The Best Paddle Boards for Dogs… What? I remember the very first time I saw a dog on a paddleboard, let alone actually seeing a paddle board for the first time. I was in shock, “how the heck… whaattt?”. It was a bulldog perched right on the front while a man was casually paddle boarding. Fast forward eight years and this is becoming more and more of a commonality. There is no doubt that pet owners want the absolute safest set-up for their pets. Just the fact of having your dog on a paddle board with you is enough to give you an anxiety attack for the ages. I get it, I used to be a pet owner as well!
In this review, we will be going over which paddle boards are best for your dog based on a few different points of reference. One of the big ones that we kept in mind was stability. Let’s face it, if you don’t have balance the learning curve will be harder not only for you but for your furry friend as well. Our top picks were the iRocker Cruiser and the Isle Versa. The iRocker Cruiser got the edge because it’s about as stable of a paddle board that you can stand on. The Versa got the nod from the hardboard because of its great user reviews. Coupled with the fact that the soft top gives your pup a lot of traction to stand on.
Ready for the full reveal? Read on!
The Best Paddle Boards for Dogs
The best stand up paddle boards for dogs are primarily based on stability and performance ratings. Customer feedback also had a big part to play in this as well. While most of the list unveils inflatable paddle boards. There is one hardboard in there for those who like secondary stability in the water.
1. iRocker Cruiser Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (Best Paddle Board)
- Length: 10’6”
- Width: 33”
- Maximum Capacity: 400 Lbs
- Weight: 25 Lbs
- Includes: Double Pump, Bag, Leash, Bag and Carbon Paddle, 3 Fins
The iRocker Cruiser is one of the most steady inflatable boards that you can use. At 33 inches wide it gives you a very stable and forgiving platform to learn on. It’s also a very well-put-together package. My friend has an iRocker All- Around inflatable board that I’ve tried a few times and it is super steady.
What I love bout the iRocker brand is the fact that they give you good quality accessories and have plenty of add-ons available online. If you don’t feel ready to paddle standing with your pup you can get a kayak seat set-up with a kayak blade attachment. This will help give you more control over your dog the first few goes in the water when he/ she may be nervous. This board also handles small waves like a champ. Let’s be honest, there will be times when you occur the odd wave while paddling. You want your SUP to be as stable of a platform as possible when it happens.
For those times that you want to go at it alone, the Crusier has front and rear cargo space where you can store a decent amount of gear. The amount of positive ratings for this board is actually pretty shocking, especially for an inflatable product. But I believe it, especially looking at how they designed my friends board. The high weight capacity also allows you to put a large dog on the board while maintaining balance. Some customers have even reported that they have exceeded the maximum capacity and it still paddled well.
- One of the most stable inflatable paddleboards for dogs
- Has a great ratio of 5-star reviews
- Gives you a lot of accessories
- Price is actually pretty good for the quality of board and accessories
- Almost ¾’s of the SUP has a traction pad for more grip
- Customers have reported that it can be too heavy for them
- You won’t be winning any paddle races with this board as it’s designed for stability
2. Hala Rado Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (Premium Pick)
- Length: 10’10”
- Width: 35”
- Maximum Capacity: 350 Lbs
- Weight: 33.5 Lbs
- Includes: Carbon SUP paddle, rolling back pack, 3 fins, hand pump, repair kit
The Hala Rado is an excellent inflatable SUP to go paddling with your furry friend. It is 10 feet in length and has a width of 35 inches. The extra inches make sure that you have a stable and wide board. In addition to the extra width, the Hala Rado also has Quad 3 inch side-bite fins and has a 4-inch StompFin which is retractable. These side fins add to the balance of the stand-up paddle board while gliding on the water.
This is the perfect board for those who have big dogs who want to try paddling. The extra stability will counter the bigger load shift. The maximum capacity is enough for two adults to stand on. The Hala Rado is very sleek and it is easy to maneuver. Its size also gives it good balance, especially when the water is choppy.
The Hala Rado has a Stompbox center fin. This retracts if it gets in contact with rocks so you can use it in shallow water. This is especially key when dogs are boarding. The stompbox allows you to engage the center fin as soon as you are in deeper waters that require more straight-line tracking ability.
The inflatable sup has a 5-year manufacturer warranty. This warranty is for workmanship and material defects. We haven’t read any negative reviews online about the quality.
With size and stability comes weight. If you are a smaller person the extra 5 to 10 pounds may be a bit of a burden to carry around on an excursion. So the best application is to use this board straight from the car. The price tag on this SUP is also hefty but worthwhile. If you are looking for a board that is about as bulletproof as you can get for an inflatable SUP.
- Very stable inflatable sup
- Easy to navigate
- Very tough and durable
- The stompbox will allow you to dis-engage fin upon embarking and disembarking
- A fantastic pick for big dogs
- The price tag is pretty hefty
- It is by far the heaviest SUP on this list
3. Isle Versa Epoxy Stand Up Paddle Board (Best Hardboard)
- Length: 10’5”
- Width: 32”
- Maximum Capacity: 235 Lbs
- Weight: 28 Lbs
- Includes: Leash, Carbon adjustable Paddle, Center Fin
The Isle Versa Epoxy is the only hardboard on this list but don’t let that scare you away. Because it’s a hardboard it has more secondary stability because it sits in the water. In my experience, hardboards actually have a bit of an easier learning curve over inflatables. This because you are not standing on something that is sitting on top of the water but rather a board that is in it.
While this board will help balance-wise, you may have to keep an eye out for the weight capacity. Because this board is rated at 235 I would say that this limits the breed of dogs you can have on here. I would say nothing bigger than a border collie should be on this board if you are around 200 lbs. Add or subtract where necessary when doing your own calculations.
There have been a few reviews out there of people stating that their dogs liked these boards. However, there is a bit of a trade-off with this board. Part of the reason this paddle board was chosen was that everywhere on this board has a grippy surface. But because it’s a soft-top you have to be careful of your dogs’ nails. It’s best to wait a few days till after his/ her nails are cut before using this board with your pooch.
- Fantastic beginner board
- Everywhere is a traction pad
- Has the best secondary stability
- Board package comes with a decent amount of stuff for a hardboard
- Soft top may get damaged due to freshly cut dog’s nails
- Have been reports of board being damaged upon transit
- Cuts could indent this board
4. Sea Eagle Long Board Inflatable Paddle Board (Small – Medium Sized Dog Pick)
- Length: 10’11”
- Width: 29”
- Maximum Capacity: 200 Lbs
- Weight: 28.6 Lbs
- Includes: (Depends on Package chosen)
Sea Eagle is probably not the first board manufacturer you may have thought of but it deserved to be on this list. What I really liked about this SUP, and Sea Eagle Products in general, is the fact that it gives you 5 different setupsmad of military grade drop stitch material.
It gives you the start-up package, deluxe, electric pump, Swivel Fishing Rig, or Quikrow packages. To be honest the Quikrow and Swivel seat are probably overkill. Especially if you just want to be paddling with your dog. The rest of the choices are down to you. If you are new to paddle boarding and you and your dogs don’t have your feet yet. It may not be a bad idea to get the Deluxe package (comes with a Sea Eagle kayak Seat). If you are on a budget then do the Start-Up Package. I will say though, there is tremendous value in getting a SUP with an electric pump. This saves you a lot of effort before going out on the water and after a few goes it more than pays for itself.
In terms of on-water performance, this is not the steadiest SUP on the list as it’s one of the longer and skinnier boards. Still, yoga instructors have used it for their practice so it shouldn’t be too steep of a learning curve. Also because it’s a Sea Eagle they are well known for making durable products that last. It’s 4.5-star reviews are a testament to that.
- Good brand name behind this product
- Can be used for a variety of different environments
- Over 5 different packages to be able to choose from
- Solid customer review rating
- 3 Year Warranty
- Not the steadiest board on the list, especially for bigger dogs
- The 200 lb maximum, capacity limits you to small- medium-sized dogs
5. Isle Explorer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (Best Excursion Pick)
- Length: 11 feet long
- Width: 32”
- Maximum Capacity: 275/300 Lbs
- Weight: 22/24 Lbs Lbs
- Includes: Carbon shaft, Nylon Paddle, backpack, repair kit, pump, center fin, ankle leash
The Isle explorer would be the premium version of the Amazon picks but it is well worth the price. The Isle Explorer comes from a respected paddling boarding and surf brand located in San Diego. They have years of experience making both hard and inflatable boards (our 2nd pick is an Isle board as well). The board also comes with a respectable load capacity that is rivaled only by the iRocker Cruiser and Hala Rado brands. But the price point is less than the previously mentioned boards. So why is this board rated #4 as a dog paddle board?
It’s due to the fact that it is a longer board with a slightly shorter width as compared to the Cruiser. This makes the board a little bit less stable. Yet, if you are confident in your stability on the water then this is a great board to use with your pooch. Having said that if you are interested in going on longer paddling excursions then this will be an easier board to navigate. Its length allows it to have better tracking.
Its higher maximum capacity also gives you more flexibility in terms of what type of dog you can bring along and how much gear you can take as well.
- Respectable Maximum Capacity
- Great board for paddling beyond an hour or two
- Comes with a lot of accessories
- Tracks well
- Less Steady than Hala and iRocker picks
- Only has 1 Year Warranty
- Paddle could be of better quality
6.Serene Life Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (Best Budget pick)
- Length: 10’
- Width: 32”
- Maximum Capacity: 275 Lbs
- Weight: 19.5 Lbs
- Includes: Paddle, rolling backpack, 1 fin, hand pump, repair kit. Ankle leash
If you are looking for a cheap board for you and your dog to go out on for an hour or two this is a good pick. One of the most surprising things about this board is its 275-pound capacity. This capacity range is typically something you would find from boards that are double its price.
So why is this board so inexpensive? In small part, it’s because of the design. An inflatable paddle board isn’t just the same from model to model, there are subtle differences. Those subtle differences won’t be noticed as much looking at it from out of the box but rather when you are paddling.
A few customers reported that this board either feels unsteady in the water or that the rounded nose drags in the water. Making each paddle stroke a bit more labored. This is due to quality control. As you go cheaper with inflatable paddle boards there will be more inconsistencies with how the board is designed.
The things that are in favor of this board is the fact that it has a pretty good customer review rating. Most people who buy it know what they are getting. It’s also cool that over the years Serene Life added some interesting designs to the board to make it pop out.
- Cheapest board on the list
- Surprising Maximum Capacity
- Solid customer review rating
- Easy to transport and lightweight
- Some issues customers have had with quality control
- On-water performance dips below the above picks
- Accessories that come with the board are cheaper
What To Consider When Choosing The Right Dog Paddle Board
The first thing I must stress is that you must consider the temperament of your dog. As a dog owner, you know that each dog has a different personality and temperament when it comes to trying new things and taking your dog out on the water.
I had a border collie growing up. While he actually did love the water quite a bit I knew that he was not the ideal candidate to take to paddle boarding instantly. He had the temperament where he was more cautious and would think things through before rushing in and doing something new. Where am I going with this? Your dog’s temperament will dictate how long you will have to train them to get onto the paddle board with you. There will be circumstances where your dog may be terrified of water. If you still want to go through with water sports it will require patience on your end.
The next most important factor is your skill level. If you are brand new to paddle boarding then I strongly recommend that you get at least 10 paddling trips under your feet before attempting to introduce your dog to the board. You need to learn the ropes in terms of balancing on the board standing up and learning to take waves and swells that come at you. You definitely will encounter some! If you are a beginner make sure you pick a good all-around board to start off with.
Another factor to consider is the size of your dog. The size and weight of you and your dog combined should be at least 40 lbs less than the Maximum Capacity of the board. If you have a bigger dog go with a bigger maximum capacity.
Isle Paddle Boards also have some good doggy SUP tips as well.
Stability is definitely the name of the game when paddle boarding with dogs. You want a board that can not only feel stable for both you and your fur baby, but also a board that can absorb waves without feeling too tippy. As you and your dog feel more comfortable on the water you can eventually upgrade to a faster touring board like the Sea Eagle NeedleNose 14.
Paddle Boards With A Good Maximum Capacity
I touched on this a bit but choose a board that has a maximum capacity of about 40 lbs more than the total weight of you and your dog together. There is a big difference in weight when you have a chihuahua on your board versus having bigger dogs like a Rottweiler or a German Shepherd. A good hack is to weigh both yourself and your dog at the same time at the vet’s office to get an idea of what the combined load would be.
Size Of The Board
The size of the board will primarily depend on how big you are and then how big your dog is. With smaller dogs, the sizes do not matter as much compared to bigger breeds such as German Shepherds or Goldens. Good beginner paddle board dimensions are about 10′ -11′ and 30 -32″ wide. If you have a bigger dog who doesn’t quite have his water legs yet. Consider going for a foot longer in length and a few inches wider like a 32 -34″ board.
Shape Of The Board
Depending on the experience of your sup pup skills, a good rule of thumb is to start off with a wide board. Then you can consider narrowing it as you get more experienced. A good example of that is starting off with the Hala Rado board and eventually making your way to a narrower Sea eagle Needle Nose board. This allows you and your dog to gain more experience on the board together. I would only recommend touring boards if you both have ample SUP skills and want to travel for longer distances.
A Good SUP Dog Traction Pad
You want a paddle board that has a decent-sized non slip deck pad for grip for both you and your pup. If you get a full epoxy board with no grip deck pad you run the risk of you or your dog falling off the board. The dog may have a tough time getting back on because of the lack of grip on the outer edge of the board.
Safety Precautions Before Starting Out:
I strongly recommend you get a doggie life jacket and a PFD for yourself as well before you take your dog out. While dogs can instinctively swim it is a heck of a lot harder trying to get a struggling lab back on the board when you have nothing to grab. Dog life jackets are actually a very good idea because they have a handle on the back. This means should your pup decide to jump overboard because of that glare a duck across the pond gave him, you can easily pull your dog back onto the board. It is also a great idea because you and your dog could tire which would be a very bad scenario indeed.
Leave the Leash at shore. This may sound a bit counter-intuitive but you don’t want your leash to get wrapped around your dog. This can affect his ability to balance or even swim should he or she fall off.
How To Stand Up Paddle Board With Your Dog
I recently wrote a guest post on how to paddle board with a dog for Love and Kisses Pet Sitting on How to Paddle board with your dog.
Now that you may be suffering information overload let me just relay some things so you don’t feel too overwhelmed.
- Pick a Paddle Board with Stability
- Deck Pads are your friends
- Maximum Capacity is an important read
When learning how to SUP with your dog patience is key. Your dog may love or hate the water so how fast they learn depends on this. Other things to consider is getting a dog life jacket (and one for yourself) and make sure to leave the leash onshore.
The best paddle board for dogs is the iRocker Cruiser Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board. Due to it’s size, stability and its versatility.
The Best Hard Board for dogs is the Isle Versa Epoxy. This is because of its affordability and stability. Making it an ideal choice for those starting out.
Enjoy your new found hobby with your best friend!