So, you have made a decision to buy your first paddle board, but now you’re having a hard time choosing. So the picture for you right now is inflatable paddle board vs solid paddle board, and that’s not an easy choice especially for a beginner. Both types have their own benefits and advantages and by reading articles like this you’ll get a clearer picture of what suit you the most. But first, you need to know what you want in your new paddleboard, and what are the things you want it to do for you or help you do. We will talk about some of the features you need to take into consideration when choosing your first paddleboard.
Inflatable Paddle Boards vs Solid Paddle Boards
So, to compare these two kinds of stand up paddle boards we are going to look into them from 5 categories. The first and the most important one is the construction.
Hard boards have been made pretty much the same since they have been invented. The most common material among all these paddle boards is that they all involve using the same core, which is EPS( expanded polystyrene) foam. EPS doesn’t have a good relationship with water, so they surround it in a variety of ways.
But, if water got into the spaces between the cells, then you have a problem. The amount of density this foam has is what determines the amount of durability the board will have. For instance, if the core has a lower density foam, the lighter the board will be, and the more durability it will have. In order to make a lower density foam as durable as a high-density core foam core, the core needs to be surrounded with strong materials that can compensate.
When it comes to inflatable paddle boards, then most manufacturers use the drop stitching technology to make these boards. If you ever stand on an inflatable board you’ve probably noticed that it’s like you standing on a hard surface. That’s because the board has small fibers woven into the inside part of the board, and when you inflate the board, these fibers straighten up and interlock with each other to make the board feel solid.
Pumping inflatable paddleboards with the right amount of air will determine how much solidity you will have while you’re on board. Most stand up paddleboards can hold to anywhere from 12 – 18 PSI. But in some cases, and especially for high-quality ones, this number can go to up to 25 PSI. A decent inflatable paddle board is 5 – 6 inches in thickness, and in order for the board to hold whatever that is thrown on it, it must be around this range.
If you want to have the ultimate performance while racing or surfing, then solid boards are perfect for you. The shape and the design of hard boards are what makes them faster in water surface and can maneuver easily. They have the proper glide and speed to catch waves while stand up surfing.
However, if we compare inflatable and solid paddle boards between each other to see who is faster, then solid boards would win by a little. This tells us that manufacturers right now have technologies that can make inflatable paddleboards go head to head with hard boards and actually have a chance to win. lastly, for more of casual paddling inflatable paddle boards are perfect especially for beginners to some small activities such as yoga or fishing.
When it comes to durability and toughness, then inflatable paddle boards are a lot better than solid boards. The reason for that being is the drop stitching technology that has been used to manufacture these boards. You can test this durability by heading to the nearest river and paddling. You will start to hit a bunch of rocks here and there, but with an inflatable paddle board, you will immediately bounce.
Unfortunately, this will not happen with a hardboard, as it will get scratched or punctured severely. Also, if you drop your hard board on solid ground it’s most likely to get dings and damages, and that’s even before you have the chance to start paddling. Therefore, the best choice for rocky rivers and white water is an inflatable paddle board as it’s more durable and sturdy.
The reason that makes most people prefer to purchase an inflatable paddleboard over a solid one is the ease of transportation. And that shows up in the transportation process that only takes minutes with inflatable boards and the ability to take the board anywhere. Just like any luggage on the airplane, you can check in your board and take it anywhere you want to go.
Conversely, solid paddle boards need a large car roof with a rack. Even if you manage to strap that heavy board to the roof, you then have to drag it to your final destination. The only disadvantage that can be found in inflatable paddle boards is that you gonna need to inflate the board each time you think of paddling.
And after you finished you have to wait for the board to dry up and deflate it afterward before rolling it up to your backpack. Therefore, if you’re the type of person that like things to go fast, then a solid board might be your best option.
Inflatable paddle boards don’t have a problem with this one at all. All you have to do with this type of paddleboards is to let the air out and then roll it up and store it inside of a backpack. It’s that simple. They can fit into the smallest spaces in your house, the trunk of your car or storage areas on your boat. And when off seasons comes, you can store your paddle board in the back of your closet until the next season.
Now, compare this with a solid board that takes up a significant amount of space in your garage or car. Solid boards also need maintenance from time to time while storing them in offseason, just to make sure they will perform well the next you use them. If you’re someone who lives in a small apartment, then your best choice is an inflatable paddleboard, otherwise, you can picture yourself coming home with a massive board trying to find a big enough space for it.
When it comes to the cost of these two types of paddle boards, then it’s identical. In contrast to what most people think, most iSUPs actually cost as much as solid boards and sometimes even more. The majority of inflatable paddle boards are high in price and that’s because they are quality products, and obviously, that will reflect on the price. However, if you’re on a tight budget and want to experience what paddleboarding feels like, then don’t worry. There are many affordable inflatable boards out there in the market. A paddle board like the Inflatable Goplus SUP is not only good when it comes to quality, but it’s also cheap in price and affordable.
When should you get an inflatable paddle board:
- When you are a beginner.
- When don’t have enough space.
- When you travel most of your time and want to do paddleboarding abroad.
- When you are on a small budget.
When should you get a solid paddle board:
- When you want a fast and responsive paddle board.
- When you have enough storage space.
- When you are more of an advanced paddler.
- When most of your paddling locations are local beaches and lakes.