There are way more pros than cons in my opinion but I’ll try not to be biased!
Pros to Inflatable Stand Up Boards
- Lightweight – these boards are very lightweight, especially when they are not blown up. They are easy to carry and transport because they are not too heavy. You can carry them all by yourself!
- Rigid and Strong – despite the lightweight material and feel, they are very strong. The material is military grade, and the technology keeps getting better. These boards are hard to damage and do not often pop like you might think since they are inflatable. It is not the thin material like a blow up mattress but more so a fiber glass feel. You would be surprised how many people I have had accuse me of not having a blow up because it is so hard and durable. Once your board is blown up to the optimal PSI it is impossible to tell the difference. Except that there is a place to blow it up in the back!
- Compact – these boards roll or fold up to be smaller than you think. They fit into a backpack that any adult can carry. But also this means they are simple to find storage for. You can keep it in your house anywhere, you don’t need hooks on a wall in your garage or a shed outside. They get small and fit in closet space!
- Optimal for all Skill Levels – one of the greatest pro’s that these SUPs have is the ability to be used by anyone. A beginner to an expert, they are great for learning or for more competitive boarding of a professional. These boards are soft and stable for learning on but also have the ability to move quickly and swiftly for someone who may be competing or trying new expert moves.
Cons to Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards
- Expensive – even though as the sport becomes more popular, they are more accessible and affordable, most boards are not cheap. Getting something like new water sport equipment is not usually cheap, but these boards can be quite pricey. I know the few that I own range very widely in price. From the one bought at Costco which was a few hundred to the one I own in Ireland being closer to a thousand dollars.
- Pumping it up – even though it doesn’t actually take more than 10 minutes it is a lot of work and you have to use the hand pump each time. I honestly enjoy this, it feels like I’m getting more of a physical workout when I do it. There are options of electric pumps, from my experience they can actually take longer than doing it manually. These boards were meant to be blown up by hand pump, most inflatable boards come with a pump perfect for your board. So this is just something that takes time, most people see it as a con. Because a board that is fiberglass does not take this extra step of work or time.
- Flex – some people complain that there can be a flex in the middle of the board, that maybe it’s not 100% straight and flat all the time. In my experience this is because someone has not inflated their board to optimal PSI. Each board has a certain PSI that is perfect for it, most are around 15 some a little less or more. So if you find that there is a flex in the middle of your board make sure that you are pumping it up all the way!
The Amazing Sport in General
I think there are so many benefits to this sport, it is a great full body workout that can be done alone or with lots of friends! It can be a serious outing or a social get together. Whether you choose to get an inflatable board or opt to try a fiberglass or epoxy board. This is a sport you want to get involved in!
Rent A Board
No matter what city you live in, if there is water there is probably a place to rent one of these boards to give it a try for a reasonable rate. For instance here in Austin there are so many options for renting it’t almost hard to choose.
Some rental places only have the hard boards, some even have cheaper foam ones to rent. But since the durability of the inflatables have gotten so much better many rental companies are beginning to invest in them.
Call around or do some research and find a place that will allow you to rent an inflatable and a non inflatable to compare the difference! There is even many sports stores that will allow you to rent from them and then drive to a body of water of your choice.
So after weighing the Pros and Cons I just want you to get out there and try this amazing sport.
Feel free to reach out with any questions, I love to share my experiences and even teach people all the amazing benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
Now go, get out on the water!