Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth It? Is Inflatable SUP Good?

Are inflatable paddle boards worth it?

Are inflatable paddle boards worth it? We look at the critical storage and transportation issues, convenience, safety, and performance to discover whether inflatable paddle boards are worth buying. An inflatable board is an inflatable (also known as an iSUP) or a classic hard board. In contrast, a traditional hard board is epoxy fiberglass and usually comes with a metal frame.

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth It?

Inflatable stand up paddle boards are not worth it, in our opinion. The only exception is if you don’t have enough storage capacity for a hard board. If you are a whitewater paddler or intend to travel frequently by plane, an inflatable board may be checked as luggage, but hard boards are subject to oversize handling costs.

Are Inflatable SUP Boards Worth It If I Don’t Have Much Storage?

Hard paddle boards take up the same space as the board’s length. If your board is 11 feet long, you’ll need 11 feet of storage space to keep it. Backpacks the size of a big suitcase are used to transport inflatables. They take up far less room than hard boards and may be stored in a closet.

If I Want The Most Convenient Stand Up Paddle Board, Are Sup Which Is Inflated Worth It?

Inflatable boards are a different matter. It would help if you inflated your board once you reached the water. Hard boards are always available; take and go. Every time you want to go paddling, be prepared for 15 minutes of really hard, hot, and exhausting pumping. Inflating inflatables is difficult and time-consuming.

Do Inflatable SUP Boards Make Sense If I Want To Use The Safest Stand Up Paddle Board?

Hard boards have an EPS foam core with fiberglass and other layers. Hard boards never lose their buoyancy since they aren’t filled with air. Inflatable stand up paddle boards are single chamber designs. All of the air is contained inside a single chamber. If your board loses all of its atmospheres due to a severe and unexpected air loss, it will be unable to sustain your weight.

Are Inflatable SUP Boards Worth It If I Want To Get The Best Stand Up Paddle Board?

Inflatable boards offer nothing in the bottom or rail shaping and a lot more rocker. Hard boards can glide through the water more quickly due to their shape and bottom designs. Inflatables tend to float on top of the water, making them more susceptible to the effects of the wind forcing you off a straight line route. It’s rare to find an inflatable board that doesn’t bend from tip to tail.

You are reading: Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth It? Is Inflatable SUP Good?

Is Cheap Inflatable Paddle Worth The Money?

Large box shops are in a pricing war, exploiting outdated technologies and low-quality prices to get there. They are typically too light to withstand strong winds, and their weight capacity is frequently limited. While there may be hundreds of positive reviews on the items, most people will comment that they wish they had saved the money and got the finest inflatable SUP.

Technology & Construction

The majority of paddle boards at the cheap end of the market are single or double layer “drop stitch,” which refers to how the material that makes up the top and bottom skins of the board is joined by threads. Single-layer drop-stitch construction yields a fragile board with limited rigidity that cannot be inflated to more significant pressures while being light and straightforward to handle. The double-layer is more durable and stiffer, but it is heavier and difficult to roll up when deflated.


It’s no good if your paddle board breaks apart after just a few seasons. This is unattractive, but it might also be dangerous: what if the inflatable chamber fails while you’re out on the water? As a result, you have little choice but to purchase another one – “buy cheap, buy twice.”

Value Deflation

Cheap paddleboards will depreciate quicker and will be more challenging to sell if you decide it’s time to upgrade due to their poor quality build and lower levels of durability. Spending a little more on a more costly inflatable paddle board may seem excessive, but it will hold its worth significantly better over time (provided you take care of it).

Insufficiency In Versatility

Whether you’re going on a more extended vacation, doing some Yoga, or racing with pals, you’ll need a board to handle it. Low-cost solutions often can’t be used for anything more than bare paddling on flat water. Investing in a higher-quality board will allow you to “grow into” all of the other benefits as and when you’re ready.

Accessories of Poor Quality

If you’re searching for a low-cost, low-quality paddle board, you’ll probably discover that it’s not only the board that fits into this category. To keep the price as cheap as possible, the manufacturer will have chosen a poor-quality choice for everything else, including the bag it comes in, the paddle, and the pump. And that’s presuming the board comes with all of those things in the first place.

Pros and Cons of Inflatable Paddle Boards

Inflatable paddle boards have the unique benefit of being able to be rolled up and stowed and more straightforward to travel than hard paddle boards. You may also take them on hikes into more rural areas, which would be difficult with solid boards. So, with so many options, how do you know whether the inflatable paddle board you’re buying is worth the money?

There are certain benefits to using board which is inflated.

  • Transport and storage are simple.
  • You may inflate it for as long as you wish.
  • It is an excellent option for a general paddler since it may be hauled to places not accessible by automobile.
  • Excellent for whitewater.
  • Excellent for yoga.
  • Harder to break than hard boards
  • A lower admission fee
  • It’s safer and softer to fall on, making it ideal for children.
  • In flat water, it’s simple to learn.
  • For extended paddling sessions, it’s more comfortable to stand on. It’s also great for bringing a dog on a trip.
  • Inflatable SUP boards for yoga, fishing, touring, overnight trips, racing, and surfing are now available.

There are certain drawbacks to inflatable paddle boards.

  • Inflation is required.
  • When inflating to 20 psi (7 percent slower on average than a hard board), the final 20-30 pumps might be complicated.
  • To keep up with a hard board, you must paddle faster.
  • In rough, windy circumstances, it is less stable.
  • It’s not ideal for surfing or racing.
  • A soft board is not as responsive as a hard board.

Delving into the advantages and challenges of using inflatable paddle boards, one cannot overemphasize the significance of safety. The board’s style, be it inflatable or solid, demands the complement of appropriate protective gear. For instance, consider equipping yourself with a premier PFD (Personal Flotation Device) — often regarded as the best PFD for paddle boarding. This not only enhances the pleasure of the activity but also fortifies your safety, especially when you’re atop an inflatable board.

Which is Better: An Inflatable Paddle Board or a Hard Paddle Board?

Inflatable SUPs are superior for all-around recreational paddling owing to portability and portability. If you’re purchasing a board primarily for SUP surfing or racing, hardboards have several technical advantages that make them worth considering. Here are seven considerations to consider when deciding between an inflatable SUP and a rigid board.

Inflatable paddleboards are more durable than epoxy paddleboards over time. Quality inflatables are composed of military-grade materials impervious to flaws that plague hard boards. An inflatable paddle board is significantly gentler on the rider’s body and anybody else who may come into touch with the board. Fatigue is reduced by using a softer deck.

Taking a SUP board on vacation can save you hundreds of dollars in rental fees while also allowing you to paddle on your own time. An inflatable board will typically weigh less than a hardboard of the same size, making it easier to transport to the water. A fleet of inflatable SUP boards may be kept in a tiny closet when deflated.

Inflatable SUP boards with the stiffness of a hardboard and performance benefits over fiberglass or epoxy boards have been developed. In the performance/enthusiast or all-around class, the proper inflatable board may be paddled anywhere on flat water, little waves, and even rapids. When comparing the capacity of an inflatable and a hard board with the same footprint, the inflatable may have up to 20% more volume, making it more stable and capable of holding more excellent rider and passenger weight.

Hard Paddle Boards vs. Inflatable Paddle Boards


Inflatable paddle boards are the most convenient to travel. When deflated, inflatables fold up to the size of a sleeping bag, so you won’t need a big truck, SUV, or van. Inflatables have the added benefit of being easy to travel with while going on vacation. A hard paddle board will be your best buddy if you’re more of a load-and-go person.

Ample Storage

It’s crucial to think about how much storage room you have when picking between an inflatable and a hard paddle board. An inflatable will be your best alternative if you live in an apartment or house with no garage (or limited storage space). Your inflatable may be stored almost anyplace in your house, but you’ll still need enough clearance and space to get it in and out of your house.


Inflatable paddleboards are ideal for whitewater kayaking and rough river paddling since they are more durable. Hard paddle boards are less stable than inflatable paddle boards. If you accidentally drop your inflatable, it will not ding or scratch. An inflatable will be your most acceptable alternative if you desire a carefree board.


Hard paddle boards outperform inflatable paddle boards for SUP surfing and long-distance trips. On the other hand, inflatable paddle boards are pretty stiff and can compete with epoxy boards in terms of speed. We put inflatables and hard paddle boards through a speed test and discovered they were 5% faster than inflatable ones.

Read more: Why are paddle boards so expensive?

Frequently Asked Questions

Paddle Boards Inflatable: How Long Do They Last?

The lifespan of an inflatable SUP is determined by its quality and the sort of usage it receives. Earth River SUP was the first brand we sold boards for, and most of them are still in use. It’s been about nine years since an early design inflatable was released, and manufacturing technology has advanced significantly.

Is It Possible to Repair Inflatable Paddle Boards?

A ‘patch kit’ is still included with most inflatable paddle boards, although it is seldom used on a decent inflatable. The repair kit is a throwback to early single-layer inflatable SUP design, when “what happens if it has a hole in it” was a concern. Patching is unusual on a high-performance SUP and generally occurs after a substantial accident with a sharp rock or item or thoughtless mistreatment of the board.

How Much PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) Should My Paddle Board Be Inflatable For Any Paddle Board Brands?

Inflating a board to the wrong pressure level, such as 20 or 25 PSI, is unrealistic in terms of inflation and provides little to no stiffness increase, placing the board under unnecessary stress. We suggest inflating a high-end inflatable SUP board to a pressure of 15 PSI with a maximum of 17 PSI. There is no need to go much higher with a performance level SUP since it will attain ideal stiffness at this level.

Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Have a Better Stability?

The thickness of the rail design determines how stable an inflatable paddle board is. A well-made inflatable board that is 5 inches thick will be more durable than one that is 6 inches thick. On the other hand, a hard board’s rail must be tapered at the edges to minimize weight. Stability is also influenced by nose and tail form, albeit to a lesser extent.

Can I Inflate My Inflatable SUP?

If you don’t need your paddle board to be more compact for storage or transportation, there’s no need to deflate it. Many of the SUP schools we serve to maintain their boards inflated with no adverse consequences throughout the summer. If you store your SUP board in full sunlight or a heated truck or storage place, there aren’t many drawbacks to keeping it inflated.

Hard Paddle Boards Or Paddle Boards Inflatable?

Inflatables are constructed from two-sided PVC vinyl drop stitch material bonded together. Hard boards are solid boards coated with layers of fiberglass and other materials like carbon, wood, bamboo, or other materials to form the hard outer shell. You’ll need to use the provided hand pump and set aside around 15 minutes to inflate.

Is It Possible To Surf On An Inflatable SUP?

Surfing with inflatable paddle boards can be a lot of fun. You can surf almost any SUP, but the board’s design, shape, and rigidity will determine how well it performs in the waves. A surf-specific hard board design has considerable performance benefits for shoulder-high or huge wave surfing. Still, for everything else, a performance inflatable provides a terrific chance to have fun in the surf.

Is It Possible To Race On An Inflatable SUP?

Inflatable SUPs are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional hard board racing for out-of-town contests. There are still technical differences between a hard board and an inflatable, but the gap has narrowed recently. An inflatable board can also be checked for air travel, which is a significant advantage for competitions out of town.

Do Good Inflatable Paddle Outperform Hard Paddle Boards?

Inflatable boards provide considerable performance benefits over hard boards for general and river-specific purposes that benefit the majority of paddlers. Hard stand up paddle boards have a performance advantage in big wave surfing and competition class SUP racing. What you want to do with your board and the water you ride in will determine which is better.

Rate this post