Just like any piece of sporting equipment, there are different types of SUPs. For paddling, inflatable paddles have been popular for many years as they are lightweight and portable. The durability of an inflatable paddleboard is dependent on the material used in its construction and there are several factors that can affect its lifespan.
It is important to understand the difference between inflatable paddle boards and hard boards. When it comes to SUPs, there are stand-up models that are helpful for everyday use such as touring and recreational activities. And then there are hardboards that can be used for racing, surfing, and more.
Each type of SUP has a different set of specifications to consider when purchasing an inflatable paddleboard. Getting the right SUP could save you a lot of money in the long run since it will be more durable than other models offering similar performance.
The Durability of Inflatable Paddle Boards
Once upon a time, inflatable SUPs were considered to be the poorer cousin of their hardboard counterparts. But fast forward 10 years and in many respects, performance-wise, an inflatable paddleboard is now on par with any hardboard. Inflatable paddleboards are made by “drop stitching” 2 layers of polyester fabric together with thousands of polyester threads. Then an air-tight coating goes over the outside surfaces of both sides of the material. The SUP sidewall material is made of polyester fabric that’s coated on both sides.
All the major iSUP manufacturers use something called a PVC drop stitch material ( PVC material ) that has been tried and tested in other inflatable products such as towables, pool toys, water slides etc. The PVC drop-stitch material used in making iSUPs is thick and extremely strong. So much so that it has been used in military applications! The multiple layers of PVC allow inflatable paddle boards to withstand a lot of abuse.
I have heard all of the arguments against inflatable paddleboards. They are not very durable, they are not stable enough to stand on, and so forth. However, when it comes to durability I am going to have to say that inflatable paddle boards are quite durable.
My personal experience with the durability of inflatables comes from my touring adventuring and most noticeably when I paddle 6 days overnight on a local river. During this adventure, I was faced with many low spots where rocks, sticks, and other materials would be scraping the bottom of my paddleboard. My 12′ bluefin cruise did absolutely amazing! While there were scratches on the graphics on the bottom of the paddleboard there were no cuts or gashes.
The key is to make sure you do your research before buying a quality inflatable paddleboard. There are some cheaper brands out there that do not use quality material and do not provide a warranty. Bluefin Cruise Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards come with a 5-year warranty meaning if you puncture your board in the first year they will repair it free of charge. Typically, a longer warranty is a testament to the paddle board’s durability.
How Long Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Last?
Inflatable paddle boards are coming on strong in the industry. They are easier to transport and store, but they are also more durable. However, many people wonder how long do inflatable paddle boards last? This is a good question because while they are easy to move around, you still want to make sure your board will last a long time.
The truth is that inflatable paddle boards can last quite a long time. In fact, many people find that their inflatable boards last five years or longer. That’s because these boards are made from very durable materials and are made to withstand the elements and general wear and tear.
So how long do inflatable paddle boards last? Well-made boards can last 10 years or longer with proper care. The most highly used boards, with the proper care, should last 3 to 5 years. Proper storage of an inflatable paddle board is also extremely important when it comes to the life of inflatable paddle boards. For boards that are used extra heavily or that aren’t given proper care, we expect them to last 3 years or less.
Additionally, newer boards haven’t been available long enough to provide data on how reliable they are. Still, manufacturers make sure their products are durable, which is why it’s best to purchase directly from a manufacturer.
Can Inflatable Paddle Boards Be Repaired?
Most inflatable SUPs these days have an airtight layer of material between the outer rubber and the inner PVC boarding, making puncture unlikely. But, accidents happen and you may find yourself with a hole in your inflatable paddleboard! luckily for you, inflatable paddle boards can be repaired easily and most of them actually come with a simple repair kit.
The first thing you’ll want to do is find the hole causing the leak. If it’s not very obvious, you can use some dish soap or baby shampoo mixed with water on your board and rub it over where you suspect the hole is. The leak will bubble up when you’ve found it. Clean and dry off your board after this step. Then you will want to slightly scratch the surface of the paddle board and then apply the patch with the PVC adhesive. Give it a day to fully set then you should be good!
In the end, what it comes down to is that inflatable paddle boards are every bit as durable as a hard paddle board. Of course, they aren’t nearly as heavy as hard boards, so some consumers may be concerned about durability if they’re going to be taking it out on a bigger body of water. As long as users know when and where to use their boards, though, durability shouldn’t be an issue at all.
The best way to determine whether or not your inflatable paddleboard is durable enough for your needs is to know what kind of material it’s made from. Most inflatable paddle boards have a high-density PVC core with multiple layers of PVC laminate, which makes them just as durable as hard paddle boards without the extra weight. Even the most expensive inflatable SUPs are still lighter than their hard counterparts; however, that doesn’t mean that they won’t stand up to wear and tear.
Most inflatable SUPs come with a one-year limited warranty against defects in materials or workmanship. Users should always make sure that they check the warranty information before purchasing an inflatable paddleboard; however, most companies will actually offer a longer warranty on their products if users register them after purchase.
If you are looking to purchase a new paddleboard soon we would recommend checking out Bluefin SUP which is a high-quality paddleboard brand.