Every year we see more and more boats with paddleboards strapped to their decks. They’re fun to use at your favorite anchorage, but they take up lots of space when not in use. If you’re a boater who’s caught the SUP bug, you should consider purchasing an inflatable paddleboard.
Inflatable paddleboards are easier to carry, store, and travel with, and they’re almost completely ding-proof. You may find it hard to believe that something that you blow up can actually be stable enough to float you out on the water, but when inflated to the correct PSI higher-end inflatables can be just as rigid and stable as conventional boards. Today’s ISUP’s are constructed with drop-stitch technology, allowing for greater air pressure and increased rigidity.
The rolled up board inside the bag is around 30-40lbs, or about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than a conventional board. Most can be carried by just one person under the arm. If you’ve got an electric air pump on board, pumping the board up takes just a couple of minutes. Hand pumps work as well.
Inflatables deflate to the size of a suitcase within 5 minutes. They roll up small enough to fit in the trunk of your car, under a seat on your boat or even in a closet during the off season. There is very little maintenance when it comes to storing your inflatable. The only advice we would give is to make sure the board is completely dry before rolling it up and storing it. If you put your board away wet, it can lock in stinky water smells and be unpleasant when you go to unroll it and use it next time.
As the popularity of inflatable SUPs has increased over the past few years, many companies have started producing designs suitable for all types of stand-up paddle boarding. There are now inflatable SUPs for just about anything – flat-water paddling, touring, white-water rafting, yoga, and even multi-person and wave surfing. We’d suggest a dealer who will allow you to try before you buy. But whatever style you choose, an ISUP could be a perfect addition to your boating fun.