Inflatable SUP or a Hard shell SUP?

You want a Stand Up Paddleboard but you don't know whether to get an Inflatable SUP or Hard SUP? Or to put it another way, inflatable stand up paddleboard verse a solid, hard paddle board? The simple answer is there is a time and a place for both. So to help you here are a few things that you need to consider when deciding of what type of SUP is right for you.

Choosing between an inflatable stand up paddleboard vs a hard paddleboard really comes down to the following -

what and where

You need to think about what you want to do and achieve from stand up paddle boarding – are you looking for performance or just general fun and cruising with friends. If you are looking to go down the performance route and you want to race at a high level, entering sprint and distance events, it will be very hard to find one board that suits all conditions. This is why you see top racers with a quiver of boards on the beach, selecting the one best suited for the conditions they face. These are generally of a lightweight carbon construction, making them stiffer and more responsive. While some of the race shaped inflatable SUP boards are up there with glass fibre race boards in terms of overall speed, they do suffer when it comes to racing in swell or off the beach due to the boards flexing slightly. Flex is the enemy when racing as it will decrease the overall speed of the board. However if you are racing seriously, you will find you have a few boards in your collection and with flat water events taking place on lakes and rivers, there is really no reason why you shouldn't see an inflatable SUP on the podium (and to be fair you often do!). For the performance SUP surfer there are so many variables to consider, such as rocker line, rail shape, bottom profile, fin setup and volume, inflatable SUP's simply  cannot be manufactured in a way that gives them the variety of bottom or rails shapes that a hard board has. However that doesn't mean you can't surf on an surf an inflatable stand up paddleboard. Of course you can, the likes of the Red Paddle Co. Surf Star are excellent but you're just not likely to win the world tour on one!

The general SUP'er, which is the vast majority of us, who paddles for fun and enjoys touring local waters as well as the occasional visit to our favourite surf break. is left squarely in the middle of the inflatable SUP / hard paddleboard mix. You could have an inflatable SUP or you could have a hard paddleboard. In fact, many of you have both! The surf SUP'er has their hard paddleboard performance SUP, and also an inflatable SUP for cruising up the rivers when it's flat. While the SUP racer has their carbon hard board for the weekend race, or putting the miles in up the river or down-winder. But you don't want the kids jumping on your race machine with your dog and their mates, so you have an inflatable SUP as well for family use. If you think that you are going to get into paddleboarding but have to decide on one board, you might find our Board Selector helpful in guiding to which shape is best for you. Allrounder SUP shapes are the most popular as they really are the swiss army knife of stand up paddleboarding, working well on flat water and small waves - great examples of these are the Red Paddle Co. Ride 10'6 and 10'8 as well as the Jobe Aero 10.6 and 11.6. If you are still undecided why not give us a call or try one of our demo days and let us help you find your perfect paddleboard.

can you store it

When it comes to transporting and storing an Inflatable SUP versus a Hard paddleboard - they really are at different ends of the scale. Inflatable SUPs pack down into a back pack in minutes. Making Inflatable SUPs easy to put in the back of your car, roof box, or even take on the train or bus. Then when you are reach your spot, you simply inflate to 18-20 PSI and get out on the water. Where as a Hard paddleboard requires a bit more thought and effort - after all you have now got a paddleboard that is around 11ft long which will most likely need to transported on a roofrack and then stored in a garage or similar. With regards to weight, as a rule of thumb there is actually very little difference between a similarly sized inflatable SUP and a hard stand up paddleboard. While Hard SUPs vary in their construction, the inflatable SUPs stocked by The SUP Company are all of a double layer construction. Red Paddle Co. stand up paddleboards are most certainly the heavier of the iSUPs, with the Jobe SUP range being much lighter and at the other end of the scale.

the answer is

In summary, it really is down to you and your intended use along with how you will transport and store your stand up paddleboard. After all this, there is us, The SUP Company. We have built our reputation on is our ability to listen to your needs and help match them to the stand up paddleboard that best meets them. So if you are in any doubt as to what to do, call us on 02380172189 or email us at and let us help you.