Stand up paddle boarding is all the rage these days, so it should come as no surprise that there are a multitude of paddle board options out there to choose from. If you’ve decided to take up the fun and fit hobby of stand up paddle boarding, you first need to choose a board, which means you need to decide whether or not you want an inflatable iSUP or traditional rigid SUP. There are pros and cons of each, but more and more people are choosing iSUPS over their rigid counterparts. To help you decide if an iSUP is right for you, let’s go over a few key topics and compare the two.
Since iSUPs can be easily deflated and rolled up, they’re clearly the hands down winner of the storage category. Unlike rigid SUPs that take up quite a bit of space and can be difficult to store in apartments or anywhere without a garage, an iSUP can be easily placed in your closet, car trunk, or even under your bed. This makes it an ideal choice if you live in an apartment, condo, or anywhere with limited storage space.
If you’re buying a stand up paddle board, you’re going to want one that’s portable and easy to transport from your home to the ocean, river, or lake. In this category, inflatable stand up paddle boards beat traditional SUPs every day of the week. Capable of fitting in the truck of a car, iSUPs are designed with portability in mind.
Type of Use
Generally, rigid SUPs provide more stability than iSUPs, but there are times when this is actually a disadvantage. For instance, if you like the adrenaline rush and scenery of paddle boarding down rivers, as many people do, you’ll appreciate the give that an iSUP offers. Essentially, you need to consider the type of water you’re going to be using your stand up paddle board in and choose accordingly.
If you’re primarily going to be using your paddle board in shallow, fast-moving water, an iSUP would be the best option. On the other hand, if you plan on using it more in deep, slow moving water, a traditional rigid SUP would likely be a better option.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use a rigid SUP in a river or an inflatable SUP in the ocean. Certain boards simply perform better than others in certain types of water. If you want a stand up paddle board that will perform solidly in a wide variety of water environments, you’re best off going with the versatility of an iSUP.
With the popularity of iSUPs growing each day, there have been many questions regarding how they stack up against traditional rigid SUPs in terms of performance. Surprisingly, when fully inflated, there isn’t a major noticeable difference between the two when paddling in the water. In fact, the differences in speed between the two paddle boards are quite negligible, especially for leisure paddlers.
When all is said and done, both types of boards are great options and they each have unique advantages depending on a person’s riding style. If you fancy yourself a serious racer or avid waterman, then you’ll appreciate the increased speed and gliding capabilities of a traditional SUP. However, if you’re a budget-minded person and plan on using it more for casual paddling or SUP yoga than serious in the water action, than an iSUP would be ideal.
When it comes to cost, iSUPs definitely take the cake as they provide the best value. Compared to a rigid SUP with the same specs, an iSUP costs much less and offers the best value for your hard-earned money. Plus, iSUPs typically hold their value better than their rigid counterparts, which is nice if you ever want to sell it in the future.
Stand up paddle boarding is a ton of fun and more and more people are joining the growing paddle boarding community each and every day. With increasing interest in the hobby, SUPS continue to evolve to cater to the needs of every guy and gal. If price, portability, storage, and versatility are important factors, then you should definitely choose an iSUP. Ultimately, you need to consider your lifestyle and select a board that best meets your needs.