What Is An ISUP Paddle Board? (Explained)

Stand-up paddle boarding is among the fastest-growing sports, and it uses large boards and paddles to let the rider move through the water. These paddle boards are commonly made out of fiberglass to ensure their durability. 

But as paddle boarding grows in popularity, the equipment used for the sports should develop as well. Thus, giving birth to the inflatable stand-up paddle boards or ISUP. 

Inflatable stand-up paddle boards or ISUP paddle boards are becoming more and more popular. It is pretty understandable why. ISUP paddle boards are durable and easy to carry and store, making them convenient for people who love water sports. 

There are many advantages to using inflatable paddle boards, more than simply convenience. But before we go over these benefits, what is the ISUP paddle board?

ISUP Paddle Boards Explained

What is an ISUP Paddle Board?

An ISUP paddle board or an inflatable paddle board is a piece of water sports equipment that you need to inflate with air rather than being made of solid construction. They are stable on the water, making them an efficient tool for cruising, fishing, or even surfing.

As an example, check out this Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board at Amazon.

An inflatable paddle board is even more stable than a standard paddleboard made of fiberglass as it has 20 percent greater volume. Meaning it can support more rider weight, thus allowing them to perform better. (source)

Unlike other paddle boards, ISUPs are the easiest paddle boards to transport. You can roll it up and carry it by hand when going on adventures. They are bigger than solid paddle boards once inflated, giving you more surface area to step on as you explore the waters. 

Additionally, inflatable paddle boards provide a softer cushion in case you fall. You do not have to worry that you might acquire an injury if your head hits your board. This feature is excellent, especially for beginning paddle boarders who are still working on their balance. (source)

ISUP Paddle Board Pros And Cons

By now, you might be considering purchasing an inflatable paddle board. But before doing so, you must know the benefits and drawbacks inherent in this inflatable design. This way, you will be able to make an informed decision before plunking down your hard-earned money.

That said, here are the pros and cons of having an ISUP paddle board:

Pros of an Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard

Perfect For Traveling

Since you can flatten and roll up an ISUP paddle board, they are perfect for water sport enthusiasts who like to travel to different beaches for adventures. You are less likely to need to pay additional airplane fees since inflatable paddle boards are lighter and take up so much less room than traditional fiberglass paddle boards. 

You can easily stuff your ISUP in a travel bag, making it very convenient to transport. 

Easy To Store

This benefit goes hand in hand with the one mentioned above. Since inflatable paddle boards are foldable, bringing them from one place to another is extremely easy. And once you finish your paddle boarding session, you will not need a huge storage area like a garage or a shed. 

Instead, you can deflate your paddle board, roll it up, and store it in a corner of your closet. 

Highly Durable

You may think that inflatable paddle boards are less durable than fiberglass ones since they are hollow inside. But would you believe that this type of paddle board works exceptionally well on rocky shores? 

Inflatable paddle boards are less likely to be dinged if it crashes into a rock. An ISUP bounces off rocks, making them much tougher than regular paddle boards. ISUPs are also unlikely to acquire damage unless they collide with sharp objects. (source)

woman carrying an ISUP paddle board into the water

Cons of an ISUP

Not As Rigid As Fiberglass Paddle Boards

Inflatable paddle boards are rigid, especially if you put in enough air. But while they can perform well, they will never be as stiff as fiberglass boards, which can make them a slightly more difficult to stand up on when first learning.

The Middle Part Sinks A Little When In The Water

One common problem that ISUP owners complain about their boards is the sinking of the middle part when you stand on it. It may not be a problem in terms of comfort. However, the dip in the middle of the stand-up board may limit its performance.

The reason why the middle part of the board sinks is that it is still soft. So, inflating the board with enough air will solve this dilemma. (source)

Tips For Buying An ISUP Paddle Board

If you are a beginner in paddle boarding, an ISUP is one of the best board choices. An ISUP is easy to use, although it is worth noting that it is a bit pricey. 

So, before buying an ISUP, you need to know a few buying tips to save yourself from making a costly mistake.

Correct Board Size

When buying one, you need to consider the ISUP’s size, as different sizes will serve different paddleboarding purposes.

  • Short paddle boards are easier to maneuver
  • Long paddle boards work well for gliding and tracking
  • Thin paddle boards are fast
  • Wide paddle boards are more stable

Use a Carbon Fiber Paddle

When buying an ISUP, get one that comes with a full carbon fiber paddle. This paddle type is the lightest option, but it is also the most expensive. Regardless of the price, carbon paddles are easier to use, making them perfect for beginners and professionals alike. 

Single and Double Layer ISUPs

ISUPs usually consist of layers of military-grade PVC. This material protects the paddle board from damage when you accidentally drop or bump it against sharp objects.

Some inflatable boards come with only one layer of PVC. But this single layer is durable enough to protect the board. While you may opt for an ISUP with multiple PVC layers, note that these extra layers add weight to your equipment. 

If you do not mind the extra weight, you can opt for a board with multiple layers of PVC for increased durability. (source)

ISUP compared to a hard board.

What Is ISUP Paddle Board – Final Thoughts

What is an ISUP paddle board? This equipment is a hollow paddle board that you need to inflate before using. This board is easy to carry as you can roll it and put it in your bag when you travel.

So, did we answer the questions on your mind with this article? Connect with us by leaving a comment down below!


  1. Dave Price. The Paddleboard Bible: The Complete Guide To Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021.
  2. HowExpert, Kayla Anderson. Stand Up Paddle Board Racing for Beginners: A Quick Guide on Training for Your First Stand Up Paddleboarding Competition. HowExpert, 2017. 
  3. Rod Jonshon. Stand Up Paddle: A Quick And Easy Guide On How To Sup Safely. StP, 2020. 
  4. David Womack. The Stand-Up Paddler’s Guide to Southern California: Paddling, Surfing, Touring, Racing, and Yoga. USA: Menasha Ridge Press, 2015. 

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