Pros and Cons of Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboards

pros cons inflatable stand-up paddleboards

We get it. You want to paddleboard but you think a huge board is a pain to travel with. Well, that’s why you can always shop for inflatable stand-up paddle boards (iSUP board).

You may have some reserved skepticism with the so-called iSUP board. Thinking of inflatables might remind you of rubber ducks and a child’s floaties, but an iSUP is absolutely different (and even more fun). Let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages of this hybrid paddleboard below:

Pros of inflatable stand-up paddleboards


This is probably the first reason why inflatable paddleboards were ever made. We have to admit that it isn’t easy loading your hard paddleboard on top of your car rack. Neither is it easy to store away after a long day of awesome paddling. An inflatable, blow up paddle board solves the problem because it can be rolled up once deflated and fit to a duffel bag. Just roll it, zip it, and you’re good to go!


An inflatable SUP board is really lighter compared to its solid cousins. This makes it easier for you to hand carry them to the waters. Planning on taking a plane ride? Inflatable stand-up paddleboards add only a small amount of weight to your baggage compared to the hard SUP boards. Cross-country SUP is now made more convenient with this type of board.

Rigid with a Soft Surface

This is the general doubt people have when considering this type of board: Can it handle my weight? With the right size, of course it can! You’ll be extremely surprised by how rigid stand-up paddleboards become after you inflate them up to the required psi. The soft surface is also great for cushioning your fall on the board. It is quite ironic for something to be both rigid and soft, but the iSUP board is just like that and it’s not bad.


This might be hard to believe in but you’re in for the surprise. The inflatable paddleboard is perfect for paddleboarding in rocky shores and rivers. Boards made of fiberglass tend to get dinged once it hits rocky surfaces while the inflatable sort bounces right off. Note of caution: this does not mean the iSUP board is invincible, it can still get holes once poked by exceptionally sharp stones. Nevertheless, the inflatable SUP board is anything but flimsy.

SUP PaddleCheck our reviews of the 25 best inflatable paddle boards.

Cons of stand-up paddleboards

Inflating Takes Time (Deflating, too)

As soon as you arrive at your paddling location, you might be ready to head straight into action. But hold up! You still need to take some moments to inflate your paddleboard. Inflating can also be tiring especially if you only have the hand pump that comes with your iSUP board purchase. If you like to speed things up, you might want to consider investing on a foot pump or an electric pump.

Less Stable

They are not as stable as solid boards. The inflatable board serves a challenge especially when you have to deal with choppy water currents and strong winds. Best stick to flat or calmer waters where you can better enjoy the inflatable board.

Less Speed and Agility

You might be paddleboarding to show off your rad skills as you ride the waves and make speedy twists. Sadly, inflatable stand-up paddleboards offer you less speed and agility for you to show off. For this case, a hard board will do better since it is faster and sturdier.

Making the Final Verdict

Price is not an issue when making the decision. Inflatable and hard boards are all on the same page when it comes to the price range. It all boils down into preference and manner of usage.
Would you like a paddle board that is more likely to go easier on the travelling paddler? Do you plan on paddling as a calming activity in calm currents and flat waters? If you answered yes to both questions, inflatable stand-up paddleboards are perfect for the job.
Are you willing to manage the bulk as long as it offers you optimal performance on the waves? Would you like to be able to make quick surfs and agile tricks with your paddleboard? If that is the case, the solid and hard paddle board is the thing for you!

SUP PaddleAlso read about the best Cheap Paddle boards for Sale