Like any piece of fitness or recreational equipment, the type of standup paddleboard you select largely depends on you—your needs, your experience, and how you plan to use it. However, it can be easy to overthink your decision or be too hasty and regret it later. So this post walks you through the differences you should consider when deciding whether to purchase a solid standup paddleboard or an inflatable SUP.
Comparing Solid SUPs and Inflatable SUPs
You’re likely familiar with the popularity of standup paddleboards as well as their versatility on the water. Whether you’re an avid adventure-seeker or love to just gently paddle along so you can take in the sights, you know standup paddleboards make a great choice for watersports, but when you want to buy a paddleboard, you probably wonder what makes them so different. The following breaks it down:
- Solid SUPs: Solid standup paddleboards are often called “traditional” or “rigid” SUPs. They come in different widths and lengths, but Hydrus boards are all engineered for quality. Using 12 different materials, you can count on your solid Hydrus board to have the highest strength-to-weight ratio, ensuring that you get both durability and lightweight high performance. Because it’s solid it retains its size, and, as the name suggests, it remains solid.
- Inflatable SUPs: You might assume that inflatable SUPs are simply a blow-up version of a standup paddleboard, but they’re so much more when you buy an ISUP from Hydrus. With the same attention to quality and detail as seen in their solid SUPs, you can rely on Hydrus to deliver a high-quality inflatable SUP. Like solid SUPs, they come in varying sizes and widths, but you can deflate them for storage and travel. Made with quality materials as well as composite, reinforced shells, you can take Hydrus inflatable SUPs down rapids or tour peacefully down the river.
Now that you understand the basic difference between solid and inflatable SUPs, you need to dig into the details. Regardless of which SUP you choose, you will always have some give and take. So you have to weigh each of the following factors and determine which ones are more important to you:
- Durability: You may have already read that inflatable SUPs have less durability than solid ones, but that is up for debate. You have to compare apples to apples. If you are comparing cheaper versions of inflatable SUPs to more expensive versions of solid ones, you’re not making a fair comparison. When you compare Hydrus inflatable SUPs to Hydrus solid ones, you’ll find that durability is an even score. Hydrus doesn’t make inflatable SUPs as a way to offer a cheap version of a paddleboard. Because Hydrus cuts no corners in its engineering and build of inflatable SUPs, you'll enjoy the same high-quality durability in both an inflatable and rigid version.
- Performance: Once again, you may assume that solid SUPs have better performance. They are marginally better with maneuverability than inflatable SUPs, and the average user will see no difference. Again, because of the quality build of inflatable SUPs by Hydrus, you can enjoy the same level of performance and maneuverability no matter whether you use an inflatable or solid SUP. However, some actually think the inflatable SUPs by Hydrus offer better performance based on their ability to be used in such varied conditions.
- Price: Price depends largely on the size of the board you want from Hydrus. If you’re investing in a high-quality standup paddleboard, the slight price difference between inflatables and rigid SUPs likely won’t factor into your decision. Generally, when people discuss the difference in prices, they are comparing cheaper versions of boards. With Hydrus high-quality SUPs, you save a few hundred dollars by purchasing an inflatable SUP, but you won’t sacrifice quality and durability.
- Storage and travel: The obvious winner in this category is the inflatable SUP. You can store your Hydrus inflatable SUP in the bag it comes with. You can check your inflatable SUP onto flights or buses and easily store it in your car. When it comes to a rigid paddleboard, you have to make accommodations for full-time storage of a large piece of fitness equipment, and you have to make special arrangements to take it with you—this isn’t a piece you’ll take on public transportation. So unless you have a vehicle to transport it safely in weather conditions, you may not travel as far with a solid SUP as you would with an inflatable one.
- Safety: With a marginal win in the safety category, inflatable SUPs offer a slightly softer surface for falling, but before you think you’ll experience something similar to jumping in a bounce house, consider the true comparison. The degree of softness is akin to falling on the ground as compared to concrete. So you get a slightly softer surface that may be better for kids or beginners, but only marginally so. When it comes to true safety on a paddleboard, you need to use your strap and paddle properly in addition to noting weather conditions. These factors have nothing to do with the boards so either a solid SUP or inflatable can offer you the safety you need while enjoying the water.
Debunking the Myths of Inflatable SUPs
Perhaps the portability and variety of inflatable SUPs have you leaning toward buying one, but you still can’t shake some of the things you’ve read about inflatable SUPs. The following list deflates some of the myths surrounding inflatable SUPs:
- You take a lot of time to get air into the inflatable SUP. Obviously, inflatable SUPs need to be, well, inflated. However, you’re not strapping them to the top of your car at home, unstrapping them when you arrive, and then strapping them back to your car when you leave. Plus, you don’t have to deal with an unruly board that you have to carry to the beach. So even if you do spend some time inflating your SUP, the time you might save with a rigid board is negligible.
- Inflatable SUPs suffer from flex and lack of rigidity. These two myths we mixed into one because you only have these issues if you don’t inflate your SUP properly. A properly inflated SUP never has these kinds of issues that hinder its performance in the water.
- If you get an inflatable SUP, you get a lower-quality board. With Hydrus, each board was engineered with detailed attention and high-quality materials. A company proud to not cut corners puts its heart and soul into every board so that you come away with a quality product you’re proud of and enjoy using.
No matter what you choose, Hydrus has you covered. You can choose from inflatable SUPs or solid ones in a wide variety of sizes suitable for varied uses, and you can select from a variety of accessories to make your day on the water as fun as possible.