Today, we are narrowing it down to the focus on the build of the board. When it comes to choosing a paddle board, you can either get a rigid or an inflatable paddle board. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type and depending on what is most important to you can help guide you in choosing the perfect SUP.

One of the biggest debates surrounding paddle boarding is choosing which paddle board is best for you. Since there are so many options and a variety of different types, it’s easier to just break down and simplify the various choices you’ll have to make. Along with size, style, weight, length, and width, you can also choose a paddle board with the material in mind.

Depending on a lot of different things, it can change which type of material is best for you. For instance, depending on your size, if you are a beginner or an expert, the type of storage and transportation available, and the purpose of the paddle board, you can have multiple aspects that will change the paddle board you need.

We’re going to just cut the fluff and get right to the facts.

First, What is an inflatable paddle board?

As the name easily describes, these paddle boards inflate when you need them, and deflate for easy storage. Some of the best inflatable SUP companies use drop stitch technology, which makes the boards stable and rigid enough to be used like a hard paddle board, but without the negative aspects of problems with storage and mobility.

Which brings us to the question you might have on your mind:

“Are inflatable SUPs any good?”

Although you may think that because you pump them up and you’ve seen them deflate with your own eyes that they won’t be as durable or as effective as a rigid, hard SUP, you might want to give it a try. Though there are some differences when it comes to versatility and manoeuvring, an inflatable board can get most of the function that you need, especially if you are just looking for the average SUP usage.

Here are the pros and cons of Inflatable SUP vs. rigid SUP

Rigid paddle board

Rigid SUP are more performant

Rigid SUP are harder to transport

Rigid SUP Advantages

Performance – If it’s performance you’re looking for, rigid paddle boards will be much better than inflatables. They are built to be agiler, have the ability to take sharper turns and glide easier, which means speed is not a problem.

Speed – The rigid, hard SUPs are great for speed if you are investing in your board for long trips or for races. They glide easier on the water, which makes them much, much faster.

Rigid SUP Disadvantages

Portability – Harder to travel with, you will need car rack at the top of your vehicle or a car large enough to stow the paddle board away in the trunk. Hard paddle boards also weight a considerable amount more than inflatable boards, which make it more difficult to carry from your vehicle to the water.

Storage – Ever try moving something that is straight, hard, heavy, and also 9 to 12 feet long through a house filled with twists and turns? As you can imagine, storing and moving your rigid SUP is going to be a hassle, but if you have the extra space or a garage, it shouldn’t be that big of an issue.

Durability – Although you might think that since your paddle board is heavier and harder, it is more durable when well used. But actually, it is more susceptible to cracks, dings, and damages when abused

Cost – As cost-effectiveness goes, rigid, hard paddle boards are much more expensive than their counterpart.

Inflatable paddle board

what is an inflatable paddle board
Inflatable SUP are are good at paddling on calm water

Inflatable SUP Advantages

Portability – Inflatables deflate and roll right up, which makes it easier to fly and travel with them.They are also great because they are more lightweight, which makes it easy to lift up and carry to the water, from wherever you are.

Storage – Folding right up, you can just tuck in your paddle board into any nook and cranny in your house or garage. Storage is not a problem, at all.

Durability – Inflatable SUPs are usually great to use out on the whitewater or through rocky beaches and rivers. This material isn’t as giving to damaging consequences which may occur when out on your board.

Cost – Inflatables have a cheaper price on average when in comparison with rigid boards. This makes them perfect for beginners, families, and those on a budget.

Inflatable SUP Disadvantages

Speed – Rigid boards are faster than inflatable boards, so if you’re looking for speed, your best bet will be found investing in a rigid, hard SUP.

Performance – The build of inflatable paddleboards make it more difficult to maneuver, which means that they need to be a bit more indestructible since they aren’t as able to paddle around rocks and small obstacles.

Depending on the purpose of your SUP purchase, you can choose which paddle board is best for your need. If you are doing yoga, inflatable paddle boards are best. They offer a larger area and more stability. The surface of an inflatable board is also more comfortable than hard and rigid SUP.

If you are looking to tour with your SUP, then the rigid, hard boards work out the best. Since they glide easier through the water, paddling for a long distance is made easier. Especially if you are a beginner, the least amount of effort you need to put in during your first time is better. You can get a wide paddleboard if you are really just starting out, but once you get more skilled, the hard paddle boards can really work best since they are built for speed and distance.

The choice between purchasing an inflatable SUP and a hard, rigid board is a difficult one, and you can’t really go wrong. However, if you are looking for specific traits and capabilities when you’re investing in a paddle board, then you should do your research beforehand to choose the best paddle board that works best for your needs. Inflatable sup vs rigid is a never ending debate in the paddle boarding community.

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