We love inflatable SUPs! They are easy to travel with, easy to store, and they are much more rigid than you think! They are also great for families as they can handle light hits from a dock or rocks.
However, there seems to be thousands of inflatable boards on the market and it’s overwhelming trying to figure out which one to buy.
We’ve put a short guide together on what we look for when purchasing an inflatable board.
When we are looking for a board, no matter the budget, the first thing we look at is the PSI. PSI stands for pounds per square inch and tells us how much air your board is able to take and how much it needs for optimal performance. PSI can vary usually from 10-25 PSI. The higher the PSI, the harder the board is going to be. It will also give you better stability, will not flex in the middle, and can hold more weight.
We highly recommend purchasing a board that can hold a higher PSI and ensure that you pump up your board to the recommended PSI.
Paddle boards usually range from 10 feet to 14 feet - and longer! A shorter board, that is around 10 feet can be great for beginners and i a great option if the board is going to be used between lots of people of different sizes. They can be easier to handle on the water - especially if it’s really windy and they can be easier to turn as well. They are great if you just plan on paddling around smaller locations.
Longer boards, usually over 12 feet, can be harder to handle in the water as it can take more power to turn the board and can be difficult to handle on windy days. However, longer boards glide quickly in the water and are great choices for longer trips.
When it comes to width, the wider the board the better stability. A 32” wide board can be a great option for beginners or for those looking for easy paddles around the cabin. The drawback to a wider board is that it can be tough on your shoulders to have to reach back and forth to paddle.
A board less than 32” can be less stable when you first start, but if you plan on paddling consistently, you might be able to quickly adjust to the width. A narrower board can make it easier on your shoulders when paddling as there is less reach side to side.
If you’re purchasing a package deal, which most companies sell, you can purchase all accessories together which can save you time, money, and research! Most packages will include a leash, a pump, repair kit and a paddle. This gets you out on the water quicker and you can always upgrade your accessories later.
When it all comes down to it - a board is a board. It’s whatever gets you on the water that matters!
But if you’re looking to just have an easy paddle on the water, look for a shorter board that is wider.
A 10’6x32” can be a great option!
If you’re looking to go out longer with the hope of doing overnight trips or expeditions, a longer narrower board might be a better option.
A 12’6 x 30” can be a great option.
If you’re still confused on what to buy, come join us for a paddle! We have lots of different board types and styles so you can see which you’d prefer.
Please note that we do not give any recommendations as to which brand of board to buy. All brands are different and are great for some - but may not be for others. It's important to do your research and compare different board companies.