Inflatable SUP’s (Stand-Up Paddle Boards): Buyers Guide 2019
The Benefits of Stand-up Paddle Boarding
1. For Everyone
It doesn’t matter if you’re fat, thin, young, old, or even completely out of shape. Stand-up paddle boarding is for everybody.
2. Family Fun
Being great for all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels means that stand up paddle boarding is also the ideal activity to bring the whole family together and have some fun.
What better way to enjoy yourselves than being out on the water, taking in the warm rays of the sun. Especially in current times when everybody is stuck indoors, glued to their mobile phones… Which brings us to the next benefit.
Stand-up paddle boarding is a great way to fully enjoy nature and explore it’s beautiful surroundings.
5. All types of water
From rough seas, to calm lakes. You can have fun on your stand-up paddle board on any body of water. Something you can’t really do on a surfboard.
6. Easy to Learn
And, unlike surfing, stand-up paddle boarding is very easy to pick up and learn. In fact, you can feel more than comfortable within your first hour of trying.
7. Casual or Competitive?
Being so easy to learn means that stand-up paddle boarding is an excellent choice for casuals and beginners. However, it also has a variety of competitive sports and activities geared towards athletes. We’ll take a look at some of the casual and competitive SUP activities a bit later in this article, so keep reading.
8. Numerous Health benefits
One of the great things about stand-up paddle boarding is the health benefits. And there are quite a few. Stand-up paddle boarding is:
- Very relaxing. You will feel your daily stress fading away when you’re out on the water.
- Good for your heart. By being a great cardiovascular activity, you can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Low impact. Meaning there’s little strain on your body and joints, while being an excellent way to strengthen your core.
- Physical Improvement. The workout you can get from stand-up paddle boarding leads to improved strength, conditioning and balance, as well as increased endurance.
- One of the most enjoyable ways to lose weight. Burning calories has never been this fun.
Now that you’ve read about some of the many benefits you can enjoy with paddle boarding, let’s talk a bit about what a stand-up paddle board actually is.
What is a Stand-up Paddle Board?
Think surfboard. Just a whole lot bigger. A SUP is like a giant surfboard. It’s wider and bulkier. It’s a lot longer too. Usually starting from about 7 feet for the smaller SUP’s, to over 12 feet for the bigger ones. I don’t know if you’ve tried to ever stand on a surfboard in still water. Well, it’s almost impossible. You’ll get thrown off almost immediately. This is because a typical surfboard has around 24 – 32 liters of foam volume. Whereas a SUP usually has over 100 liters of foam volume. This large volume ensures that the board doesn’t submerge when you’re standing on it. It was built for stability. Making it easy for you to stand on the board in different water conditions. Hence the name “Stand-up” Paddle Board. And that’s one of the greatest things about stand-up paddle boarding, you can use it in a variety of activities and all water conditions. However, there are different types of SUP’s designed for the different activities.
Types of SUP’s
Due to the rising popularity of SUP’s and the sheer number of different sports and activities that they’re used in, board companies started building specialized paddle boards for each activity. And, while they all share common SUP characteristics, they do have certain modifications that make them perform better in their activity. Below are some of the different types of stand-up paddle boards:
- All Around SUP’s
- Surf SUP’s
- Yoga SUP’s
- Touring SUP’s
- Racing SUP’s
- Fishing SUP’s
- Windsurfing SUP’s
The All Around SUP
The All Around SUP is the most versatile of the different SUP boards. This is because an all around paddle board has the most common stand up paddle board shape. These boards are the ones we recommend for most beginners because they are built for all conditions, and typically perform well enough across various paddle boarding activities. The All Around SUP, together with the Touring SUP, is probably the most family-friendly of the boards.
The Touring SUP
Like the All Around paddle board, the Touring SUP is also an excellent choice for beginners. These boards were made for going on relaxing paddle board sightseeing outings. These boards were designed for traversing long distances in flat waters like the open ocean, lakes and bays. Resulting in a board that is extremely efficient at effortlessly gliding through the water. It also feels very stable for beginners who are worried about keeping their balance.
Another board that provides great stability is a stand-up paddle board for yoga. These boards feature wide, spacious decks for you to have more than enough room to perform the various yoga movements. These boards also work extremely well for other fitness exercises and paddling in flat water.
The Surf SUP can be best described as an oversized surfboard with a paddle. Unlike the 3 types of paddle boards already mentioned, the surfing SUP, is not really designed for beginner paddle boarders. This is because the board is less stable than other SUPs. But, where it lacks in stability, it more than makes up for with excellent maneuverability. These boards are ideal for intermediate to advanced paddle boarders.
The fishing SUP is one of the largest paddle boards. It needs the extra volume to provide as much stability as possible and to keep you from falling off. The fishing stand-up paddle board was designed to be a more budget friendly alternative to invest in for fishing, rather than costlier boats. These boards usually come with various mounts so that you can customize with different fishing gear like rods, fish finders etc. to create your ideal fishing setup. As you can see, there are a lot of different types of paddle boards, each with their own special features. Now let’s take a look at some of the differences between inflatable paddle boards and hard paddle boards.
Inflatable vs Hard Stand-up Paddle Boards
Earlier we looked at some of the different types of paddle boards designed for specific activities. This should’ve given you a better idea of the type of board that would be right for you. However, now you probably want to know if you should buy the hard board or the inflatable version. We’ll quickly give you a rundown of the pros and cons of each. If you’re looking for a more detailed comparison between the two, you can read our inflatable vs rigid sup article here.
Hard Paddle Boards
The main reason why people would choose the hard version over an inflatable stand-up paddle board would be due to the performance. In competitive paddle board sports, hard boards tend to provide better speed, glide and maneuverability. The biggest downside to hard paddle boards is that they are extremely cumbersome. Carrying them over distances is not fun, and you will need a large vehicle or rack mountings to transport it. Storage can also be an issue if you’re tight on space. Remember, paddle boards are pretty big, so they need sufficient space when they’re not in use.
Inflatable Paddle Boards
Inflatable stand-up paddle boards are definitely the best option for beginners. Here’s why: They’re extremely easy to transport and store away. This is because they deflate easily and can be rolled up into the size of a small bag. They’re also much lighter than hard boards so carrying them fully inflated or deflated won’t be a pain. Inflatable stand-up paddle boards also work well in all conditions. With hard boards, you have to be extra careful in harsher conditions, especially where there are a lot of rocks which can easily damage a hard board. Inflatable sups are known to handle dings and bumps far better than hard boards. Inflatable paddle boards are generally a lot cheaper than hard boards. So whether you’re on a budget, or a bit hesitant to invest too much into your first paddle board, the inflatable option will be your ideal choice.
How do inflatable paddle boards work?
As I’m sure you already know, inflatable paddle boards need to be inflated with air. Just roll the board out on a smooth surface, attach the pump to the nozzle and start pumping.
This process can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 25 minutes depending on whether you use an electric pump, or if you’re doing it with a manual pump.
Thankfully, you don’t need to deflate the inflatable SUP after every use. You can keep your paddle board inflated for months without any trouble. Regular inflating and deflating of the board has more to do with transport and storage reasons.
Pros and Cons of Inflatable Stand-up Paddle Boards
We’ve already looked at some of the advantages of choosing an inflatable paddle board over the non-inflatable version. Here’s a few more reasons why you should consider an inflatable sup, as well as some of the disadvantages that you should also keep in mind.
Easy to transport and carry. Due to its light weight and compact carry bags, you can take your inflatable stand-up paddle board with you on a plane, and it can accompany you all over the world. They offer you excellent stability out on the water. Small storage spaces aren’t a problem since an inflatable board can be deflated and stored away easily. Contrary to popular belief, inflatable stand-up paddle boards are more durable than hard boards which can get dinged and damaged easily. Falling on your inflatable paddle board is a lot better and softer than falling on a hard board. If you plan on taking your dog out on the water with you, they will be a lot more comfortable on an inflatable board since they won’t slide as much as they do on the slippery surface of a hard board.
As great as inflatable sups are, they do have some drawbacks. Fortunately, these can be easily avoided. Manual pumping. This is by far the biggest complaint we’ve heard. It takes time and energy to pump up your inflatable paddle board if you’re using a manual pump. Which is why investing in an electric pump is a must. An electric pump will also ensure that your sup is inflated properly. Too little air can lead to the inflatable SUP sinking slightly. As you can see, the benefits of using an inflatable sup far outweighs the drawbacks. So now, you’re probably wondering how durable inflatable paddle boards are. It’s easy to assume with any inflatable that a little pin prick will lead to disaster. Leading many to believe that inflatables are actually quite fragile. Luckily this isn’t true.
How long do inflatable paddle boards last?
(Inflatable stand up paddle board durability)
Most of the top boards are manufactured with military grade materials. Making them extremely durable and able to comfortably withstand difficult rocky conditions. However, they can still be punctured with nails and other sharp objects. Thankfully, leaks and punctures can be repaired easily. If properly looked after, it’s not uncommon for an inflatable stand-up paddle board to last well over 5 years. Here’s some tips for looking after your inflatable sup, and ensuring that it will remain in an excellent condition for many years.
- Never store your inflatable stand-up paddle board outside where it’s exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods.
- You can use a 303-protectant spray on your board to help protect the material from UV rays and other elements.
- Always try to wipe away the excess water from your inflatable SUP whenever you’re done using it.
- Most importantly, don’t drag your inflatable paddle board along the ground. It’s unnecessary wear and tear that can shorten your boards lifespan over time.
Inflatable SUPS are extremely durable, and with a little care from your end, can last for many years.
If you’ve gotten this far in the article, you probably have a pretty good idea of how inflatable stand-up paddle boards work, and if you’re ready to get your very own. In this section, we’ll take a quick look at some of the things you may want to consider before going out and buying your inflatable SUP.
What are the best inflatable SUP brands?
As the popularity of stand-up paddle boards continues to rapidly increase, so too do the number of board makers. While it wouldn’t be practical to list all the top manufacturers since there are so many, here are 7 excellent inflatable paddle board brands (in no particular order).
- Red Paddle co
These manufacturers are known to produce high quality boards and have a great reputation with consumers.
Inflatable SUP price ranges
Although generally cheaper than non-inflatable paddle boards, the inflatable versions can vary considerably in price. You can pick up a decent board on the low-end for around $200, with top of the line premium inflatable paddle boards coming in at around $3000.
Where to buy inflatable stand-up paddle boards?
Visiting one of your local surf or paddle board stores is an obvious option. However, the most popular choice these days is to make the purchase online either directly from the manufacturers website, or from a leading retailer like Amazon. Amazon is a great option for finding inflatable SUP deals.
What are some of the differences between inflatable SUPs?
The main differences between the various inflatable stand-up paddle boards to take note of is:
- Material (Military grade, etc.)
Generally, the more volume an inflatable paddle board has, the more stable it will be.
How to choose the best inflatable stand up paddle board?
Besides just thinking about the size, weight and material of the paddle board, consider the following:
What’s your budget? There’s no reason to go out and get the best inflatable paddle board there is if you can’t afford to.
Decide on what you’d be comfortable to spend first, then look at the different boards in your price range, and ask yourself;
Will you be the only person using the board, or will you be sharing it with family and friends?
What is your current weight? It’s important to get a board that can support your weight.
What will you be using the board for? Are you going to be using it for a specific activity like yoga or fishing, or is it going to be just for messing around and having fun? Knowing the answers to these questions will go a long way in helping you choose an inflatable paddle board that’s right for you.
Remember to also look through the various accessories that are available to make your paddle boarding experience even better.
Inflatable Paddle Board Accessories
Here’s a short list of just some of the accessories available.
- Electronics case – to keep electronics safe and dry
- Sup lock – to attach to hard fixed object to avoid theft
- Sup cart/travel bag – to easily cart your paddle board around
- Water bottle holder
- Deck bag
- Paddle sock
- Anchor kit
- Personal floatation device
- Electric pump with chargeable battery – A must have
- Ankle leash
Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth it?
Paddle boarding is awesome. In today’s technology driven world, it lets you step away from it all and enjoy the beauty of the world out on the water.
With so many paddle boarding activities to choose from, you’re sure to find one that’s a great fit for your lifestyle. It’s one of the fastest growing activities worldwide. Investing in an inflatable stand-up paddle board, removes previous hassles that comes with owning a hard board like transportation and storage. It’s also a more cost-effective choice.
One things for certain… The more you do it, the more you’ll love it. And, there’s no better time to get into paddle boarding than today!
Have a look at more of our inflatable stand-up paddle board articles below