Inflatable Paddle Boards

isle inflatable paddleboard

Born in 2014, inflatable paddle boards have continued to grow in popularity, especially now that paddle boarding sport has become a craze among teens and adults who want to have fun on the water.

Unfortunately, this has led to an influx of inflatable paddle boards from different brands, with each claiming they have the best inflatable paddle boards in an effort to take advantage of the demand.

That’s why it is important to arm yourself with as much information as you can before you head into the market so that you can learn how to pick the right paddle board for your needs with ease.

Fortunately, for beginners and intermediate paddlers, we have you covered as our website covers everything you need to know about paddle boards- from basic information on board types and how to choose the right ones to reviews of best paddle boards on the market.

In this guide, we will talk about the different types of paddle board you can consider, frequently asked questions about paddle board and paddle boarding, and a lot more.

Let’s get started.

Different Types of Inflatable Paddle Boards

Before you head to an online store to purchase a paddle board, one of the first things you need to know is the type of paddle board that suits you. This is determined by what you are aiming to do. Some people would like to surf, others to race, while others just want to enjoy and explore the sea environment.

Whatever your needs are, there is always an inflatable paddle board that suits your needs. Here are some of the different types of inflatable boards available on the market today;

All-round Paddle Boards

The shape of the paddle board you go with determines whether or not you will have an enjoyable water-time experience.

So are you new to paddle boarding? Nervous about falling? Are you looking for a board that can help you explore? Then an all-around paddle board might suit you.

The all-around paddle board shape has a rounded nose area, known as the planing hull. This is designed for cruising rivers, lakes, and surfing.

They tend to have a little rocker as the nose is raised slightly out of the water. This makes them perfect for handling waves that comes your way.

The board is wide enough to allow for more balancing and easier maneuvering. This is one of the main reasons all-around paddle boards are a great option for beginner paddler.

On the downside, the wider, bulkier planing hull as well as their wide size makes them not ideal for long-distance paddling and racing.

All-around inflatable paddle boards are great for;

– SUP fishing

– SUP yoga

– SUP surfing

– Recreational paddling

– Paddling on lakes, rivers, oceans, and bays

An all-around inflatable board is for you if;

1. You want a stand up paddle board for leisure activities. All-around paddle boards are the best for beginners and those who are looking for a SUP board for recreational purposes. For instance, those looking for a gentle-moderate paced paddle board to explore oceans, lakes, or bay with a few friends will be best suited with an all-around shape board

2. You want a simple board to grow into. These are perfect board for people who would want to advance their paddling skill level

3. You are planning on using it for fishing, yoga, and SUP surfing

Touring Stand-up Inflatable Paddle Boards

The touring SUP boards generally have pointed nose, just like a kayak, and are designed for people who want to paddle for longer distances at greater speeds.

Their pointed nose area is called a displacement hull and is responsible for their greater performance and higher efficiency than all-around SUPs. In other words, you can track straighter and quicker across water using touring SUP board than using all-around boards. This makes touring board best for SUP racing, long-distance paddling, and speed.

However, their great performance comes at a cost- difficult to balance and maneuver. This makes them less ideal for beginners and can be difficult to maneuver in rough water.

The touring SUP inflatable paddle board is great for;

– Speed and racing

– Long expeditions

You will want a touring paddle board if you;

1. Are into adventure and are planning to go on long-distance trips on water. The touring board is a great choice for long-distance paddlers

2. Are a serious paddler who is looking for a board that offers greater performance

3. Have outgrown an all-around SUP and have mastered the skill of balancing on water. A touring board will provide more challenge and will be more of an upgrade in terms of design features, width, and volume

4. Are a heavy rider and want to go racing in choppy waters. A touring board will serve you better in such conditions than a race board

Surf Inflatable Paddleboards

These are designed to paddle on to waves with ease, and thus are made with durable materials. They range from 7 inches long to 12 inches, and thus you have to choose the size that best fits your skills, needs, and size.

Smaller boards fits best people with smaller body frames as well as advanced riders who prioritize maneuverability. People with bigger body frames should go for boards with 9-10 inches length.

Surf boards have similar shape to all-round paddle boards, although they have a more curved nose and tip. This shape enables them to maintain balance during rapid waves and cut through water for good performance.

Although they might not feel as technical as hard boards, especially for experienced paddlers, they still offer great surfing experience for beginner and advanced riders who want the convenience of easy storage and portability.

If you want a surf inflatable paddle board, go for one with curvy bottom floor and narrow tail.

The Surf ISUP’s is great for

– Intermediate and advanced paddlers

– Those who want more performance out of their paddle boards

You will want a Surf ISUP board if you;

1. Want to surf through waves. These paddle boards are very maneuverable on waves

2. Are looking for more challenge on water as these boards are quite unstable during waves, and thus calls for a lot of balancing

Racing inflatable Paddle Boards

Specialized inflatable race boards generally come in lengths that will optimize racing performance. In most cases, they have a length of 12’6”, but some will be 14’ to increase speed.

If you are a beginner looking to get an inflatable racing board, one with 28-inches in width will be narrow enough to allow speed, but still quite stable. A 26-inch width board will go fast, but you will find it challenging to balance it on water.

Racing board can have a flat tail with a narrower nose or be symmetrically rounded. Both shapes can be great, but avoid boards with too narrow nose if you like paddling with a partner.

The racing inflatable paddle board is great for;

– People who would like to participate in open ocean competitions

– Recreational and elite racers alike

You will want a racing ISUP board if you;

1. Are a beginner who want to challenge himself/herself

2. Want to go downstream or race in flat water

Other types of inflatable paddle boards;

Multi-person ISUPs. The largest of these board can accommodate up to 8 people, and thus are made to be stiff, wide, and very stable. They are great for families that would like to paddle together. Also, you can find smaller multi-person boards that can carry two paddlers.

Yoga Paddle Boards. These boards are wide and often have a full-length deck pad that provides ample space for SUP yoga. They are often thick to provide stiffness for more stability and to keep you dry when doing yoga stretches and poses. They provide the same paddling experience just as all-around boards

White Water ISUPs. These boards have exaggerated rockers and high sides to allow them maneuver with ease on the water. They are tempered on the floor area as they are likely to bump into rocks. The boards are made to be light to aid maneuverability and often have a wide mid-section and a drawn-in tail.

Now that you know the different types of inflatable paddle boards, you are in a better position to know what exactly to go for when buying a paddle board.

Make sure to check our ultimate guide to buying an inflatable paddle board on our site.

Let’s now cover some of the frequently asked questions about inflatable paddle boards;

Inflatable Paddleboard FAQ

How long does it take to inflate an inflatable paddleboard?

The time it takes to inflate your paddleboard depends on the type of pump you are using as well as the volume of your board. Generally, a regular hand pump takes 7-12 minutes to inflate a 10’6” board.

If you have a good electric pump, it can take 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of your board. You will notice your inflatable board taking shape in a couple of minutes, but you have to inflate it to capacity, which in most cases is 12-15 PSI.

How do I find the best inflatable paddle boards for my needs?

Well, choosing an inflatable paddle board requires a lot of consideration. You have to consider;

– Your needs (what you intend to do with board) as this will determine what type of board you will go for. We have discussed different types of boards in this guide

– You will also need to look at the construction of the board. A good board should be made of quality materials

– Other factors you will need to consider include, width, length, and thickness of the board, accessories it comes with, type of paddle it comes with and so much more. You can check our guide on how to buy the best inflatable paddleboard for your needs

Are inflatable boards better than hardboard?

Well, this is a personal choice and thus depends on your preference. Inflatable boards are typically more stable, durable, portable, and easier to store, but they fail when it comes to performance as compared to hard boards. Therefore, you have to evaluate your needs to know what suits you more.

We did a comprehensive guide that compares these two types of paddleboards, you can check it here

What PSI does my paddleboard needs?

In most cases, manufacturers indicate the highest pressure a board should have. Most boards have PSI ranging from 15 to 21.

Note: Keep in mind that air expand when heated and thus increases pressure. Therefore, if you leave your board under hot sun for a long time, deflate it a little bit when getting into the water to avoid damaging it. In addition, if you a light person, you don’t need to pump the board to maximum PSI. However, people with larger body frames must pump the board to maximum pressure to avoid sinking in the middle.

Can I carry my inflatable on an airplane?

Yes. One of the advantages of going for an inflatable paddleboard is that you can carry it with you anywhere, including on an airplane. Your board, when deflated, can fit in its own backup, together with the pump and paddle.

In most cases, you will not experience any problems when checking at the airport, but it is important to review the luggage requirements of your air company to avoid any surprises.

What is the average cost of paddle board?

Quality paddle boards range from $600 to $5000, and maybe more for customized boards designed for racing. As a beginner, a board ranging from $1000 to $2000 will suit you.

Is it important to invest in a good paddle upfront?

Yes. Most entry-level paddle boards comes with heavy paddle boards made of aluminum. However, if you want to avoid stress, injuries, and fatigue, you need to choose a quality paddle. Quality paddles are made of carbon fiber and allows one to paddle longer without feeling fatigue.

NOTE; aluminum paddles are not bad, but they are heavier than carbon fiber paddles. Therefore, if you are planning on paddling for long distances, we would advise that you invest in paddles made from carbon fibers.

How can I take good care of my inflatable board for it to last?

Inflatable boards are very easy to maintain as you just need to wash them with fresh water after use. Ensure to store it when dry. Also, don’t expose your board in the sun for too long (beyond 4 hours). If it stays outside for too long, be sure to at least deflate it a little bit so that it doesn’t exceed its maximum PSI. Air expands when heated, and this increases the PSI.

As a beginner, what board shape should I go for?

Most beginners prioritize stability more than anything else, which is why wider boards suits them more. A long and narrow board lacks stability on water, but it tends to go fast, which explains why pro paddlers prefer them.

In terms of length, a long board will track straight easily when paddling but a shorter board will be easy to turn but difficult to track straight.

For beginners, an all-around board is the best as it offers excellent stability and commendable performance in terms of speed and direction. Most all-around paddle boards measures 10’6” by 32”. This size gives you the stability you need to learn how to paddle comfortably.

Can I use my paddle board with my kids or pet?

Yes. You can share your paddle board with your kids, partner, or pet as there is an ample space, especially for all-around boards and touring board.

Therefore, when buying the board, think about the volume that you need to carry with you as well as the weight capacity of the board. The good thing about inflatable boards is that they are more comfortable than hard boards.

Should I wear a PFD when paddling?

Most regions or countries have regulations with regard to (SUP PFDs) personal flotation devices, which are intended to keep people safe. Make sure you wear a PFD, especially if you don’t know how to swim or when you are paddling in dangerous water. For kids, don’t think twice. Make sure they have a PFD on.

In terms of clothing, wear clothes that allows movement and those designed for water sports. But this is not a must, especially when you learn to balance yourself on the board.

What are the best inflatable paddle board?

It is true that the market is flooded with many inflatable paddle boards and it can be hard to know which is the best or suitable for your needs. But we have done most of the work for you and reviewed the top inflatable paddle boards we feel are not only reliable but also durable.

Click here to see my list of top 4 inflatable paddle boards.

We do hope our mammoth guide has taught you a thing or two about inflatable paddle boards, and put you in a better position to choose the best inflatable paddle board for your needs.

We are looking forward to seeing you enjoy your time paddling on the water.