Inflatable Vs. Hard Paddle Board - Pakaloa

Hard Paddle Board Vs Inflatable: Which Is Right For You?

Hard SUP Vs Inflatable

Many people experience confusion while purchasing a paddle board. This confusion or trouble occurs when you do not know the basic difference between two main forms of paddle boards; inflatable paddleboard and hard paddleboard.

Choosing the right kind of paddle board is very important as it has a huge impact on your paddling experience and performance. To help you have a better paddling experience, we have thoroughly explained the main difference between an inflatable paddle board and a hard board. By the end of this article, you will be able to make a more knowledgeable decision.

What is an Inflatable Paddle Board?

As the name indicates, an inflatable paddle board is the kind of paddle board that you can deflate when you have used it. In order to use it again, you will have to inflate it with the help of an electronic or a manual air pump. It can be stored in a small place once you have deflated it. It is usually made up of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic.

What is a Hard Paddle Board?

A hard or solid paddleboard is a form of paddleboard that cannot be deflated. It stays hard and is made up of different materials like fibreglass, wood, and plastic. This is the major difference between hard and inflatable paddleboard.

Both have their own pros and cons. One can be beneficial in one situation and the other can be beneficial in another situation. That is why it is important to know what makes them different from each other. Knowing the difference will help you choose the right paddle board according to your needs and paddling requirements.

So, let’s have a comparison between different features of both forms of the paddleboard.  

Inflatable vs. Hard Paddle Board


Inflatable Paddle Board

Inflatable paddle boards are very easy to transport from one place to the other. It is simply because they can be deflated and packed in a small backpack. You can carry the bag on your shoulder and take it wherever your destination is.

  Can Inflatable Paddle Boards Pop?

You will not have to hire a separate truck especially for the transportation of a paddle board. It can be placed in the backseat of your car. It is also easy to carry when you are going to another city by plane. You will not have to pay the extra charges that are usually taken when you take a hard paddle board with you on a plane. Another reason it is considered easy to port is its light weight. Its lightweight makes it a good choice for teenagers, young children, and women.  

Hard Paddle Board

On the contrary, a hard paddle board is not as easy to transport as an inflatable paddle board is. You may have to hire a truck or a large car to take it to your destination. It means you will have to spend money on its transportation. If you are taking it through a plane, again you will be charged extra for taking a hard paddle board with you.

Therefore, if you are not interested in spending money on the transportation of a paddle board then we would recommend you to choose an inflatable paddle board.

Storage Space

Inflatable Paddle Board

Another major difference between inflatable and hard paddle board is the storage space they take. An inflatable paddle board can be deflated, rolled, and packed in a small bag. This means it will take only a small area of the room where you are planning to store it.

It is more suitable for people who have a storage issue and do not have enough room to accommodate a large-sized hard paddle board. You can pack it in a bag and place it in your storeroom without disturbing the position of other items.

Hard Paddle Board

Hard paddle boards cannot be deflated and packed in small bags. They maintain their shape and size. Therefore, hard paddle boards take more storage area. You can store them in your basement, garage, or storeroom. Placing them in an open area like a backyard etc. can have a negative impact on the board material and cause damage to it. A hard paddle board is a suitable option for you if storage is not an issue for you.

  Beginner Things to Avoid as a Paddle Board Rider


Inflatable Paddle Board

Both forms of paddleboards perform well. But if you examine their performance carefully, you will come to know that inflatable paddle boards lack in this area a bit. They are rigid but less rigid than a hard paddleboard.

Due to this reason, they do not take sharp and sudden turns very well. Their resistance to strong wind and water waves is also not as good as the resistance of hard paddleboards is. People prefer using inflatable paddleboards while paddling for recreational purposes.


Hard paddleboards are agile and sturdier than inflatable paddleboards. Due to this reason, they show better performance even when the wind is strong. They help in taking sudden turns easily. People use hard paddleboards when going for SUP race, SUP surfing, and SUP tour.

As both are good with respect to performance so choose a paddleboard based on your needs. For racing, touring, and surfing purposes go for the hard paddleboard. For all other paddling purposes, you can select an inflatable paddleboard.


Inflatable Paddle Board

Generally, inflatable paddleboards are considered more stable than hard paddleboards. They are usually thicker, have more volume and weight carrying capacity. These attributes make it more stable. People learning to paddleboard also find it a better option as it provides them with more stability and helps them maintain their equilibrium on the moving surface of the water.

Hard Paddleboard

Hard paddleboards have good stability but their steadiness is less than the steadiness of hard paddleboards. They are usually thin, have a smaller deck and weight-bearing capacity. Due to these reasons, their stability reduces and maintaining balance on them becomes difficult comparatively.

Therefore, the winner concerning stability is inflatable paddleboards. Choose it if you are a beginner and do not want to have much trouble in keeping yourself balanced on a paddleboard.

Inflatable Vs. Hard Paddle Board - Pakaloa
Inflatable Vs. Hard Paddle Board

Comfort and Ease

Inflatable Paddle Board

Inflatable paddleboards have a softer surface as compared to the surface of hard paddleboards. The reason is they are filled with air, unlike the hard boards that are made up of plastic, wood, etc.

Standing on an inflatable paddleboard also does not tire as much. In fact, it feels like standing on an exercise mat. Your feet and legs will not complain as much. Also, you will not get many bruises while failing to maintain your balance and falling on its less hard surface.

  Paddle Board vs Kayak - Which is the Best?
Hard Paddleboard

Hard paddleboards feel less comfortable due to their harder surface. If your destination is far, you will surely have tired legs, feet, and knees at the end of your tour. It feels hard under the feet thus makes the person get tired soon. Also, the chances of getting knee bruises increase when you fall on a hard surface of the solid paddleboards.


Inflatable Paddleboard

On average, inflatable paddleboards have around 21 pounds or less than 21 pounds weight. Their construction material in PVC plastic and they are filled with air which makes them light in weight. You can deflate them to reduce their weight further. This feature makes it more appropriate for women and young children who cannot carry large weights.  

Hard Paddleboard

Hard paddleboards are heavier than inflatable paddleboards. The reason is they are not filled with the air instead they have a specific construction material inside. Their weight can vary from one paddleboard to the other depending on their construction material.

Durability and Toughness

Inflatable Paddle Board

This kind of paddleboards is more durable than hard paddleboards. It does not get damaged easily and is considered a good option when paddling in the white waters. It also does not get dents and dips as easily. And even if it gets damaged, repairing it is easier and less costly than repairing a hard paddleboard.

Hard Paddleboard

Hard paddleboards are less durable. They get dents, scratches, and marks due to a simple fall. So, people going in water that has rocks avoid paddling on this form of paddleboards. Its repairing cost is also more than the repairing cost of inflatable paddleboards.


We cannot say one form of paddleboards is better than the other form completely. Actually, both have their own benefits and disadvantages. We all have different paddling requirements. Therefore, you should buy a paddleboard based on your requirements and needs.

Pakaloa Inflatable Paddle Board Promo Banner
Shopping Cart
Skip to content