Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Better For Beginners?

When you’re ready to buy your first stand up paddle board, you have to choose between an inflatable SUP and a solid body SUP.

You might be wondering which type of paddle board is best for beginners to learn on – is it an inflatable SUP?

Yes, inflatable paddle boards are better for beginners to learn on, and even experienced paddle boarders often choose to use an inflatable board.

Below we’ll go over some of the benefits of inflatable stand up paddle boards and what makes them so great for people new to this water sport.

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Why Inflatable Paddle Boards Are Good For Beginners

There are several things that go in the ‘pros’ column when comparing inflatable paddle boards to solid paddle boards.

These benefits don’t just make iSUPs better for beginners, but better for most paddle boarders.

ALSO READ: Gear Review: Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards (2022)

1. Ultra Portability

One of the best things about inflatable stand up paddle boards is that they are so compact when not in use.

This means that you don’t have to worry about having enough room to store you iSUP when it’s not in use.

It also means that transporting your inflatable board to the water is easy peasy since most of them just roll up into a backpack carrying case.

You can even take most inflatable paddle boards onto a plane in as your hand luggage.

Or, if you want to check a bag, then you won’t have to pay an oversize charge for your iSUP or worry about it getting damaged like you would with a hard body paddle board.

woman on knees on SUP

2. Softer Surface

When you’re new to paddle boarding, you tend to end up spending a lot of time kneeling on the board since your balance isn’t perfect, and you may also fall quite a bit, initially.

Inflatable paddle boards have a much softer surface than solid boards, which means it will be easier on your knees.

And if you fall on the actual board, then it will be a much softer hit than if you were on a solid board.

3. Awesome Stability

As you shop for a paddle board, you’ll notice that most of the inflatable boards tend to be both wider and thicker.

And that means that overall inflatable SUPs tend to be more stable than solid SUPs. 

Since you have to air up an inflatable paddle board, you also get complete control over the firmness of the board, which means how stable it is out on the water.

ALSO READ: What Are The Most Stable Stand Up Paddle Boards?

4. Lower Cost

Overall, you will find that inflatable paddle boards are cheaper to buy compared to solid paddle boards.

So, if you’re on a budget it will be easier for you to find a paddle board in your price range when looking at the inflatable options.

And don’t let the low price fool you into thinking that means lower quality.

Dollar for dollar, you can get a higher quality inflatable paddle board than a solid paddle board.

And for the money, that inflatable board is likely going to come with accessories where hard paddle boards likely won’t for the same amount of money.

What Is The Best Inflatable Paddle Board For A Beginner?

If you’re shopping for a new board, then I recommend focusing on an iSUP that is around 10-feet to 11-feet in length.

Right now my favorite inflatable paddle board for beginners is the Connelly Big Easy Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Paddle – 11′.

Connelly Big Easy Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Paddle - 11'
buy at REI

This board is ideal for beginners because it is incredibly stable on the water, as well as versatile.

Whether you’re seeking fitness, adventure, serenity, or all three, the 11 ft. Connelly Big Easy inflatable SUP delivers with stability that lets you paddle without worrying about perfect balance.

If you need something that is cheaper because you’re on a budget, then a good alternative is the iROCKER Nautical Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board 10’6″ – however this one is not quite as high quality as the Connelly iSUP above.

iROCKER Nautical Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board, Superb Maneuverability SUP with Roller Bag, Adjustable Paddle, Pump, Leash, Fins & Repair Kit
buy at Amazon

The 32″ of width provides extra stability while still maintaining a narrow design to glide through the water with reduced drag.

Just keep in mind that while this iSUP as a cheap price, the accessories that you get with it aren’t the highest quality – you really do get what you pay for. (That’s why the Connelly iSUP above is our top recommendation)

The NAUTICAL iSUP is ideal for beginners and riders of all shapes and size.

  • Made for all water conditions & skills level
  • Extra Durable: Dual Layer Military Grade Drop Stitch Material means this board is tough, really tough. No dent, ding, or drop will damage this board.
  • A fully inflated Nautical board can hold up to 240 lbs.

This board has a simple design with 17 D-rings, a dual bungee-cord front and rear cargo storage area, 3 removable fins, Action mount compatible with a Cell Phone Holder, Speaker, Cup Holder, Rod Holder, Go Pro Holder, Selfie Stick and an extra comfy EVA deck pad which keeps feet from getting sore and can double as a yoga mat!

Break in your paddle boarding skills with this simple, lightweight, and cheap SUP.

Are Cheap Inflatable Paddle Boards Any Good?

As shop for an inflatable paddle board you’re going to notice a wide variety of prices for the boards, with some under $300 and others over $1,000.

That begs the question – are the cheap inflatable paddle boards worth the money?

No, most of the time you truly do get what you pay for and those cheap iSUPs are not as good of quality as you can get by spending just a little bit more.

One of the better quality SUP brands that makes cheap paddle boards is iROCKER. 

While iROCKER paddle boards, like the one listed above, are very cheap they are also not the same quality as more expensive boards and brands (for the most part).

Ideally, you should focus on getting the best inflatable paddle board that you can afford because you’ll notice a difference when you’re out on the water.

Expect to spend between $600 and $800 to get a good quality inflatable paddle board for cheap.

And do yourself a favor and buy from a place like REI that has an amazing return policy in case anything goes wrong with your iSUP.

Final Word

As you can see, inflatable paddle boards are an excellent choice for beginners because they are very stable, easy to learn on, and tend to have a cheaper price.

Just be careful that you don’t go too cheap and end up with a low quality board that gives you terrible experience on the water.

We recommend buying the Connelly Big Easy Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Paddle – 11′ from REI as the best cheap inflatable paddle board for beginners.

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