Inflatable vs. Rigid SUP



Inflatable SUP vs. Rigid SUP

With good weather and longer days approaching, it is time to start preparing for summer adventures and activities. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a great way to get active on the water with very little equipment needed. It gives you a great workout and can be very therapeutic.

 One of the biggest decisions when deciding which board is right for you is whether to go for an inflatable or rigid design. As the name implies, an inflatable board is pumped up when needed, and then deflated when not in use. A rigid board is made of epoxy resin.

Naish Nalu, inflatable
Naish Odysseus, rigid

 Both inflatable and rigid boards have their advantages. The real question comes down to you!  Where will you use the board? What do you hope to get out of the sport?

Waikanae Estuary

You will most likely have an idea of where you would like to use the SUP. In the local area the Waikanae River/ Estuary is the perfect spot for flat water SUPing. This is a good place to start, to work on technique and balance.

 Then there is Waikanae Beach and further North if you feel like giving it a go in the surf.

 If you think you will be happy paddling in the river mouth and having a go at catching some small waves an inflatable is a good option.  On the other hand if you want to get into serious surfing or racing a decent distance you may prefer a rigid option.

Inflatables are more durable. You might not have thought so but these boards are very rugged. This means they are a great option for beginners and families with children who also want to give it a try. You will feel less stressed about damaging your board with an inflatable.


The obvious difference between an inflatable SUP and a rigid SUP is portability. The inflatable SUP will deflate at the end of your ride and pack into a backpack. A rigid SUP will require roof racks and a bit of handling lifting on and off (or a van).

There are a few disadvantages to inflatables.

  • Inflating does take some time (and energy). As does deflating
  • An inflatable board is not as stable as rigid boards. Choppy water will offer more of a challenge.
  • If you are looking for optimal performance regarding speed and agility or for hard out surfing a rigid board may be more appropriate.

Whatever you decide I know you will enjoy getting out there and giving it a go!

And of course, any questions, just ask us!

Kapiti Xtreme Kayaks



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