The Pros and Cons of Inflatable Paddleboards

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding has taken the UK by storm. This leisurely activity has positioned itself as one the most enjoyable full-body workouts that you can do out on the water, often providing heavenly views and a great day out with family and friends.

The common questions that arise with SUP boarding usually concern solid and inflatable paddleboards. We’re going to be exploring the pros and cons of using an inflatable paddleboard so you can choose the board for you!

A boy holding his paddle above his head while kneeling on a SUP board

Inflatable Paddleboards Pros and Cons

 

Pros of an Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board Cons of an Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
Easy to Store & Transportable Manoeuvrability
Convenient for Travelling Rigid
Softer Surface Price
Stable Flexibility
Durable  
Dog-Friendly  

 

Pros of an Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board

There are many pros to using an inflatable SUP board, there’s no doubt about that; let’s dive on in!

Easy to Store and Transportable

The most obvious and attractive factor of using an inflatable paddle board is that it’s easy to transport. This might not initially grab you, but it’s something that will become blindingly obvious the next time you plan on taking a trip to a distant paddling spot.

Inflatable boards are small and compact when deflated. They conveniently fit into the back of cars and backpacks, which is super useful if you’re planning a family day out with more than one SUP board.

Convenient for Travelling

If you’re planning on branching out a bit further, you can easily take inflatable SUPs out on a boat or an airplane! While you can travel with a solid SUP board, the only issue is they can be pretty costly and inconvenient when it comes to travelling abroad.

Inflatable SUP boards won’t incur any extra fees as they won’t weight as much or take up much room. If you haven’t already, you might want to consider taking your SUP board with you abroad; they make for a fantastic addition to cruises and can open up a whole new world of opportunities as you explore new waters!

Softer Surface

Sooner or later, you will fall while using your SUP board - let’s just hope the water’s warm! In addition, you’ll want to hit a much softer surface in comparison to a rigid fibreglass board. So if you do fall, you won’t feel the impact as much, which is preferable for beginners and children.

Stable

Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are often much more stable when compared to solid boards, making them much easier to learn on.

Durable

Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are much better suited to paddling out on rivers and rocky shores. They’re far from flimsy and won’t get dinged from crashing into rocks - instead, they bounce right off!

ISUP’s are more tough than they appear and can withstand some misuse, however, that’s not to say they can be ragged about or jabbed with sharp objects.

Dog-Friendly

Thanks to the stability of an inflatable stand-up paddleboard, they’re great for day trips with your four-legged friends! They allow for dogs to comfortably sit on the board without their paws slipping about the place as they could with a solid paddleboard.

A woman kneeling on a paddleboard

Cons of an Inflatable Paddle Board

Sadly, as with any option, there are some cons that can come with an inflatable paddleboard.

Manoeuvrability

ISUPs won’t respond as instantaneously as a solid board. Fibreglass boards tend to be much more manoeuvrable and quicker to respond. However, some inflatable SUP boards out there are comparable to most solid boards.

Less Rigid

You can inflate an ISUP to its proper air level, which will become extremely rigid, allowing it to perform well. But it will still be an inflatable board, so it will never be as rigid as a solid board.

Rigid boards are more preferable for experienced SUP boarders as they are more tailored to racing and complicated board moves, which is important when riding big waves!

Price

Often, people assume that inflatable SUPs will be cheaper than fibreglass boards, but it’s worth noting that they can be somewhat expensive. Mos ISUP boards are high-quality, and their price will reflect this.

Flexibility

More often than not, an inflatable SUP board will flex or slightly sink in the middle, which can hinder its performance. However, this usually occurs because the board hasn’t been inflated to the recommended level. With good boards and a bit of patience, there shouldn’t be any flex with an inflatable SUP.

Three people carrying their inflatable SUP boards

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Good For a Beginner?

Inflatable paddleboards are usually recommended for beginners. They tend to provide more stability and are much softer to land on if you find yourself slipping or falling.

A longer skinny board will be quite unsteady, making it a lot harder to keep your balance and stay out of the water

Stability is key for beginners, as it will make it much easier for you to learn the ropes and get your technique down when it comes to paddleboarding. Beginners should generally start off with a 6” thick inflatable board for great stability and can still offer enough rigidity.

How Safe are Inflatable Paddle Boards?

SUP boarding is safe when practiced properly. Simple and small things allow you to safely enjoy stand-up paddleboarding while also reducing potential hazards; these include:

  • Using a personal floatation device (such as a lifejacket).
  • Checking the conditions beforehand.
  • Keeping your phone in a waterproof case.
  • Going with a friend or letting others know where you will be and when to expect you back.
  • Using a paddleboard leash.

An inflatable SUP that is full of air and can hold pressure is perfectly safe. The only issue to be careful of are punctures. Some ISUP boards will include a patch kit so you can repair your paddleboard but be sure to check the board for punctures before getting into the water.

Some inflatable boards will lose air pressure as they get older; to avoid this, do not leave your SUP board inflated for a couple days on end. Always deflate the board and regularly check the air pressure with the gauge on a pump.

If you have any more questions about SUP boarding, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team. Here at Wetsuit centre, we are always happy to help our customers with their queries and concerns!

Check out our inflatable paddleboards