Inflatable Or Hard Paddleboard, Which Is Better?

When you want to buy a paddleboard, deciding on what paddleboard to purchase can be a big challenge. Buying a paddleboard comes with its difficulties since you have to figure out the type of brands to select from the range of brands in the market. One primary consideration you would make is the choice between an inflatable paddle board and a hard paddle board. Although each has its own benefit, the choice of the type of paddleboard you want is dependent on your needs and lifestyle. To help you make informed decisions, we have vetted the options available using diverse parameters. Because a product has a lot of benefits does not imply that it is suitable for everyone. This article will explain the features that differentiate the inflatable paddleboard from the hard paddleboard.

Hard Paddle Board

Hard paddle boards also known as epoxy boards are made from different materials such as fiberglass, foam, plastics, Kevlar, wood, and covered with coats of epoxy resin. The foam in it allows enthusiasm, while the layers of fiberglass, Kevlar, or bamboo veneer enable durability and rigidity. The epoxy finish hardens the board and allows watertight. Most epoxy boards usually have an air vent installed on the deck which is used to secure the epoxy resin from delaminating on from the foam blank. Although there are other layers of materials available like plastic which are cheaper, they do not give the same performance level as that of the epoxy resin. There are other factors to consider such as the shape and size. Also, while purchasing, ensure that the board is light enough for you to control and for your weight, make sure it is durable enough and watertight.

Inflatable Paddle Board

An inflatable paddle board is also known as iSUPs. It is made from PVC plastic with woven fibers that link the top to the bottom at points within the board. They usually come in a carriable and portable size of about a large duffle bag which may weigh from 18 to 20 pounds. They come with a valve that is attached to a pump to inflate the board, usually to 15 psi. Most iSUPs (especially the ones for river paddling) come with flexible built-in fins but can also come with fin boxes with replaceable fin options. They are lighter than the hard paddle boards because they are made of air and plastic.

There are certain factors to consider when deciding on the type of paddle to use. They include;

Storage space

Before buying any type of paddleboard whether hard or inflatable, you should consider how much storage you have at your house. An inflatable paddle board is best for a house with smaller storage space since it can fit anywhere in your house. Unlike the hard paddleboard which will require a lot of space. Before deciding on the choice of the paddle, you should consider the space each will be occupying and how much space you can provide for a long period since they shouldn't be deflated and rolled in for a long time. The amount of space you can spare determines what paddleboard you would need.


It is easier to travel with an inflatable paddleboard than a hard paddle board. For the iSUPs, you don’t need a large van or truck to transport them. you can even fly with them easily without paying extra fees. Just keep it in a bag, most inflatables come with a backpack for easy storage. This means you can keep deflating after use and inflate for use. Meanwhile, transporting the epoxy board will require a large car plus it is usually heavier and difficult to lift from one place to another.


Most inflatable boards weights around mid 20 pounds range while the hard boards can weigh from 30 to 50 pounds. This difference has an impact on how each board performs. Since the inflatable is lighter, they get down easily into the water while the heavyweight of the hard paddleboards allows it to maintain stable support and navigation through the water to reach more distance per paddle. On windier days, the hard paddleboard is easier to carry and their thinner rails feature allows them to sit lower in the water.


iSUPs last longer than the epoxy board. If you mistakenly drop your inflatables, you would not notice a scratch, ding, or holes but with the hard paddleboard, it may likely damage and need an immediate repair. It is made from military-grade PVC materials that protect the tight drop stitch core. If you want a lasting and rugged paddleboard, you should opt for the inflatables. The inflatables are also the best option for paddling rocky rivers since they are durable. Also, the chance of getting hurt on an inflatable is low since they are inflatable.


Inflatables Outperform hardboards in a Variety of Situations. Inflatable SUP boards with the rigidity of a hardboard and performance improvements over fiberglass or epoxy boards have been developed thanks to advancements in material design and technology. When it comes to performance, the perfect board would be one that is inflatable. Inflatable paddle boards are all-rounders and can be paddled anywhere.

When comparing the volume of an inflatable and a hard board with the same dimension, the inflatable can have up to 20% more volume, increasing their stability and capacity of handling more rider and passenger weight. Inflatables are becoming more popular in contests and among recreational SUP racers as performance improves. Inflatables have unique advantages which makes them the perfect pock for many. ‘Hardboard-like performance’ is no longer something to aspire to, as inflatables bring so much more versatility to the table.



Better is relative and so it is dependent on the type of activities you want to do with it. if you are looking for a light, fun, and easy board, the inflatable is the best option for you. Inflatable board have good enough performance, many pro races are using inflatable board, when it comes to performance, getting an inflatable board would be an amazing decision, as they tend to bring that do-it-all feel to the table. So, back to the question, Inflatable or Hard Paddleboard, which is better? Well, here’s our final take: Inflatable SUPs are significantly superior for all-around recreational paddling due to various advantages its durability, mobility, weight, adaptability, and injury prevention. Opting for an inflatable board today, is most definitely the best investment you can make!




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