Stand up paddle boarding is a riveting activity that allows you to enjoy floating on water while getting the benefits of a full-body workout. It’s perfect for beginners who are not entirely comfortable with surfing but want to explore a water sport at their own pace. To have a really immersive and thrilling experience, you need a paddle board that best meets your needs and skill level.
Inflatable paddle boards are a great choice as they are beginner-friendly and inexpensive. Apart from stand up paddle boarding, inflatable boards are also available for SUP fishing, SUP racing, and SUp surfing, and SUP yoga, depending on the board design and make.
However, there’s so much to know and understand about inflatable paddle boards before you can actually take the plunge and invest in one. In this post, we shall break down everything to know about inflatable paddle boards, what its key benefits are, and how it compares against its counterparts.
How Does an Inflatable Paddle Board Work?
As it’s clear from the name, you need to inflate the board to make it ready for use. Usually, you can either use a hand or manual pump or an electric pump to inflate your SUP board. While the exact time that it will take to inflate your board will depend on its construction and the specific instructions that you receive, it will most certainly be less if you use an electric pump. A regular hand pump may take anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes to inflate the board, while an electric one might do the job within 5-6 minutes.
It is highly essential to maintain a high air pressure (about 10 to 12 PSI) so that your final product is a stable board that can support your weight and withstand cold or choppy waves. Given the high pressures needed to make an inflatable paddle board work, specialized valves - known as Halkey Roberts valves, are used. These are not only capable of withstanding higher pressures, but are also easily replaceable and serviceable. The only thing to be mindful of is that you will need a special adaptor for your pump that securely fits Halkey Roberts valves.
Once inflated, you don’t have to worry about the air escaping. The adapter firmly depresses the pin to ensure the inflow of air, but not outflow and the mechanical seal used in iSUPs ensure that the board stays rigid. To deflate, all you have to do is twist the pin in the board and push it down to allow the air to escape.
People often wonder how inflatable stand up paddle boards are comparable to hard top ones in terms of performance and usage. Or how do iSUPs maintain their air pressure and stay in shape even with a person standing on top of them. The answer lies in their robust construction process and design.
Drop-stitch construction is used for the manufacturing of sturdy paddle boards wherein two layers of material are produced and tied together with the use of thin threads. Apart from the 4-6 inches thick drop-stitching, a laminated layer of PVC is used on top of the material to ensure that the stable board remains intact and indestructible.
Benefits of Using an Inflatable Paddle Board
There are several benefits to using an inflatable stand up paddle board that are hard to ignore. Let’s look at the key ones:
Inflatable Paddle Boards are Extremely Durable
As a beginner, you might not be completely in control of your board and might end up causing it minor scratches and scuffs from time to time. However, deeper tears or leaks are absolutely unheard of when it comes to inflatable paddle boards. Made from military-grade, high quality materials, iSUPs are one of the most sturdy paddle boards. These are unimaginably rugged, damage-proof, and durable, not at all prone to vulnerabilities caused by careless handling.
Inflatable Paddle Boards are a Great Choice for Beginners
As a beginner, you need a reliable board that is sturdy enough to provide you with ample stability while paddling, but also doesn’t hurt if you accidentally slip and fall on it. Because of the layered construction of inflatable paddle boards, they are firm and rigid, but also have a soft deck pad that protects you from injuries when you fall. Apart from offering stability and softer landing, they are also cheaper compared to hand top boards, making them the ideal choice for beginners.
Inflatable Paddle Boards are Easy to Transport and Require Less Storage Space
Inflatable paddle boards are extremely portable and easy to store, given their compact size upon deflation. From checking it into an airplane to dumping it into the trunk of your car, you can easily carry your iSUP around without any hassles. You don’t need a huge truck to transport your board to the lakeshore or a whole lot of garage space to store it once you’re back. You can even carry your convenient and lightweight board on your back in a rolling backpack and simply store the deflated board and other accessories in your closet in a carrying bag.
Inflatable Paddle Boards Are Very Versatile
From stand up paddle boarding to surfing to fishing to yoga, you can use iSUPs for a variety of water activities. They come in all different kinds of makes and sizes (from all around SUP boards to a touring board) and are totally customizable and versatile when it comes to use for numerous activities and by paddlers of any age and skill level. Some even come with a kayak conversion kit and a convertible paddle so you can use your iSUPs as kayaks and get more use out of them.
Even when it comes to riding iSUPs on different types of water surfaces and paddling long distances, they do not disappoint. Whether you want to paddle board on calm and quiet waters or on turbulent and sharp waves, an inflatable SUP would work seamlessly in both situations.
Inflatable vs Hard Paddle Board
Enough has been discussed about how hard boards and inflatable paddle boards compare in terms of usage, performance, and handling. This often leads to confusion for paddlers when it comes to choosing the right paddle board based on their requirements. Let’s compare the two types of boards so you can easily conclude which one is going to be a worthwhile investment.
Hard Paddle Boards
Inflatable Paddle Boards
Extremely rigid and sturdy
Very rigid and provides optimal stability
Less flexible, prone to wear and tear, less durable
Way more strong, durable, and indestructible
Speed and Maneuverability
Faster, offer better glide, and better momentum
Slightly less responsive and maneuverable
Need a lot of space to store and transport
Easy to store, transport, and carry
Better suited for
Surfing, advanced paddlers, and windy conditions
Beginners, cost-conscious buyers, versatile activities, travelers
Inflatable Paddle Boards For The WinAs a beginner paddler or someone looking for an all-purpose budget board, iSUPs truly stand out as the ideal choice among all options available in the market today. You can blindly trust an inflatable paddle board as a safe, reliable, and durable partner for all your paddling and surfing adventures.
If you are looking to invest in a new inflatable SUP, look no further than Good Wave CO. We not only offer the widest selection of paddle boards under each category, but also provide 30-day "any reasons" returns, fast shipping, and reliable product support. We are also proud to be committed to donating at least 1% of sales (regardless of profits) each year to environmental causes.
All our boards come with product warranty (exact terms depend on the product category) and over 70% subsidized shipping cost. Moreover, if you are confused about which inflatable SUP is right for you or any member of your family, please feel free to reach out to our team of experts and they would be more than delighted to help you pick the right one for a wonderful paddling experience.