Hard boards or Inflatable SUPs (stand up paddleboards)

Inflatables vs. Hard board

We can’t tell you how many people on the trail come up to us to ask about the inflatable paddle boards. Are they rigid enough? Do these actually work?  Our answer ?  YES.

inflatables for dayzzzzzz

inflatables for dayzzzzzz

I have a small 4 door crossover and I can easily fit 8 boards in my car with paddles, fins, life jackets, etc. 11 boards if seeing out the right mirror and back window isn’t my thing. (not safe, would not recommend the latter, just letting you know it’s feasible space wise).

We do fitness classes on these inflatables and we PREFER them to the hardboard, as they are ever so slightly softer on the knees, and feel like a giant yoga mat on the water. 

Inflatable with a 60 lb dog, Piper, in a rare shot of Piper sitting.

Inflatable with a 60 lb dog, Piper, in a rare shot of Piper sitting.

What’s the downside? Well it’s not as simple as blowing up an inner tube. The max is 18 PSI and that means pounds per square inch. The higher the number the more air you need to put into the board to create the firmness of a hardboard and the more muscle you need to pump that air in. A regular car pump won’t work and a manual pump takes our instructor Zach, a mere X amount of pumps to get it to fill to 10 PSI.  Think of it as a workout before your workout. We’ll do a future post on various ways we have discovered to blow up the boards. 

Depending on what sort of vehicle you have, the hardboards might be a workout before your workout as well, as you have to get it off the roof racks and carry it down to the water, and you’ll need a place to store it. 

Not blowing up to heavy psi, but those pretty pink straps don't tighten themselves

Not blowing up to heavy psi, but those pretty pink straps don't tighten themselves

If you are looking for speed, or need the durability, there’s no question you need to invest in those roof racks and figure out a way to transport and store a hard paddleboard, but if you are in it for fitness and recreation, get yourself an inflatable.

Oh and deflating? Have we mentioned how fun that is?

Deflation Station. Helps to match the board ( i kid, i kid)

Deflation Station. Helps to match the board ( i kid, i kid)

We bought our hardboard at Costco at the end of last season for around $600, which included a bag and paddle. Great deal that we haven't seen come back. You can find our inflatables at jet.com here for nearly half the price of an on sale hardboard. Check out amazon too and see you on the lake!