10 things to know before buying an inflatable stand-up paddleboard (iSUP)

10 things to know before buying an inflatable stand-up paddleboard (iSUP)

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and dive into the world of stand-up paddle boarding. Whether you're a seasoned paddler looking for a more convenient option or a complete beginner eager to explore new waters, choosing the right inflatable stand-up paddleboard (iSUP) is crucial for an enjoyable experience.

With a variety of options to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Fear not! This guide will help you navigate through the essential considerations, ensuring you find the perfect iSUP to suit your needs. 

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Let’s review the ten important factors to consider before buying an inflatable stand-up paddleboard (iSUP).

From understanding board sizes and shapes to evaluating materials and accessories, I’ve got you covered. Get ready to embark on your paddleboarding adventure with confidence and excitement!

1. Purpose and types of stand-up paddleboards

First of all, determine if you want the board for recreational paddling, touring, sup yoga, fishing, river, or surfing. Each activity might require different features in an iSUP.

First of all, determine if you wan the board for recreational paddling, touring, SUP yoga, fishing, river paddling, or surfing. Each activity might require different features in an iSUP. 
  • Recreational Paddling: If you're looking for a board for leisurely paddling on calm waters, a wider and more stable iSUP would be ideal. These boards are also great for beginners as they are more stable. Some boards are also specifically designed for fishing such as the Taiga Hooke Board.
  • Touring: For longer distances, consider a board with a pointed nose (displacement hull) for better tracking and speed.
  • SUP Yoga: A board with a wider and more stable platform is perfect for yoga. The boards used for our SUP Yoga classes are the Taiga Awen Boards which offer a lot of stability.
  • Surfing or River Paddling: If you plan to use it in the ocean and catch waves, look for a shorter and more maneuverable iSUP.

2. Consider the stand-up paddle board size and shape when buying an iSUP

  • Length: Longer boards (10-12 feet) offer better speed and tracking, ideal for touring. Shorter boards (<10 feet) are more agile and better for surfing or river paddling.
  • Width: Wider boards (31-36 inches) provide more stability, great for beginners, yoga, and fishing. Narrower boards (<31 inches) are faster but less stable.
  • Thickness: Thicker boards (6 inches) provide more buoyancy and are better for heavier riders. Thinner boards (4-5 inches) are more stable but might not support as much weight.

3. Stand-up paddle board material and construction

  • Look for boards made from high-quality, durable PVC with drop-stitch construction for rigidity and longevity.
  • Typically boards that can inflate to 20psi are built with high-quality materials and provide better stability.
  • Multi-layered PVC construction adds durability and puncture resistance.
  • Most iSUPs are made from layers of PVC with drop-stitch construction. Higher-quality boards will have multiple layers of PVC, making them more durable, stable, and resistant to punctures.
  • Check for reinforced seams and high-quality valves to ensure the board can withstand frequent use and rough conditions. 

4. Inflatable paddleboard weight capacity and use weight 

  • Ensure the board can support your weight and any additional gear or passengers. Check the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit and choose a board with a higher capacity if possible for better performance.

5. Inflation and deflation of an inflatable SUP board 

  • Check the recommended PSI (usually 12-15 PSI) for optimal performance. A board that can be inflated to a higher PSI typically up to 20 PSI will be more rigid, stable, and durable.
  • Consider the type of pump included. Hand pumps are common, but electric pumps can save time and effort.

6. Stability performance of an inflatable paddleboard 

  • Beginners should look for a wider and more stable board. Experienced paddlers might prefer a narrower, faster board. Wider boards are also better for SUP Yoga and casually floating on the lake with friends. A great all-around board is the Taiga Borea Board which offers great stability and versatility for new paddlers with a displacement hull-shaped nose.
  • Consider the hull shape: flat hulls are more stable, while displacement hulls (pointed nose) are better for speed and tracking.

7. Accessories and package included with the purchase of an iSUP

  • Look for packages that include essential accessories like a paddle, leash, pump, repair kit, and carry bag.
  • Some advanced paddlers prefer to choose their paddle which is why you’ll notice higher ends brands not include the paddle in their inflatable board packages
  • Check the quality of the included accessories. For example, adjustable and lightweight paddles are preferable.
  • Additional accessories you may want to consider are: a life jacket PFD or beltpack PFD, a dry bag, an electric pump, and additional repair parts.
  • Use my discount code: REBELSOUL2024 for 10% off of your Taiga Accessories

8. Fins and Tracking

  • Consider the fin setup. A single large fin is common and offers good tracking for flatwater SUP
  • multiple fins (2+1 setup) can provide better stability and performance in different conditions and are typically better for Surf SUP and river SUP
  • Removable and adjustable fins offer versatility for various water conditions.

9. Price and warranty

  • Set a budget but be prepared to invest a bit more for better quality and durability. Cheaper boards may not perform as well as they are less stable or may not last as long.
  • Check the warranty and customer support offered by the manufacturer. A longer warranty period indicates confidence in the product’s quality.

10. Portability and storage 

  • Consider the weight of the board and how easy it is to carry. Many iSUPs come with a backpack or carry bag for transportation and storage. If you plan on travelling with your board you may even consider purchasing a travel board which folds into a carry-on-sized bag.
  • Ensure it fits in your vehicle and has a manageable packed size for storage at home.

Now that you’re equipped with all the essential knowledge, you’re ready to take the plunge and choose the perfect inflatable stand-up paddle board. Whether you're planning serene outings on calm lakes, challenging tours, or invigorating sup yoga sessions on the water, the right iSUP will enhance your experience.

You can also refer to Taiga’s guide on Everything you need to know about buying an inflatable stand-up paddleboard.

To make your adventure even better, I’ve partnered with Taiga to offer an exclusive discount. Use the code **rebelsoul2024** at checkout to get 10% off on all Taiga paddle boards and accessories. Dive into the world of paddle boarding with confidence, and start making unforgettable memories on the water this season!

Find out more about our Rebel Soul SUP Yoga and Stand-up Paddle board events in Timmins by visiting our SUP Paddle Page.


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