Comparing inflatables to traditional epoxy or fiberglass boards is sort of like comparing 4×4’s to compacts. The first thing to ask yourself is where are you paddling? What are your paddling needs? Or ask yourself the following questions when comparing.

Do you have storage issues?

If you answered yes, then an inflatable is an easy solution. Most inflatables on the market today come with a bag so they can be easily folded up and stored in a small space in your apartment, or more importantly, in the trunk of your small car so you can transport it and go paddle. Plus you can avoid the oversize charge when flying.

Do you need rigidity?

When surfing or paddling distance, a rigid board is key. Inflatables tend to flex in turbulent water and slow progress if you’re trying to put in miles, or paddle fast, forcing you to push water when you want to be gliding through it with little resistance. In the surf, a traditional, solid material is key when using the rail and making pinpoint adjustments when making turns to stay in the power pocket of the wave. In general, if you pine for pinpoint control, solid boards are where it’s at.

Are you paddling rivers?

Rocks don’t give. When you slam into them, they will break or “ding” epoxy or fiberglass. And most inland paddlers don’t have access to a surf shop adept at fixing dings, making inflatables a solid choice for running rivers. Inflatables allow for durability, especially if your ride becomes a demo board for the rest of your non-paddling family.

Are you a load and go paddler?

While inflatables make for convenient storage, they do take time to set up. You can’t just tie it to the racks, drive to your paddling destination and paddle (unless you leave it inflated all the time). Inflatables generally take about 10 minutes (or more) to pump up.

Are you on a budget?

Compared to their solid counterparts, inflatables are usually less expensive if you’re up against a budget crunch. They allow for a good price-point, allowing you to get into the sport without spending as much cash. And if you do decide to go with a solid board, you’ll always have the inflatable in your quiver for friends to use.


“At Laird StandUp we’ve designed all of our inflatable paddle boards to be stable, durable and easy to take with you wherever you go! Boards are built with two layers of the highest quality drop-stitch material for strength and rigidity. All boards come complete with carry-bag, pump and adjustable paddle.” – Byron / Team Laird StandUp

Written By Joe Carberry