Tips for Buying Inflatable Paddle Boards
- March 14, 2021
- Travel and Leisure
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As a professional inflatable paddleboard manufacturer, here are just some of the many questions we are often asked about inflatable SUP boards: Do inflatable paddle boards really last as long as their steel or fiberglass cousins? Can an inflatable board with a steel shaft last as long as one with a fiberglass shaft? will answer this question with a simple yes or no, but the reality is that an inflatable SUP will be affected by a number of variables, including the type of inflatable board itself, how it is used, and the amount of abuse it is put through. In this article, we will take a look at some common questions about inflatable paddleboards and answer them in the most comprehensible of ways.
The first question often asked is about the durability of inflatable paddle boards. To begin with, while the exact durability term for a paddleboard may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, generally speaking, inflatable paddle boards tend to be pretty durable and last a long time. This is primarily because they are designed to inflate and deflate very quickly, requiring little maintenance after being used extensively and also because they are not built with heavy material that can be subject to constant abuse.
The second question often asked is about the "isup" or "sponginess" of inflatable paddle boards. Simply put, isup refers to the resistance in the rubber between two layers of suds that forms the back of a board. Generally speaking, the more inflatable your board is, the more suds there will be and the lower the "isup" will be. The higher the "isup," the more resilient the board will be and the longer it will last.
Sups also have a significant impact on how well a board will perform. Sups is simply a bladder that you attach to your board. Sups can vary greatly in size and depending on your water conditions and your intended use of your inflatable paddle boards will determine the size of sups that you should purchase. Also, this is an important consideration when choosing a brand. While there are many good brands out there, one company that consistently outperforms all others is Vitus.
One of the most important factors in the longevity and performance of an inflatable paddle board is the design. Often, companies will tell you to buy their "double loop" construction. Inflatable experts debate this claim because the actual performance of double loop construction on inflatable paddle boards is much different than the inflatable industry would suggest. On the one hand, double loop construction offers greater strength and durability compared to "standard" construction but on the other hand it creates more drag.
Choosing an inflatable paddle boards with a single layer is recommended for anyone who is going to be riding on inflatable sup boards frequently. One important thing to keep in mind is the need to always apply a thin coat of silicon to any single layer board to help protect it from UV damage. You may also want to consider buying a drop stitch or drop thread protector which works well on single layer inflatable sup boards. Drop stitches do not allow the foam boards to move around and are strong and durable. Drop threads are great if you are considering using a double layer inflatable board as they help to prevent the foam from being scratched and damaged.