woman smiling on a SUP with a paddle

The 9 Best Soft Top Paddle Boards

Looking for the Best Soft Top Paddle Boards?


Surfing, water yoga, and cruising are more fun when you have an appropriate paddleboard.

Armed with the best board, you can enjoy your SUP adventures without being worried about safety and stability.

Soft top paddleboards are great boards, especially for a beginner because the soft spongy surface minimizes the impacts of falls that inevitably occur when you're learning to stand up paddleboard.

Why You Should Buy a Soft Top Paddle Board

With Soft tops, you get the benefit of a rigid paddleboard with the forgiveness of a softer surface, that you end up really appreciating when you hit the deck from losing your balance.

Soft tops are generally a lower priced SUP (another benefit for those just getting into the sport), and they also are the favorite of your canine companion. Dogs have a much easier time staying on the board due to the spongy surface providing more grip than a hardboard.

We understand that choosing the right type of paddleboard can be challenging and time-consuming.

That's why we put together this list of some of our favorite soft top paddleboards, that are not only good for beginners, but also there are some options for more experienced paddlers as well.

top, bottom, and side views of Isle cruiser soft top rigid sup


Features:

  • Beginner friendly
  • Complete package includes: carbon adjustable paddle, center fin, & leash
  • Weight: 28.5 lbs.
  • Pet friendly and Yoga compatible 
  • Comfort Crock Skin for maximum grip & minimal foot fatigue

The Isle Cruiser is simply the best selling soft top stand up paddle board on the market, and it has been for at least four years now.

The Isle Cruiser package is a combination of quality materials, user friendly design, reasonable price, and complete ready-to-go package that is massively popular.

The Cruiser has a width of 32 inches, has Composite Soft Technology with textured padding, and hard foam makes it lighter and easier to handle than a traditional epoxy board.

The soft top construction means it is user friendly, it can take a few bumps, and you can bring along your canine pals as well. The Cruiser is built around an epoxy core, which makes this a rigid paddle board, but it is wrapped soft outer textured croc skin padding, creating versatile, all around performance.

The Cruiser is an easy to carry board due to the well thought out center handle which pops out when needed, and lays flush when not in use.

The 6-point bungee system in the front give you plenty of room to secure a dry bag or other accessories you might need for longer tours.

Everything you need to get on the water is included in the package. More experienced paddlers will also appreciate the carbon adjustable paddle that is included, because on longer rides, the lighter carbon means your arms don't get tired so quickly.

If you're looking for a complete package, especially if you want a board that you can have at a beach or lake house, where lots of different guests, from kids to adults will want to take turns paddling, you'll won't find a better option than the Isle Cruiser Soft Top.

Pros of this Board

  • Anyone can use this board
  • Perfect family board due to weight capacity, kid and dog friendly
  • Designed with cost sensitive materials for a quality paddle board at an excellent price

Cons of this option

  • Can often be sold out due to popularity
south bay board co beginner soft top sup with leash and fins


Features:

  • One of the easiest, user friendly SUPs on the market
  • Nose rocker to prevent unnecessary drag
  • Kayak seat compatible
  • 3 fin setup for better tracking and stability
  • Width of 32 inches

If you are looking for lightweight and stable, look no further! All that you need to do to get started is just to put the fins on and add water.

The South Bay Board Co. Premium Beginner Soft Top provides great stability and inspires confidence on the water, enough to handle waves from boats on a busy holiday weekend or a strong wind.

The South Bay Board Co. Premium Soft Top's are a hard-to-beat value due to the smart design, premium construction quality, and performance focused features.

This SUP is 5 inches thick, very stable, and has an impressive weight capacity of 350 lbs.

While soft top SUP's are great for beginners learning to paddle, they also are forgiving when transporting on a car or boat due to the softness of the material, not damage your boat or car.

If you want a great "all rounder" but don't want an inflatable SUP and don't want to shell out over $1,000 for a rigid, then this will be a great fit for you.

The best materials and the best manufacturing make the South Bay Board Co. Premium Beginner Soft Top a tremendous value as well as on of PaddlboardSurf's top SUP recommendations.

Pros of this Board

  • Excellent value
  • Best in class weight capacity at 350 lbs.
  • Complete ready-to-go package

Cons of this option

  • Not the best option for SUP surfing 
Top, bottom, and side view of Boardworks Surge SUP with paddle


Features:

  • Beginner friendly
  • Package includes: adjustable paddle, & center fin
  • Only 23 lbs.
  • Pet friendly and Yoga compatible
  • Width: 32 1/2 inches

The Boardworks Surge is great for beginners new to stand up paddling that want a fun an forgiving board. Designed with the family in mind this wide stable SUP is ideal for most conditions and especially flatwater and touring.

The board is constructed of a foam EPS core that is laminated with fiberglass and epoxy resin for added stregnth, then a durable yet soft and forgiving IXPE outer skin is applied to the top deck.

The bottom is slick HDPE surface that glides smoothly over the water.

In this age of loud and wild color schemes designed to grab the attention of every passerby, we here at PaddleboardSurf like the simplicity of the two piece graphics and simple colors.

We also like how this board has an integrated carry handle. Integrated handles are nice because they don't move up and down, so they can't break, and the are sunk into the board and out of the way, unlike carry straps on inflatable SUP's.

The Surge has dual tie downs at the front of the board, not as much tie down room as some competitors with a 6 point system, but it's enough to secure any essentials you may want to bring on your cruise. This SUP also includes a 9 inch center fin that install with no tools needed.

The Boardworks Surge gives the rider that stiff yet friendly feeling. This soft top foam board has plenty of width and stability for a confidence building day of fun on the water. 

Pros of this Board

  • Handles very well and is fairly maneuverable
  • All Around Paddleboard
  • Plenty of width and stability

Cons of this option

  • You will need the order the ankle leash separately
top view of the liquid shredder softboard yellow


Features:

  • 90-day warranty for non-commercial uses
  • Removable three-fin system
  • Weight: 29 lbs.
  • Anti-slip foam deck

One of the most stable paddleboards available in the market today. This is not a SUP for winning a races, but if maximizing fun is your goal, this LiquidShredder paddleboard is the perfect vessel to make it happen.

With this board, the soft outer skin makes it so you will enjoy standing on the water for hours on end.

The stability of this board makes it suitable for SUP yoga, and when you are tired from your yoga, you can take a nap on the board (because it's a softy).

It is also perfect for fishing and cruising activities.

The materials used to manufacture this board makes it very light and floaty. The fins set up allows you to maneuver larger waves with good traction giving you confidence in the board. The rounded nose provides stability and maximum control over the board and the turns you make in the water.

The EZ Slider Soft is manufactured from multiple components such as polythene, polypropylene, and hard, slick bottom. The board is also made from components to protect it from heat. These materials are fixed together with no glue making the board very durable.

Pros of this Board

  • Suitable for beginners and pros
  • Width of 32 inches
  • Very stable and floaty

Cons of this option

  • Very yellow, you have to be ok with this color
naish soft top sup


Features:

  • Great all-around board for cruising and small waves
  • Topsheet construction protects from UV damage and scratch resistance
  • 200 liter volume
  • Width: 34 inches
  • Weight: 30.2 lbs

If you want an high performance board shape and the piece of mind of extra durability that comes with a soft top design, the Naish Quest is for you.

It's important to know that all Naish products are focused on performance.  The founder and CEO of the company, Robby Naish, is usually out on the water testing, and making sure his products live up to his quality demands.

The Quest is built to handle abuse and is great for beginners and intermediates and can handle being left at the beach house all summer being used by family and guests.

This soft top has a forgiving and wide center width of 34 inches, and a maximum rider weight capacity of 250 lbs. By having a fairly wide design both in the front and the tail of the board, the Quest has a large volume that makes it sturdy enough to handle two paddlers (tandem) if needed.

The strength of the Quest comes from the molded EPS closed cell core.

What does that mean?

It means the Quest is light, resistant to dings and damage from use, and has added structural integrity.

If you're looking for a great all around soft top paddleboard that can handle a variety of different conditions and paddlers from beginners to intermediates, we think you'll be happy with the Naish Quest Soft Top.

Pros of this Board

  • Designed for performance maneuvers
  • At 34 inches wide this paddleboard is very stable

Cons of this option

  • At 9'8" it's on the small end of sizes for a paddle board
front and bottom view of Escape Classic package with paddle


Features:

  • Durability and high performance
  • Removable fin
  • 125 liter volume
  • Various widths ranging from 30.5 inches to 33.5 inches
  • Available in colors teal, black, and platinum

Hopping on the Escape Classic paddleboard package elevates the paddling to a new level. Have you ever wished to have a paddleboard that you can use to perform multiple activities ranging from yoga, fishing, cruising, and touring even carrying your dog?

Well, Cruiser SUP just made one for you.

Putting their 15 years' experience in manufacturing paddleboards, the company has developed this high quality, versatile, and affordable paddleboard to give some of the coolest experiences in the water. Should anything interfere with the fun in the waters, the company has you covered with a stunning two years warranty.

The top of this board is made using diamond grids to give you that expensive and comfortable feeling no other board offers. The board is manufactured in various sizes to meet your needs.

How about having a board with a rigid epoxy and a removable fin that increases your fun further by reducing the amount of energy you spend pumping or inflating a paddleboard. This feature makes the board easy to use, and your safety is guaranteed while you are in the waters doing your regular surfing, cruising…name it.

The board is concave shaped and having a v bottom shape to give extra stability when the waters get rough.

Pros of this Board

  • Premium board
  • Two year warranty

Cons of this option

  • Expensive 
top and bottom view of Suntech soft top


Features:

  • Volume: 165 liters
  • Removable fin
  • One-year non-commercial warranty
  • Weighs 21.7 lbs
  • Available in colors red and white

One of the best stand up boards manufactured in the USA by Suntech in 2020. This board is perfect for exercises, mostly yoga.

The soft top gives you the ultimate comfort and relaxation your body needs as you do your yoga over water, and you can sit on it to meditate. This board will completely redefine your on-water yoga practice. Perfect for beginners who are looking forward to training and becoming the best cruisers and surfers.

The soft-top deck makes your feet very comfortable and prevents you from slipping hence giving you maximum stability during your yoga exercises.

Unlike other Liquid Shredder SUPs, this paddleboard is manufactured using fiberglass and super armor epoxy. This board has a vinyl skin with Gortex vent to make it more durable, easy to clean, and repair, and the skin makes it durable to the extreme sun rays.

It is further strengthened by the embedded aluminum stringer, which also makes the board very light to carry. Its short length and wide body make it very stable to stand on as you surf in the water. It is designed for yoga hence making it slower compared to the other liquid shredder boards.

Another reason why this board is great for beginners is the durability and lightness due to the high quality components as well as the anti-slip deck.

With the ability to carry up to a maximum weight of 190 lbs, this board gives you maximum stability when surfing or doing yoga.

Pros of this Board

  • Ample stability for beginners
  • Ergo-Carry handle slot
  • Hand made and imported from Peru

Cons of this option

  • 9 feet long is on the short range for stand up paddleboards
top and bottom view of the Cruiser SUP Bliss package


Features:

  • Breathable pressure vents
  • 2 + 1 fin set up
  • Bungee system to allow you to carry along extra items
  • Dual handles (for ease of use)
  • Two year warranty

Another fantastic board from Cruiser SUP. Cruiser SUP again puts its vast experience and customer services in developing the best standing paddleboard for 2020.

The board is large enough to accommodate you and your dog or kids when surfing. The paddleboard is designed to enable you to do your yoga and cruise in water without any difficulty.

The paddleboard is made in concave bottom shapes with incorporated nose and tail bungee cords to provide maximum stability while standing and swiftness while surfing. The board is made from a blend of wood veneer, multi-layered fiberglass, and carbon cloth to guarantee durability and high performance.

The shape enables you to surf calm and small water hence appropriate for use by kids. The addition of wood veneer has made the paddleboard very light and easy to use. The paddleboard comes in various sizes, making it suitable for beginners and experienced surfers.

The deck is made from Comfort Top padding to provide you with softness, durability, and comfort. The board has breathable pressure vents to allow for temperature and air regulations within the core of the board.

Pros of this Board

  • Fun. Light. Versatile.
  • Cruiser SUP's best selling model for women
  • Backed by a two year warranty

Cons of this option

  • Expensive
top view of the Boga soft top sup


Features:

  • Front D ring to enable towing
  • Center handle
  • Extra thick to ensure stability
  • Good for kids and beginners
  • Great value

The soft top will provide more safety in case of slips and falls. This is the best board to train your kid since its super safe. It is made in blue and light green colors.

The Boga Soft Top is made from EVA wraps so that it is safe from sways due to the ocean waves and to protect the kids from falling in case of any collision. The board is designed for use in flat water and surfing in case the waves hit.

Has a front D ring to enable you to tow it in case of any challenges in the water.


Are soft top paddleboards good?

Absolutely!  Soft tops have many benefits.  They tend to be the best board that you can buy for the whole family because of the durable construction.  Unlike a hard epoxy board, soft tops can take a dent and still be fine.  They are also the best SUP to get if you like to bring along your dog occasionally.


The soft surface is also the best for kids, because when they fall, there is a cushion.  And for this same reason, soft tops make great boards for yoga SUP because of the padded exterior.

What is a soft paddle board?

A "soft" paddle board is what the industry calls a soft top board.  The top layer of the board is constructed out of a soft and spongy material.  The core of the board is constructed like soft top surfboard, with an EPS (Expanded Polystyrene, basically what we commonly call Styrofoam).  


The EPS core is then layer with a strengthening agent, usually an epoxy of some type.   Then the soft spongy outer layer is applied to complete the soft top construction.

Are Costco paddle boards any good?

No, usually not.  Most of what we have seen in the Costco warehouses are very cheap, very flimsy paddle boards.


The reason why is you have to consider their customers.  No one goes specifically to Costco to buy a paddle board, they go to buy food, or electronics, or maybe socks.  


In order to get someone that is not looking to buy a paddle board, to buy a paddle board, you need to offer them something very cheap.  And it also happens to be cheaply made.  The biggest buyer of Costco paddle boards is a vacationer that happens to see one in Costco on vacation, and makes an impulse buy.


The paddle boards we review here at Paddleboard Surf are usually premium quality SUP's that only appeal to people that are actively interested in the sport.

What is the best SUP board for beginners?

Ok, so we're biased here.  We think a soft top SUP is best for beginners.


Why? Because of the usability and the forgivability.  Soft tops are general an all around design shape that the whole family can use.  From absolute beginner to intermediate paddler, they'll be able to have fun on a soft top.


And of course the soft outer layer is very forgiving when you, either fall down, which happens a lot when you're learning, or when you accidently hit something, like another paddler, a dock, or maybe a boat.  Soft tops can take a small hit and be fine, and when the give a small bump, it usually doesn't damage the object on the receiving end.

Final Thoughts

Soft Tops are a unique style of board and a lot of paddlers like them.  If you're looking for a board that can last, and won't wear you out over long tours on the water, a Soft Top just might be right for you. 


Paddling is for everyone.  Get out on your board and enjoy the fun.