The difference between standard rigid stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and inflatable ones is the ease of transport. Inflatable SUPs or iSUPs can usually be carried in a large bag, packed in the back of the car and inflated within 5 minutes once actually at your watery destination. The more traditional fibreglass rigid SUPs are as you would imagine, more rigid, but also a lot bulkier to carry – requiring you to either use an estate car or trailer for transportation.
As you venture into the water on your paddle board, it is important to know that the temperature of the water will greatly affect your selection of paddleboard wear. If you plan on surfing or paddling in cool to cold water, an inflatable wetsuit or dry suit is a must. Also, if you are prone to falling into the water without warning many days out of the week, an inflatable wetsuit or drysuit with a paddle boarding-specific cut is recommended.
Many questions are being asked about inflatable paddle boards – especially as we get closer to the start of the paddleboarding season, so we’ve tried to answer a few of them below:
Inflatable recreational paddleboards have become popular for many reasons. First, they are so easy to travel with — they can fit in the boot of a car and be checked in on an airplane without extra fees (obvs, check with your airline before booking, as this may be just specific airlines). They are extremely convenient for road trips or even for air travel. An inflatable paddleboard also offers ease of air travel for those with tight schedules and small budgets.
You may be surprised how rigid an iSUP can get once it’s blown up. Many inflatable stand-up paddle boards are equipped with carbon strips or rods that run along the rails or stringer (the centre line) from nose to tail to increase stiffness. Some inflatable stand-up paddle boards have built-in flexible fins, but some come with fin boxes to let you change fins on your board. Inflatable SUPs are generally lighter than hard boards.
In short, yes they are good. They are cheaper to buy and easier to transport than their rigid cousins.
We know of a number of companies who keep their inventory of inflatable floating boards inflated for months at a time, it is important to remember that they don’t really lose air. When people think of using an inflatable SUP, they assume that the process involves inflating and deflating the board multiple times. In reality, the durability of these boards make them virtually indestructible (especially when compared to an EPS/epoxy board).