With the stand-up paddle fever around the world, the whole family is practicing the sport, iSUPs or inflatable SUPs have been gaining a lot of strength for obvious reasons. But if you have doubts when choosing between a normal “rigid” and an inflatable stand up board, we will try to help clarify some and make it easier to choose!
For starters, anyone looking for performance in the paddling and or waves, the rigid board should be the best choice without any doubts. It is possible to do long paddling, and surf waves with inflatables, but if we compare the performance of one and the other, rigid boards will always win in performance and that point is indisputable.
But if you are looking for a board to have fun, to paddle with the family, to use in small waves, or to carry in your boat, there’s no doubt that the inflatables will serve you very well. Other positive points of inflatables is the issue of space and transportation. For those who do not have space to store a larger board, either in the garage or even cannot fit in the elevator of your building, the inflatable solves this problem. Once deflated, and folded inside the backpack, it fits anywhere!
Transportation is also a great issue, since you can put it in the trunk of the car, without having to tie it in the rack, you can do it at isolated places more easily carrying the board in a reinforced backpack, leaving both hands free in case of a trail or something like that.
Some points to consider when choosing your paddle board:
1. What kind of SUP or paddler practitioner are you?
2. How are you going to transport your Stand Up Boards?
3. Where will you store your SUP?
4. How much are you willing to spend?
5. How careless are you with your equipment?
If you are looking for a board to have fun, to paddle with the family, to use in small waves, or to carry in your boat, there’s no doubt that the inflatables will serve you very well. Other positive points of inflatables is the issue of space and transportation.
There’s an inflatable for flat water and even for surfing! The different types of paddle boards.
At flat water places like lakes and dams and even at sea, you have the option of the stand up inflatable! The surf paddler usually has a rigid performance board and an inflatable SUP to cross rivers when the water is calm. The race competitor has his carbon boards for racing or doing a few miles on the river, but he does not want his kids and / or his dog jumping on his race board and that’s why you can have an inflatable Stand Up Paddle to use along with family.
If you think you’re serious about SUP and attending speed competitions or surfing competitions, you’ll probably need a regular board, other than that and if you are just getting started at paddleboarding, all other activities on stand up paddle boards can be done with an inflatable board.
How do you plan to transport your SUP?
Carrying an inflatable Stand Up board is definitely easier than a “normal” board. You do not have to have a rack in the car, not even have a pickup truck nor a van. Just deflate, pack in your backpack and put it in the trunk of the car. Whether you want to paddle out of the country or on long trips, with air and ground transportation, an inflatable SUP will work just fine. No worries if your board will return from flying the way you did! No worries about excess baggage charges as well. Dispatch it as ordinary baggage and that’s it. Also, with your board in a backpack for your secret SUP refuge, it is much easier to walk with it than with a hard board.
How do you plan to store your SUP?
Storing boards is an important issue and often the deciding factor between an Inflatable Sup and a rigid SUP. Ideally you should try to store your plank in a cool, dry place. With a rigid board this means you need a garage or cabin (unless you want a plank in the middle of your living room!). However, an inflatable SUP can be stored almost anywhere, even in your wardrobe!
If storage space is a problem for you, the decision is taken: Inflatable Stand Up Boards or NO SUP!
How much are you willing to spend?
How much do you want to spend? You will find that an inflatable SUP costs less than a hard SUP (surf, hybrid or race) of equivalent size. You will also find that most inflatable boards of the same age will have a similar price. This happens because they are all more or less in the same state of conservation. Inflatable SUPs are difficult to wear and look good for up to two or three years of frequent use. The secondhand market of rigid boards is more established and so you will have more choices. However, the price of the regular board can vary drastically even between identical boards, due to the varying states of conservation that each board can present.
How careless are you with your equipment?
If you’ve been careless enough to run over your board in the parking lot, the inflatable SUP was made for you! And when it comes to durability the inflatable board wins by far. Most of the damage done to the board occurs during the transportation or while putting the board on top of the car. If you are not careful with your equipment and if you are going to take the family, the dog and or even has a lower stature that makes it difficult to transport the regular board, choose an inflatable.
If you are not careful with your equipment and if you are going to take the family, the dog and or even has a lower stature that makes it difficult to transport the regular board, choose an inflatable.