These are known to be cooler than its solid counterpart…mostly because they’re cheaper and they’re easier to transport.
They have risen in popularity over the years, and have become the choice of hobby or pastime for most people.
I’ve become attached to them as well and have been trying out different types of paddleboards. Inflatable types are just one of them.
To help you out, I’ve reviewed the best inflatable paddleboard to date.
The Best of Inflatable Paddleboards for 2017
Sorry to bore you with history lessons. But admit it, its history is fun. Especially knowing Moses was saved by standup paddling. And some other amusing stories about pre-history of boards.
Finally, the time has come to introduce the best inflatable to date. Check my list out, and pinpoint which you liked the best.
|Tower Adventurer 9’10” Inflatable SUP||$$$|
|Isle 10ft Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board||$$|
|Solstice Bali 35128 Inflatable Stand-Up Light Weight Paddleboard||$$|
|Aqua Marina Vapor Stand Up Paddle Board||$$|
Tower Adventurer 9’10” Inflatable SUP: Great For Intermediate Paddlers
This would also go well for enthusiasts who are at the intermediate level when it comes to skills. Maneuvering the board is as easy as it can get, works well in water for starters.
Right out of the box, you can tell right away that the board is of high quality. Already a great bargain at this point. You’ll also get a 3-piece adjustable paddle, and to get you started immediately, there’s a hand pump included.
The board can carry up to 350 pounds, it’s more than enough for a man. I usually take my dog with me, sometimes when I feel like it, I bring my friend as well. It’s fine as long as you consider the limit.
This is an all-around paddleboard. You use it from yoga to flat water paddle boarding. This is relatively one of the best boards for maintaining balance as this is quite wide. It measures 32inches for its base and 6-inches when it comes to thickness. Great inflatable, overall!
Isle 10ft Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board: Lightweight, Easy to Balance Board
Compared to the inflatable product above, this one is conveniently lighter. Of course, you still have the freebies to take home with you. The paddle and pump are of the same quality as the Tower Adventurer, and the price isn’t all that far of a stretch either.
While I do enjoy the two boards, this one has a characteristic which makes it standout. I bought this not too long ago, and while it works perfectly well for me, it’s quite hard to get by with my dad using it.
The weight limit can be a hassle, it can only carry about 200 pounds. Two people can’t use this together unless they’re really thin. But that would just mean they’re both anorexic, so that’s a problem.
Talking about stability, it fairs pretty well. It’s pretty wide, too. Isle comes about 36 inches wide, making balance an easier thing to achieve. This is definitely a good board for beginners, best board for training.
Solstice Bali 35128 Inflatable SUP: Decent, Affordable Alternative
Most of the time, the problem is usually the budget of getting a new inflatable paddleboard – I admit, they can get costly. Surprisingly, the price of Solstice Bali 35128 is cheaper than the ones I’ve seen both online and offline.
However, the quality remains the same. To my surprise, comparing this unit to the other products on the list, you get MORE freebies. I’m particularly happy about my well-functioning pump, paddle, and free nifty bag to top it all off.
It doesn’t matter if you have just started out paddling or not, all skill levels are welcome to use Solstice Bali as their new inflatable.
Its strength and durability are quite remarkable, considering the price we bought this for. In fact, it even makes it suitable for all conditions.
I’ve used the paddle, and it’s probably one of the features which hit me the most – and no, not literally. It’s made out of aluminum, using it for propelling myself has been a breeze, considering that it is fairly light.
It being lightweight doesn’t compensate the paddle’s longevity as well. Also, the makers made sure comfort is given. I appreciate its “T” handle, gripping the handle isn’t a problem. It’s really easy to use.
Aqua Marina Vapor Stand Up Paddle Board: Buy It For The Aesthetics
This is probably the best product on this list aesthetics-wise. I really like how it comes with a unique curved design, you can use it to boast to your friends and family. However, this isn’t all for looks alone.
Two things that Aqua Marina is known for: speed and stability. But you can’t really use the speed part if you’re only using it for Yoga. On the other hand, I’m not really a fan of Yoga – I find it hard to do weird positions while I’m on my inflatable.
I mostly use this for racing. Well, I’m not really a professional, I only challenge my friends. But the results have been amazing! I never lost, although I might have been in 2nd or 3rd place from time to time – never last though.
The tri-fin is detachable, you know what that means, right? You can have the same similar experience no matter what condition you are in.
The board, in general, is pretty easy to use, I love how you’re able to control it perfectly. And I’m not even at the expert level! (I’m slightly above average at my best).
After the day has ended, you can keep it right away. No need to waste an hour trying to figure out how it deflates, you only need about 5 minutes to get it all done.
History Is A Funny Thing
It has been said to start in 2004 when all we had were Nokia’s indestructible keypad phones (Just for the record, Nokia recently announced a remake of the sought-after 3310.)
That is partly true, but there are interesting “facts” behind the historical background. I’m looking at behind real events and what is said to be a myth. Of course, this dependent on your belief.
While most of us are already born in 2004, apparently the concept has been used waaay before our time. In fact, our grandparents weren’t still alive back then. Centuries ago, before the creation of McDonald’s famous calorie-clogging burgers, people have already been SUP some small watercraft. Had I listened closely to my Religion teacher in grade school, I would have fond out sooner.
If you have at least paid attention to some of your classes, it has been discussed the Queen Bithia has found a baby, now named Moses, in a small basket being concealed in the stems. Because water skiing wasn’t a thing back then, she was doing her usual routine of crossing the Nile using SUP a small boat. Mostly the reason why she was able to spot the infant who was soon proclaimed the Savior of the Jews.
If there’s anything we can get from this, it’s that it has saved millions of lives. Making it even a cooler sport. Who knows? Maybe we could spot the next “Moses” with our Paddleboards.
When our parents were still pretty young – and not as grumpy as they are today – some guy named Felipe Pomar was given the title of World Surfing Champion back in 1965. He has shared his thoughts that his ancestors were already doing it since 3,000 B.C. As of now, we call it as “SUP”, his people, apparently called it as “TUP”.
We’re using awesome-looking paddleboards today, while they were doing it with the use of their improvised watercraft, which was made out of bundled reed. There are actually more people to talk about. There were a group of badass paddlers in Circa 800 A.D, let’s just name them as paddlers of the Mediterranean. These people were Israelites.
Hundreds of years after, another group of fishermen did the same back in 1200 A.D. I’m not sure if all of them had only one leg, but they were called as the one-legged paddlers.
History, is a funny thing, after all. Moving on, there was some woman who was called as the “Witch of Newbury” (Sounds fishy, but it is what it is) Apparently this “witch” made English soldiers lose their marbles by standing and paddling as she cruises the English River in 1640.
I find History quite amusing, but I’m not really interested why they were given such ridiculous names and titles. What I am interested in is how the hell did they manage to make it a sport?
Paddleboarding: Becoming A Sport
We’ve already established that they were already popular centuries ago, but it hasn’t been enhanced for quite some time. Surprisingly, innovation took place during the 20th century. And this was during its 1st decade.
The place where it all started, is no other than, Hawaii. Well, considering cool people are born in Hawaii, this isn’t a shocker – What’s up, Ryan Higa’s fans? They also had a different name for standup paddling as well. They were called as “Beach Boy Surfing” (for some reason, beach boy surfing is better than standup paddleboarding, new one is boring).
These awesome Hawaiian surfers were already SUP with the use of their zero-buoyancy olo boards decades ago. Let’s investigate further. There were a lot of accounts being published in 19th Century, particularly in Europe. It has been stated that there was an evidence in wave sliding existing. However, there was no information being released on standup paddling for some reason.
After which, a writer came to light, his name was Samuel Clemens. He has a penname of Mark Twain and decided to investigate on this matter. He would be considered as a digital nomad if he had been only alive in this era – too bad there’s no internet back in the day.
He has traveled across the land – Sandwich Islands and Venice – searching far and wide. He was doing a better job than Ash Ketchum at that point, and this was in 1865.
Exactly 7 years after his adventures, he has a record of his travels. He has made it point that he saw people surfing in the Pacific Ocean. Also, gondoliers of Adriatic were also being used a surfing spot by enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, there was no relationship between the two. This could only bring about a conclusion that no one, in particular, was paddleboarding in Hawaii of the referred years. In 1906, a movie was being released entitled “Surfboard Riders” needless to say, this was a Thomas Edison movie. In the movie, there were surfers riding different watercrafts.
Specifically, alias, prone paipos, and canoes. But in the entire movie, paddleboarding wasn’t included. Tom Blake, even the surfboard innovator, never mentioned a word about standup paddling.
From the information above, we can extract that paddleboarding is only a recent occurrence. We do have a clue though, but this was in a 2004 movie.
Finally, Some Proof!
The title of the movie was Blue Horizon of Jack McCoy. The clip is quite vintage. As a matter of fact, it was a black and white footage. It’s an amazing find that Duke Kahanamoku was standing up and paddling.
The clip was being discussed by experts, these were Scott Starr, Nick Carroll, Geoff Cater, and Desoto Brown.
These were world-renowned professionals of surf culture. These veterans all had the same belief and agreed. Duke was paddleboarding some Australian surf ski. Shockingly, it was a present which Duke received coming from a lifesaving team. It occurred at around 1939. There was a photo being discovered of a man who was seen cruising by standing up and paddling the Croatian Reservoir in 1938.
No one really knows what he was up to, but it seems he was the first man ever recorded paddleboarding. Because it wasn’t as popular as it is today, paddleboarding become cold for a couple of years. After years have passed, an enthusiast who wanted to follow the footsteps of Duke Kahanamoku was seen standup paddling. He was John Zapotocky, and he started his love for the sport in 1955.
There was some who testified, namely Pipeline Master Gerry Lopez, that there weren’t a lot of people standup paddling from ‘50’s to ‘70’s. It was only John Zapotocky and Pops AhChoy.
While there were only two of them practicing the sport, Pops only did so by using a rubber raft paddle. Age has some terrible ways of showing signs, like a knee problem AhChoy was experiencing. It wasn’t long after that two of his boys – LeRoy and Bobby – decided to practice standup paddling as well. But the reason was mostly to keep their cigs dry. And maybe some photography as well.
The Start of Modern Standup Paddling
While these guys contributed quite a lot on the SUP’s pre-history, there was someone else behind the modern paddleboarding. Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama were the very two people who set a mark in history.
It was a photo taken in 1996. The two friends were in tandem, both of them were in standing position as they propelled themselves with the use of paddles.
Later on, Laird was then standing and paddling with his daughter. It became an inspiration that led him to get the world’s very first standup in 2001.
After a year, to be exact, the 12th of September in 2002, his ideals were finally complete. It was a magnificent 6-foot board with a matching American flag – Laird did it. Since that day, approximately 15 years ago, it was clear that he was making something new. An entirely new sport was created. That’s how Standup Paddleboarding came to be.
SUP has broken barriers when it comes to popularity among board sports. And although innovation took place in a number of sports, such as sailboarding, kiteboarding, and many among other things.
Standup Paddleboarding is the fastest growing sport of them all.
The Health Benefits of SUP
At last, we have finally uncovered the history. Funny how people were doing it for centuries, yet innovation has only taken part over a decade ago.
Now, it gets me thinking. It shouldn’t be as popular as it is now, with, of course, a stable number of enthusiasts, without health benefits, right? Let’s identify what we get out of it besides a sun-kissed skin.
- Enhances Balance – For a klutz like me, it’s pretty hard to get it right during the first time. I mean, having to stand upright is needs some time to get used to. Unless you’re REALLY talented or Batman. Your core must be stable while keeping your leg strength at bay. In the process, your balance improves allowing you to glide seamlessly. The good thing is, it isn’t the only benefit you get. Both your focus and balance greatly increases which gives you a boost in doing your normal routine every day. Just be careful about falling in the water, it gets pretty annoying in the first few attempts.
- Better Than Gym – While people are busting nuts at the gym for their leg, shoulders, arms, and back workouts, it gives you a full body workout in a totally different environment. Even your abs are being put to work. What I love about it is that you can have a better experience than staying at a stinky gym. Not to mention getting all that stares from random people while you’re breaking some sweat.
- Safer Than Most Sports – Unlike basketball and other sports which come with a weighty consequence, it only carries quite a low-impact damage. You don’t have to sacrifice your tendons and joints while doing the activity. Runners are prone to knee and hip pain as track and field is a given troublesome sport. Most athletes who are experiencing some kind of injury usually resolves to try out this sport. It gives them their needed full body exercise while they’re still in the healing stage without compensating their damaged body part as well.
- Gets Rid of Stress – I don’t know about you, but freely cruising bodies of water with nothing but the sound of the waves crashing sounds like a good time to me. Water is an awesome factor which reduces stress in an instance, together with gliding through the water, and you have your new stress reliever.
- You Get Stronger – You know how the song goes – what doesn’t kill you make you stronger. Eh. But the feeling of soreness can get in the way. Oddly enough, I find it to be reassuring as it only means my body strength has improved from standup paddling. Just like when you’re at the gym, being sore doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing.
- An Improved Cardio Workout – I’m all about Insanity and T90x, but nothing beats being one with the outdoors. And honestly, workout programs gets kind of tiresome after a while. Especially when you keep doing the same routine for 90 days. However, you can’t get enough of fresh air and around-the-clock feeling of freedom. I often challenge my friends to a race just to spice things up a notch, it’s a real motivating workout. If you spend enough time paddle boarding, it can really be the best alternative for a killer cardio workout. As for my experience, it definitely outclasses home workouts. Sorry, Tony Horton.
- Boosts Cardiovascular Health – Your chances of being a victim of two most dreaded cardiovascular problem – heart attack and stroke – reduces. Paddle boarding has the same effect as running and cross-training. It means, your cardiovascular health is being enhanced as time passes during the process.
Wrapping It Up
There you have it – the best inflatable boards in the market. I do agree with you that when it comes to saving money, inflatable boards are the way to go. After all, what you’re after is fun and functionality right?
It might not have been a popular sport before, and it took some time for it to be fully developed, but when it did, it became a sought-after sport.
With that in mind, it’s only natural for you to go after the best ones. Don’t forget the budget, though, it’s always going to be a factor.
I had to choose on the units above, I would go for Solstice Bali 35128 Inflatable Stand-Up Light Weight Paddleboard. And I’m pretty sure you know the reason as well – it’s the cheapest on the list!
The best part is that it doesn’t sacrifice its quality, too. As far as I know, you can never go wrong with this one.