Inflatable Paddle Board vs. Hard SUP: Top 10 Reasons to Buy an iSUP

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Inflatable Paddle Board vs. Hard
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When it comes to buying a stand up paddle board, should you buy an inflatable paddle board or a hard SUP? While the answer to this question depends greatly on what type of paddler you are and how you’ll be using your SUP, in this post we’re going to give you 10 great reasons to consider an inflatable SUP for your next board purchase.

Over time, iSUP boards have continued to get better and better. New technology is emerging and construction techniques are evolving. The performance gap between the best inflatable SUPs and rigid boards continues to narrow, and many diehard traditional SUP riders are now making the switch to iSUPs.

While it’s true that performance-oriented paddlers involved in SUP racing, serious wave surfing, and competitions will find inflatables less compelling, we believe that inflatable SUPs are a no-brainer for the vast majority of paddle boarders.

So without further ado, let’s get to our list…

Inflatable SUP vs. Rigid: Top 10 Reasons to Buy an iSUP

1. More Durable

While regular SUP boards are extremely prone to dings and damage, inflatable stand up paddle boards are nearly indestructible. With an inflatable board, you’ll no longer have to worry about board dings, and in the rare event that a repair is needed, most iSUPs include a repair kit. Patching an inflatable SUP is a quick, simple, cheap fix, whereas a hard SUP repair is expensive and takes far more time.

2. Easy to Transport

With an inflatable paddle board, you won’t be forced to mess with roof racks. Just throw your deflated iSUP into the car and you’re on your way. When you get to the water, most boards are quickly and easily pumped up in about 5 minutes.

3. Convenient Storage

Storing a hard SUP requires a lot of space — something that can obviously be a serious challenge for most apartment dwellers. An inflatable SUP, on the other hand, packs down to the size of a sleeping bag and can be conveniently stored under a bed or in a closet.

4. Price

For the most part, the price of an inflatable stand up paddle board is less than a regular hard SUP board. But if you’re a penny pincher, that’s not the only place you’ll save money with an iSUP — you’ll also spend less on repairs and rentals as you’ll be able to bring your inflatable with you everywhere you go.

5. Flying

Since inflatable paddle boards pack down and can be neatly stored in a bag or backpack, you’ll be able to bring your inflatable SUP with you on all of your vacations! Just throw your board in with your checked luggage and pick it up when you arrive. Now you’ll be able to experience all of the world’s best SUP spots without the costly board rental fees.

6. Hiking

Since inflatable paddle boards can be easily carried in a backpack, they’re awesome for hiking. You can grab your board and hike to some amazing paddle spots that would be otherwise inaccessible with a rigid paddle board.

7. Resale Value

Typically, inflatable SUP boards look better after a few years of use and also have better resale value. While hard paddle boards are often dinged up and have been repaired by the time they hit the secondary market, inflatables usually look pristine. It’s a known fact that a well-cared for iSUP will last for many, many years.

8. More Forgiving

While inflatable SUP boards are extremely rigid, they do offer a slight amount of give. This makes an inflatable safer and more forgiving in the event that you fall on your board or it falls on you!

9. More Versatile

While you would never take a regular paddle board in white water, an inflatable SUP is perfect for the task. With an inflatable paddle board, you won’t have to worry about rocks and other obstacles dinging and damaging your board, and you’ll be able to paddle in a wider variety of conditions.

10. Lighter

Last but not least, inflatable stand up paddle boards are typically much lighter than standard hard SUPs. This makes iSUP boards especially ideal for women and children who might find a rigid board quite heavy.

Final Thoughts

Inflatable Paddle Board
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As you can see, there are many compelling reasons to consider buying an inflatable SUP. There are significant advantages to inflatable paddle boards when it comes to affordability, convenience, and versatility.

If you’ve been on the fence about what type of board to buy, hopefully this post has given you some additional things to consider. Buying a SUP is a big investment, and we recommend that you take your time and weigh the pros and cons of each option.

Whether you decide to buy an inflatable paddle board or a hard SUP, remember to spend some time reading our inflatable paddle board reviews before making a purchase. Happy paddling!


  1. When I got into paddle boarding 10 years ago I was curious about iSup’s but didn’t think they were at the level of rigid boards at that time. After doing some research, talking to people that have inflatables and trying a few, I bought my first inflatable 2 weeks ago. In the time I’ve had my new Level 6 HD12’6″ I’m a convert and have bragged about iSup’s to all my friends. Those who have rigid boards and those looking to get into the sport. It tracks straight and is more stable, lighter, tougher and faster than the last 2 rigid boards I’ve had. My dogs like it a lot more too as there is better grip for them. And, their claws don’t mark it up as they did on the rigid board. Having come from a white water kayak background I just ordered a flexible fin so I can run some rivers with it. My wife bought a Level 6 HD 11’6″ at the same time and after her first ride on it she was all smiles and commented on how much better she liked it than her last rigid board.

    • Thanks for the great comment, Tim. Glad to hear that you made the jump over to iSUPs, for most paddlers they’re the best way to go. I’m certain you’ll enjoy your new boards…

      Happy paddling!

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