Do you need an inflatable or hard paddle board? If you’re stuck between buying an inflatable paddle board or a solid one, this is the article for you. The board with numerous advantages should make the best choice for you.

a. Hard Paddle Boards

The hard/solid boards are also referred to as traditional, epoxy, or fiberglass paddle boards. If you’re looking for performance, then the hard board is the best choice for you. They’re stiffer that the inflatable boards and are very responsive. The solid boards hold their glide better on the water providing an easy and lively feeling.

Hard paddle boards are usually constructed of a foam core with a compound shell. The hard boards can be quite rough because of reinforced rails along the sides. However, the boards are more likely to get crushes or cracks from an impact than an inflatable board. Some of the boards with wood top sections and bamboo that looks elegant.

Merits: Somewhat better performance, no need to inflate or pump up, and aesthetics

Demerits: They crack more easily

ii. Inflatable Paddle Boards

Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards popularity have exploded the last few years due to various good reason. The boards are easy to transport as they’re lightweight and portable. The complete board entails a pump and repair kits that can be able to fit into a backpack. Thus, it is easy to transport the backpack into your car or even fly with it.

The biggest diversity between a hard board and an inflatable paddle board is its feel while on water. They’re less stiff compared to the hard boards and they will react somewhat faster and have a more nimble feeling. Generally, an inflatable paddle board will be slightly slower compared to the hard boards. Nonetheless, the Inflatable SUP are durable and not prone to crack like the paddle boards.

Merits: Lightweight, durable, portable, and easy to repair

Cons: Slightly slower and require planning

Inflatable SUP vs Hard

There are 5 factors that you need to consider when deciding between sup inflatable vs rigid. Before you make the decision, consider the following factors;

  • Durability

There is doubt that inflatable SUPs are more durable than the solid paddle boards. For instance, if you drop your inflatable by accident, it won’t scratch or ding. Nonetheless, if you drop a rigid paddle board, there is a likelihood that the board will be damaged and you will have to repair it immediately.

If you need a carefree paddle board, the best beginner’s inflatable paddle board will be the best option for you. Also, if you will be paddling on rocky rivers or on white water, the inflatable will perform better as they’re durable and prone to damages.

  • Performance

When it’s about a paddle board performance, the hard paddle offers optimal performance when compared to the SUP. The hard paddle boards are suppler, move smoothly, and they’re easier to catch waves when you’re surfing. Thus, the rigid board can offer better option if you plan to utilize your boards for SUP racing, SUP surfing, or long-distance expeditions.

A speed test between inflatable and hard paddle boards shows that the rough paddle boards are 5% faster than the inflatable’s. It shows that the rigid boards aren’t too far behind the SUPs when it comes to speed.

  • Cost

Inflatables are cheaper and if you’re on a budget, they’re typically less costly than the hard paddle boards. The inflatables permit for a reasonably priced that makes them good board for families or first timers.

  • Portability

Portability is a great factor to check when you’re looking to buy a paddle board. Inflatable are the easiest boards to transport. You don’t require a SUV, van, or truck to transport the board because when it is deflated, it can be rolled up to the size of a sleeping bag and carried on a backpack.

The remarkable perk of inflatables is that it easy to fly with them when you go on vacation. Ensure that you toss it in a travel bag and check it so that you avoid paying the wearisome airline surfboard fees that the hard paddle boards attract.

When you’re transporting a hard paddle board, you will require car racks and a large car. Additionally, the solid paddle boards weigh heavily and they can be heavy for you to carry to and from the water. The only thing you need to take into account is that you will need to inflate the paddle board when you’re going to paddle and deflate it when you finish it. Mostly, this will take about 10 minutes of your time. If you’re a person who prefer to load and move, a hard paddle board will be perfect for you.

  • Storage Space

When you’re making a choice between a hard paddle board and inflatable SUP, it is essential to consider the storage space available in your car or at home.  If you stay in a home or an apartment that has no garage and has minimal storage space, you will need an inflatable board. The inflatable board can takes little space and you can store it virtually anywhere in your home.

It is important that if you buy a hard paddle board, you consider where you will be storing it during the season and off season. In case you have a big garage to store it, then you can keep it there. Consider that the hard board measures 9 to 12 feet long and need a big space for storage.

Inflatable SUP vs Rigid [VIDEO]

Essential Tips to Consider

i. Check the materials of the inflatable boards to ensure that they are durable and don’t last a few seasons. Mostly, boards that are less than $700 may have shorter than a quality board.  However, you can find a cheap SUP board that can last long if you know what to look for

ii. There are various inflatable SUP such as for Yoga, fishing, surfing, beginners, and for leisure. It is important that you know the specific board that you need before you make a purchase.

iii. For inflatable boards, check the psi. The lower the psi, the softer the board will be and it will frustrate you as you paddle as it will flex. We only advice that you buy those boards that has a higher psi rating and good dropstitch count to make sure that they’re firm enough to enjoy.

iv. Boards made of cheap materials are usually hard to repair.

v. Consider after-purchase support from your vendor

When to select an inflatable paddle board

  • You have minimal store room
  • You travel often and you want your board to be your companion
  • You’re on a budget or a first-timer
  • You’re adventurous and you require a board that will last long

When to select a hard paddle board

  • Require optimal performance, speed, and agility when paddling
  • You need to catch waves
  • You plan to only utilize it at local beaches, bays, lakes

Final Thought

The article has explored on inflatable vs hard paddle boards. It is important that you know the kind of board that you need before you commit your money. The article recommends that is you’re a beginner, start with an inflatable paddle board and learn on how to get on a SUP board. If you’re a pro, we trust that you know the kind of board that you need and we are assured that you will make the best choice.