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What Is an Inflatable Paddleboard?


What Is an Inflatable Paddleboard?

Summer, for many people, is the time for water sports. Most people of the suburbs and cities head to the lakes and beaches to enjoy their time in the sun. However, having fun in the sun is now more exciting because of the many water-boarding tools at your disposal.


Surfboards, and its History


When people think of water boarding, the first thing that comes to their mind is surfboards. Surfing is an incredible sport that carries with itself, a great historical heritage. The people of the sea, such as the sailors, islanders, and those that live by the shore have been riding the waves and surfing the waters since the early 1700s.


Nevertheless, it is difficult exactly to tell about the exact origination of the sport since there is no record of the first person to set foot on the sea, on top of a surfboard. Some cultures are closely associated with the sport of surfing. Surfing is a big part of their ancestral roots since they depended on boards that could take them a few distances from shore.


Where today, it is an amazing form of exercise and adventure, in ancient times, it was a means to travel across lakes and sea in search of fish. In the Hawaiian traditions, the surfboard is the cornerstone of their culture. To many Hawaiians, designing a surfboard is their dominant display of art.


In hindsight, you can say that the surfboard was the father prototype of all the other varieties of boards that we see today. Innovation led to the idea of paddleboards, which ultimately gave way to the new and technologically advanced inflatable paddleboard.

Paddle Boarding and History

Participants that indulge in the activity of paddleboarding take the same approach as surfboarding, but they involve an extra paddle that will push them through. Ships artist such as John Webber is said to have engraved the first-ever paddleboard.


However, this is merely anecdotal, collective proof points towards Thomas Edward Blake as the pioneer of paddleboards. In the early 1930’s paddleboards were emphatically promoted as powerful lifeguarding tools. Before, their shape consisted of a hollow board.


These hollow boards are refined into hardboard paddleboards of today with a flourishing industry of paddleboard manufacturers that compete with each other by introducing innovative designs and material.

An inflatable board can provide you with just as good as an experience that you can have with a hard paddling board.

Inflatable Paddle Boards

You can also refer inflatable boards to SUP boards, which means stand-up inflatable boards. Unlike the conventional hardboard, manufacturers produce inflatable paddleboards with the help of PVC plastic. Some will also consist of foam and carbon fiber.


These synthetic materials allow the boards to inflate and deflate, giving them portability and allowing you to enjoy a board that gives you the convenience to carry it easily. In terms of space, inflatable boards are minimally invasive. Not to mention, they are incredibly light.

Inflatable Paddle Boards VS Hard Paddleboards – Pros and Cons

Having an inflatable board gives you access to portability. Just being able to deflate it, roll it, insert it in a small backpack, and travel is something that you cannot get with the heavy hardboard. The practical advantages that come with having a small backpack are immense. For someone that has limited space in their trunk to fit a hardboard, an inflatable one may as well be an ideal choice.


Another thing that inflatable paddleboards can be great for is durability, especially when it comes to impact resistance. This means that they make for an ideal paddle boarding experience, across a runny and Rocky River stream. The inflatable board is an elastic rubber surface that you can bounce off anything.


Therefore, a hardboard that consists of epoxy fiberglass is much more likely to face damages when it hits on a hard surface. On the other hand, with the inflatable paddleboard, you do not have to worry about chipped edges or a scratched surface, because of their high durability.


For beginners, inflatable boards provide a much softer surface in comparison to harder boards. Due to its softer and bouncier surface, many people recommend it as a safer alternative for kids that want to have fun paddle boarding. Falling on an inflatable paddleboard makes it forgiving and prevents any injury.


If you are a traveler, that loves to test the waters of different regions and places, then investing in an inflatable board gives you the freedom to do so. However, it may not give you the same performance as the hardboard, but it can still promise an amazing time.


Other than the performance factor, the biggest setback of having an inflatable paddleboard is the time-consuming set-up process. Pumping up the inflatable paddleboard is a difficult task to maneuver. With a hard paddleboard, you can just grab the board, head to the beach, and start catching the waves.


You cannot do that with the inflatable paddleboard, before you can start surfing, you have to pump it up to the optimal level. For this reason, you can say that inflatable boards come with a piece of extra baggage to finance and carry, in the form of pumps.


Certain times, it can become difficult to get your pump to the optimum pressure. To get the best surfing experience, you should fill it up to at least PSI or maybe slightly more. You want to make sure that it is rigid enough to withstand your weight and flow smoothly on the water.


Battery-powered electric pumps are tools that can make your pumping experience better, but they will still consume your time. To counter this issue, most people will not deflate their boards after they have finished using them.


This is a good option since it also prevents the unnecessary creases that you get from constantly rolling up your board after defeating it. Since an inflated paddleboard mostly consists of trapped air, it makes it lighter in weight.


Another big difference that you feel when you are riding an inflatable comes about in high-performance situations. If you a surfer that likes to participate in water sports, such as racing or stunts, then you will find your performance dropping when ridding an inflatable.

In choppy conditions, when you need to beat the time by making swift turns, an inflatable board may not be as responsive as a hardboard. Therefore, in competitive scenarios, your best bet to make good time would be to rely on the hardboard.

The Verdict

You can also refer inflatable boards to SUP boards, which means stand-up inflatable boards. Unlike the conventional hardboard, manufacturers produce inflatable paddleboards with the help of PVC plastic. Some will also consist of foam and carbon fiber.


These synthetic materials allow the boards to inflate and deflate, giving them portability and allowing you to enjoy a board that gives you the convenience to carry it easily. In terms of space, inflatable boards are minimally invasive. Not to mention, they are incredibly light.

The Price

In terms of price, it varies greatly according to the construction of the board. Some boards are just more expensive than others because of the quality of the layering. The better and more expensive boards often come with multiple PVC layering that makes you float even if the board deflates.

How to Set up Your Inflatable Paddle Board

Setting up an inflatable paddleboard seems easy, but it can also bring about some issues that can make give you a hard time. An inflatable paddleboard typically comes with a pump, bag, and the board itself. Not to forget, you will also have a regular carbon fiber paddle.


Once you have all of these things lined up, the first thing that you want to do unwrap the deflated paddleboard. After you have unwrapped the board and flattened it out, you want to look for the hole in which you will insert the pump.


Before you plug the pump into the insertion, make sure that it attaches tightly to the bracket so that it is airtight. Plugging it in is easy, all you have to do is put the pipe inside, latch it, and twist it in. Now that you have it plugged inside, all you need is a little labor to pump the air inside.


If you are not into pumping the board and getting some exercise off it, then you will have trouble during this process. It takes a little time to pump the board and the effort will make you break a sweat.


Once fully inflated, you need to add the fins to the board. The fins add stability to the board. Adding the fins is easy, all you have to do is slide them into the indentations until it tightly attachés to them. Some boards will have a screw attached to them that you will have to turn to tighten.


After doing all of this, your board will be ready to use, and you can take it into the water for testing. The process of setting up the paddleboard takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how fast you can pump the board without taking a breather.


Beginner Mistakes when SUP Paddle Boarding

Beginners often make common mistakes that make it hard for them to truly enjoy the fun of paddle boarding. These mistakes often lead to frustration, which causes them to quit the adventurous activity of stand-up paddle boarding.

Wrong Use of the Paddle

Paddling is a crucial process when it comes to paddle boarding. If you do not know how to use the paddle properly, you will be unable to propel yourself forward. Most commonly, people will tend to hold the paddle backward and move their hands too close together. This does not exactly help them flow on stagnant water.  


Moreover, another common paddling mistake is when someone does not use the whole blade and pushes the paddle too far behind, which is more than necessary. Paddling diagonally and away from you is also another error. When you do this, instead of going forward, you start rotating on the same spot.


Bad Weight Distribution

Standing tall and well balanced is a difficult task for beginners that try to stand on the board. You have to make sure that you do not fall onto the board by leaning forward too much. To find your balance on the board, you have to look forward and upright into the horizon. Looking back and shifting your weight left to right to find balance is not the best technique to avoid falling.


It is also extremely important to place your weight on the center of the board. The center of gravity of the board lies exactly in the middle. Putting your weight on either end, especially when standing over flat water is likely to capsize the inflatable paddleboard.


Not Controlling the Direction

Often when it is too windy, you must control the direction of the board according to the wind. If you do not do so, you will likely end up drifting away with the wind.


Inflatable paddleboards are great fun for paddling with your kids, or your dog, or just stand up paddling across the river. Unlike narrow hard boards, they will not fare well in competitive surfing, and will not offer the same speed. However, they are still great choices for a leisurely time in the water.