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Why Inflatable Paddle Boards are better than Hard Paddleboards?


10 reasons to get an inflatable paddleboard

If you go paddle board shopping, you are likely to find an abundance of different paddle boards, in terms of types, and shapes. However, how do you decide which one will be a worthy investment for you? Well, to understand the answer to that, you first have to realize the importance of making the right choice of paddle boards. 

Keep in mind that one particular paddle board will not be ideal for everyone and your choice of paddle board will depend on a multitude of factors. Before you get into the different paddle boards, and how their shapes, sizes, and volume can favor particular paddle boarding functions, you should know how to identify between inflatable paddle boards and hard paddle boards. 

Inflatable Paddle Boards

You can essentially stand up paddle board on any surface that floats on water, if you have the prowess and the balance. However, designers craft paddle boards for the sole purpose of gliding on a water body with complete stability. 

Moreover, a paddle board also comes with a paddle that allows you to push yourself forward, and it provides you with a flat surface on which you can float. Unlike surfboards, paddleboards provide you with a larger surface area and more stability. Therefore, there are plenty more use cases and functionality of the paddle board. 

There are two main distinct boards that you are likely to come across when you browsing the paddle board store. Amongst the two distinct types of boards, the more popular among beginners and families is the inflatable paddleboard. 

Like the name suggest, an inflatable paddle board is one that you can deflate and inflate at your convenience. Good quality inflatable boards consist of fiber material that has multiple layering for strength and dexterity.  

Hard Paddleboards

Hard boards mark the emergence of the paddle board and follow the surfboard bamboo wood heritage. The reason why they mostly comprise of bamboo is that the qualities of the wood make them ideal for paddleboards. The bamboo wood is strong, flexible and lighter in frame than most other woods. 

Which ones are Better?

Whether you opt for inflatable boards or solid boards depends on your personal preference. However, many aspects of the inflatable boards make them superior to the solids. Moreover, inflatable’s also come in more sizes and volume, which makes them more accessible to the people. 

Inflatable Paddle Board-Pros

Solid boards undoubtedly occupy plenty of space and are more difficult to move around than inflatable boards.  With the option to deflate your board, you can roll up your inflatable, pack it up in easily inside a bag, and be on your way. 

Therefore, this also makes the inflatable board more travel friendly.  Since it fits into a small hand-carry, you can take it along with you on a road trip, and across countries in an airplane. You cannot do this when you are in possession of a solid board. 

A solid board is heavy and requires plenty a large enough storage space in your house. Hence, for people that reside in small apartments, inflatable boards are the superior choice because you can roll them up and fit them in small compartment.

On the other hand, you will need some extra space to carefully place the solid boards. Hence, people with ample amount of room for solid boards include ones that live in houses with a garage space. Overall, the portability of inflatable boards is amazing, it opens up a whole range of possibilities for you.

It makes it possible for you to travel at any body of water, inflate the board and explore. Ultimately, the portability feature will give you access to spontaneity, thrill and more adventures. Thus, if you are someone that wishes to paddle board for the thrill of exploration, and are limited to space whether in the house or the car, then an inflatable is above par to the solid board. 

Moreover, even if your access to the nearest beach or any water body is a drive away, then unless you have a vehicle with enough trunk space to keep a paddle board, you will struggle with commuting to your paddle boarding spots. 

Thus, if you have a small car and do not want to spend the extra dollars on installing a roof rack, then the portability will be a huge plus. 


Another thing that inflatable paddleboards offer is durability. You may be wondering how the fibrous material of inflatable boards offers more durability. Well, the answer lies in the impact resistance of the board.  

Unlike solid boards, inflatable boards are immune to the cracks, chipped edges and scratches on the surface of the board.  It is entirely difficult to avoid banging the hard board on the shoreline rocks of the beach, or the hard pavements. 

Therefore, with an inflatable board, you do not have to worry about damaging your board when launching it on the rocky shoreline, or somewhere dodgy. The inflatable board is primarily just a rubber surface that bounces off hard surface instead of an all out impact.  

Hence, when it comes to the durability and impact resistance, an inflatable secures its place as a board that is much better than hard boards. 


Inflatable paddle boards also have a softer surface than a hard board. This means that they are more forgiving if someone was to fall onto the board. For a beginner who is likely to encounter couple of falls when beginning their paddle board journey, the inflatable paddle boards provide a safer surface to fall onto. 

Therefore, an inflatable paddle board is the best for kids to avoid any injuries if they hit the board. In other words, investing in an inflatable board rather than a hard board makes more sense, especially for parents that are looking to buy one for their children.


This aspect may come as a surprise to many paddle board enthusiasts because most paddlers have a consensus that hard boards provide a better tracking experience.  The reason mostly lies on the shape and dynamics of the hard board. 

Hard boards are mostly more aerodynamic in terms of shape, meaning, that they have a slightly pointier and sharper head. This makes them glide against the water slightly smoother and faster. However, this is an outdated advantage when you consider the innovative and technological advancements in the inflatable boards.

You can now find inflatable boards with similar shape, and more or less the same volume as the hard board. This balances out the discrepancies of the inflatable paddle board in terms of tracking. Thus, with innovative engineering, remodeling of the nose shape and overall design, you can have an inflatable board that tracks relatively similarly to the hard board. 

The new inflatable board design allows you to make about fifteen to twenty five strokes per side before the board veers in one direction or the other before you have to switch hands. Therefore, in flat-water conditions, good inflatable boards can be very close in performance to hard boards. 

Therefore, if you wish to cruise or race in flat-water conditions, then buying an inflatable board will provide you with added portability benefits. 


Like tracking, the performance stability of the inflatable board is relatively equal, especially on flat-water conditions.  The biggest factor that accounts for the stability of a particular paddle board is in fact the volume of the board and not the type. 

The volume of any particular board should correspond to the weight of the user if you want to maximize the stability of the board. Why this is so, is because the paddle board that is not buoyant enough to support your weight will sink lower that it should while stand up paddle boarding.

This is will drastically affect your balance on the board and make it much difficult to paddle forward on it. Alternatively, a paddle board that has a volume, which allows it to have more weight capacity, is likely to float slightly higher than the optimum water level. 

This will result in a shaky and unstable paddle boarding experience. For this reason, it is essential to select a paddleboard that corresponds to the weight capacity of your preference. If you are a family person, and you are likely to use the paddle board alongside your dog, or kids, then you can get one that can hold the sum of weight of all the people. 

In this instance, an inflatable board is the better option because you can plenty of one-size-fits-all options when opting for an inflatable. The bigger size and volume of the inflatable board makes them a much better choice for the people that want to paddle board with their family. 

Therefore, as long as you are on a board that supports your weight, you should get plenty of stability on the paddleboard, regardless of whether it is an inflatable, or a hard board. This also makes inflatable boards the front-runners for flat-water fun with the family. 

When you consider the portability and convenience that you get with the inflatable paddle board, it becomes a no brainer to opt for a hard board for the sole purpose of stability, especially considering the innovative and modern designs of the inflatable boards available. 

Lighter Frame

Carrying around a hard board across the beach can be exhausting. Even though designers tend to make the hard boards as light as possible, you cannot compare them to the weight of the inflatable board. Inflatable boards only carry the weight of the fibrous material, and thin air. 

For small children that do not have the muscle strength or stamina to carry the board, inflatable boards are the perfect alternatives. Moreover, for people who hesitate investing in the inflatable board because they do not like the idea of carrying around a heavy bulky plank of wood, then a deflated paddle board can be your solution. 

Inflatable Board – Cons

The downsides of investing in an inflatable paddle board are scarce, and do not make much of a difference on flat water situations and unnoticeable for beginners. Performance wise, the shape of the inflatable board may pose a problem for paddle boarders that take part in competitive surfing and racing at sea. 

Pumping up process

This may not even be a downside to the majority of healthy and active users; however, it can be problems for people that are not accustomed to the inflation process. To most people, pumping up the inflatable paddle board is a great form of pre-exercise and warm up before you begin paddle boarding. 

To others, it can be boring and monotonous.  Some people have the urge to enter the water as soon as they get to the beach, and the hard board gives you the option to do that. However, for people that do not want to waste their time and energy to pump up the inflatable paddle boards, other options are always there. 

The first option is to invest in an electronic pump that is chargeable. In addition, the other most obvious option is to keep your paddle board inflated if you do not have storage issues. However, the inflation process of paddle boards do not take more than ten minutes, so it is not something that you will give you much of a hard time, unless  you have an injury that is preventing you to pump effectively. 

Make sure to avoid some of the cheap pumps for the inflatable boards, also fill your inflatable board up to fifteen-psi pressure, which is the optimum pressure for any inflatable board. At this pressure, you can enjoy a nice and rigid inflatable board, which the wavering and uncertain wobbliness.  

It is also important to note that keeping your paddle board inflated is in fact better. This is because every time you deflate the board and roll it up, it creates creases and lines on the board that are not ideal and can ruin its materials and cause some of the fins to peel off overtime. 

The Verdict

Inflatable boards may not provide you with the same level of surfing performance due to their design, however, they are far superior on all other aspects. Their aspect of portability makes them unquestionably a better purchase than hard boards. 

Moreover, they have a lot more use cases, meaning, that they are versatile and mobile in many conditions. On calm waters, the inflatable can serve as a relaxing and recreational surface for the whole family. Not to mention, they are child friendly due to their soft texture and lightweight.

Even if you are a competitive flat-water racer, or like to go on long duration tracking adventures, the inflatable paddle board is probably the better choice. They not only match the same performance qualities of the hardboard, but also provide the durability against rocks. 

Ultimately, the choice is completely yours, and either of the boards will promise you great fun on the waters. Before you make the decision, consider your situation and decide which board will be the best for you. 

Choosing the Right Paddleboard

Before you start looking at all the options available, you need to ask yourself three crucial questions that will help you decide. 

What are you going to use the board for?

Are you looking to surf, flat water race, or just have a leisurely paddle around the waters. Each of these activities requires a specific water board with a specific design. If you want a family paddleboard that you can enjoy with your kids, dog or grandkids, then a rounded inflatable board would do well. 

Moreover, if you are a beginner that wants to step foot in the competitive paddle-boarding world, then an inflatable is also the best choice. However, if you are veteran surfer that wants a paddle board for competition purposes, then the hard board may offer a better surfing experience. 

What is your Weight?

This is a key question, and you should use this information to determine the volume and dimensions of your paddleboard. This allows you to make a purchase that offers maximum stability and performance in correspondence to your weight. 

What do you want to get out of your paddle boarding experience?

This question will also determine your choice. Are you looking for more speed, quick turns, safety, stability or just a surface that allows you to float comfortably on water? Answers to these questions help you make a paddleboard purchase that you do not regret. 

To conclude

Inflatable paddleboards provide you the accessibility to paddleboard on every or any water body that you come across. They give you the power to make to travel the waters of the world, and fuel you with the unstoppable urge to explore. 

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