You may have heard someone at some point say “Aren't Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards are pretty much the same as a pool toy?”. If you have ever noticed inflatable boards actually existed, then you may know that over the years the technology has moved on and these boards, when fully inflated, are near as solid as a traditional hard Stand Up Paddle Board.
No, that isn't a SUP board, she looks like she's having a hell of a good time. But there ain't nothing more than just some dizzy person's exhaled air inside there.
Let's talk performance
The performance of an Inflatable has not been compromised in anyway, in fact, some of the construction is so detailed that it’s pretty much impossible to even put a hole in one. Sure, in the past they were bulky, looked soft and floppy but things have come a long way in the last few years. Like we mentioned in the previous post, travelling with an Inflatable is a breeze, but what is the construction like?
"An inflatable board, when fully inflated, can achieve up to 90% rigidness in comparison to a standard board."
You may have a hard time believing that you can inflate a board to a point where it’s stable enough to stand easily & comfortably on water. Most brands putting out Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards on the market use drop stitch technology in the manufacturing process.
A board, when fully inflated, can achieve up to 90% rigidness in comparison to a standard board. This is due to small fibres that are woven internally, so when inflated they stand up and virtually interlock which creates the stability and gives that feeling of standing on a hard surface.
Don't be slippin' like slippery Steven here
Add to all that tech, a pretty important (and often overlooked) part of your SUP Board is the Deck Pad. The crucial part of any board, the stuff that will keep you on the board, the grip. We have trialled and tested so many different options and from experience we found that comfort was one of the main factors.
The top side of our inflatable boards feature a diamond grooved EVA foam deck pad which not only offers ultimate grip to keep you on the board but is super comfy and has even been quoted as “you’ll feel like you are walking on clouds”.
Let's talk white water rafts
Have you ever felt how solid and durable they are? The outer construction of an inflatable SUP Board is pretty much the same as one of those rafts. A super durable and toughened rubber material is used for the top deck and bottom of the board, whilst the rail is then double wrapped, laminated and heat pressed for extra strength and support.
Now, this isn’t essential but the rails are what take the most beatings, so why not make them last longer and get a longer life span out of your board? None of this adds any extra weight to the board, making an inflatable way lighter than a traditional SUP board.
For example, our 10’6 Explore iSUP weighs 8kgs compared to a traditional hard board, which usually weighs in at 15kgs… which would you rather carry? Or rather, which would you rather not carry.
Take a closer look at how our boards are constructed...
Let's talk glue
A lot of people ask how we make our board so rigid. Well, our SUP boards are made of high-grade Drop Stitch material and constructed with Fusion-Tec™, an advanced technique of infusing a layer of reinforced PVC directly into the drop stitch core, allowing us to create an super rigid and lightweight Stand Up Paddle board. Many cheapie boards available tend to use a double layered PVC that is hand glued together.
The problem with this is, cheap glue tends to peel back in various places over time, the most common area being around the air valve. Yes, that is as bad as it sounds as it can cause the board to leak air and is not an easy fix.
One very large name brand in the SUP industry almost went bankrupt a few years back, as they had to recall around 60% of their boards sold due to issues with the glue used. So knowing how important an especially high quality glue is, like the Korean glue used in Bay Sports SUP range, you'll want to make sure you've invested wisely in quality gear.
Tool-Less or Screw-Plate Fin? (wait what..?)
Let’s not forget the fin system as there’s something special going on with many of our boards. Like most inflatable SUP Boards , the side fins are fixed and made from moulded plastic, but then the large centre fin is removable. One thing that sets our Bay Sports boards apart is we have done away with the traditional screw plate and screw to hold the centre fin in place.
Boom! In 2016, FCS came out with the "tool-less" fin system, which basically got rid of the traditional screw and screw plate required to hold your centre fin in it's fin box. This means you can literally insert the fin and go, no need to tighten or fiddle around with a screw plate and more time on the water.
So naturally, on our mission to create a better SUP board, we struck a deal with FCS to use their FCS Connect II tool-less fins as standard in all our boards.
"It takes on average just 2 seconds to insert the FCS Tool-Less fin compared to 32 seconds to put in a traditional screw in fin system?"
Did you know? It takes on average just 2 seconds to insert the FCS Tool-Less fin compared to 32 seconds to put in the traditional screw fin system? Feeling more confident that Inflatable SUP Boards are not just expensive kid’s toys yet? Check out Part 3 which goes into detail on how to repair your board in the rare chance you do ever have an accident…
If you're interested in not just reading about SUP boards, but seeing them, check out our range, just click here