A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing an Inflatable Paddle Board

Inflatable Paddle Board

Stand up paddle boarding is an exhilarating water sport for the entire family. But, you can only make the most of your paddle boarding experience once you invest in the right equipment, most importantly the ideal paddle board. Owing to its ease of storage, portability, and cost-effectiveness, an inflatable paddle board or inflatable SUP (stand up paddle board) is an excellent choice for beginners and advanced riders alike. 

While hard paddle boards are made from hollow wood covered with epoxy resin layers, inflatable paddle boards have an air or foam core made of drop stitch fabric with a PVC plastic outer layer, making them lighter than the former, far more durable, and way easier to carry.    

Inflatable SUP

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board 

When it comes to choosing the right inflatable stand up paddleboard for yourself or family, there are certain factors you must consider to zero in on the ideal one in all aspects. Purpose of the paddle board is primary. The first question you need to answer is what will you be using the inflatable paddle board for? There are all-purpose boards, and even those for specific purposes such as yoga, fishing, touring, surfing on river waves and so on. We’ll break each of these down in our next section. 

Based on Purpose of the Inflatable Paddle Board 

All Around Inflatable Paddle Boards

As the name suggests, an all around inflatable paddle board is an all-in-one SUP that is designed for all activities and can tackle all water types. A beginner-friendly paddle board, an all around inflatable paddle board has a rounded nose and is the most versatile of the lot. This particular type of paddle boards are usually long, wide, and stable, making them perfect for recreational or occasional use. 

all around inflatable paddle board

Touring Inflatable Paddle Boards 

Characterized by its pointed nose and noticeably long and narrow design, a touring inflatable paddle board is ideal for intermediate and advanced riders looking to go for long distance paddling. Since these are normally used for long treks on the water, touring inflatable paddle boards have a streamlined shape that promise better performance and improved paddling efficiency. The longer length also allows for more space to load up the paddle board with other equipment such as camping gear that might be needed for longer trips. 

image of a touring inflatable paddle board

Fishing Inflatable Paddle Boards 

A fishing inflatable paddle board is ideal for fishing trips as they are wide, stable, have high weight capacity, and have lots of storage space, attachment points, and action mounts for fishing equipment. You can stand and paddle or sit and fish, these boards are designed to support both and can be taken on longer trips as well. A fishing inflatable paddle board is extremely easy to transport and offers enhanced stability owing to its wider deck and built. 

image of a fishing inflatable paddle board

Surf Inflatable Paddle Boards

A surf inflatable paddle board is meant to allow you to catch waves while paddle boarding. These boards are generally shorter, wider, and have 3 fins. They are also super stable, durable, responsive, and maneuverable, making them glide easily, catch good speed, and surf on rough waters. If you are looking for an inflatable paddle board that also doubles up as a surfboard, this is the one for you. 

image of a surf inflatable paddle board

Whitewater Inflatable Paddle Boards 

A whitewater inflatable paddle board is a high performance board that is short, rough, responsive and extremely maneuverable, making it ideal to catch high and turbulent waves. Ideal for experts, these paddle boards are meant to paddle downstream and navigate the rapid and shaky river flow.  A whitewater paddle board is also known for its long, thin, and sleek design, making it perfect for high speed paddling and action sports.  

image of a white water inflatable paddle board

Yoga Inflatable Paddle Boards 

Also commonly known as a floating yoga mat, a yoga inflatable paddle board is meant to offer a wide deck pad and the stability you would need to hold any yoga pose while on it. These paddle boards are thicker, stiffer, and softer than usual to provide a comfortable sitting position as you challenge yourself to increase your mind and body’s balance and focus while being amidst nature. 

image of a yoga inflatable paddle board

No matter which type of inflatable paddle board you’ve zeroed in on, the next step is choosing the right size of board you need. Usually, you’ll have to choose from a long, medium, and short paddle board based on your skill level and intended usage. 

Based on the Size of the Inflatable Paddle Board

Long Inflatable Paddle Boards 

Long inflatable paddle boards are usually over 12 feet in length and offer more stability than any other boards, making them ideal for long distance paddling and beginners who value steadiness over other features. 

Medium Inflatable Paddle Boards 

Medium inflatable paddle boards are usually all-purpose boards that are more versatile when it comes to offering speed, performance, comfort, and stability. These are 10-12 feet in length and can be used efficiently in most water conditions and by most types of paddlers. 

Short Inflatable Paddle Boards 

Short inflatable paddle boards are generally less than 10 feet long and given their compact size, they are suitable for kids’ usage. Apart from that, shorter paddle boards also offer greater maneuverability and performance making them ideal for experts who want speed to ride bigger and sharper waves. 

Best Inflatable Paddle Boards for Beginners

As a beginner, safety and peace of mind is more of a priority for you while paddle boarding, over performance and speed. Moreover, since you are just starting out, you might not know your exact usage and requirements just yet. Therefore, an all around inflatable board that is thick, wide, and long will be ideal for you. Such a paddle board will promise stability, steadiness, and the comfort you need when you are just starting your paddle boarding journey. Also, since an all around paddle board is versatile and multi-purpose, you can use it on different water types and for various use cases if you decide to. 

Best Inflatable Paddle Boards for Advanced Riders 

As an advanced paddler, you need an inflatable paddle board that not only promises speed and maneuverability, but is also easy to manage, store, and transport. A short surf or whitewater inflatable paddle board is the ideal choice for you as it is easy to maneuver those sharp turns and twists in rough waters, promises high performance, is easy to glide, and extremely durable. Such a board will augment your skills while giving you all the support you need to level up and explore different techniques and waters. 

Choosing the Best Inflatable Paddle Board Equals a Memorable Experience 

Whether you are a beginner who likes to paddle board on flat water on a relaxing Sunday or an advanced surfer looking to ride rapid river waves for a thrilling paddling experience, you are going to be inundated with choice while selecting an inflatable paddle board that meets your needs. 

At Good Wave Co, we not only have the largest selection of inflatable paddle boards that cater to every need and preference, but also a 30-day any reason returns policy, so you can return your purchase in case it doesn’t meet your expectations. 

We also offer product warranty and subsidized shipping on all our inflatable paddle boards, so you can get the equipment you need with complete assurance and without burning a hole in your pocket. Also, if you have any questions regarding which inflatable paddle board is right for you or are a beginner with concerns about how to start your paddle boarding journey, please feel free to reach out to our team of experts who would be more than happy to guide you in the right direction.
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