On the market since 2010, you might be familiar with the Tower Paddle Boards name thanks to their stint on ABC’s Shark Tank. On the show, they received the backing of Mark Cuban and have since provided the joy of paddleboarding to over 50,000 customers and grossed over $36 million in sales.
Tower paddleboards are best suited for novice paddlers who are looking for a well manufactured inflatable paddleboard (iSUP) at a low price point for general recreational paddling, playing at the beach, and taking a workout onto the water. Tower focuses on durable and rigid inflatable SUPs for the entry level market.
Tower standup paddleboards don’t excel for any specific or specialized SUP pursuits. Rather, their all-purpose paddleboards are suitable for a bit of everything: introductory SUP surfing in waves, fitness paddles, SUP yoga, and leisurely touring adventures around the cottage or lake.
Tower Paddle Boards is the “home of the $429 paddleboard”, an affordable investment for new paddlers. At this price point, you might be expecting the flimsy, single-layer iSUP common to no-brand online retailers. However, Tower paddleboards are built with a tough double layer of PVC and hold up exceptionally well to the inevitable bumps into rocks and docks.
The reason that Tower can offer this low pricing is that they sell large quantities of boards direct-to-consumer through their website rather than through retailers. Their paddleboards are only available online or through factory-direct purchase at their retail showroom in San Diego. The Tower Paddle Boards inflatable board packages are also low priced as they are fairly bare bones—they do not come with a leash or a carry bag, unlike a lot of inflatable paddleboard packages from other SUP brands.
Tower’s most popular model is the 10’4” Adventurer 2, which is comparable in quality and price to Body Glove’s 11-ft Performer model sold at Costco for $500 (although Body Glove also includes more bang for your buck by adding in a leash, storage bag, repair kit and dry bag). Jimmy Styks is another comparable SUP brand to Tower, with a slightly higher price point.
Tower paddleboards are meant for the vast market of novice paddlers and weekend warriors who are simply looking for a reliable way to get out on the water without too much of an investment. Adventurous or experienced paddlers likely won’t find what they are desiring in board design or features in Tower’s product lineup.
Overall, Tower Paddle Boards sells some of the most affordable, good quality paddleboards on the market today in the category of beginner inflatable standup paddleboards. Keep reading to find the best Tower paddleboard for your needs.
Our picks: Best Tower paddleboards for 2022
Here you’ll find our picks for the best Tower paddleboards. Use these as a jumping off point for your search for the perfect SUP.
Best Tower Paddleboards
Classic Wood 11'5"
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Tower standup paddleboards offer basic paddleboard designs with limited features in both inflatable and hardboard models. Their most popular iSUP is the 10’4” Adventurer 2 while the most popular hardboard is the 9’10” wood paddleboard.
If you’re looking to further explore the specs, prices, reviews and find where to buy Tower paddleboards, check out our Paddling Buyer’s Guide.
Before you begin to shop, check our buying advice to learn more about price, weight limit, board quality and warranty.
Shopping for a used Tower paddleboard?
When selecting a used Tower paddleboard, whether buying privately or direct through Tower Paddle Boards’ used listings, it is important to note that there is no warranty on used boards. If you are deciding between buying a new vs used inflatable Tower paddleboard directly from Tower, consider if it is important to you to have two-year warranty coverage defects in workmanship or materials that occur within the warranty period.
As Tower paddleboards aren’t very expensive to begin with, the cost difference between buying new and used isn’t substantial, so my recommendation would be to buy new and get warranty coverage.
Through their website, Tower Paddleboards sells used boards which may be demo boards, new or used returns, or boards with factory blemishes or other cosmetic flaws. All used boards are tested and then assigned into Grab Bag option 1 or 2, with the appropriate pricing based on the condition of the paddleboard. Here are the details of the Grab Bags from the Tower website.
- Grab Bag option 1: Tested. All boards have been thoroughly inspected and will have NO structural damage or defects that will affect board performance, only cosmetic flaws. Functions the exact same as a brand new iSUP, but has been used 2–3 times before. May have minor scuffs or blemishes but waterproof, airtight and proven to hold air for at least 72+ hours at a time.
- Grab Bag option 2: Needs repair. These boards are damaged/dirtier/blemished and may require at-home repair, but are either able to hold air or will be able to hold air after repair. Board has been used 5+ times and may include a small hole or leak, but fixable. Includes a free repair kit and everything needed to patch up the leak and make the board rideable. If you are not comfortable repairing a board, stick with used boards in Grab Bag option 1.
My advice is that if it doesn’t hold air, it isn’t worth the money saved. If you purchase a used paddleboard through Grab Bag option 1, you are relying on Tower Paddle Boards to have properly assessed the condition of the board, and you don’t get to test it out before the purchase.
It’s always recommended to test and paddle a used board prior to purchase. Buying used through a private seller might allow you the option to test the paddleboard as well as to learn the history of how the board was used, stored and cared for. If buying privately, ensure that board has been stored in temperatures above freezing.
If you are looking to buy used from Tower Paddle Boards, be sure to compare the used Tower prices to the actual list prices of the same new boards, and not the discounted price that is referenced. As an example, a used 10’4” Adventurer 2 through Grab Bag option 1 sells for $375 USD but appears to be marked down from $1,075. However a new Adventurer 2 retails for $499. At the end of the day, the pricing of a used Tower paddleboard doesn’t offer as much of a discount as they’d like you to believe, and you may be able to get lower prices through a private sale.
A final word of caution: steer clear of the now discontinued, black-colored model of Tower’s 12’6” iRace paddleboard. It was incredibly hot on the feet while paddling, and was especially prone to damage from popping if left inflated in direct sunshine.
For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used paddleboard, read our article How To Buy A Used Paddleboard.
Tower paddleboard buying guide
Tower paddleboards are divided into the following categories: hardboards consisting of the all-around style wooden SUP in 9’10” and 11’5” lengths, and touring inflatable paddleboards consisting of the 10’4” Yachtsman, 10’4” Adventurer 2, 10’4” Mermaid, 12’6” iRace, and 14’ Xplorer. Paddle and hand pump are sold separately, unless purchased as a package with an inflatable board.
If you’re looking to hit some waves, then the surf-friendly hard boards might be your best bet. Starting at $849 USD, the hard boards are made of foam and fiberglass and finished with a beautiful bamboo veneer. The 11’5” length is designed for paddlers over 200 lbs and has three fin boxes for a center fin and two side bites. The 9’10” surfing model has five fin boxes for more options for fin configuration.
While these bamboo paddleboards look eye-catching, Tower Paddle Boards doesn’t specialize in SUP surfing and these models are considerably more expensive than other Tower paddleboards. If you want more variety in SUP surf designs and sizes, there are many surf-focused brands that would be a better choice for dedicated SUP surfing.
With a carry strap, front and back handles and cargo tie-downs, the Tower Paddle Boards 10’4” Adventurer 2 is their most popular board for a reason. These features make this inflatable board easy to transport, load and unload, and secure gear on board. Both the Mermaid and Yachtsman are spin-offs of the Adventurer 2. The Mermaid is the same model, just in a more eye-catching turquoise color rather than white.
The Yachtsman has distinct racing stripe graphics and a deckpad resembling teak wood, designed to appeal to boaters and look nice tied off the side of a yacht. All three models are good options for the everyday adventurer who enjoys short excursions at the beach or recreational paddles up to a few hours long on calm lakes and other sheltered waterways.
The 12’6” iRace is designed for speed as a fast flatwater touring board. The iRace cuts through the water nicely and has better glide than the Adventurer 2, resulting in less energy use and more efficient paddling. As the iRace is 2 inches narrower than the Adventurer, it offers less stability for new paddlers.
The 14’ Xplorer is a whole lot of board at a whopping 8 inches thick and has an impressive maximum weight capacity of over 500 pounds. Inflatable boards are typically 5-6” thick, and the Xplorer’s two additional inches of thickness increases the volume of the paddleboard for added weight capacity.
One happy customer landed on this board by googling “boards for big dudes”. The Xplorer is the best Tower paddleboard for heavier paddlers seeking a large and stable board. It’s also well suited for multiple paddlers, those who want to bring dogs or children on board, and anyone planning a camping or fishing trip from their paddleboard who needs to carry a lot of gear.
Tower Paddle Boards offer a SUP board selection tool on their website to help you choose the best Tower paddleboard for your needs.
Want to know more? Find our answers to the most common questions about Tower paddleboards below.
Are Tower paddleboards any good?
Tower Paddle Boards offer durable inflatable paddleboards, which are made with double-layer PVC, the same rugged material used in whitewater rafts. This prevents damage from contact with rocks, and the boards come with a two year warranty. Tower was a pioneer in developing 6-inch-thick inflatable paddleboards a decade ago, leading the way in affordable inflatable construction.
If you are a beginner or intermediate paddler who wants a well-built, basic board without any added bells and whistles, then a Tower paddleboard is a higher quality board than you may find at your local Costco or through Amazon. Tower paddleboards are not recommended if you are looking to paddle more serious whitewater, race at a higher level, want to do expeditions, or are a dedicated SUP surfer.
Where are Tower paddleboards made?
Tower paddleboards are made in China. Tower Paddle Boards says, “99.9% of inflatable paddleboards sold today are made in China with drop-stitch material coming from South Korea or China. As a pioneer in the inflatable paddleboard market, we still utilize our original factory today and it’s become a gold standard of inflatable paddleboard quality in the industry.”
Tower paddleboard weight limit
The weight limit of Tower standup paddleboards ranges from 230 lbs on the 9’10” all-around hardboard, 400 lbs for the Adventurer 2, Mermaid, Yachtsman and iRace inflatable boards, and over 500 lbs for the plus-sized inflatable 14’ Xplorer.
Tower paddleboard price
The price of Tower Paddle Board’s best selling Adventurer 2 inflatable board is $429. This entry-level price reflects the board’s bare-bones features; including limited graphics and colors, less deluxe deck pad, and fewer storage and accessory attachment points. Tower paddleboard prices range from $429 to $899, with board packages (including pump and paddle) and hardboards landing at the higher end.
The reason their prices are so competitive is because of their consumer direct business model; the boards are only sold online through their website. Tower Paddle Boards offers a bulk discount if purchasing five or more inflatable boards.
Tower paddleboard warranty
Tower paddleboards have a two-year limited manufacturer’s warranty on inflatables from the date of purchase. This excludes accessories and covers “any abnormal defect in workmanship or materials that occurs within the warranty period”. There is no warranty on Tower Paddle Boards hardboards, however, they offer a 30-day return policy for hardboards and accessories.
Tower paddleboard weight
The weight of Tower paddleboards ranges from 25 lbs to 33 lbs. Both the hardboard Wood 9’10” and the inflatable Adventurer 2 weigh 25 lbs. The Mermaid and Yachtsman inflatable boards weigh 26 lbs. The Tower iRace weighs 27 lbs, while the Wood 11’5” weighs 30 lbs, and the oversized 14’ Xplorer inflatable weighs in at 33 lbs.
iRocker vs Tower paddleboard
Tower Paddle Boards and iROCKER are comparable in that they both offer a direct to consumer model, produce good quality standup paddleboards, and have similar sizes and models of boards available.
iROCKER paddleboards typically land at a slightly higher price point than Tower Paddle Boards products, but offer free shipping, a 3-year warranty on the iROCKER and BLACKFIN brands, more accessories and board features, and more eye-catching colors and designs. Tower paddleboards are sold individually or in packages that include a paddle and hand pump, while iROCKER standup paddleboards are only sold in bundles, which include a paddle, hand pump, leash, travel backpack and repair kit.
Comparing a few similar models from the two brands:
Inflatable All-Round: Tower Paddle Boards best-selling inflatable 10’4” Adventurer 2 is similar to iROCKER’s NAUTICAL 10’6” inflatable. Both boards are durable and good quality as they are made with similar rugged materials and dual-layer drop stitch construction. Tower’s Adventurer 2 inflatable package including an adjustable paddle and a hand pump retails at $499 USD. The better deal is the NAUTICAL 10’6” for under $550, which has a large bungee tie-down for carrying more gear if you want to go on a longer adventure, and four additional carry handles for ease of climbing back on from the water.
The NAUTICAL board is also 5 pounds lighter for easier carrying for smaller paddlers and comes with a leash, travel backpack and repair kit on top of the adjustable paddle and hand pump.
Hardboard: Tower Paddle Boards and iROCKER each carry one model of hardboard. Tower Paddle Boards carries an all-around Wood Paddleboard in both a 9’10” and 11’5” length, made of EPS core, bamboo veneer and fiberglass, weighing in at 25 and 30 lbs respectively. There is no warranty on Tower hardboards. iROCKER carries an all-around BLACKFIN Hardboard Model SX in a 10’6” length that has a 3-year warranty and weighs 32 lbs—a little heavier than the Tower boards.
The BLACKFIN Model SX also includes a carbon/nylon paddle and a leash. The price points are comparable at $849-899 USD for the Tower paddleboards and $999 USD for the BLACKFIN hardboard. If keeping board weight down matters, or you like the look of a wooden board, go for the Tower wood paddleboard. If you want bungee tie-downs, a cup holder, a warranty and a quality paddle included, the BLACKFIN hardboard by iROCKER is your best bet.
Inflatable Touring: Let’s compare Tower Paddle Boards inflatable 12’6” iRace with iROCKER’s inflatable BLACKFIN Model V, also 12’6” in length. For $479 you get the absolute bare minimum from an inflatable race/touring board with Tower’s iRace. The iRace weighs 27 lbs and features are bare-bones: there’s a carry handle and front and rear D-ring, but not even a bungee tie-down to secure a water bottle.
At 30 lbs, the BLACKFIN Model V is priced at $1,149 USD and is designed to be outfitted for fishing or distance paddling. The Model V includes BLACKFIN’s usual paddle accessories package, 8 multi-use action mounts for accessories, 20 D-ring attachments, 7 grab handles, and bungee tie-downs in both the front and back of the board. But hey, maybe you don’t need all those cool extras. Keep it simple and low cost with the Tower iRace or invest in adventure with the BLACKFIN Model V.
Overall, if you just want to get out on the water on a reliable board at a low price point and you don’t need any added accessories or equipment, then Tower Paddle Boards is ta solid choice. Tower Paddle Boards is also the better choice if you are looking for a 14-foot board to support larger paddlers, or have multiple people or dogs on board, as iROCKER does not offer a standup paddleboard in a 14’ length.
iROCKER standup paddleboards are the way to go if you don’t mind spending a bit more on your investment, if you want to purchase an entire package which includes all the necessary accessories, if you like a colorful design, or if you want a paddleboard that is more functional in terms of having more tie-downs, carry handles, D-rings or the ability to add a kayak conversion kit.
If customer service response time matters to you, I contacted the iROCKER Customer Service twice and on both occasions I received an immediate response in under one minute, compared to a 48-hour response time from Tower Paddle Boards. I felt more trust in the iROCKER brand through their website experience; from the customer service response to images of the standup paddleboards being used while wearing the proper safety equipment.
If you are trying to decide between a paddleboard from Tower Paddle Boards and iROCKER and it comes down to the price, my suggestion is to wait for a sale on the iROCKER board. iROCKER has sales on their standup paddleboards often, while supplies last, usually around holidays.
With all this buying advice under your belt you’re now ready to shop Tower paddleboards.
Tower paddleboard reviews
The beauty of the Internet is in the ability to sit at home and read reviews before deciding to spend money on a paddleboard. By now you have a good sense of the Tower Paddle Boards brand and the SUPs they offer. Browse these Tower standup paddleboard reviews for more detailed insight into the performance and features of specific models, so you can choose a board and get the heck out on the water already!