Inflatable VS Hardshell Stand Up Paddleboard
Inflatable VS Hardshell Stand Up Paddleboard

Nowadays, people use stand-up paddleboards as equipment to access the water world. Different people use SUPs in numerous other ways.

It has become one of the best ways to explore coastlines, surf, take single- and multi-day tours, have family fun at the beach, go hydrofining, and race in the lakes, sea, canals, and rivers.

With all these water activities offered in one board, SUP boards have advanced to become stronger, lighter, more durable, and most significantly – user-friendly.

There are several types of stand-up paddleboards available. But the most common types are the solid boards and the inflatable stand-up paddleboards. However, paddleboard purchasers often get confused about which board to get.

Not just this, paddleboarding lovers are also faced with many puzzling options. Now the question is which one is better. Which one should you buy as a paddleboard lover?

The industry is filled with cheap, high-quality, solid, and inflatable paddleboards, with new companies springing up overnight to take the lead in this fastest-growing water sport.

These options also confuse the buyer. However, seeing your preferences and needs, you must decide which type you will buy.

To help you make that decision, we have compared the solid boards and inflatable stand-up paddleboards in our article below. Let’s look at the differences to know which one is best suited for you.

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Review contents

Solid vs. Inflatable SUPs: Which One To Choose?

Inflatable VS Hardshell Stand-Up Paddleboard
Inflatable VS Hardshell Stand-Up Paddleboard

We have compared solid vs inflatable SUP for readers who have just decided to buy a paddleboard but do not know about paddleboards.

Thus, we will begin with a few basic information on solid board and iSUP.

So, let’s now know the fundamental difference between solid board and inflatable board to find the right board for your water adventures.

Solid SUPs

solid paddle board stable board
solid paddle board stable board

Hardshell stand-up paddleboards, also known as solid SUPs, are usually built using different materials such as fiberglass, foam, Kevlar, wood, and plastics, and these are protected using layers of epoxy resin material.

The foam core makes buoyancy, while coatings of fiberglass, bamboo veneer, or Kevlar create rigidity and durability; at the same time, the epoxy finish works the best to harden the paddleboard and make sure the board is watertight.

Maximum solid paddleboards feature an EPS foam core wrapped with epoxy and fiberglass. This is a fairly durable, lightweight, and affordable structure. Carbon fiber is a stiffer and lighter option but is also expensive.

On the other hand, plastic stand-up paddleboards are more inexpensive, but they’re cumbersome and lack the performance of other materials. Some stand-up paddleboards include lightweight wood for a lovely appearance.

Pros Of solid SUP:

There are many benefits to a solid stand-up paddleboard. Let’s know the pros.

It Is A Perfect Fit:

Solid stand-up paddleboards are obtainable in a more considerable diversity of sizes and superbly tuned shapes compared to inflatable ones, so you can find the one that perfectly fits you.

Performance is your Significance:

Solid paddleboards provide the best performance while paddling on the water. These boards travel smoother, faster, and also with less energy than the inflatable boards.

If driving far and fast is your priority, then a solid paddleboard is for you.

Super Stability: 

A solid paddleboard is slightly more rigid than a paddleboard, which can offer further strength, mainly when riding through waves.

These boards similarly tend to ride lower, which can likewise create a more stable feel.

Cons Of Solid SUP

Needs roof rack

Less weight capacity than inflatable SUP

Overly heavy

Solid stand-up paddleboards take up plenty of space

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Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Boards

Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Boards
Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Boards

Inflatable stand-up paddleboards generally feature drop-stitch construction with PVC exteriors that generate an air core. These boards come with a hand pump for blowing up the board and a storage backpack for when you do not use it.

A high-quality inflatable stand-up paddleboard is designed to be inflated to 12–15 PSI pressure and feels very rigid after fully inflated. Such boards can carry heavier body weight persons than other boards.

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Pros Of inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board:

There are a few pros and cons of inflatable stand-up paddleboards. So, let’s now first know the pros of iSUP below…

Travel Anywhere With The Board:

If you are planning a road trip or hopping on a plane to reach your water adventure destiny, you can bring your iSUPs along and paddle at your favorite destination.

When you pack the inflatable stand-up paddleboards, they can be stowed on a train, checked on an airplane, or taken on a bus or car journey. Most storage backpacks have straps for easy carrying. So, take your iSUP with you anywhere you want to.

Need Little Space To Store:

When you deflate an inflatable stand-up paddleboard, it becomes so small that you can take it anywhere you wish to. However, do not bring your pump along; carrying the paddleboard with you won’t help.

Handle Bumps Up Against Rocks & Logs

Handle Bumps Up Against Rocks & LogsLike an inflatable kayak or raft, an inflatable stand-up paddleboard is better suited for handle bumps up against logs and rocks than the solid board generally performs.

You Can Also Practice SUP Yoga on Water: 

Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are a bit softer than solid paddleboards; this makes the inflatable stand-up paddleboards more accessible and comfortable for practicing yoga.

Cons Of Inflatable Board

It would be best if you pumped every time you go paddling

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Is a Hardshell Stand-Up Paddleboard A Good Board Or an Infinatable Paddleboard?

Is Hardshell Stand-Up Paddleboard A Good Board Or A Inflatable Paddle Board
Is a Hardshell Stand-Up Paddleboard A Good Board Or an Infinatable Paddleboard?

The primary difference between rigid boards and iSUPs is their suitability: an inflatable stand-up paddleboard fits easily in your car trunk, and you can check in an airplane with the board without paying extra fees.

They are an excellent option for road trips. When you have limited space but want to possess a paddleboard, then go for the iSUPs

However, if you are searching for a super stable board, just go for solid boards. But storing a hardshell paddleboard is truly a pain in the ass if you do not have ample room for storage space.

Finally, we need to say that iSUPs are usually way more durable than hardshell paddleboards.

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Both rigid and inflatable paddleboards have great selections of boards for getting yourself into stand-up paddleboarding.

Whichever board you choose, look into the reviews of both the board and the brand. Enjoy Paddle Boarding!

Read Next – Best Solid Paddle Boards 

Pelican - SUP - Hardshell Stand-Up Paddleboard - Lightweight Board with a Bottom Fin for Paddling, Non-Slip Deck - Perfect for Youth & Adult (Lime, 10 ft 6 po) (FAA10P109-00)

$495.99  in stock
as of July 20, 2024 5:22 am

Lifetime Freestyle XL 98 Stand-Up Hardshell Paddleboard - 2 Pack (Paddles Included), Red

$1,479.99  in stock
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Swonder Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard - 11’6ft Ultra-Steady Paddle Board w Non-Slip Deck, Premium SUP Accessories- Backpack, Paddle, Pump, Leash for Adults & Kids

$149.00  in stock
2 used from $149.00
Free shipping
as of July 20, 2024 5:22 am

Lifetime Amped Hardshell Paddleboard with Paddle, 11', Glacier Blue

 in stock
7 new from $572.62
Free shipping
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Lifetime Freestyle Paddleboard with Paddle, 9'8"/X-Large, Red

 out of stock

FunWater SUP Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board 11'x33''x6'' Ultra-Light (18.5lbs) Paddleboard with ISUP Accessories,Fins,Adjustable Paddle, Pump,Backpack, Leash, 10L Dry Bag

 in stock
2 new from $199.95
3 used from $121.08
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Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Premium sup Accessories & Backpack, Non-Slip Deck, Waterproof Bag, Leash, Paddle and Hand Pump. (Black)

 out of stock

awesafe Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board 10'x32''x6'' SUP with ISUP Accessories Backpack, Fin, Paddle, Double Action Pump, Leash, Waterproof Bag for Youth & Adult (Green)

$299.00  in stock
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ADVENOR Paddle Board 11'x33 x6 Extra Wide Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with SUP Accessories Including Adjustable Paddle,Backpack,Waterproof Bag,Leash,and Hand Pump,Repair Kit (Green)

$199.99  in stock
8 used from $135.97
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Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board 10’6” Long 6” Thick | SUP Paddleboard Accessories Carry Backpack | Wide Stance, Bottom Fin Paddling Surf Control, Non-Slip Deck | Youth & Adult Standing Boat Boards

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Tom Leithner
Hi, I'm Tom Leithner, a SUP Paddle Board expert and enthusiast. With years of experience and a passion for all things SUP, I'm excited to share my knowledge and tips on the website As a dedicated paddler, I have had the privilege of receiving several prizes and rewards for my expertise in the field. My journey with SUP began with a deep appreciation for the serene beauty of the water and the sense of freedom it provides. Over the years, I have honed my skills and explored various SUP techniques and gear, allowing me to offer valuable insights and advice to fellow enthusiasts. Through this website, I aim to provide comprehensive guidance on choosing the right SUP board, essential gear, and techniques to optimize your paddleboarding experience. Whether you're a beginner looking to get started or a seasoned paddler seeking new challenges, my goal is to equip you with the knowledge and resources you need to make the most of your SUP adventures. I believe in the power of sharing experiences and fostering a strong SUP community. Join me on this exciting journey as we dive into the world of SUP and discover new destinations, techniques, and gear together. Let's make every paddleboarding experience unforgettable. Stay tuned for regular updates and fresh content, as I continue to explore, learn, and share my passion for SUP on Together, let's make waves and elevate our paddleboarding adventures to new heights.