Are Connelly Paddle Boards Good?

If you live near the water, stand-up paddle boarding (known by the acronym SUP), is a very fun hobby to get into. As you might expect, there are quite a few different brands of paddle boards; one such brand is Connelly, which you might recognize from making water skis. But are Connelly’s any good?

Connelly SUPs are among the consistently highest rated paddleboards on the market. Connelly has been in the water sports industry since 1965, and they’re a leader in manufacturing not only paddleboards but also water skis, tubes, and wakeboards.

You can’t go wrong with picking up a Connelly paddle board. While they may be more expensive than similar SUPs on the market, they’re well made, have plenty of nice features, and are stylish and attractive. Keep reading to find out all about SUPs in general, what makes Connelly boards so good, and the different types of boards on the market.

Are Connelly Paddle Boards Good?

Asking whether Connelly makes good paddle boards is like asking if Nike makes good shoes or Mercedes makes good cars. Some Connelly boards may tend towards the expensive end of the spectrum of stand-up paddle boards, but you’re getting quality for the price. 

This isn’t to say that Connelly boards are the only boards out there, or that all others are inferior. There are plenty of other brands out there that are perfectly good as well, if you find that Connelly boards are too pricey or don’t meet your needs. 

Connelly has a number of paddle boards available:

  • hard-top (which are made of epoxy and fiberglass with a foam core)
  • soft-top (which are inflatable)
  • a yoga board so you can do yoga out on the waves. 

Connelly boards are also well-known for being beginner-friendly, especially the wider versions that offer increased stability and support. We’re going to get into the various types of Connelly boards available as well as offer a guide to buying a good SUP board to suit your needs. 

Connelly Boards Reviews

One of the things that Connelly boards are known for are their exceptional durability (source.)They’re made to be resilient to dents and dings due to their proprietary manufacturing technology, called Thermo Shell. They specialize in making a variety of all-purpose general use boards that are great for beginners.

Another great feature that all Connelly boards has is a dedicated spot for gear using bungee cord tie-downs. Many SUP riders like to take lunch out on the water and find a spot to eat, and since they’re so stable, it’s simple to load up the board with gear and eat right on the board.  

Connelly boards are at the higher end of price, especially the hard-top versions, which is probably the most significant drawback of the boards. However, you get what you pay for, and Connelly boards are high-quality construction. 

Connelly Hard Top Boards

A hard-top SUP board is typically made of a combination of fiberglass and epoxy around a lightweight foam core. It creates a resilient material that is also buoyant and light enough to carry around by hand. Connelly’s boards are constructed using a technique they call Thermo Shell, which is ding-resistant so your board doesn’t get damaged.

Connelly offers a variety of boards in a variety of sizes for all size people and skill levels. They have five different varieties of hard-top boards, each of which comes in at least two different sizes. Generally speaking, the larger you are in terms of height and weight, the wider and longer of a board you’ll want. 

Wider boards are also better for beginners as they’re more stable, while narrow boards are faster and easier to maneuver. But more on that later. Here’s a brief rundown of Connelly’s different hard top boards to choose from.

AquaSportsPlanet is an Amazon Associate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The site is also an affiliate for other products and services discussed in content.

Classic

The Classic comes in two different sizes to fit any user. It’s similar to a surfboard in style and shape, but wider and thicker for increased stability. It’s easy to carry for even the smallest riders and super light as well, and it has a gear tie-down in the front to hold your stuff. It’s perhaps their most versatile board, intended for use in a wide variety of environments. 

Rocket

The Rocket is a narrower board designed for speed and maneuverability. It only comes in one size, but its design helps increase efficiency by giving you more glide per stroke of the paddle. There are also two gear tie-down spots to hold your gear. 

Highline

The Highline is very similar in sizes, shape, and design to the Classic. It does support a little bit heavier of a rider due to its increased volume. 

Echo

The Echo is a smaller version of the Classic but it’s more suited for new riders. It only comes in one size so larger riders may not find it suited to their needs. 

3D Softy

The Softy is a soft-top board, which means its more user-friendly and significantly cheaper than its hard-top counterparts, but it’s not going to be quite as maneuverable and it won’t perform as well as the epoxy boards Connelly offers. 

Connelly SUP Drive System

Connelly was one of the first manufacturers to make an electric drive motor that fits in a paddle board center fin slot. The Connelly SUP Drive Fin System from Amazon is a simpler and cheaper version of the ScubaJet that I wrote about in this post. The Connelly system was created first.

It features 3 forward drive speeds and one reverse, and will top out around 3 mph. You can get 2-4 hours of drive time out of it. It isn’t limited to Connelly boards. It will fit any board with a standard center fin slot, and you can purchase a US fin box adaptor.

Connelly Inflatable Boards

Inflatable boards are easier to store and transport than hard-top or soft-top boards; you won’t need a huge devoted space for it and you won’t have to install roof-racks on your car to move it. All of Connelly’s inflatables include a kit that has a pump as well as a patch kit in the unlikely event they get a hole in them (which is unlikely due to their quality construction).

Denali

The Denali is Connelly’s performance inflatable. It’s got a displacement hull, which helps increase glide per stroke and helps improve stability and maneuverability. It’s also got a high volume for increased stability as well. It rolls up into a compact bag for easy transport.

Tahoe (Redshift Watersports)

The Tahoe (available from Redshift Watersports) is one of Connelly’s all-purpose inflatable SUPs (ISUP), suitable for riders of a variety of sizes and skill levels. It’s also adaptable for a wide variety of water types, so whether you’re on a calm lake or riding the waves out on the bay, you’ll be all set. It comes in two different sizes. It also includes the ISUP kit which has a bag, repair kit, and pump.

Dakota (The House Gear)

The Dakota’s claim to fame is its ultra-lightweight design, weighing in at just 18 lbs when inflated. It’s got a little less weight capacity than the Tahoe and it only comes in one size, so it may not be suitable for larger riders.

Dorado (Redshift Watersports)

The Dorado is another lightweight, all-purpose ISUP that’s perfect for on-the-go adventures. It’s good for smaller riders, and again, it’ll handle a variety of water environments with stability and easy maneuverability. 

Connelly Nava Yoga SUP

Connelly also offers a paddle board specifically designed for on-the-water yoga. The Nava board (from Overton’s) is an inflatable board with a rectangular design for increased stability during even the most difficult yoga poses. It is one of Carlo’s top paddle boards for yoga in his post. You probably won’t be speeding over any waves with this board but if you’ll be able to find enlightenment out on the water using this great board.

Closing Thoughts


There’s a reason Connelly is known as a leader in both the SUP community as well as the water sports field in general. They make quality boards with a variety of great designs that are perfect for beginner or experienced SUP riders. Connelly most certainly makes good boards, and choosing an inflatable or hard-top Connelly board is a great way to start having adventures. 


AquaSportsPlanet is an Amazon Associate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The site is also an affiliate for other products and services discussed in content.

Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

Recent Content

1
You cannot copy content of this page