Want an inflatable SUP? Then go for it!!
I’m sure you have heard or read more discouraging things about them than good things. Or, you have paddled on one and thought, “Why am I on a dingy? This isn’t fun.” That can be very off-putting and confusing.
So what’s the deal?
Inflatables are a personal preference, like everything else. They do have a bad rap because you have your big shots out there that have nothing good to say about them, and snicker at you when you tell them you want an inflatable. Okay guys, let’s be reasonable! Not all ISUPs are inadequate, and from my experience, depending on what you need it for, they can perform similar to a rigid board.
ISUPs are great for many things, such as:
River paddling where there could be rocks or rough waters
If there is an awesome lake at the top of a mountain or in a cavern 100 ft. down you can stick it in the awesome bag that it comes with and hike to your paddle location
If you live in an apartment or have limited storage
If you don’t have a roof rack or can’t lift a rigid board onto your vehicles roof or the best reason: Because you just want an inflatable stand-up paddle board!
You get the idea! Start with what your needs are.
There are a lot of ISUPs to choose from and a lot out there that are substandard, which give ISUPs their less than stellar reputation. Like anything you buy, if you invest in it you will get higher quality, and in the SUP world this is particularly true! Now, stand-up paddleboards are an investment for sure; this is because of how they are made. If you just want something for a day at the beach or to sit in your garage until next summer then by all means an inexpensive board can be the way to go. However if you are serious about paddling on a regular basis, then don’t go cheap.
A $600.00 inflatable sounds like an awesome buy! Well, in my experience, they slowly deflated as I rode them, didn’t seem to hold up in water temperature changes, didn’t do well in rough water, seemed to be more narrow (leaving them difficult to balance on), and with time I found they stopped holding the air like they used to. These are the inflatable boards that give ISUPs crummy reviews leaving the “experts” to sway you away from them, as they should. However, they don’t seem to mention that not all of them are like this.
A $1300.00 inflatable stand up paddleboard seems like a lot. However, this board is going to be crafted with higher quality material, is made to last a long time, and should not falter under varying conditions! I know people who ride nothing but inflatable boards, and riding them myself I have to say that they can be amazing boards! River paddling can come with white water or low water filled with gravel and the potential for sharp rocks, these boards are made to withstand these conditions and I wouldn’t hesitate to take them on. I found while paddling on flat water lakes that these ISUPs can go the distance. I didn’t have to pay close attention to the PSI and was never worried that it would go limp. We have also piled three adults onto a quality inflatable, and it carried us like it was no big deal! To have our dog come for a paddle and not fear that her claws would puncture the board is also a great feeling!
So here we are with the question of “Are inflatable stand-up paddle boards worth buying?” My answer as an avid paddler is YES! But try it for yourself! There are lots of places to rent ISUPs that carry high end boards and cheaper boards.
There is no doubt that you will notice the difference and be able to choose for yourself which inflatable is the way to go or if an inflatable is even for you!
Either way it’s all about having fun, so get out there!