ISUP? What is this Jargon?

iSUP is an acronym that has caught on in the world of stand up paddle boarding lately.  Find out what it's all about.


isup with repair kit and included pump

There are several acronyms in the world of paddle boarding The question of why an inflatable paddle board is called an iSUP, rather than calling it a "paddle board" or an "inflatable SUP", comes down to the fact that an ISUP is more than just a paddle board. In this article we will go over the differences between inflatable SUP boards and hard boards as well as the differences between cheap and quality inflatable paddle boards.

isup is an inflatable sup for paddle board reviews

Types of Paddle Boards

all around sup boards can be inflatable sups or hard boards

There are many different types of paddle boards on the market these days. But what exactly is an ISUP? An iSUP, or Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard, is an inflatable board that is designed for stand up paddling. An iSUP is usually made from a durable PVC material and has multiple air chambers which makes it very stable and strong. Most inflatable SUP boards also come with a hand pump or you can purchase an electric pump so you can easily inflate and deflate the board as needed.

extremely durable hard board for flat water paddling

Inflatable SUP boards are a great option for those who want to paddle a bit faster in flat water or even in smaller waves. They are also very compact and easy to transport, making them perfect for travelers or those who have limited storage space. They easily fit in the carry backpack that is typically one of the included accessories that they come with.

If you're looking for a versatile and durable paddle board, an ISUP is definitely worth considering!

What is an ISUP?

inflatable stand up paddle board is an all around board  or all around sup board

An ISUP, or Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board, is a type of paddle board that is inflated with air. ISUPs are popular because they are easy to transport and can be used in a variety of different water conditions. They are typically available from brick and mortar shops or an online store specializing in inflatable stand up paddle boards.

But Why Is An Inflatable Paddle Board Called An ISUP?

weight capacity of stand up paddle boards makes it a stable board

The answer to this question is pretty simple. iSUP is just an acronym for inflatable stand up paddle boards which are also known as "inflatable SUP boards".

The question of why an inflatable paddle board is called an ISUP, rather than calling it a "paddle board" or an "inflatable", comes down to the fact that an ISUP is more than just a paddle board. Let us explain below.

Pros and Cons for both types of paddle boards

all around inflatable sup with deck pad make great inflatable paddleboards

There are two types of paddle boards- the inflatable and hard board. Inflatable paddle boards are becoming increasingly popular due to their many benefits. However, a hard board still has its own advantages. Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of both types of paddle boards so you can decide which is best for you.

Inflatable paddle boards are much more portable than solid paddle boards. They can be easily deflated and packed away into a bag, making them ideal for travelling. They are also much lighter than solid paddle boards, making them easier to carry. Inflatable paddle boards are also generally cheaper than solid paddle boards which are usually made with epoxy and fiberglass.

isup with repair kit and extra d rings are like hard boards

However, there are some disadvantages to inflatable paddle boards. The cheaper versions can be punctured easily and are not as durable as some epoxy boards - especially if they have a polymer coating over the epoxy. They also take longer to set up and require a hand pump or electric pump.

Solid paddle boards can be more durable than inflatable SUP boards and are less likely to be punctured. They are also faster and easier to set up. However, solid paddle boards are much heavier and harder to transport than inflatable paddle

The Difference Between Cheap And High Quality Inflatable Paddle Boards

inflatable sup boards  for paddle boarding

If you are in the market for an inflatable SUP board, you may be wondering what is the difference between a cheap and a high quality one. In this article on how to decide between a cheap or high quality inflatable board, you will find out exactly what these differences are and how they can affect your overall experience.

Cheaper Boards Are Usually Made Out Of a Single Layer of PVC

other boards for recreational paddling like inflatable kayaks

One of the biggest differences between a cheap board and a quality iSUP is the material that the board is made out of. Cheaper boards are usually made out of single layer PVC material, while high quality boards are usually made out of a multiple layers of PVC that are fused together to make them stronger and lighter.

One layer of PVC is a cheaper material to produce, which is why most cheap paddle boards are made from it. However, single layer PVC is not as durable as multiple layers and can easily be punctured or damaged. Fused, multilayer PVC is a more expensive material, but it is much more durable and can withstand more wear and tear. If you're looking for a paddle board that will last you for years, then you should definitely opt for a high quality board of multiple layers of fused PVC.

epoxy boards have decent speed compared to an isup

Lower Quality Inflatable SUP Boards Ride Slower And Have A More Deflated Look To Them

When you're looking at inflatable paddle boards, it's important to know the difference between a lower quality board and a higher quality one. Lower quality inflatable paddle boards will often ride slower and have a more deflated look to them. As mentioned above, they might also be made of cheaper materials that aren't as durable. Higher quality boards, on the other hand, will often be made of more durable materials and have a better overall appearance. They'll also usually perform better than lower quality boards. So, when you're trying to decide between a cheap inflatable paddle board and a high quality one, make sure to keep these things in mind.

Higher Quality Boards Have an Inner Core Made from Woven Drop Stitch

isup with fin boxes for removable fins for us fin box

If you're in the market for an inflatable paddle board, you'll quickly discover that there are a wide range of options available in terms of quality and price. So, what's the difference between cheap and high quality inflatable paddle boards?

One of the biggest differences is the inner core that the boards are made out of. Higher quality inflatable paddle boards have a woven drop stitch core which means the board feels like a much more stable board compared to those with legacy knitted drop stitch. The only reason to use knitted drop stitch is to save money for the sake of the build quality.

Included Accessories that come with Quality Inflatable Paddle Boards

inflatable stand up paddle boarding on inflatable board

Finally, higher quality inflatable paddle boards will often come with better accessories, such as backpacks with wheels, 3 piece paddles, kayak seats, carry straps and dual chamber pumps. Cheaper inflatable SUPs may not include these items, or they may be of lower quality.

So, when you're choosing an inflatable paddle board, be sure to consider all of these factors. Don't just go for the cheapest options out there as you will most likely pay more to replace them later.

Higher Quality Materials Make Riding Faster and More Comfortable

isup stand up paddle board is a great beginner board with d rings and pointed nose

When it comes to evaluating the performance of an inflatable paddle board, there are several factors to consider.

One important factor is the quality of the materials used. Higher quality materials will make riding faster and more comfortable. They will also last longer and be more durable. Here are some things to look for when choosing a high-quality inflatable paddle board:

Thicker and more durable PVC: Higher quality boards will have thicker, more durable PVC. In addition to making these inflatable SUPs more durable, it also makes them more rigid which gives them better glide in the water.

Higher density drop stitch core: A higher density core also helps make the board stiffer and more stable. This will make your paddle boarding faster and easier.

Stitched seams: Stitched seams are stronger than glued seams. They are less likely to come apart or leak air.

isup are new boards from red paddle and tower isup with tri fin setup

Reinforced rails: Reinforced rails make the board more stable and durable. They also help prevent dings and scratches. The rails tend to be the weakest link on inflatable SUPs so having them reinforced is quite important.

When you're looking for a high-quality inflatable paddle board, keep these things in mind. Choosing a board made with higher quality materials will make your riding experience better in every way.


isup from isle boards and sea eagle are super stable for shallow water paddling

So, there you have it — the answer to why an inflatable paddle board is called an iSUP. While the name might not be as exciting as the sport itself, it's still interesting to know where it came from. And who knows, maybe now you'll be able to impress your friends with your knowledge of iSUPs next time you're out on the water!

Related Paddle Board Topics

What are you looking for in a Paddle Board?

How to Stand Up Paddle Board

A Guide to Choosing a Paddle Board for Beginners

Hard SUP vs Inflatable Paddle Board

How Long Do Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards Last?