Three Things to Consider Before Buying an Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboard

Paddleboarding is a fun, relaxing way to enjoy the water without a lot of work.

paddle board on a lake
SUPs with ankle tethers keep your paddleboard within reach when you fall off.Matt Zhou

Maybe you’ve seen someone struggle to load a heavy, 12-foot long paddleboard on top of their vehicle, or strapping it down over the tailgate of their pick-up truck. What looked so graceful supporting a yoga pose out on the water is decidedly less so when trying to balance it on top of a car, and it’s even tougher if the wind is blowing. An inflatable SUP can weigh 50 percent less than a hard paddleboard of the same dimensions, and it fits in a bag you can stuff in the corner of your trunk or backseat. Here are three other reasons to get an inflatable SUP instead of a hard one.

SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
This model has a wide platform for better stability.SereneLife

Your experience level and intended use will help determine the style of inflatable board that’s right for you. Experienced paddlers looking for a high-performance board for racing will want a narrow, long board, whereas a beginner will need a wide board for stability.

Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board W Free Premium SUP Accessories & Backpack
This model features military-grade materials and a 300-pound weight limit.Roc

To help you decide the size and shape of the SUP you need, think about the circumstances where you’ll be paddling and whether the construction and design is suited for the conditions. Dual-layer, reinforced PVC paddleboards are heavy, but the material’s durability make it a better choice for rocky paddling conditions. Also, some boards feature an interchangeable fin system, enabling you to switch fins to match water conditions and your performance needs.

Premium Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (6 inches Thick) with Durable SUP Accessories & Carry Bag
Three bottom fins help improve stability and speed.FBSPORT

Many inflatable SUPs come with an accessories package, like a safety leash and pump. Look for a model with deck straps, buckles, and nooks. You want a board designed for storage and comfort, without too many things to get in your way. Recessed handles, a couple D-rings fore and aft, a tie-down system, and deck padding are a few features you’ll appreciate on the water. Some boards include additional padding on the stern for a “kick tail” to help you maneuver.

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