How to pick SUP Board: Hard or Inflatable?December 22, 2015
So, Inflatable SUP or hard SUP? That has been the classic topic of discussion between many paddlers, and one that many still find hard to answer. The Answer given here would be “it depends.” It depends on your answers to the following questions:
- Where do you SUP and what sort of paddler are you?
- How do you plan to transport your SUP and where do you plan to store your SUP?
- How well do you treat your gears?
- What is your SUP budget?
To help you, WeSUP also provide a rough characteristics of each type of boards below:
1. Hard or Composite paddleboards
Composite paddleboards are high performance and are optimized for speed and agility. For performance paddler, surfing or racing in hard paddleboards are more appropriate. With hard paddleboards, there are so many variables that you can consider such as rocker line, tapered rail shape, bottom profile, fin setup, and volume size. With these variable adjustments, hard paddleboards are better geared and better responsive for waves. When considering buying a SUP Board, there are other things you need to consider besides performance such as storage, transport, and budget. As Composite SUP Boards cannot be folded and tucked away in the closet, you need to make sure you have a cool dry place like a garage or shed big enough to store your SUP board. And definitely, you will need a big SUV and a roof–rack to carry it to the water unless you are lucky to be living by the beach. Pricewise, composite boards are generally pricier than inflatable ones because of the technologies involved.
2. Inflatable stand up paddleboards
Like its name suggesting, inflatable stand up paddleboards are lighter and easier to transport because it can be deflated and re–inflated, making it convenient for transport in the trunk of any car and for storage, be it on a shelf in your condo or a closet in your house. With inflatable SUP Boards, you just roll it into a convenient package and take it with you almost anywhere. They are perfect board to practice SUP Fitness, SUP Yoga and perfect for cruising alike. However, for performance paddlers and SUP Surfers, inflatable boards might not give you as high performance as you would be looking for. Being compromised on performance, inflatable stand up paddleboards are then softer than hard paddleboards and extremely durable and will survive the rough and tumble of the hazards of rivers and oceans.
A Tip to Inflatable SUP Board Users*
- If the inflatable SUP is in extreme heat, the air pressure will expand. Therefore, after several hours of paddling under the sun, you will probably need to pull up on shore and let out a tiny bit of air pressure to extend the lifetime your inflatable board.