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inflatable sup

Pros of inflatable boards:
1) Portability for transport, storage, travel, etc.

2) Durability, especially for blunt impacts such as smooth rocks, ideal for rivers and rocky shorelines where epoxy boards can get damage easily

3) Safety-soft surface, this is especially helpful for beginners who often try to break their fall by falling onto the board instead of into the water

Cons of iSUP's:
1) Pumping up/ longer setup and breakdown- a hard board is ready to go, a iSUP takes some time to set up and inflate.  For this reason (and because it is better for the board) almost half of users surveyed keep their boards inflated even when not in use.

2) Flex- inflatable SUP's are more flexible than hard boards which leads to lower performance and a wobbly, less stable feel and absorbs energy, resulting in lower board speeds.  The flex is especially noticeable in rough conditions and in the surf.  Flex is less much of an issue in smooth, flat water, so it depends what you plan to use the board for.

3) Limitations of shape- Inflatable have fat, rounded rails and the thickness is the same from nose to tail.  Hard boards have finely tuned rails and are tapered (less thick) in the nose and tail area, with the volume generally focused on the standing area where it is needed for stability and less volume in the nose and tail for better performance, especially in waves and chop.  A hard board gives the shaper/ designer many more options to optimize performance for specific conditions, rider weight, and skill level.

4) Longevity and seam issues-  The PVC material and glue break down over time and more quickly in heat and UV exposure.  Leaving an inflatable SUP in the sun can cause the air inside to expand, increasing pressure on the seams that can get softened/ weakened by the heat, causing it to give. Once an inflatable starts to leak at the seams, it is very difficult to repair, this usually means it has to be replaced.  In comparison, a well built and properly maintained epoxy hard board can last a very long time.Leaking seams are very difficult to repair and once this happens it's usually not worth repairing an iSUP.

5) Environmental impact: Keep in mind that a lot of petrochemical products are wasted if the board gets disposed.  It's better to buy a quality board and get lots of use out of it than buying junk that ends up in the landfill.

hard board

Our recommendations: Get a well made inflatable board from a reputable manufacturer, or choose a hard board for better performance in surf or rough water.