What should you look out for when making your choice?
Inflatable or Stand Up Paddle Boards are increasing in popularity. Is the newest technology or do you really need something special? What’s the difference between hard paddle boards vs. inflatable ones? In this article I’ll cover all these questions and more – so you won’t get left in the cold while shopping for an inflatable board. Hopefully by the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of which inflatable board is best for you.
Quick Answer: Hard paddle boards are usually better for all-around leisure paddling, since they’re heavier, more stable, more durable, and less prone to damage from bumps, thumps, and falls. On the other hand, inflatable stand-up Paddle Boards is great for “all terrain” (i.e. downhill, bluffs, etc.) and offer more portability than hard paddleboards, especially when compared with today’s modern inflatable boats. Inflatable stand-up Paddle Boards, when initially considered a novelty amongst SUP riders, has become the new standard and the beginning point when shopping for an inflatable board.
inflatable stand-up paddle boards may not be enough
So why does it matter which one is better? If you’re just shopping for something fun and cheap to rent or borrow, an inflatable stand-up paddle board is great. They are extremely inexpensive, easy to store (if not foldable), and extremely maneuverable. If you’re planning on doing some serious boarding sports, however, inflatable stand-up paddle boards may not be enough – especially if you have plans of competing in water sports such as surfing, wakeboarding, kite boarding, rafting, skiing, snowboarding, wake boarding, etc.
If you’re planning on joining a competitive sport such as wakeboarding or wake surfing, an inflatable stand-up board is definitely the way to go. You want to make sure that your paddle boards are lightweight and easy to control. An inflatable stand-up paddleboard will be a lot of fun in the ocean even if you never try to do any of those extreme sports, but it will be a lot more fun if you’re doing them on dry land. Additionally, an inflatable stand up paddle board gives you more versatility by allowing you to board in different shapes and sizes. For instance, most paddle boards are rectangular and can only fit a certain number of people, but an inflatable stand-up board can come in various shapes depending on what’s available at the time.
Soft boards are much more flexible
Finally, when buying your inflatable paddle boards you should consider the difference between soft and rigid boards. Soft boards are much more flexible and therefore will give you a better ride. Rigid boards on the other hand are a lot more durable and stiff and will give you a much better workout. It will be a personal preference for you if you want a softer paddle board or a stiffer one, but when you’re just starting out and have limited funds, a soft paddle board is a great way to get started.
Another nice thing about inflatables paddle boards is that they’re portable and lightweight. Some rigid boards are actually made from an air mattress which can be deflated and rolled up for transport. This makes them very convenient and allows you to take them where ever you need to go. Many of the inflatables paddle boards are also collapsible, making them great for trips to the beach or to anywhere that you might want to go, but might have to bring along a rigid board.