measurements Weight Weight Capacity Special Feature Price
10’5” x 32.5” x 4.8” 23 lbs Novice: 190 lbs Intermediate: 216 lbs Advanced: 245 lbs Best Budget Price

Another great board for beginner SUPers is the Boardworks Surge Soft Top. Its wide deck makes it super stable and will help you build your confidence while you’re out paddling. 

Stability

If you want stability, then the Surge Soft Top could be a fantastic option for you!

Its wide deck creates a great stable platform for practicing SUP activities, like yoga or fishing.

Not only is it suitable for SUP activities, but it is also family and dog friendly. The deck is big enough to keep the board stable when carrying a passenger, whether that’s a small child or your water-loving pooch. 

Build

The Surge Soft Top paddle board is constructed with an EPS core, laminated with fiberglass and epoxy resin. 

Layered on top of the core is a durable irradiation cross-linked polyethylene (IXPE) skin that provides a squishy outer shell to keep you comfortable while paddling. 

The bottom of the stand up paddle board is then coated in a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to help prevent any damage to the underside of the board. 

Performance

Designed to be an all-purpose family SUP, the Surge Soft Top paddle board will give you a smooth and stable ride, thanks to its impressive handling and maneuverability. 

Although it isn't the fastest soft top paddle board on the market, you’re bound to have an enjoyable paddle boarding experience, whether that be by yourself or with family members on board.

Design

The entire Surge Soft Top paddle board is blue with a graphic on the nose that matches the board's accompanying paddle. 

Its integrated handle makes carrying the board easy, and the dual front bungees are great for storing simple gear like a water bottle.

On the underside of the board is a center fin box that comes with a Dolphin Fin for easy tool-free installation. 

Package

Included in the package is an adjustable aluminum and plastic paddle, as well as the Dolphin Fin mentioned previously. 

Board Specs and Special Features

  • Dual front tie downs for extra gear storage
  • Aluminum paddle
  • Center fin box with Dolphin Fin
  • Durable HDPE bottom
  • Center carry handle
  • Measurements: 10’5” x 32.5” x 4.8”
  • Weight: 23lbs
  • Weight Capacity based on skill level: Novice: 190lbs, Intermediate: 216lbs, Advanced: 245lbs

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • It is great value
  • It has a wide and stable deck for SUP activities like yoga or fishing
  • It comes with a paddle 
  • The soft outer material shows marks easily

Hard Top Boards with Padded Decks

The next two boards we are going to mention are slightly different from your average soft top paddle board. 

These boards have hard decks with an extra layer of padding to give them the feel of a soft top but all the qualities of a hard top. 

Isle Versa Rigid Stand Up Paddle Board

Isle versa rigid stand up paddle board bundle accessory pack

Measurements Weight Weight Capacity Special Feature Price
10’5” x 32” x 4.5” 28.5 lbs 300 lbs Best Eco Friendly Price

The Isle Versa Rigid board is similar in ways to the first board we mentioned on our list, the Isle Cruiser Soft Top. 

The rigid board has a large deck pad, whereas the soft top is completely covered in a squishy layer of padding. 

Stability

The Isle Versa Rigid board is an all-around classic design that is suitable for all skill levels.

Its wide body and thickness combined with the deck pad mean the board can be used for numerous SUP activities where stability and balance are key, like fishing and yoga. 

Build

New thermal-molded technology was used in the creation of the board to eliminate waste and make the board eco-friendlier. 

The core of the board is made from a tough EPS blank and coated in a durable outer shell. Once coated, it is heat-laminated with fiberglass and epoxy resin to give it extra strength against dents and dings. 

The epoxy board is lightweight,durable, and the EVA traction pad gives you some of the comforts you would find on a soft top board. 

Performance

As mentioned before, the Versa is an all-around board that is great for recreational purposes and surfing. 

The comfortable deck makes it perfect for touring, and its added raised stomp tail helps with maneuverability when out on the waves. 

Design

A four-point bungee system at the nose of the board gives you easy gear storage that’s accessible while paddling. 

A pop-out carry handle in the center,sits flush when not in use, and helps transport the board. The leash plug found at the rear of the board will keep your board attached to you at all times in the event of a fall. 

A maintenance-free Gore tex valve allows air to escape the board's core during rapid temperature changes or while the board is in storage.

To keep you comfortable on your SUP is a brushed EVA pad similar to a soft top. The main difference is that the soft top's squishy layer covers the entire board, whereas this pad only covers a large section on the top side of the board. 

The Versa also comes in three colorways that will suit everyone’s tastes. 

Package

The package included with the Versa gives you everything you would need to get out on the water. 

An adjustable carbon hybrid paddle that can be adjusted from 65” to 86” is suitable for all-sized paddlers. 

The included blue 8’ coil leash will prevent your board from drifting away from you, and the fiberglass touring center fin will help you with traction and handling. 

Board Specs and Special Features

  • Four-point bungee storage system
  • Adjustable carbon hybrid paddle
  • Center touring fin
  • Eco-friendly
  • Comes in 3 colors
  • Hard shell with an EVA traction pad for comfort
  • Measurements: 10’5” x 32” x 4.5”
  • Weight: 28.5 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • It gives an excellent performance 
  • It can be used for many SUP activities
  • It comes with a complete package 
  • The three color options will suit everyone
  • It is more expensive than a regular soft top board because of its hard shell

CRUISER SUP BLISS Paddle Board Package

Bliss classic paddle board package by cruiser SUP

Measurements Weight Weight Capacity Special Feature Price
10’ x 32” x 5” 25.75 lbs 190 lbs 2 Year Warranty Price

The final stand up paddle board on our list is the Cruiser SUP Bliss board. It is a hard top board with a full-length soft deck pad and can be ridden by paddlers of all abilities. 

Stability

The Cruiser SUP Bliss has a large thickness and width to help you keep balanced and stable while paddling on the water. 

If you’re looking for a board that is suitable for SUP yoga, paddling with the family, or even with your dog, then the Cruiser could be a fantastic option for you. 

Although the total weight capacity isn’t the highest of all the boards we’ve mentioned, it is enough to take yourself and a small child or pup out with you. 

Build

The Cruiser has multi-layers of fiberglass on both the top and bottom of the board. In between these layers is a .5mm bamboo veneer to keep the board stiff and durable. 

The nose and tail of the board are covered with innegra-carbon for extra ding resistance and the standing area is coated with carbon reinforcement to prevent any dents. 

The deck pad is 4.5 mm non-slip EVA foam that is extremely comfortable to rest on while you’re cruising down the water.

Performance

Removable touring fins underneath the board help with gliding and tracking. The accompanying side fins also help with performance and maneuverability in choppier water conditions.

Design

The board features a maintenance-free valve to allow air to escape from the core and prevent the risk of damage. 

A lockable EZ grab handle makes transporting your board easy, and the four-point and two-point bungee attachments are excellent storage spaces for any additional gear you want to take out with you. 

Fins underneath the board help you with control, and the EVA foam deck gives you a comfortable place to relax when you need a break from paddling. 

Package

The Cruiser package contains an adjustable paddle, a coiled safety leash to prevent the board from drifting away, a screwless touring fin, and 3 removable side fins.

Board Specs and Special Features

  • Four and two-point bungee storage systems
  • Adjustable paddle
  • Center screwless touring fin and removable side fins
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Hard shell with a full length EVA traction pad for comfort
  • 2 year warranty
  • Measurements: 10’ x 32” x 5”
  • Weight: 25.75 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 190 lbs

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • Can be used for a wide range of activities
  • It comes with a complete package to get you out on the water
  • It has two storage systems
  • Available in 3 colors
  • It has a 2 year warranty
  • It is more expensive than a regular soft top paddle board

Soft Top Paddle Board Buying Guide

Man paddle boarding using a green soft top paddle board

What is a Soft Top SUP?

A soft top SUP has an EPS foam core that’s layered with ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and polycarbonate (PC) to give it a soft squishy outer shell. This soft shell makes the board less likely to ding or dent and provides extra comfort for the rider. 

Higher-end soft tops will have one or numerous layers of fiberglass wrapped around the EPS core. The layers of fiberglass make the board stiffer and easier to maneuver during activities such as surfing.

How Are Soft Top Sups Different From Hard Boards?

Hard tops and soft tops are constructed with different materials and therefore perform differently from one another. 

Traditional rigid hard paddle boards have an EPS foam core that is layered with fiberglass and epoxy resin. 

Hard boards are lightweight and easy to maneuver in the water and perfect for people wanting to use their board for touring, as their shape helps them with gliding and tracking when paddling over long distances.

Soft top boards, on the other hand, also have a strong and sturdy EPS foam core, but the board is layered with EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate)to give it a squishy top deck. 

The squishy outer layer gives the board extra weight, so soft tops tend to be the heaviest of all the paddle board options. 

Soft Top vs Hard Top vs Inflatable

Woman performing yoga on a soft top paddle board

All 3 types of boards have their benefits and suit different people for different reasons. 

Soft Tops

Soft tops are one of the best options for kids or beginners who are just starting out with paddle boarding because of the board's soft outer layer. This layer provides protection against falls, and also against dings or scratches that are bound to happen during the learning process. 

Not only are they ding proof, but they also tend to be the cheapest board option, which is great for people who want to enjoy the sport of paddle boarding but also keep costs low. 

Hard Tops

Hard top paddle boards are the most agile in the water and have the best tracking and control. They’re fantastic boards for faster paced activities like SUP surfing, touring, and racing. 

Inflatables

GILI inflatable paddle boards

The biggest benefit of an inflatable paddle board is that it can be deflated and packed down into a backpack. Inflatables are great for people who live in small apartments or don’t have storage space for a rigid board. 

Like soft tops, inflatable paddle boards are also great for kids and beginners because they are full of air and don’t dent like a hard board would. 

When it comes to transportation, hard boards and soft top boards need a roof rack to be transported to the water. On the other hand, Inflatables can fit in a duffel bag or backpack and can be thrown in the boot or back seat of a car.  

When being stored, hard and soft boards need a storage rack installed in a cool area, and out of direct sunlight. You can’t pack these boards down, so the storage area would need to be big enough to fit a board 10 feet +.

What to Keep In Mind When Buying a Soft Top Sup

Length

The length of your soft top SUP plays a huge role in how the board moves, its tracking ability, and its speed. 

Longer paddle boards perform better for long-distance paddling or touring. The extra length on a board also helps if you plan on taking your child or dog out paddling with you.

Shorter boards, on the other hand, move faster through the water and have better maneuverability.

The smaller size of a short board makes them a good option for children that want to paddle on their own because they’re easier for them to carry and operate.

When you decide a board's length, you also need to think about where you’re going to store it. Soft top paddle boards can’t fit in small places like an inflatable can, so you need to make sure you get a board that can fit into the storage space you have. 

Soft top paddle board sizing:

  • Over 12 feet - Great for long-distance paddling and touring.
  • Between 10 and 12 feet - Perfect for all-around use, fishing, and yoga.
  • Under 10 feet - Amazing for kids, light riders, and surfing.

Hull Type

Displacement hull type characteristics

There are 2 types of hull to choose from when you purchase a paddle board. 

A displacement hull provides speed because it is designed to cut through the water. Displacement hulls are perfect for SUP touring, racing, or for activities where speed is key. 

A planing hull rides on top of the water and has a wider nose to help with maneuverability.These hulls are great for surfing, yoga, and recreational paddle board activities.

Board Width

Wider boards provide a more stable ride, so if you’re just starting out in the paddle boarding world, getting a board that is wider than 31 inches will give you adequate space to practice. 

Boards under 30 inches in width are designed for experienced paddlers who prioritize speed when out on the water.

Weight

The length of your board comes into play when looking at a board's weight. Longer paddle boards are heavier because the added length means added weight.

If your board is too heavy, it will cause a problem during transportation. Whether it’s getting your board onto a roof rack or simply carrying it from your car to the water, having a paddle board that is too heavy will be an issue and could put you off taking it out in the future. 

Weight Capacity

All boards have a different weight limit, and it’s important to calculate the total weight of all people and gear on the board at any given time.

Having a board with a lower weight capacity than the total onboard weight could end up with the board riding low in the water making it more difficult to paddle. 

A general rule is, the higher the volume of a board, the more buoyant it will be and the more weight it can support. 

Durability

Durability is a huge factor to take into consideration when purchasing a paddle board. You’re spending a large amount of money on a stand up paddle board, so obviously you want it to last as long as possible.

Soft top SUPs are extremely durable because of their squishy outer later that doesn’t ding or scratch as easily as other boards. If you keep up with maintenance and take proper care of your soft top paddle board, it will last you years. 

Stability

Man and a woman paddle boarding on a soft top paddle board

A wider deck will give you the most stability when out on the water. Boards with a width over 31 inches will allow you to have a broad stance and hopefully prevent you from falling in. This higher level of stability is why wider boards are recommended for beginners. 

Maneuverability

Maneuverability is only really important when you’re using your board for activities like surfing. When you are surfing, it is likely that there are many twists and turns you’ll need to do, so you’ll need a board that has a high level of maneuverability. 

For touring and recreational purposes, you don’t need to worry about maneuverability too much because you’ll mainly be paddling in a straight line where turns aren’t necessary.

Versatility

Having a board that’s versatile means you’ll get the most use for your money. The more activities you can do on your board, the better!

All around boards are a fantastic versatile option because you can use them for general recreational purposes, fishing, yoga, and for beginners.

Budget

Soft top paddle boards are the least expensive type of SUP on the market and are great for people on a budget but still want a board made of durable and quality materials. 

You can also purchase high end soft top SUPs, which have an added layer of fiberglass on the EPS foam core to make them more rigid and similar to a hard top board. 

FAQ’S

🏆 Are soft top paddle boards good?

Soft top paddle boards are an excellent starting point for beginner paddlers and children. 

The soft squishy layer that covers the board’s deck provides extra protection against bumps and dings and gives you an added layer of comfort. 

Not only are they good for paddlers learning the sport, but their low price point and durability are appealing to people of all abilities. 


👍 What is the best soft top paddle board?

The Isle Cruiser Soft Top Paddle Board is the best soft top paddle board on the market because of its all around design makes it suitable for paddlers of all abilities. 

The Cruiser’s wide deck makes the board stable, and its rigid construction with a soft padded outer layer makes the board durable and comfortable to paddle on. 

The package that the paddle board comes with will get you out having fun on the water in no time. 


🏝️ What is a soft top paddle board?

A soft top paddle board is made from an EPS foam core and is covered with a soft, squishy material.

Soft top paddle boards are a great starter board and are widely used by surf schools, beginner paddlers, and children because they’re hard to dent or ding.


❓ What is the best thickness for a paddle board?

5 inches of thickness is the desired amount for most paddlers because it provides a high level of stability.

However, if you or passengers' combined weight is over 90kgs, you might prefer a board with a 6-inch thickness to give you more buoyancy.

Megan Bryant
Megan Bryant

Based in Bali, her favorite SUP spot is the GILI Islands themselves. Travel is another passion of hers - she dreams to see the entire world one day.


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