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Are inflatable paddle boards good?
They are not only good but also an indispensable thing of lovers of experiences.
Do you want to have relaxing movements on calm water or challenging feeling on many different water conditions? An inflatable paddle board is an indispensable companion. This is a worthy investment, so you have to learn before making the final decision carefully.
Please take a look at my article. I will let you know much useful information including top 5 products on the current market, essential considerations to pick up the best ones, how long it lasts, the differences of the inflatable and hard boards, how to clean it.
Are you ready to go deeper?
Now, let’s see:
Top 5 Best Inflatable Paddle Boards
- Atoll 11′ Foot Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
- Tower Inflatable 10’4″ Stand Up Paddle Board
- Retrospec Weekender 10′ Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard
- HydroForce White Cap Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard
- ISLE Airtech All Around 10’6″ Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
Top 5 Best Inflatable Paddle Boards on the Market in 2019
Atoll 11′ Foot Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
This is one of the best inflatable paddle boards available on the market. However, its dimension is 7 foot long and 30 inches in breadth, so I only recommend for people under 6 feet tall.
If you haven’t made your decision, let’s discover the features of this product:
Its outstanding feature is having a sturdy body and ultra-light construction thanks to the PVC material. Thus, it is pretty easy to transport everywhere and suitable for travel lovers who want to experience several different water conditions.
Meanwhile, the black aluminum paddle is adjustable and compatible with the majority of fins. So, it’s effortless to use even for beginners. And it doesn’t add a significant amount of weight into the whole package.
This product is attached to a sleek and stylish backpack, which fits various types of users – girls and boys, beginners, and skilled players.
There is a two-year warranty from the manufacturer which means you are made up for any material defects.
- Suitable both beginners and professionals
- Possible to put up with a kid or pet
- Easy to transport
- Simple to set up
- Completely portable
- Sturdy and well-designed
- Great customer service
- Produces noise when pumping
TOWER Inflatable 10’4” Stand Up Paddle Board
Many users said that TOWER Inflatable Paddle Board provides them with the best performance and exciting experiences. Besides, its look and functionality are very incredible.
Let’s take a look into the details:
With a measurement of 10 feet and 4 inches long, this extremely wide board gives you a stable and balanced experience on the board, suiting beginners.
The combination of the big bottom fin and the overall speed and steering is so beneficial for children, teenagers, and adults to use.
This Paddle Board is very durable because of the drop-stitch construction. Moreover, the military grade PVC material will protect your whole model from unexpected crackings and dings. The non-slip deck plays a vital role in minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries.
The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty to cover everything. Is it amazing?
However, when you are over 10 PSI, it’s considerably difficult to inflate the board.
- Tough body
- Good in maneuverability
- Extremely fast in the water
- Affordable price
- Produces a moderate amount of wobbles
Isle Airtech Inflatable SUP Board 10’6
Thanks to the Fusion Lite Construction, the Isle Airtech Inflatable is super light (30% lighter than others) while it still maintains the top-notch quality.
You can use it with many different purposes on the water.
Let’s see the proof:
This product is a complete paddle paddling package, so you will have a repair kit, fins, leash, paddle, pump, and a backpack.
Because of an adjustable paddle, users with different heights can use comfortably.
It’s effortless to store your board in your bag and transport everywhere because it allows you to break it down into three pieces.
While the tri-fin system is helpful for tracking, bungee system on the deck is a great idea to carry a few essential items into the water.
The board is made from military grade PVC material which will protect your whole unit from scratch.
The paddle is made from aluminum, so it’s not very light.
- Very durable
- Acceptable to return in 60 days
- Easy to inflate
- Easy to move
- Good turn
- Pretty light
- Easy to assemble
- Not great for speed
Retrospec Weekender 10′ Weekender
If you have a tight budget but want to buy a high-quality product, I strongly recommend Restrospec Weekender because of its outstanding features and a good warranty.
When it comes to design, it looks like a beast that is so chic and stylish. Besides, there are a lot of options for colors, suiting both girls and boys.
The unit can stay stable and well-balanced in any water environment. Thus, no matter which skill level you are at, this is a suitable choice.
The board is considered an anti-collapse tool since it is made from a high-quality PVC material, creating a rigid and sturdy unit.
Its drawback is the positioning of the bungee rack without bow D-ring, making it hard to store your gears.
- Solid paddle
- Smooth move
- Easy to handle
- The carry bag doesn’t have excellent portability.
Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable SUP
With the steady 10 feet in length, it suits the size of most people. Meanwhile, the 32 inches in width brings a pretty stable feeling and remains the balance on the top.
This board comes with three-ply reinforced polyester mesh, even they are covered in two layers of laminated PVC. Therefore, the board can withstand many obstacles in the water, minimizing the risk of being punctured and damaged severely.
Keep discovering other features:
The non-slip gripping pad covers 50% of the surface of the board, which is beneficial for beginners. Whether you stand or kneel on the board, it can maintain a firm grip, ensuring a better control and smooth direction.
There is a foot break foam roll which keeps you stay in place so that you can paddle comfortably.
When buying this product, you will receive a package including a removable kayak seat having a backrest and storage pocket, a travel bag, an aluminum oar, a pressure gauge, and a high-pressure hand pump.
When it comes to the disadvantage, this product is packed in a pretty big and bulky box.
- Used as a Paddle Board or kayak
- Easy to pump
- Easy to move and transport
- The weight capacity is limited at 209lbs only
The Differences Between the Inflatable vs. Hardboard
Many of you might want to know the differences between the inflatable paddle board and hardboard and which one is better. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all choice for all cases. I can only tell you which best fits your particular lifestyle.
First of all, you have to know their basic features:
The inflatable paddle board features durability, safety, storage, portability, and price, while the hard paddle board features on water performance, rigidity, stability, surfing, and paddling at a higher speed.
Inflatable Paddle Board
The inflatable board is more durable than the hard ones. Are you surprised?
Let’s prove this.
Please take a look at the drop stitch construction, which has two layers of material tied together by a significant number of thin threads.
A high-quality inflatable paddle board will have at least 5-6 inches of thickness that can hold the form on the water better without sinking in the middle.
Usually, the PSI of the inflatable paddle board ranges from 17-25 PSI. It’s better to follow the instructions of the manufacturer.
The inside construction of the hard paddle board is delicate. But, a crack on the outside of the board can ruin the EPS Foam Composition on the inside when the water logs.
The inflatable paddle board is ideal for beginners because of the following reasons:
- Higher quality brands are cheaper than hard board brands.
- As I mentioned, they are more durable than hardboards.
- They don’t take much space
Inflatable models are safer choices because even the fall happens, it won’t greatly affect your limbs, even your head.
You should consider this element if you want to buy a board for doing yoga.
The inflatable board takes less storage space because you can deflate and roll it up to the size of a hockey bag.
Meanwhile, the hard paddle board takes up a significant room (at least a space of nine feet by three feet wide). The hardboard doesn’t fit small houses and apartments
Friendly portability and transportation are benefits of the inflatable paddle board which may suit the trunk, front seat or back seat of your car. Even it’s fine to bring it with you on the plane.
Hard Paddle Board
- On Water Performance: While inflatable board stays on the top of the water, hardboard can glides through the water, especially, it is partially submerged in the water, resulting in a better performance. Furthermore, it reacts better to external conditions like waves, helping you balance better.
- More Rigid: As the name suggests, you can see that hardboard is more rigid, leading to a better reaction. This product is the perfect combination of several layers of fiberglass, EPS foam, and an epoxy finish, so that it can keep your whole unit from minor dings.
- More Stable: You feel the stability when you are on the board because it is partially in the water, not sitting on the top. That means a hard board will absorb the wave in place of riding on top of it. Remember that the wider your board is, the more stable you will feel on the water.
- For Surfing Waves: Typically, hard board is heavier than inflatable paddle board. This results in becoming a part of the wave in place of only riding on top.
- At a Good Speed: A good hard board is usually faster than others, about 5.6%. If you want to reach longer distance, the hard board at a good speed is an appropriate choice.
How to Choose a Good Inflatable Paddle Board
Many people said that buying a good inflatable paddle board is like looking for a needle in a haystack. This may be a difficult problem, but don’t worry. In this part, I will help you narrow down your choices to make a proper decision. Just follow the step by step below:
Determine the Board Category You Need
For beginners, it’s better to invest in an all-around inflatable SUP because it allows you to discover many different locations as well as types of padding.
If you are an experienced player who wants to go faster, I strongly recommend a sport or performance board.
In case your priority is avoiding falling as well as improving your confidence, an ultra-stable inflatable SUP board is a suitable choice.
Are you considering a specific type of paddle boarding?
This will depend on your specific use. There are the followings:
- The boards perfect for SUP surfing
- The boards ideal for SUP Yoga
- The boards for SUP touring
- The boards for a racing SUP
- The white water SUP boards
Even there are some types of boards designed for children, windsurfing, fishing, or group paddling.
Brand selection regards the category above because companies usually deal in a particular category. Here, I will suggest some brands with good designs, excellent build quality, and satisfying customer support:
- Earth River SUP features all-around inflatable paddle boards which work well in many different padding environments such as coastal waters, rivers, and lakes.
- Red Paddle Co specializes for particular uses like surfing and racing.
- NRS and Hala SUP produces whitewater-specific boards.
- Starboard SUP used to have a windsurfing background. Now, it has developed a SUP line with a wide range of hard boards and inflatable boards, serving for racing and surfing.
Size and Shape
These considerations will depend on your demands since the size and the shape of your board can affect the performance:
- Longboards provide you more glide than short ones.
- Narrow boards go faster than wider ones
- Wider boards are more stable than narrower ones
- Boards with a wider tail are more durable than boards with a narrow tail.
- Boards with narrow tail turn quicker than boards with a wide tail.
- Thick boards support more weight than thin ones. But you shouldn’t choose an excessively thick model.
- Thin boards are more stable than thicker ones if they support a correct amount of weight.
Materials and Construction
The inflatable paddle boards vary in many different materials and constructions.
First, boards with a single layer of material are lighter and cheaper, especially they are made 6 inches thicker to compensate for the material’s low inherent rigidity.
Some lightweight models have a “fusion” construction, adding reinforcement in the material. This thing makes sure that a light board still can have a high stiffness and durability to paddle in any water environment.
The rugged and expensive boards usually come with a dual layer (the second layer bonded to the main layer). Due to higher production cost, the dual layer is less common.
Deck Pad and Riggings
Deck pad provides better comfort while paddling, so it’s crucial to consider.
How much grip your board has and how you feel underfoot will base on the variety of material thickness as well as density.
When it comes to D-rings and bungee, ensure that it has enough riggings to secure all your essential gears on the board.
Note: don’t bring any unnecessary things which will add more weight, influencing your performance.
- The standard fin on an entry-level paddle board comes with a single big removable fin and two permanent shallow side fins. They work well in a non-challenging condition.
- The permanent tri-fin system, which includes three equally sized unbreakable fins attached to the board permanently suits the lovers of simplicity and carefree use.
- The fully configurable fin system having interchangeable and removable fins in the center and sides are a perfect choice for paddlers who want to modify and tune the performance.
How Long do Inflatable Paddle Boards Last?
Are inflatable paddle boards durable? This is also a hard-to-answer question because it depends on how regularly you use your board and how you maintain it. If you take care of it properly, you can use your paddle board for many years.
How to Clean an Inflatable Paddle Board
Cleaning your inflatable paddle board is an excellent method to keep it durable in many years.
Now, let’s consider my three solutions:
An oxygen cleaner works well to remove scuff marks on your board to bring a new look.
How do you do?
After removing the marks with the spray cleaner, you wipe down the board with water and a clean towel to get rid of any cleaner residue.
You can apply a similar way like oxygen cleaner to clean your board. But, many users said that generic brands don’t work well.
Like the erasers, this is an all-purpose product which allows you to use for other tasks. What’s more, because of the biodegradable and non-toxic features, it’s pretty safe.
Note: when it comes to maintenance, you may wonder:
Can you leave inflatable paddle boards inflated?
It’s ok, but you don’t leave an inflated paddle board outside in winter too long when not use.
Stay Comfortable with My Choice!
Atoll 11′ Foot Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board makes me so comfortable. It has ultra-light construction, helping me move from place to place quickly. I love it.
How about you? Which inflatable paddle boards do you choose? Please leave your comment to let me know your choice.