Why Choose an Inflatable SUP or Kayak?
There is a common misconception that inflatable stand up paddle boards (iSUPs) and inflatable kayaks (iYaks) are less durable than traditional hard boards or kayaks constructed using fiberglass and epoxy resin. This is just plain not true.
Our iSUPs & iYaks aren't pool toy inflatable grade, they are military grade inflatable. Extremely durable construction made in the same factories that produce river rafts & high-speed IRBs/Zodiacs. They can be punctured if you try, but they are specifically designed to perform in rocky conditions. We definitely do not recommend doing so, but these boards can be thrown off buildings and run over by cars without sustaining damage.
Simple, durable, and effective construction that is less prone to leaks and damage. We use high density, dropstitch fabric for all our inflatable SUPs and Kayaks. As the name implies, this fabric has a high number of fibers that create a stronger product with increased durability and ability to handle higher pressures. Inexpensive inflatable boards on the market use a far less durable linear dropstitch fabric, which cannot handle pressure as well and may pop if over-inflated. These cheaper boards are typically designed to take 12-14 psi of pressure, compared to our boards that can handle 18-20 psi (we recommend to customers that 15-16 psi is optimal inflation level). The rails are a key area due to the high density of seams. That is why all our iSUPs have double layer PVC throughout the board and rails, compared to many inexpensive SUPs that use only 1 layer. We also use a single seam around the entire board to minimize leaks.
Double Wall vs. Single Wall
As mentioned, all our iSUPs and iYaks feature 2 layers of PVC over the base cloth. Our classic Double Wall boards have an additional layer of 1000D PVC that adds additional stiffness to the design, which gives them a feel quite similar to a traditional hard board and better performance in bumpy seas. Our new Single Wall boards are budget-friendly options that weigh less, flex more, but are just as durable as their Double Wall counterparts. Perfect for flatwater paddling.
An important feature in all surfboards and paddleboards, rocker is the bottom curve and defines how the craft interacts with the water. Too much rocker and the craft pushes water instead of gliding on top, which requires more power to generate speed. Too little rocker and the nose will catch in any chop or waves you're trying to navigate. You can see the rocker on all our boards features a natural curve that blends the best of both worlds.
Key Reasons to Choose iSUPs & iYaks
1. Functionality - Inflatable stand-up paddleboard have so many benefits and uses that it's hard to find a flaw. In our opinion, the only reason to choose a fiberglass/epoxy SUP over an inflatable SUP is for surfing due to the stiffness of the construction. Inflatables are fine for playing around in small waves, but fiberglass SUPs are for serious surfers.
2. Durability - It might seem counter-intuitive, but iSUPs and iYaks are significantly more durable than traditional fiberglass crafts. Fiberglass cracks, scratches, and dings on contact with reef or rocks, while inflatables bounce off. Drop them, crash them: iSUPs survive. You can stress way less with inflatable boards while a fiberglass board will be getting repair after repair.
3. Safety - Our modern inflatable stand-up paddleboards feature construction that makes them highly rigid to provide a feeling quite similar to an epoxy SUP. Still, there is a certain amount of give in any inflatable, which makes falling a lot less painful!! And again, fiberglass SUPs get pressure dings and cracks from impact.
4. Weight & Shipping - iSUPs are much lighter than fiberglass SUPs, 20% lighter or more. This makes them much easier to handle and transport. The entire set, including the paddle, fits in the included backpack. This makes them easy and affordable to ship, plus they can easily be checked in on planes. Fiberglass SUPs are very expensive to ship due to volume and are also prone to damage during shipping.
5. Appearance - Inflatable SUPs will stay the same for years with minimal maintenance. Fiberglass SUPs will age much faster as they are dropped, dragged (scratched), or run up on rocks or reef.
6. Repairs - If somehow a leak happens, our iSUPs come with a repair kit so you can fix minor issues easily. Larger leaks or damage can be repaired by anyone who can repair PVC rubber boats or banana boats. We also provide repair services for our customers. The primary damage point on both fiberglass and inflatable boards are the fins because it's easy to hit them on obstacles in shallow water. Fins for inflatable SUPs and kayaks can easily be glued on, while fiberglass boards will require expert repair.
In our experience, iSUPs need almost no repairs or maintenance compared to fiberglass SUPs. We also find that serious damage is much less expensive to repair on an inflatable vs. fiberglass paddleboard. iSUPs will also not suck in water like fiberglass boards, which most be fixed immediately or else they absorb water and become very heavy.
- Shop Inflatable SUPs
- Shop Inflatable Kayaks
- Get iSUPs & iYaks Customized with your logo
- Read our Maintenance & Care Recommendations
- View our iSUP & iYak Warranty Policy