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Inflatable paddleboards vs. hard paddleboards


A good quality inflatable paddleboard that is made out of materials that are military grade is not subject to the same vulnerabilities that hard paddleboards are.

Although inflatable stand up paddle boards, such as the ones available online from, were at one time thought of as something of a novelty, over the years they have developed into what most people use when getting into paddleboarding for the first time. 

A good quality inflatable paddleboard that is made out of materials that are military grade is not subject to the same vulnerabilities that hard paddleboards are. Scratching or putting a hole in a hard one can end up being quite expensive to repair, however, this is not a problem that you have with inflatable paddleboards. For this reason alone, you are more likely to see far more inflatable paddelboards than hard paddleboards out on a river where there is the real threat of hitting a rock or something equally as hard and damaging. This is also the same reason those companies that rent paddleboards out more often than not opt for inflatable ones in order to minimize damage caused by someone who may have never done the activity before. 

Depending on the quality of the inflatable paddleboard in question and how often it is used, they can last for anywhere between 2 and 12 years. Most types of damage that happens to an inflatable paddleboard can be fixed and repaired, either by yourself or via the help of a skilled technician. This is because the vast majority of them come with some sort of patch kit. However, on a good quality inflatable paddleboard, this is rarely needed as they have more than just one layer. 

If you lose your balance and fall onto a hard paddleboard, you will know about it. However, falling onto an inflatable paddleboard is not as hard on the boy. They are not as hard on anyone that you may accidentally bump into on it also, making them ideal for beginners who have less control over the paddleboard. In comparison to standing on a hard paddleboard, an inflatable one is almost like you are standing on a soft yoga mat that will help to reduce fatigue. You will find that your feet are more relaxed and comfortable as a result of the fact that there is less contact pressure - these benefits go all the way up your legs to the knees, back, and even the neck.

No matter the size of the paddleboard, an inflatable version will always be lighter than a hard one. This means that much less effort is required to move it around both in and out of the water. The good thing about inflatable paddleboards is that they can be packed up to fit inside of a bag and then put into a car or in the hold of an airplane so that you can take it with you no matter where you travel. Doing this can end up saving you a considerable amount of money as it means you do not have to pay an expensive rental fee for one when you reach your destination. You also have the freedom to go paddleboarding when and wherever you want rather than being bound by the restrictions of the company renting them.

Unless you are planning to keep your inflatable paddleboard in storage or take it with you on your travels, then there is no need to let your paddleboard down. The only thing that you need to be aware of is not to leave it in a hot space or in direct sunlight. 

Because of the advanced technology that is used in today's inflatable paddleboards, it means that they have a rigidity that is similar to that of a hard paddleboard whilst having better performance than an epoxy resin or fiberglass one. The perfect inflatable paddleboard can be used in any body of water where it is still, where there are waves (small ones), and can even be used in fast running rivers. Inflatable paddleboards tend to have a much greater volume, which makes them much more stable and better supporting of the rider, no matter their weight. This is why more and more inflatable paddleboards are being used within competition settings and for racing. Having performance like a hard paddleboard is something that no longer needs to be aspired to, as inflatable paddleboards have now come into their own.

How stable an inflatable paddleboard is to stand on is based on how thick it is. For instance, one that is five inches thick, will be much more stable than what a hard paddleboard is due to the different rail construction. However, going any thicker than this can actually make the inflatable paddleboard less stable, so 5 inches is the ideal thickness for beginners to use. 

Any type of inflatable paddleboard can be used to surf with, although how well it performs at this is dependent on the design of the board, its rigidity, and its shape. It is also dependent on the quality of the waves you are riding, including their height. Where waves are of shoulder height or bigger, then a hard paddleboard provides a better level of performance for riding waves. Lots of racers choose to use an inflatable paddleboard as they have various technical advantages over hard paddleboards. 

The verdict
If it is general leisure type paddle boarding that you intend on doing, then an inflatable stand up paddleboard is the better option due to the fact that they prevent you from injuring yourself, they are versatile, they weigh less, they are more portable, and are much more durable than what a hard paddleboard is. However, if you want one for the purpose of racing or surfing, then you may be better off going for a hard paddleboard instead. 

The question of which type of paddleboard is best is relative to what you plan on doing with it and the types of environments that you are going to use it in. For all round use, then inflatable paddleboards are the best option, but for riding large waves, then go with a hard paddleboard.

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