Paddleboarding has been getting more popular through the years. Through the sport’s growing popularity comes a plethora of different paddleboard designs. In turn, iSUP, or inflatable stand-up paddleboards, are more popular than ever before.
Once upon a time, many people were skeptical of inflatable paddleboards. They had very limited designs, weren’t very durable, and were only good for casual paddling.
Most people were willing to spend more money for a solid or soft-top board because they knew they were getting their money’s worth. Inflatable boards have always been more convenient when it comes to storage and transportation, but the quality just wasn’t there.
In recent years, iSUP paddleboards have been more popular than ever. You can get them in nearly as many styles as the solid boards and that makes them perfect for all kinds of activities.
If you’re looking for the perfect iSUP, you need to know all the details first. You have a lot more options than you used to!
- What Is an iSUP?
- Breaking Down an iSUP: Everything You Need to Know
- iSUP Paddleboards: It’s Time to Embrace Convenience
What Is an iSUP?
An iSUP is an inflatable standup paddleboard. They are made with layers of strong polyester fabric, otherwise known as PVC, that is drop-stitched together.
Manufacturers also use wide seam tape and a waterproof coating to completely seal the board and make it entirely airtight.
You can find single or double-layer construction iSUP’s. A single-layer iSUP is more affordable and a dual-layer iSUP is more rigid and durable.
In the past, inflatable and soft-top boards were more affordable, but they didn’t come in as many different options. In other words, they were only good for some casual paddling, but they didn’t have different styles for various activities. Such as fishing, surfing, racing, and more.
Now there are a lot more options for inflatable paddleboards. Therefore, you need to do a little more research before making your purchase. But you will be able to find something perfectly suited to your needs!
Related Read: iROCKER CRUISER Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
Breaking Down an iSUP: Everything You Need to Know
Before you pick the perfect iSUP, you need to know all the details. That will ensure that you have the right board for the type of paddling you’re planning to do.
You might be wondering, “How many different types of paddleboards are there?”
Well, you might be surprised. You can find boards for all sorts of specific activities.
Before you buy your board, you need to figure out what you will be doing with your paddleboard. It also helps to know where you plan to take your paddleboard so you know what kind of board will work best.
For instance, you need something durable, fast, and easy to maneuver for surfing. But for fishing or yoga, you would want something wide and rigid for stability.
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Different types of iSUP’s
There are a few basic kinds of inflatable paddleboards that you can choose from:
Each of these iSUP designs will fit the activity they are built for. The one you should choose will depend heavily on the type of water you will be tackling, and any activities you plan to do on the water.
Even if the only activity is regular paddling, you will want something that is easy to navigate and wide enough for stability.
Why an iSUP could be right for you
iSUP boards are an incredibly convenient choice for a few reasons.
For one thing, they are the easiest to transport and store. While you do have to inflate and deflate your board, you won’t have to figure out how to strap it to your car. That’s great if you don’t have an easy way to secure it to your car or don’t have much storage space.
Plus, when you go on vacation anywhere in the world, it’s much easier to bring an iSUP with you. It’s just a matter of paying for an extra bag when flying or tossing it in the car for a road trip.
Fortunately, pumping up your paddleboard should only take about 15 minutes at the most. You can use a dual-action hand pump or a 12-volt electric pump that plugs into your car.
Another reason you might want to choose an inflatable paddleboard is that they are versatile and durable.
Before you start thinking of all the pool floaties you’ve popped in the past. We just want to let you know that this isn’t even close to the same thing.
iSUP’s are made to last and can be incredibly durable. They don’t puncture easily and you also can’t bang them up like a solid board.
Now, we aren’t saying that they are indestructible and you still need to be careful. But you can also fix them with the right tools, and some even come with repair kits for your convenience.
The construction of an inflatable paddleboard
As we mentioned before, an inflatable paddleboard is made of strong polyester material, which is drop-stitched together. And you can find them in single and dual layers, depending on how much you are willing to pay.
“Drop stitching” is a way of sewing the layers together with hundreds of threads. It leaves enough space for air but adds strength to the board.
It will also ensure that they can withstand a certain PSI and become very rigid without popping. You will need to find out what amount of air pressure, or PSI, is right for your board because it can vary.
What equipment does an iSUP come with?
Most inflatable paddleboards come with everything you need to get started. That usually includes a board, pump, detachable fins, a paddle, and a storage bag.
What your board comes with will depend on the package. For example, some boards will have permanent fins, so they won’t come with any. Other boards might come with extras, such as a repair kit.
Types of paddles
Your iSUP should come with a paddle but there are different options. Most boards will come with two-piece paddles that are either made of aluminum or fiberglass.
However, packages that include a kayak seat will also include a 2-in-1 paddle. That way you can use a normal paddle for paddleboarding or convert it into a kayak paddle when necessary.
Types of pumps
A pump should be included when you buy an iSUP. Although you might want to find the most convenient one for you.
Most come with a dual-action hand pump, which will push air into your board when you push the handle down or pull it up. Therefore, every movement will pump up your board, cutting the time it takes in half.
People have tested these out and say it can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. It just depends on the person and how fast they go.
If you are unable to pump up your board by hand, or just want to save the effort, you can buy an electric pump. The electric pumps are more expensive but plug right into the 12-volt plug-in your vehicle.
You should keep in mind that these don’t usually save you much time and will still take around 15 minutes. But it will definitely be a lot easier, especially if you have more than one board to blow up!
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D-rings and bungee storage
The D-rings are exactly what they sound like, D-shaped rings. A board might only have them to create storage space and connect a leash. Or they will run all down the sides for your convenience.
It all depends on the board and the brand.
A very basic board will usually have around five. Four to make an X-shaped bungee for strapping something down, and one on the back to connect your leash.
Others will have extra rings all along the sides of the board so you can attach a kayak seat. Although, you can also use them to bring a cooler, since it won’t typically fit under the available bungees.
However, when bringing anything with you, keep in mind that the weight can affect the maneuverability of your board.
You might be wondering what kind of accessories you could possibly need, other than a pump or a paddle. Well, that will completely depend on the board and your plans.
For instance, you might want a camera mount for a GoPro. Not all boards have them, but if you plan to film while you’re paddling, or even surfing, it’s best to buy a board with a mount. That makes it much safer to bring your camera, without losing it.
We have also mentioned that you can get a kayak seat, or buy a package that includes one. If you buy a kayak seat separately, make sure your board has the necessary D-rings to attach the seat.
If you buy a kayak seat, you should also consider buying a 2-in-1 or kayaking paddle. It would be very awkward to use a regular paddle boarding paddle when you’re sitting down.
Another convenient accessory to have on your paddleboard might be fishing rod holders. This is something that only a fishing iSUP will have.
You can buy them and attach them to the board yourself, but we don’t recommend this for iSUP paddleboards. If they aren’t attached correctly you could lose your fishing pole. Plus, the adhesive used to mount the rod holder may weaken faster on an iSUP than it would on a solid board.
Related Read: Beginner Tips: What to Wear Paddle Boarding
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Boards will either have permanent fins, or detachable fins. They will also vary and usually have anywhere from one to three fins. Although it isn’t unheard of to have up to five, in some rare cases.
A single fin will work just fine for casual paddling, iSUP fishing, and yoga. The fin will help you track in a straight line, but it will still give you plenty of ability to turn.
Three fins are better for touring or racing. Essentially, they make your board faster in a straight line, but more difficult to turn.
Many iSUP paddleboards have three fins, consisting of one large fin and two smaller fins. However, if they are detachable, you can choose whether you want to use the smaller fins or leave them off.
Leashes are essential when paddleboarding, especially for whitewater paddling or surfing. A leash connects you to your board so it won’t float away when you fall off.
Leashes are usually 10 feet long and are available in straight or coiled options. The coiled leashes are popular and less likely to get tangled.
A waist leash is also available, but it’s typically more expensive and not entirely necessary for most SUP paddlers. It’s usually designed more for foiling, which is a special SUP sport that is gaining popularity.
iSUP Paddleboards: It’s Time to Embrace Convenience
Let’s face it, iSUP paddleboards are an incredible invention and they’ve come such a long way. When it comes down to it, they’re the perfect option for most paddleboarders. Even if you have a solid board you love, you might want to have an iSUP on hand for traveling.
No matter what reason you have for getting one, you can absolutely find the right one for you.
The one thing you need to keep in mind when picking your iSUP is the size and design. An all-around iSUP is perfect for beginners. They’re wide and stable, so that will make learning so much easier.
Save the racing and touring boards for more experienced and serious paddlers. They are more of a challenge and might take the fun right out of the experience if you aren’t ready for them.
Also, if you know you have an activity in mind for your paddleboard, make sure to consider it when picking your board. If you know you will be using it primarily for fishing, it’s well worth focusing on fishing iSUP’s. The same goes for any other activity.
We would love to hear about the iSUP you choose, or have experience with, in the comment section below!
Last update on 2021-10-19 at 14:40 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API