Inflatable Vs Solid SUP – Which is the Best? Our Guide

Chris King
Inflatable Vs Solid SUP – Which is the Best? Our Guide

Most of the people who purchase a paddle board are going to purchase the solid ones, which are typically made from fibre glass or carbon. However, the inflatable SUP boards are also becoming more popular among the individuals who enjoy SUP boarding.

Inflatable Vs Solid SUP

People who are new to the activity, which is going to encompass a huge portion of the potential audience, might not know which SUP board to choose. Both SUP boards definitely have their advantages, and people who are new to the experience or experienced with it can both benefit from these SUP boards.

Inflatable SUP boards

Inflatable SUP boards do tend to be better for the people who are just starting out with SUP boards compared to the solid fiberglass versions. Many of the inflatable SUP boards of today are higher quality than the SUP boards that people would have used years ago, which does make inflatable SUP boards viable alternatives to their fiberglass counterparts.

Ultimately, it all comes down to how a person wants to use a given SUP board.

Ten Toes iSUP Inflatable Standup Paddleboard Review

People who want a more casual SUP board experience can get the inflatable SUP boards. People who aren’t going to be trying to pull off a lot of challenging moves with their SUP boards will do fine with the inflatable ones. Inflatables are safe enough and strong enough that people can still easily and safely pull off SUP moves with them.

Inflatable SUP boards are unbeatable when it comes to ease of storage and transport. These boards are so lightweight that people will barely feel as if they are carrying SUP boards at all. Anything inflatable can be easily deflated for the sake of storage, so people are not going to struggle when it comes to carving out a good place for their inflatable SUP boards.

People who use solid SUP boards might actually have to carry them away in specialized vehicles that can accommodate their size, which is not the case for the inflatable SUP boards. It’s hard to match inflatable SUP boards when it comes to their sheer convenience.

While people are not going to be able to pull off the most advanced or challenging moves with inflatable SUP boards, it should still be possible for them to have a great SUP experience. Since people can still have a great SUP experience with a convenient inflatable model, they might wonder why they should have to bother with the difficulties of storing and transporting a solid fiberglass version.

This may surprise some people, but inflatable SUP boards are actually more durable than their solid counterparts. They have been designed to be that way, and they live up to their design specification. People can actually handle some of the rockier areas in the water more easily without damaging their SUP boards if they are using the inflatable SUP boards. They’ll also probably be able to use them for a longer period of time compared to the solid fiberglass SUP boards.

Benefits of a Inflatable SUP board

  • Compact – The biggest benefit is also the smallest, when not in use they can be deflated and rolled up taking up a lot less space than a solid board.
  • Lightweight – These boards are lighter making them easy to carry and a great paddle board for kids, beginners and families.
  • Convenient – As they can be deflated and rolled up they are easy to store and take with you in your car, no need for a roof rack or large space to store.
  • Rigid – Once inflated they really are very rigid and robust, they will also bounce off rocks and won’t chip like solid boards.
  • Robust – They are tough to damage and designed cope with bumps and rocks.
  • Price – Inflatable boards are no more expensive then solid boards and can be cheaper in many cases.

And the negatives

  • Inflating – It can take a bit of time to inflate and can be hard work
  • Stability – iSUP boards are not as stable as solid boards on the water, but are still certainly good enough

Inflatable SUP boards are certainly more affordable than their solid SUP board counterparts, which is going to be the main priority for most people. Individuals who like to order everything online are also going to like the fact that they can do so easily when it comes to the inflatable SUP boards. These boards are more convenient than the solid SUP boards before people ever actually officially purchase them. If you are looking for a board for Yoga than an inflatable yoga board is perfect for this.

Many people enjoy riding on inflatable sup boards. These boards can be a lot of fun. Many people still wonder are inflatable sup boards any good.

Inflatable SUPs – Are they Worth it?

This board comes in many different styles and designs. A person can find the design that is right for them and pick out one that they really like. Over the past couple of years the sup board has become more durable as well. When they hit a rock of another item they will bounce away. There will be no dings of punctures that are left on the board. The material the board is made from is also sturdy enough that it will not pop.

Before purchasing a sup board a person has to know what they are buying. This will make sure the board meets their expectations and they are not disappointed. While a person can have a lot of fun on this board they do not hold up and perform the way a fiberglass board would.

The fiberglass boards are able to catch the waves better. The inflatable board may be a little harder to control especially for someone that is inexperienced. One thing that people prefer about the inflatable board is that the thickness of the board is consistent from the head of the board to the bottom. Some boarder’s find that they do not want as much thickness in a certain area while others like that the board is consistent.

The biggest complaint that most people have about the inflatable boards is that they can be flimsy. In many cases there is nothing wrong with the board. The problem is that a person has not inflated the board enough to make it sturdy.

If a person fills up the board a little bit more with air they will have better control. If the board looks like it is sinking in the center it needs to be filed up with more air. Depending on the rider’s weight the inflatable sup board should be filled up with 12 to 14 pounds of air. If a person fills the board up all the way it will become stiff and allow a person to have a good ride. While it is not as stiff as a fiberglass board can be it is still sturdy.

For a person that is on the go this type of board is easy to store as well as transport. It can be inflated when a person reaches their destination and deflated when they are done. This board can travel with a person to the beach, on a cruise ship, and just about anywhere else since they are easy to pack and take alone.

Inflatable sup board can be a lot of fun. They are great for allowing a person to get out on the water and have a good time. When the inflatable boards are not perfect they are good for people that want to be on the water and enjoy a great day.

Solid SUP Boards

The people who want to be able to pull off the most complicated SUP board moves are going to need solid SUP boards. Inflatable SUP boards just are not going to provide the support that people need for this part of the process. Solid SUP boards can be used to pull off fast and skilled moves, and people might want that in order to feel as if they are truly getting the right SUP experience. People who are surfing across long distances are definitely going to need the solid SUP boards.

Inflatable Vs Solid SUP

People are also never going to have to deal with the mess and inconvenience of inflating and deflating solid SUP boards. They aren’t going to have to bring the equipment that they will need for this purpose, which makes a big difference for a lot of people. Inflating the inflatable SUP boards in the exact right way can also be much harder than it looks, so people should keep that in mind in advance before they start relying on their inflatable SUP boards.

Lots of people also care about tradition, and the solid SUP boards look much more like the surf boards that people imagine when they think of surfing in general. Some people aren’t going to want to use the inflatable SUP boards just because they look more like pool toys than pieces of professional equipment, even though they might still work very well. The people who enter competitions in SUP are almost all going to have the solid SUP boards, and people are not going to be taken seriously without them.

Benefits of a Solid hard SUP board

  • Stability – Very stable and solid on the water
  • Faster – Solid SUP boards tend to be faster on the water than an inflatable SUP
  • No Prepping – No inflating needed here, you can be on the water within minutes

And the negatives

  • Size – As the board is solid the size of it makes transporting and storing more difficult.
  • Cost – Solid SUP boards tend to be slightly more expensive that inflatable boards

Hard SUP boards are still durable and it is possible to find models that are comparatively less expensive, even though the inflatable SUP boards are still going to win on both scores. There is a spectrum when it comes to all of these characteristics, which is important for all people to consider.

Bottom line

It should be noted that inflatable and solid SUP boards have their own sub-groups and sub-categories as well, and choosing the right products within those sub-groups and categories makes a huge difference. People can get a vastly different SUP board experience if they decide to choose one model over another.

Still, the inflatable Vs solid SUP boards debate is going to be what comes up the most often when people are contemplating the difference between the various boards on the market, and the debate is probably the first thing that people should consider when they are trying to narrow down their substantial list of options initially.

Both types of boards have their advantages for different people, and individuals should just consider their priorities.

About the author: Chris loves the outdoors and has developed a love of gadgets and inflatable toys, from kayaking and paddle boarding to relaxing in his hot tub at home. The founder of WhichInflatable and has been the editor for 7 years.

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