Inflatable paddle board or solid paddle board, some pros and cons.

Inflatable paddle boards (iSUPs) have been gaining in popularity in recent years, as they offer a portable and convenient option for paddle boarders. However, as with any product, there are pros and cons to using an iSUP. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of inflatable paddle boards to help you decide if an iSUP is right for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Pros of Inflatable Paddle Boards
    1. Portability
    2. Storage Space
    3. Durability
    4. Affordability
    5. Beginner-Friendly
    6. Versatility
  3. Cons of Inflatable Paddle Boards
    1. Performance
    2. Inflation Time
    3. Rigidity
    4. Weight Capacity
    5. Board Design
    6. Repairability
  4. Is an iSUP Right for You?
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQs


Paddle boarding is a popular water activity, and there are many types of paddle boards available, including hard boards and inflatable boards. Inflatable paddle boards have become increasingly popular due to their convenience, portability, and affordability. However, they are not without their drawbacks. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of inflatable paddle boards to help you make an informed decision before making a purchase.

Pros of Inflatable Paddle Boards


One of the biggest advantages of an iSUP is its portability. Unlike hard paddle boards, iSUPs can be deflated and rolled up into a compact size, making them easy to transport in a backpack or suitcase. This makes them a great option for those who like to travel or who have limited storage space.

Storage Space

Inflatable paddle boards require significantly less storage space than hard boards, as they can be easily deflated and stored in a closet or under a bed. This makes them a great option for those who have limited space in their home or who live in apartments or condos.


Contrary to what some may think, inflatable paddle boards are quite durable. Many iSUPs are made from military-grade PVC material, which is designed to withstand heavy use and resist punctures and abrasions. They are also less likely to dent or ding than hard boards.


Compared to hard paddle boards, iSUPs are generally more affordable. This makes them a great option for those who are just getting started with paddle boarding or who are on a tight budget.


Inflatable paddle boards are a great option for beginners, as they are more forgiving than hard boards. They are easier to balance on and less likely to tip over, making them a great option for those who are just learning to paddle board.


Inflatable paddle boards are versatile and can be used in a variety of water conditions, from calm lakes to mild ocean waves. They are also great for a variety of activities, including yoga, fishing, and touring.


inflatable paddle boards can be patched up with a simple repair kit, and replacement parts are often readily available. While they may not be quite as durable as solid paddle boards, the ease of repair and maintenance can make them a more attractive option for some paddlers. Higher end inflatable paddle boards like those from Glide are as durable as regular solid boards.

Cons of Inflatable Paddle Boards


While inflatable paddle boards are convenient, they do not perform as well as hard boards in terms of speed and maneuverability. They are also more affected by wind and choppy water, making them less ideal for more advanced paddlers.

Inflation Time

Inflating an iSUP can take anywhere from five to fifteen minutes, depending on the size of the board and the type of pump used. This can be inconvenient if you are in a rush or if you need to inflate multiple boards. Although using an electric pump that is certified for back to back use like this one can save you time. We also have a battery pack for the pump so you can take it where ever your adventure leads you.


Another drawback of inflatable paddle boards is that they are not as rigid as hard boards. While they are designed to be sturdy and durable, they are still more flexible than hard boards, which can affect their performance on the water. 

Weight Capacity

Solid paddle boards generally have a lower weight capacity than inflatable paddle boards. This can be a drawback for larger paddlers or those who plan to carry a lot of gear on their board. However, there are some barge-like solid boards that are designed to accommodate larger paddlers and heavier loads.

Board Design

Inflatable paddle boards typically have a different design than hard boards, with a flatter, wider shape. This can affect their performance on the water and make them less suitable for certain activities, such as surfing or racing.


Unlike inflatable paddle boards, which can be easily patched up with a repair kit, solid paddle boards are much more difficult to repair. If you happen to damage your solid paddle board, you will need to take it to a professional repair shop or manufacturer to get it fixed. This can be both time-consuming and expensive.

One reason for the difficulty in repairing solid paddle boards is their construction. These boards are typically made from layers of fiberglass or other composite materials, which are molded and shaped into the final product. Once the board is fully cured, any damage to the surface can be difficult to fix without compromising the structural integrity of the board.

Is an iSUP Right for You?

Ultimately, the decision to purchase an inflatable paddle board comes down to personal preference and intended use. If you value portability, storage space, and affordability, an iSUP may be a great option for you. However, if you prioritize performance and rigidity, a hard board may be a better choice.

Consider your experience level, the activities you plan to do on your board, and your budget when making your decision. Additionally, consider the weight capacity of the board and the design, as these factors can also affect your experience on the water.


Inflatable paddle boards have both advantages and disadvantages compared to hard boards. While they are convenient and portable, they may not offer the same level of performance and rigidity as hard boards. Ultimately, the decision to purchase an iSUP comes down to personal preference and intended use. High end isups will be the choice we recommend. And with Glide isups you get our unique Glide stiffness that allows our inflatable paddle boards to perform closer to solid boards. 

From Glide, or other reputable paddle board companies an ISUP is the right choice and one that will last you many many years.


  1. Can inflatable paddle boards pop easily?
  2. Are inflatable paddle boards good for beginners?
  3. Are most inflatable paddle boards made from military-grade PVC material?
  4. Can inflatable paddle boards be repaired easily?
  5. How long does it take to inflate an iSUP?