So you’ve been out on the water a few times; you’ve cruised, fallen and paddled with friends at your local SUP hire business, but now the time has come to invest in your own SUP. Exciting! But, now you face a tough decision: Do you go hard board or inflatable?
"The reality is, like most of us, there just isn’t enough space to keep all the gear we own in our home"
For the last few years the argument of Inflatable Vs. traditional SUP board has had SUPPING enthusiasts passionately discussing the benefits of both. And in an ideal world it would be awesome to have your own shed or lock up garage filled with all your favourite boards. The reality is for most of us, there just isn’t enough space to keep all the gear we own in our home. If this sounds familiar to you then you ought to be looking seriously into getting an inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board…
Pic: Two inflatable SUP boards laying on Lizard Island Resort beach, somewhere on the world famous Great Barrier Reef.
Over our next four blog articles, we will:
- Clear up any negativity (we call it misunderstanding) you might have against inflatable Stand Up Paddle boards,
- Give you a lowdown on how far the technology inside has improved
- Show you how easy it is to look after your board.
Let's clear something up
For those of you that are a little unclear what an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is (you may have heard of them being called iSUP), they are pretty much the same looks wise as a conventional hard SUP board, but is inflated by either a hand or electric air pump.
They are the lightest boards available, and inside contain millions of thin threads that connect the top layer to the bottom layer of the board. They are so thin, that when the board is deflated, the two layers lay almost completely flat, allowing the board to literally be rolled up so you can put it in a backpack. See the below image to get a visualisation of Drop-Stitch inside an iSUP.
Having tried and tested many of the inflatables on the market, we can say, with the greatest confidence, that there’s no way we are going back to hard boards. And here’s why...
But first! Part 1 – Travelling.
Whether you’re just heading to the beach for a paddle or hopping on a plane for a long getaway, there’s no denying that transporting an Inflatable SUP board is pretty much stress free. There’s no need to invest in roof bars for your car or borrow a large wagon every time you want to take your board out as it will easily fit inside. Most boards will come with a storage bag, usually in the form of a backpack, big enough to fit everything from board to pump to paddle. Once the board is deflated, simply roll it up, pop it back into its case and throw it in the boot of your car… it really is that simple.
Have you ever heard anyone talking about how easy it was taking their 10’6 SUP Board on a fight? No? That’s because there’s no such thing. With an Inflatable SUP Board, dinged boards and oversized baggage fees will be a thing of the past. Depending on the airline, most Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards can go on as standard checked bag with no additional costs or fees.
Need a board bag to protect your board whilst travelling? Not with an inflatable. Everything you need can be put into one, easy to carry, lightweight bag. Most bags come in the form of a backpack with comfortable back straps, making it easy to carry. This comes in handy when you fancy checking out different spots to take your board out, especially if a small hike to a secret spot is involved… imagine having to do that with a hard board? There’s no competition between lugging a hard, fibreglass board down the beach or carrying a fully inflated board… There’s a clear winner, the inflatable won’t have you exhausted by the time you get to the water’s edge.
"Once the board is deflated, simply roll it up, pop it back into its case and throw it in the boot of your car… it really is that simple."
Not only are Inflatables great for transporting, but the added bonus of the carry bag means everything you need, all your gear, can be carried together. The bag tends to be big enough that even a 2 or 3 piece Carbon Fibre SUP paddle can fit inside as well as the pump, fins, leash and any extras you might need. Talking from experience, you’ll also be able to get some clothes, thongs, even a towel into your bag before it hits the weight allowance. Would it sound too easy if we say “just get to the airport, check your bag, get on the flight, get off the plane, get your bag and head straight to the water?” It is that easy!
It’s no longer a dream, it’s finally a reality, to go on a vacation and take a Paddle Board with you, pretty much anywhere! To not have to pay ridiculous rental fees, extra insurance or use a board that’s completely the wrong size or ability for you. Finally, an easy way to take your new favourite board on holiday without any of the stress!
Want to find out more? Part 2 features details on how technology has advanced, creating the most durable and toughest Stand Up Paddle Boards to date…
(It’s definitely worth mentioning that if you do have roof racks on your vehicle, then you can strap your inflatable SUP to the roof, as these boards are solid and robust… just don’t forget your straps!)
Bay Sports 💙