Choosing a Board Type: Inflatable Versus Traditional


Updated Apr 10th, 2021

This question is asked all of the time. Should I go inflatable or with a traditional hard fiberglass board. The answer for you depends on a handful of factors of which we will go through below. Paddleboards are not cheap so spending some time on research makes perfect sense. Here is a list of things to consider.

Storage Space: For some, storing a 10+ foot paddleboard is not an option. This was definitely the case for me as I lived in a small apartment without a garage and didn’t want to be carrying a 10′ paddleboard up flights of stairs.

Needed for Surfing: Not that you can’t surf with an inflatable but they are not as good at handling turns. If you plan on surfing with your paddleboard then the hard board is likely your best option.

Ease of Transport: Dealing with roof racks can be a painful added step between you and the water. This is especially true if you don’t have a permanent roof rack for your vehicle. Also, some people don’t feel comfortable driving around town with a paddleboard strapped to your car. It’s can be nice to avoid any roof-rack headaches by having an inflatable tucked away safely in your trunk. If you have a pickup truck with a large bed or a permanent roof-rack that is easy to use then this is a non-issue. And with this option you also get to sidestep having to inflate/deflate your board which can also be a pain!

Weight: Something to consider regardless of which board type you choose. Going to need to weigh durability versus weight.

Fragility: Generally speaking inflatables are more durable, but some feel “less secure” on an inflatable. I know personally my inflatable has been pummeled around in small surf, hit rocks and oyster beds, bumped into things, etc.

Cost: This is an important factor to consider although you can find boards of each type in similar price ranges.