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What is an inflatable paddle board?

What is an inflatable paddle board?

When choosing a stand-up paddle board, you may hear about both inflatable and hard paddle boards (SUPs) on the market. While an inflatable version may seem like a less stable version of its hard board cousin, they are actually incredibly stable and versatile.

So, what is an inflatable SUP or iSUP? This post takes you through some key points about iSUPs:

  • What is it?
  • What’s inside an inflatable SUP?
  • What are the advantages of an inflatable SUP?
  • Bay Sports paddle boards
  • Want to know more?



While an iSUP looks pretty much the same as a hard board SUP, an inflatable SUP is inflated either with a hand or electric air pump.

Previously a novelty in the paddle boarding community, iSUPs have now become the go-to option for both beginners and experienced paddlers.


iSUPs are a high-quality option for both beginners and experienced paddlers



Inflatable SUPs are the lightest boards available. When the board is deflated, the top and bottom layers lay almost completely flat, allowing the board to be rolled up and put in a backpack.

Bay Sports iSUPs are built using premium PVC and drop-stitch materials, then assembled using Fusion-Tec™ construction. This means that the stiffness of the board isn’t compromised to make them lightweight.

Paddle board construction

An inside look at a Bay Sports inflatable paddle board

The board is then heat-pressed by machine, eliminating human error and ensuring completely watertight and airtight seams.

Another important aspect is the glue used to hold the board together. Premium high-grade glue from South Korea is used in Bay Sports boards. This is not only the strongest available, but also environmentally friendly.

The construction ensures that your board will stay in good shape for years to come.

For more information on inflatable SUP construction, get the lowdown on stand-up paddle board technology.



So, what are the advantages of an inflatable SUP over its hard board relatives?

  1. Durability. You might not think it, but inflatable paddle boards are actually more durable than hard board SUPs. Hard boards are susceptible to dings and holes that require expensive repairs. An inflatable SUP is more likely to bounce back from hitting a hard edge than cause any damage to the board. SUP schools and rental agencies are increasingly embracing inflatable boards to minimise the damage to their fleet.

Learn more about repairing your inflatable SUP.

  1. SUP anywhere. Have you always wanted to SUP anywhere with your own board? Inflatable SUPs can be rolled up to fit in a bag that you can take anywhere – onto a plane, or into the trunk of your car. You can save money and paddle on your own schedule.

Sup yoga

SUP anywhere with the versatility of an inflatable board

  1. You’re more likely to use a lighter board, and inflatables are lighter than hard boards. Making it as easy as possible to get to the water, you’re more likely to use your inflatable board.
  1. Reduce your paddle boarding bruises. An inflatable board is easier on the paddler – it’s a softer surface to fall onto than the hard board equivalent.

Woman lying on a paddle board

The softer surface of an iSUP is beneficial for your entire body

  1. Reduce fatigue with a softer deck. There’s reduced contact pressure with an inflatable, with benefits for your entire body.
  1. Save on storage space. Hard boards take up a lot of storage space, whereas inflatable boards pack down into a backpack. You can store an iSUP even when your storage space is limited.

Paddleboards in a backpack

Take your inflatable paddle board on all of your adventures

  1. Versatility. Inflatable paddle boards are very versatile. Inflatables often have more volume than a hard board, equalling greater stability and an ability to carry greater paddler weight. As the design of inflatables improves, the old adage that hard boards equal greater performance than inflatables is becoming less and less relevant.

Inflatable SUPs can be used for racing, and have the stability required for SUP Yoga.

There is a variety of different iSUPs for different types of paddler

  1. Affordable prices. Generally speaking, a good quality inflatable SUP is more affordable than its hard board counterparts. Still benefitting from excellent performance, inflatable SUPs can make owning your own board an affordable reality.

Read more about inflatable SUP price ranges.

  1. Pet-friendly. The stability and grip of an inflatable SUP board is perfect for those wanting to take their dogs out on the water. Paws don’t slide around like they do on a fibreglass board.

Read about teaching a dog to kayak, with tips that are also useful to paddle boarders.

Dog on paddle board

Inflatable paddle boards are a stable option for taking your dog with you



Our mission was to design a premium inflatable SUP board like no other. A superior quality board rolled up into a compact package.

People are surprised by just how rigid our boards feel when inflated.

Bay Sports paddle boards

Bay Sports' premium SUPs are high-quality and perform like no other

Our SUP boards are made of high-grade, 100% 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 a super stable, rigid and very lightweight stand-up paddle board.

Our team have been paddling SUPs since 2012, providing a first-hand understanding of what customers want.



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