A Review of the Best Seats for Paddle Boards

Want to know about the best seats for paddle boards? It makes sense that the same folks that start a website about Sit Down Paddle Boarding will have tried out lots of seats and have strong opinions and advice to offer about the best seats, huh?

Since paddle boarding started out as a standing sport, it is hard for someone who is looking for a good paddle boarding seat to know what to buy. All of the seats we use for sit down paddle boarding were created for something else. It is hard to know if what works well in a kayak will be comfortable on a paddle board. In addition, we have found folding stadium style or beach style seats to be the best seats for paddle boarding. The designers of these seats never had an on-the-water sport in mind.

seats for paddle boards

For those of us who relish the great outdoors, paddle boarding positions itself as an exciting adventure sport that entwines the joy of exploration with a calming connection to nature's water bodies. To fully reap the benefits of this engaging activity, besides a high-quality paddle board, investing in one of the best seats for paddle boards will make the difference between an extraordinary day and a tiring, frustrating day.

This ensures a comfortable and engaging boarding experience. With a variety of options in seats, but not necessarily for paddle boarding, you ultimately seek to find the one that best suits your criteria in terms of comfort, portability, durability and, of course, price.

Navigating through the ocean of choices can feel overwhelming. You find yourself swaying between a multitude of brands, materials, designs and prices, all promising top-tier quality and convenience. Therefore, being equipped with a clear understanding of what constitutes the best seats for paddle boards helps ease your decision-making process. Your personalized paddle boarding experience often originates from a seat that has struck the perfect balance between comfort, adjustability, and resilient material that withstands your adventurous trials.

This discussion aims to sail you through the sea of paddle board seat options, simplifying your quest in finding the ideal seat. With a solid focus on key features such as design, materials used, cost, and user feedback, we intend to unravel the list of best seats for paddleboards. Here's to your exciting journey of harnessing the waves, comfortably seated on your perfect paddleboard seat.

5 Important Features the Best Seats for Paddle Boards Should Have

  1. Comfortable
  2. Adjustable
  3. Durable
  4. Easy to install and remove
  5. Good back support


If you are going to spend a couple hours seated on your paddle board, you want to make sure that your bottom is not killing you. Granted, inflatable paddle boards are already softer than rigid boards and with a thick EVA pad to protect and provide grip for feet, an inflatable paddle board is already much softer than sitting on a hard wooden bench.

If you use a folding stadium-style chair (aka beach chair) then it was designed to be comfortable to sit on. At least more comfortable than an aluminum or wooden stadium bench! They are typically made of a breathable canvas with a little give that conforms to your rear end while still being low profile so your rear end is hovering an inch or so above the hard stadium bench. The ones we recommend we have tested and found to work with large, small, young and old buttocks! Our favorites have a little give, are quick drying, and typically stay dry since the seat material is not resting on the paddle board, instead the actual seat material is an inch or so above the paddle board.

If you use a kayak style seat, it should offer excellent padding to ensure utmost comfort during long hours of paddling. Quality seats are often packed with dense foam or EVA material, providing cushioning support to your lower back and buttocks. Since kayak seats rest on the paddle board, they need to be as quick drying as possible so that you aren’t spending the entire day with a soggy bottom. If you like to paddle board in the early spring and fall, like we do, you don’t really want your bottom to be wet at all since that will make you cold. For this reason, we prefer our folding beach/stadium chairs.


Adjustable straps allow users to change the seat position for a more personalized and comfortable fit. This can significantly improve your paddle boarding experience, allowing you to maintain better control and balance.

On a folding stadium/beach style seat this means that the angle of the back support can be adjusted to be more or less upright.  Some people, like Julie’s mother, prefer to sit at attention, while others, like John, prefer to be more reclined when paddling.  You either want to get a folding seat that matches your preference or an adjustable seat so that you can change the angle based on how you feel on a particular day.

For kayak style seats, you want to be sure that the straps that attach the seat to the board are adjustable so that you can adjust your back position as well as any lumbar support.


Given its exposure to water and sunlight, the seat should be crafted from durable, UV-resistant, and waterproof material. Marine-grade polyester, neoprene, and heavy-duty EVA are often used due to their longevity and resistance properties.

Folding seats should have a light weight yet strong metal frame since you don’t want it to break the first time you transport it with anything else in your trunk. We like aluminum best since other metals rust, but we have seats made from a variety of metals and rust is usually only an issue if you have kids that routinely submerge the seats and then forget to drain them or the seat is old and the nylon stopper that plugs the end of the pipe has worn out / fallen out.

Easy to install and remove

A user-friendly attachment system is an essential feature. The seat should be easy to install and remove from the paddle board, generally with a snap-hook or clip-on system.

The folding seats we recommend really don’t have to be attached to the board to stay in place. We only attach them so we don’t lose them if we tip our board over in rapids or large waves. For the most part, tipping over is not an issue with sit down paddle boarding and folding chairs like we recommend stay in place with your body weight and do not slide around due to that nice traction pad on your paddle board intended to provide traction and softness for your feet.

A good kayak style seat should clip on in four locations. Once you get it adjusted for you, you should be able to simply attach and remove it from the board by unclipping it from the d-rings on your board. If your board doesn’t have d-rings intended for a kayak seat, you will either need to use a folding seat or purchase after market d-rings and install them on your paddle board.

Back support

The backrest should offer solid support as it significantly influences your sitting posture during paddling. A good backrest reduces the risk of back pain and fatigue, especially during extended use.

This is where we have found that our folding stadium/beach style seats really shine since they were designed to provide great back support for people sitting on the ground or on backless stadium benches. Julie has an arthritis issue that makes sitting painful unless she has good back support and can also adjust that back support based on how she is feeling at the moment. So the seats that we recommend have this in mind.

Kayak style seats come in two varieties, low-back and high-back. Low-back kayak seats are designed for sit inside river and ocean kayaks with a skirt. These kayaks are designed to be rolled back upright when knocked over. Therefore, the seat inside cannot have a high back seat since that would interfere with both attaching a skirt as well as the maneuver the paddler must make to roll their kayak back upright when tipped over.

For paddle boarding, the high-backed seats that many kayakers use on sit-on-top kayaks provide much better back support. These are the ones that we recommend. However, we have never found a kayak seat with good lumbar support since they are made of all soft materials. The ones we recommend are the ones we have found to be the most comfortable.

Our top 5 best seats for paddle boards

Favorite inexpensive folding seats for paddle boards

This is by far the least expensive of our seats for paddle boards.  The best deal we have found is to buy two of these folding chairs at a time.  They are lightweight, weighing only four pounds each.  They will fit people that weight up to 250 pounds.  At twenty inches wide, they are roomy and still fit nicely on your 31-34 inch wide paddle board. 

These chairs typically last us 3-4 years before they get stuck under something in the car one too many times and get bent or start getting rusty because the little plastic end caps get beat up and water can get in if the kids are using them and dunking them under the water repeatedly.  We usually shake them to see if there is water in there and then drain them, but it doesn't always happen.  If you aren't planning to treat your chairs as roughly as our kids do, then you can expect one of these simple, inexpensive chairs to last you a long time. 

One last thing about these seats for paddle boards.  They do only have a single position and are pretty upright.  John doesn't like that so he has been known to grind down the bottom section of both sides of the chair back 3/8"-1/2" so that it reclines back the way he likes.  that or he uses a pipe bender to bend the top 2-3 inches of the chair's backrest back an inch or so.  That way he can recline on the canvas and the bar doesn't stick into his back. 

Julie doesn't have the same issue since she just slides her bottom forward or back into the opening to give herself a more reclined or more upright position, depending on whether she is relaxing and eating lunch or paddling into a head wind.

There are a couple other brands of these chairs on Amazon that have seats for paddle boards in a variety of colors.  For example Caribbean Joe makes them in red, teal and with blue stripesNeso makes a really nice two pack of deluxe folding chairs, but it is twice as expensive.  If you are on a very tight budget and only want a single chair at the very best possible price, Cabana Beach, makes the single most economical folding beach chair that we would recommend.  

Best All Round Folding Chair

amazon gci big comfort stadium chair adjustable backrest black with dimensions

Since this seat was designed to be used as a stadium seat, there is a L-shaped hook that allows one to easily attach the seat to bleachers. Since it folds up, we just paddle with it like that or we remove the hook so it will never puncture our paddle board and so it can't catch on other gear.

The entire seat weighs in at just 2.6 pounds and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Its dimensions are 20.1" wide x 23.6" deep x 17.7" tall

Learn More About this Folding Chair on Amazon

This is our very favorite all-round seat for paddle board.  At a generous 20 inches wide, it provides excellent side-to-side stability and board control at a very reasonable price.  It is constructed out of lightweight aluminum so it will not rust.  WE love the breathable nylon mesh on the seat back. 

You can't easily see from the photo because of the white background, but the entire center section of the backrest is made out of breathable mesh.  The seat is constructed out of a soft but durable polyester fabric that does not soak up water.  Not only does it have the perfect amount of give to keep your rear end comfortable, but your rear will also stay nearly dry even if you have just dunked the seat in water.  

The straps on the sides allow you to adjust the angle of the back rest a little (John wishes they were a little longer) and we have not found that they slip. 

Here is a video of this seat in action.  Intended to be a "how to" video for using a folding chair on a paddle board, it does a great job demonstrating how awesome this seat is.

If you aren't on a tight budget or aren't worried about your kids swiping your seat, we love these deluxe seats for paddle boards. It provides all of the support of our simple folding chairs, and also allows us to easily adjust our back position using the straps on the side. John has been thrilled with this since some of our inexpensive folding chairs are too upright for him. If you find that the strap slips a little leaving you increasingly reclined as you paddle, simply tie a half hitch or any other knot in the loose part of the strap near the buckle.

This seat is made out of aluminum alloy so it is strong, light and we do not have to worry about it rusting. This seat has a a mesh cushion with is very comfortable and fast drying if someone splashes you or you are dealing with alot of boat wakes.

Speaking of boat wakes, this seat stays in place perfectly on your paddleboard without straps so we haven't bothered using any ...even though they would be easy to install. Just like our folding chairs, it is very stable on the paddle board even when rocking sideways.

Another benefit is the frame runs along the front and the back of the bottom of the seat providing that wonderful side to side stability and leverage that we really appreciate while we are on the ocean and leaning into a wave or on the river and leaning into a turn.

Deluxe Folding Chair

amazon diyarea folding paddle board seat
Learn More About this Folding Chair on Amazon

Favorite Kayak Seat for Paddle Board

Amazon abahub kayak sup seat w model paddling
Learn More About this Paddle Board on Amazon

We like this kayak style seat because it is made of strong and durable neoprene and padded so that once you get it all adjusted the way you like it is comfortable. It also has a higher back than the river kayak seats so that not just your lower back is supported.

This seat includes a detachable zippered pouch that offers extra storage for sunscreen, water, snacks. I like to put my camera in there too. Just make sure that you put anything you don't want wet in a waterproof container or dry bag since the storage pouch is not waterproof. It is water resistant though since it is made out of a high quality 600D polyester.

This seat will attach to any inflatable paddle board with a d-ring system. This seat can easily be unclipped and stowed under your front bungees if you feel like standing up. It folds down for easy storage.  

Before purchasing a Kayak Seat, be sure your kayak has d-rings. If it doesn’t you can purchase d-rings and attach them to your paddle board. While leery about doing this, we have attached these D-Rings for Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards onto a couple of our older boards so we could secure the dogs and also gear and have had no problems with them coming off as we feared.

amazon abahub kayak sup seat w dimensions

Favorite fishing cooler seat setup

This super light durable and ridiculously usable cooler is amazing. It is made of extra thick insulation but weighs in at only 16 ounces! You can store fish, drinks, snacks, ice, etc. for 8 hours with no worries.

The comfortable, high back chair folds down for storage. It also features a foam cushion seat, bait and string trays! There are both a handle and strap for easy portability.

The lid can be opened from both sides via its unique closure/hinge system. The tackle box compartment can be opened to access the compartment and you can lift up the entire tackle box to access the inside of the cooler, making it easy to slip your catch into the cooler without having to get up and open the whole thing!

Best yet, you can strap the whole cooler down to your Drift paddle board using the straps included inside the cooler! No worries about losing your cooler back to the fish.

amazon aqua marina cooler seat

Our Favorite Inflatable Seat

amazon huskfirm inflatable paddle board seat
Learn More About this Inflatable Seat on Amazon

While we aren't huge fans of having all kinds of things that need to be inflated, this inflatable kayak seat provides nice back and seat cushioning.  The seat is made from a brushed PVC material like your paddle board and all of the stress points are reinforced.  These seats for paddle boards also inflate using the same attachment that your paddle board uses, so  no need for additional inflators or connectors.  They do not require as much inflation as a paddle board either.  You only need to inflate this seat to around 3 PSI.  It is capable of holding a 250 pound person.

Like any good kayak style seat, this inflatable seat comes with fully adjustable straps so it will work on any paddle board that has attachment points for a kayak seat.  Just a note, the seat shown below is positioned in a great spot if you are paddle boarding tandem.  If only one person is using the board, you would want to attach the seat farther forward so that it is just behind or on top of the center carrying handle.  

A tip for when you set this seat up... tighten the side straps a little more than you think you will want because there is some give to the seat and it will sink back a little when you sit down.  

amazon huskfirm inflatable paddle board seat adjustment

Last thoughts

To sum up, picking from the best seats for paddle boards largely depends on having a clear understanding of crucial features like comfort, durability, adjustability, easy installation, and ample back support. These factors contribute significantly to improving your paddleboarding experience, rendering it not just smooth sailing but also a source of joy and relaxation. A seat that ticks all these boxes will transform your paddle boarding journeys into resplendent adventures to look forward to.

While the process of choosing from the best seats for paddle boards may initially appear daunting, equipping yourself with the right information brings clarity and confidence. You'll be able to discern the seat that perfectly caters to your specific needs, which undeniably elevates the whole paddle boarding experience. Not only will the right seat keep you comfortably afloat, but it will also ensure that each journey is carved with unforgettable memories and experiences. Dive into the captivating world of paddle boarding with the seat that matches not just your paddleboard but also your love for the sport!

We hope to see you out on the water!

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