BEST FOR: Travel, car trunks, small apartments.
THE TEST: From a performance standpoint, there’s still no substitute for a traditional board. But inflatable SUPs are a good option when storage is an issue or if you don’t want to deal with a full-size board on a trip. This twelve-foot-six Hobie squishes inside a large backpack (37 pounds total) and can be inflated drum tight in about six minutes with the included pump. Though testers found the ride a bit bouncy, especially paddling upwind into chop (the nose slaps the water), the Hobie was surprisingly fast for an inflatable. Also, thanks to a pair of sturdy footplates embedded in the board, the ride was far superior to other, waterbed-like inflatables out there.
THE VERDICT: Show up and blow up! 12'6" (also available in 10'6")