How to Choose the Right SUP - Inflatable vs. Hard Boards

How to Choose the Right SUP - Inflatable vs. Hard Boards
Pulau Outfitters Epoxy SUP exploration

Stand-up paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing sports worldwide. Like any sport, it takes patience and practice, and of course, the right gear.

Whether you are a beginner, resort, rental operator, or seasoned pro, selecting the right equipment can make or break your stand-up paddling experience. To start, you want to make sure and choose the right board.

What's the Difference?

Hard boards

Constructed of various types of material in a fashion similar to surfboards. Our Epoxy SUPs combine traditional craftsmanship with modern design and high quality materials. The core is a stringerless, 22 kg/m3 density EPS foam blank. The lamination process uses 2 layers of 6-ounce fiberglass on the bottom, 3 layers of 6-ounce fiberglass on the deck, and biaxial carbon wrapped rails to create parabolic carbon stringers.

Inflatable boards (iSUP)

Constructed using drop-stitched, double layer PVC in a similar fashion to Inflatable Resue Boats (IRBs) such as Zodiacs. Our line of Inflatable SUPs use top-quality, industry-standard construction.

What's to Consider?

1. How will you use your SUP?
Travel with your Pulau Outfitters SUP

This is the #1 factor when choosing the right stand-up paddleboard for you.

Hard (epoxy) boards are hands-down the best choice for surfing. You will find that serious, long distance paddlers will also typically opt for epoxy boards custom-built for optimal speed and performance.

Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are essentially better for everything else, particularly for beginning paddlers.

2. Durability

Though somewhat counter-intuitive, iSUPs are significantly more durable. Drop them, crash them, bounce them off rocks or other SUPs. You can stress way less with inflatable boards when an epoxy SUP would be getting repair after repair.

3. Safety

Modern iSUPs feature construction that makes them highly rigid, feeling quite similar to an epoxy SUP at first sight. Still, there is a certain amount of give in any inflatable, which makes falling a lot less painful!

4. Storage & Transport


Due to the volume required for balance and stability, SUPs are big. This is glaringly obvious with epoxy boards. They are difficult to transport, almost impossible to take on a plane, and expensive to ship. They also require a sizable area for storage.

Inflatable SUPs are a different story. They quickly deflate and pack away so you can take them with you wherever you're heading or tuck them away in the closet when not in use.

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