Posted on April 4, 2017 by Doug Robichaud
Inflatable standup paddle boards (iSUPs) have been given a bad reputation. This poor reputation was created by social media and the people who have never set foot on an inflatable paddle board in their entire life. We thought it was about time to prove this SUP stigma wrong -- right here, right now. Before we debunk the 5 myths about Inflatables, let’s give you the lowdown on today’s modern iSUPs. The latest generation of inflatable paddle boards are pushing the limits in construction and design. Today, more and more paddlers are switching from traditional rigid boards (epoxy, fiberglass and carbon) to inflatable SUPs because they are more realistic for many paddlers’ lifestyles, needs and budgets.
Sure, inflatables can be a great paddle board option for a beginner, but inflatables can also be a great option for intermediate to advanced paddlers. It all depends on what you will be using your paddle board for. If you plan on using your SUP solely on lakes, bays, mild ocean chop, white water paddling or rivers, then an inflatable SUP is your best option no matter what your skill level may be.
Inflatables are in fact more durable than hard paddle boards. Modern inflatable paddle boards are super rugged and can take a serious beating without any major damage occurring. Drop an inflatable in a parking lot as many times as you want. Hell, drop it from the top of 20 story hotel. It will survive, with some battle scars of course. Do the same with a hard paddle board and you will need repairs immediately. Same goes for rocks in the water. Conventional wisdom would lead you to believe that something that is inflatable, must be easy to puncture but the truth is that a quality inflatable paddle board is actually very durable and puncture-resistant. Bottom line, iinflatables are indestructible beasts way more durable than you would think!
We can admit that hard paddle boards have more performance-based capabilities than inflatables. Actually we did an Inflatable vs Hard Paddle Board Speed Comparison and there was only a 5% difference in speed. Performance-wise, iSUPs are better for white water paddling. You can surf an inflatable just fine, but a hard paddle board will catch waves easier and have a smoother ride. In addition, you can also fish or do yoga on an inflatable. Ultimately, inflatables can do anything hard paddle boards can, but each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
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