Ultimate Stand Up Paddle Board Guide
Inflatable stand up paddle boards, also known as inflatable SUPs, have become a very popular addition to paddle boarding. While there were originally concerns about these boards’ ability to compete with hard boards in the areas of durability and performance, the best inflatable SUP boards have proven these concerns wrong. However, you may wonder whether it is worth your hard earned money to purchase an inflatable SUP instead of a regular hardboard.
If you have these concerns, you may find it helpful to see the advantages that inflatable SUP boards bring to the paddle boarding experience. From compactness to affordability, these advantages make purchasing an iSUP a smart decision. Following is an overview of just a few of the reasons that you may find it beneficial to buy an iSUP instead of a regular hard board for your next paddle boarding experience.
Inflatable SUPs are compact.
One of the biggest reasons that paddle boarders purchase iSUPs is because they are compact. Regular hard boards can be between 7 and 12 feet long and do not fold up in any way. While their size might be useful out on the water, it can be very difficult to get a board of that size from place to place. For example, fitting a 10-foot board into a small car can be tricky and leave you without very much room for passengers. If you live in a small space, you might not have a place to store a large hard board.
Inflatable SUPs, on the other hand, are designed to be compact. While these boards are often as large as a regular hard board when inflated, they deflate quickly and easily into a much smaller size. In fact, the best inflatable SUPs fold down into the size of a sleeping bag. In this shape, they are easy to throw into the trunk of your car or store in a closet in your home. This compact size makes it easy for anyone to enjoy paddle boarding, no matter how small their car or their living space might be.
Inflatable SUPs are easy to carry.
Tower Adventurer regular hard boards also force you to carry a long, wide, and heavy board from your home to your car and from your car to the water (and back again). Their size and shape can make it very difficult to carry them around. For example, if you are not a large or strong person, you might find it impossible to handle the board’s awkward shape and size. You might accidentally hit other people or things as you turn corners or walk through a crowded beach. Some inflatable iSUP reviews even note that the need to carry hard boards back and forth from the water was enough to keep them from paddle boarding as much as they wanted to.
Inflatable SUPs, on the other hand, are appealing because their compact size (when deflated) makes them much easier to carry. The sleeping bag shape can be tucked under your arm, for example. And, it is much less likely to whack other people or things on the way through the beach to the water’s edge. Inflatable SUP reviews often note that even smaller people can easily handle their iSUPs because of the small shape and size. And, because they are so simple to store, transport, and use, they make it much easier to get out on the water whenever you feel like it.
Inflatable SUPs are lightweight.
The weight of any paddle board will vary depending upon how it is designed. However, in general, hard boards are heavier than are inflatable SUP boards. The reason is that iSUPs are usually made from PVC or epoxy foam, which is much lighter than the denser products used to make hard boards. Thanks to the use of this lighter material, iSUPs usually do not weigh more than about 30 pounds. Many of them, especially if they are designed to be light weight, weigh less than that.
The lighter your board is, the easier it is to handle. For example, getting the board in and out of your car or onto the water is much harder with a 40 pound board than with a 25 pound board. Even 5 or 10 pounds of difference in weight can make the difference between a manageable weight and an unmanageable weight for some people. As a result, the light weight nature of inflatable SUPs opens up the possibility of paddle boarding to a wider range of individuals.
Inflatable SUPs are durable.
Most people do not question the durability of a hard paddle board. However, it has been the durability of inflatable SUPs that has often been the biggest question in many people’s minds. However, iSUPs have proven themselves to be remarkably durable products. In fact, in some ways, their durability out strips that of regular paddle boards.
The durability of inflatable SUP boards is due primarily to the technologically advanced material and techniques used to construct them. For example, epoxy foam is remarkably strong. PVC, when stitched together in double layers through drop stitch construction, is capable of resisting almost all dings and scratches.
In addition, inflatable SUPs have an advantage over hard boards when it comes to durability. Traditional fiberglass, used in hard paddle boards, is not as flexible as the PVC and epoxy used in the best inflatable SUPs today. As a result, it is more likely to chip and crack when it undergoes an impact. The more flexible materials of the inflatable stand up paddle board, on the other hand, are capable of bending upon impact without breaking.
Inflatable SUPs are rigid.
Another advantage to inflatable stand up paddle boards is their rigidity. Some cheaper or lower quality iSUPs tend to bend or sag in the middle of the board, especially if they are handling a lot of weight. Some of them even take on water. However, the best inflatable SUPs have none of these problems. Instead, when inflated to a PSI of at least 15, they often rival hard boards in terms of rigidity.
This means that these boards do not sag in the middle, do not take on water, and do not feel soft underfoot. Instead, they are sturdy and capable of handling, on average, more than 200 pounds of weight on them at once. This rigidity makes iSUPs ideal for any number of pursuits, including paddling with a partner, loading up fishing gear for a day out on the water, bringing your pet on board, and more. In fact, many inflatable SUP reviews of the best iSUPs note that these boards look, feel, and act as rigid as a hard board.
Inflatable SUPs are stable.
Finally, you may want to consider purchasing an inflatable SUP because of its stability. Stability is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a paddle board. It is a board’s ability to stay upright on the water that allows beginners to keep their footing. It allows you to handle surf and rapids without taking a dunking. It is what allows you to enjoy activities like fishing and yoga without tipping over. As a result, every paddle board, whether inflatable or not, strives for stability.
However, inflatable SUPs often achieve success in this area. Inflatable SUP reviews regularly rate the best inflatable SUPs highly for their stability. This type of board has also earned a reputation as a stable option for beginners. With the combination of stability and durability, you can feel more confident about using an iSUP for your paddle boarding adventures.
There are many reasons to purchase an inflatable stand up paddle board. Ultimately, the choice you make will depend upon your individual preferences. However, the compactness, ease of transport, light weight, durability, and rigidity of inflatable SUPs make them a smart choice for many paddle boarders.