One of the latest attractions in the world of sports is a type of surf performed using a particular board called a stand up paddle board, or an SUP, for shorts. The inflatable version is the one that manages to combine functionality and quality into an item that can accompany surfers in the wildest adventures. For those interested in finding out which are the top choices, here is a selection of the 5 best sup boards.
- 1 Top 5 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards Comparison
- 2 What You should Know about Stand Up Paddleboards
- 3 What are Stand Up Paddleboards Suitable for?
Top 5 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards Comparison
There are many sports that many people like to practice and paddling is one of the most appreciated by those who are adventurous and want to challenge their limits. If you are a fan of the water and you want to combine your passion with working out and staying fit, stand up paddle boarding is a great option. For it, you need a stand up paddle board and the most versatile and easy to use is the inflatable one. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about this type of board, what it is mostly used for, and how you can pick the best one for you.
What You should Know about Stand Up Paddleboards
Surfing enthusiasts used to carry large and heavy boards that they could ride the waves with maximum stability and balance. As people discovered more and more ways of using the surfing boards, a lighter and more portable unit was in demand in order to make things easier. This is when the inflatable stand up paddling boards have been designed as an alternative to the bulky and hard to carry surfboards. The only difference is the construction material, being very similar in other aspects like durability and use. The inflatable ones win many points in terms of portability and convenience, being more practical and easier to use. Here are some of the most important details you must know regarding the iSUP’s, as they are often called.
The design isn’t only referred to how the paddleboard looks, it also has to do with the material it’s built of and the dimensions it reaches both inflated and deflated.
Number of D-rings
Most of them, if not all, are made of PVC of various thickness and quality. The most reliable ones are the ones made of military grade PVC or dual-layer PVC that is reinforced with a secure drop-stitch construction. This is for ensuring a matching stability and resistance to the hard boards.
Although most inflatable boards resemble in shape, there are some slight differences that influence their performance on the water. As such, you will find longer, shorter, narrower, wider, or sharper boards with either an elevated or lowered nose or tail. By their shape, they are split into several categories: surf, all-round, flatwater, and race. You can also find other categories but these are the most commonly seen.
The dimensions are important in determining the versatility and smoothness of a paddle board. The thickness varies from 4 to 6 inches while the width ranges from 30 to 36 inches. As for length, which is the most important, you can find small boards measuring less than 9 feet or very large units that reach 12 feet.
The rings let you use a bungee cord to either attach additional equipment or to dock your board when you take a break. The minimum number of D-rings is 4 but you can find boards with as many as 14 placed all over the surface of the paddle board.
Now that you caught the idea on the design details of inflating stand up paddle boards, you can get more technical and discover their manufacturing specifications.
As you probably figured it out by now, this represents the maximum weight the rider should be in order to use the board. Depending on its density and size, the SUP can handle a certain body weight without deflating or sinking. If this weight is exceeded, it becomes less safe to use.
This detail refers to the buoyancy or the paddle’s ability to float. It is linked to its size and weight capacity and is measured in liters. As an example, the longer the board and the heavier the rider, the bigger the volume and thus, the more it will float. A board with a small volume will not be able to carry heavy riders and it will automatically sink.
This is perhaps the most annoying part of owning an inflatable rather an hard board because you always have to inflate and deflate it. While some models come with an electric pump that gets the job done in mere minutes, most of them include a hand pump that requires some effort from you when inflating and deflating the item.
This detail regards the inflating process and settles the amount of air that should be pumped into the board. The usual range is between 7 and 20psi meaning that you shouldn’t have a pressure lower than 7 or higher than 20, although the optimal number in most inflating paddle boards is 15psi.
What are Stand Up Paddleboards Suitable for?
According to their shape and size, inflatable standup paddleboards are mostly used in certain activities on the water. Their suitability is also connected to your abilities to control them and to remain standing regardless the water you are on.
- Surf paddle boards are shorter and more curved than other types, with a narrower nose and tail. These are perfect for surfing on waves because they are more compact and flexible. However, these are the less stable so beginners should not use them and they are not appropriate for flatwater.
- All-around models are wider, thicker, and longer than the previous model so they are more indicated for beginners who might have troubles maintaining balance on a small board. They provide a smooth glide on the water and they are great for ocean touring, flatwater paddling, and even surf. You can even mount a windsurf sailing rig on the deck, thus extend its suitability.
- Flatwater paddle boards are longer and wider, to a pointy nose and rounded sides that literally slice the water in order to gain speed. They are great for flatwater paddling and down winding, or surfing with the wind at the back.
- Race stand up paddle boards are long but narrow, with a very sharp nose that enables them to glide at high speeds. Only advanced riders should use them because they are hard to control and very unstable. They are great for rough waters and high waves.