Lightweight SUPs are some of the best paddle boards on the market, not only for women but for everyone. I mean, let’s be honest, no one wants to tire themselves out before they even start paddling by simply carrying their paddle board down to the water.
Whether you’re opting for an inflatable paddle board, a soft top paddle board, or a hard top paddle board, they all come in a range of different weights, with the lightest being far easier to transport and paddle through the water.
Of the three, inflatable SUPs are our top pick choice for women as not only do they typically weigh under 25 lbs meaning you can conveniently carry them from A to B, but they also pack down into a backpack or duffel bag to save on storage space.
Soft top and hard top paddle boards will be slightly heavier than inflatables, and their rigid design means that you’ll need a roof rack system to take your SUP to your chosen river, lake, or ocean. This isn’t to say that soft or hard top SUPs should be ruled out, but if convenience, affordability, and weight are important to you, then inflatable SUPS come out on top.
If you’re just starting off with your paddle boarding journey and you think that an inflatable SUP is a way forward, then check out the Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards.
Stand-up paddle boards are extremely simple in design, but, they are created with comfort and safety in mind. Soft top and hard top paddle boards will often feature a carry handle in the center of the deck, and some will also come with mounts and D-rings so you can add on gear such as cameras, rod holders, and even kayak conversion kits.
If you're looking for a yoga paddle board, check out the GILI Komodo SUP! The Komodo features a nose-to-tail traction pad allowing you to comfortably stand, sit, and strech on the entire surface of the board.
Inflatable paddle boards also, more often than not, boast D-rings, mounts, and carry handles, but they also feature air valves which you use to inflatable and deflate the SUP.
With so many lightweight women’s paddle boards on the market, it can be confusing and somewhat difficult to narrow the search down. If you’re on the hunt for your first (or next) SUP, then check out our comprehensive guide: How to Find the Best Paddle Board for Women.
Alternatively, ensure that you’re considering these important features down below before purchasing your SUP.
As mentioned previously, paddle boards come in three different constructions, inflatable, soft top, and hard top.
Inflatable paddle boards are, more often than not, made from PVC material that is stitched together by a process called drop stitching. When it comes to PVC, the thicker the denier, the more durable and long-lasting the SUP will be.
Soft top paddle boards are made from an EPS core foam that is finished off with ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and polycarbonate (PC) layer to give it a soft and squishy feel. Some higher-end soft top paddle boards will also be wrapped in numerous layers of fiberglass to enhance the board’s durability even further.
What differentiates hard top paddle boards from soft tops, however, is the fact that the EPS foam core of a hard top is wrapped in layers of fiberglass and coated with an epoxy resin coating. Hard tops don't have the soft and squishy padding that a soft top does, but they do have the added benefit of cutting through the water with ease.
All paddle boards have a maximum weight capacity, and it is important that you remain under this limit at all times. If you overload your SUP, then the deck will sink slightly into the water, and the board will be tough to handle, maneuver, and paddle.
Before you purchase your SUP, calculate your weight, the weight of any passengers, and the weight of any gear you plan on taking out with you. From there, compare it to the weight capacity of your chosen SUP and ensure you’re at least 10 - 20 lbs under the limit.
Paddle boards come in a range of different lengths, which contribute to how fast or stable they are in the water. When deciding how long you want your board to be, you need to consider what you’ll be using it for.
The longer the paddle board, the faster it will cut through the water, which is why longer SUPs are typically used for touring or racing. Shorter SUPs, on the other hand, are great for SUP surfing or recreational paddling where maneuverability and stability is key.
The width of the SUP is also another factor that contributes to speed and stability. The wider the SUP, the more stable it will be, meaning that recreational paddle boards are some of the widest on the market.
If you plan to head out touring on your SUP, however, then you’ll want a narrower board as you’ll find they’re more nimble on the water and can reach faster speeds than a wider SUP with little to no effort.
As noted previously, the three different variations of SUPs (inflatable, hard top, and soft top) all range in weight, and if you’re after the lightest board possible, then you’ll want to opt for an inflatable SUP.
Inflatable paddle boards typically weigh under 25 lbs, whereas soft tops range from 25 to 30 lbs, and hard tops are 30 lbs plus. When you’re in the market for a SUP, you need to think about how and where you’ll be carrying it. 30 lbs may not seem like a lot, but if you have to carry it to a waterway that is a 10 to 15-minute walk away, the weight will definitely take its toll.
Along with carrying your board down to the water’s edge, you’ll also need to consider how and where you’ll store and transport it. If you only have a small car and limited storage space at home, then an inflatable SUP will be a great fit as they can pack down into a small bag and store it away on the back seat of your car or under your bed at home.
Soft top and hard top SUPs will require a roof rack system on your car, and they’ll also need a ceiling or wall rack in a garage or shed to be safely stored at home.
Paddle boards are essentially long float decks, and with that comes adequate storage space for gear and personal belongings. Many paddle boards will feature bungee areas at the nose and sometimes the tail so you can tie everything down and secure it. Some SUPs will also feature D-rings that you can also use to fasten down your belongings.
If you plan on taking camping or fishing gear out with you, then you’ll want to pay attention to the ways you can store and secure it in place. Failure to do so could end up with all your belongings in the water, which isn’t ideal in any situation.
You might not think it, but the accessories your paddle board comes with can make a difference when purchasing a SUP. Of course, the quality of the paddle board itself should be the top priority, but you should also look out for whether it comes with a paddle, a carry bag, pump, and repair kit if you’re opting for an inflatable SUP.
If your paddle board comes fully equipped with everything you’d need to get out on the water, then you can do so as soon as your SUP is delivered. On the other hand, if you have to purchase all the accessories separately, then it may take some time to acquire all the necessary components, and it could also end up being slightly more expensive.
Inflatable paddle boards are some of the best SUP options for women as they’re not only extremely lightweight and easy to transport, but they are also easy to store, easy to handle, cost-effective, and convenient.
We have an entire list of the Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards to give you a better idea of the benefits and features of inflatable SUPs.
When choosing a stand-up paddle board, the first thing you need to consider is whether you want an inflatable, soft top, or hard top SUP. This decision will ultimately come down to the amount of storage space you have at home, how you’ll transport your SUP in or on your car, whether or not you want to travel overseas with your SUP, and how much weight you’re actually able to carry.
Once you’ve decided on which type of SUP would suit you best, the next thing is to consider what you’ll be using the paddle board for. Longer and narrower boards are designed for touring or racing, mid-sized boards with wider decks are used for recreational and fishing purposes, and shorter boards are ideal for SUP surfing.
From there, take into consideration the amount of storage space on the board, the price, and the accessories the board comes with, and you’re ready to say yes to a SUP.
Both rigid paddle boards and inflatable paddle boards have their advantages and disadvantages, but in our opinion, inflatable SUPs come out on top. Not only are inflatable paddle boards extremely convenient when it comes to storage and transportation, but they’re also incredibly comfortable to paddle on, very cost-effective, and contrary to popular belief, they’re actually surprisingly durable.
Inflatable paddle boards are by far the lightest paddle boards on the market, as many inflatable SUPs weigh under 25 lbs, with some even being as light as 17 lbs. If you’re on the hunt for a SUP that is easy to transport in both your car and on foot, then an inflatable paddle board is your best option.