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Inflatable SUP vs hard paddleboards
The age old debate; Hard SUPs vs iSUPs, is a major topic of discussion among both beginner and seasoned paddlers.
Some SUP paddlers swear by only using a hard standup paddleboard while others strongly believe that an inflatable SUP is the way to go. You will definitely see both inflatable and hard standup paddleboards in the water, so which of the two board types is better?
The answer depends on what you intend to use your SUP for and what type of paddler you are. However, for most folks, an iSUP (such as the Isle Airtech 12’6″) is the way to go. Here are some reasons why you should purchase an iSUP.
Inflatable SUPs offer greater mobility advantages
The number one reason to choose an iSUP over a hard SUP is the ease in storage and mobility. Inflatable SUPs pack down small when deflated and they can easily fit into a large backpack (realistically, they fit into the large gear bag backpacks most of them come with, but not your average daypack).
Heading to the nearby beach for the day or on an extended vacation to a new lake or ocean town? ISUPs are convenient to take anywhere. ISUPs are easily and quickly inflated and within ten minutes you can be on the water. Bringing your iSUP along for vacation will definitely open up a world of adventure.
Inflatable SUPs are extremely durable.
As compared to traditional stand up paddleboards, iSUPs are almost indestructible. Inflatable SUPs are better suited for river paddling, and oceans and lake launches with rocky shores. You don’t have to worry about your paddleboard getting damaged when loading or unloading from the water, as inflatable SUPs will take a little beating and bounce right back.
The fact that you can roll up your inflatable SUP during transportation, and stow it away, reduces the risk of damage. Unless you abuse your iSUP by jabbing it with a sharp object your board should last for years and years.
iSUPs make for Convenient Storage
Hard SUPs can take up a lot of room either on top of your car on a trip or stored at home. For most people storage space can be a challenge, especially if you live in an apartment.
With an iSUP there is no need for a storage shed as it packs down to the size of a large sleeping bag when deflated and it can be stored in a closet or under the bed. Inflatable SUPs are a perfect choice for people with limited storage space.
There has been some debate about whether or not one should keep an iSUP rolled or folded.
Inflatable SUPs are great for beginners and children
Although iSUPs are rigid when inflated properly, they do have a softer surface as compared to hard SUP and can cushion a fall. Everyone falls while standup paddling at some point and falling is extremely common for beginners. It’s also inevitable to fall when paddling in waves, or wake on a lake. But don’t worry! Should you fall onto an iSUP it’s very unlikely for you to get hurt from the impact. In contrast, if you fall, and hit a hard board, you’ll be feeling it. Inflatable SUPs can also be more stable and easier to navigate in water.
With emerging new technology and evolving construction techniques iSUPs are getting better and better in performance. The gap in performance between iSUPs and hard standup paddleboards continues to decrease, making iSUPs a better choice for many paddle boarders including the occasional diehard seasoned paddler.
Tell us your comments below! – Own one? Love it or leave it? Great spot to go?
Review other boards here: https://thebestisup.com/comparison-table/
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.