When you hear the name ‘Inflatable paddle boards’, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? I’m just gonna make a guess here and say that you’re mostly thinking of a fragile balloon that is shaped like a surf board. Well, I’m afraid you got it all wrong because, you see, most inflatable paddle boards are just as strong as hard boards and a lot more flexible.
It’s really surprising the amount of people who think that just because it’s an inflatable board, it is going to be weak and would easily warp once it makes contact with a sharp or hard object. Absolutely not! Inflatable stand-up paddle boards are mainly built using military/industrial grade material and then crafted generously with a drop double-wall stitch which ranges from one side of the core to the other, making the board almost indestructible. After leaving the factory, these boards undergo a bunch of tests to measure their durability and then they are made available.
Unlike regular inflatable stand up paddle boards, touring inflatable boards are shaped differently because they’re meant to outperform regular ones in terms of performance and speed.
There aren’t too many touring inflatable stand up paddle boards on the market because these boards are built for highly skilled and seasoned paddleboarders. So, if you’re on the lookout for the best inflatable touring sup, here are a few great options to consider.
First on our list of Inflatable SUPs is the ISLE Explorer, one of the best inflatable touring sup and a leading model which harvested the critics’ approval from its very beginning. Why is that? You might wonder. Well, first of all, the ISLE is a brand that dug its name deep in the board industry. This company has quite the record and that reflects on its products, making the ISLE one of the best inflatable SUPs out there by default.
However, is that enough to make a purchase? Should we just get it because the company has a big name? Not really. The ISLE Explorer is not just the descendant of a royalty, it actually earned its title because this board is top notch from body to performance.
Speaking of which, the body of this board is gigantic. It is 12 foot long which means you can easily fit 2 people on the deck head to toes and 36 inches wide, giving you a lot of space to move around and spread your weight properly on the deck (Tip: For perfect balance, place your feet further towards the sides).
Last but not least, the ISLE Airtech Explorer comes with everything you’ll need to maintain the board: Travel paddle, pump, fins and a big bag that fits all of the above.
Second on the list of best choice iSUP is the XTERRA touring which is almost the same size as the ISLE Explorer but this one is shaped differently. Most boards aim for that generic SUP look. However, the XTERRA adopts the kayak look and I must admit that it looks sharp. For almost the same price, The XTERRA is a strong competitor and promises an exemplary performance especially that it’s shaped like a rocket.
The XTERRA touring is a unique board. It is very strong, being fortified by rigid drop-stitch and double sided reinforcement which will significantly influence performance. This board has an astounding weight limit of 275 pounds and that illustrates how solid it is but the surprise is how swift a big board like this can be.
On the level of user friendliness, this board beats most boards in its category by providing a giant gripping pad, covering 2/3 of the deck and that should help you maintain balance easily but also make it a lot easier to climb back on top after you jump off. The XTERRA also provides a storage net on the nose of the board, consisting of 4 D-rings connected by a bungee cord which allows you to store anything from sandals to paddles.
Overall, the XTERRA promises a memorable experience as a stand up paddle board but also as a kayak because the D-rings allow you to install a kayak seat and you’re ready to cruise.
Last but definitely not least on the list is the Ten Toes and as the name indicates, the board guarantees that you keep all of your toes. Just kidding, you win some, you lose some. On a serious note, however, TEN TOES is as old as time, it is a prehistoric manufacturer and with that comes great responsibilities to not disappoint. Thus, the TEN TOES inflatable SUP carries on its shoulders a big name and it has to deliver (and boy does it).
This board has one of the sharpest designs. Scanning the body carefully will tell you enough about how serious this company is about their products. Their boards usually come without a single flow but that’s not all of it. Although looks are pretty important, performance is also key when it comes to inflatable paddle boards (and many other things, if you know what I mean) and this one is not backing off.
The TEN TOES is also in the 12 foot long club but it is extremely reliable and agile. Also, this board is beginner friendly as it comes with a light weight paddle, 3 removable fins, a manual pump and a repair kit but sadly no bag. However, to make up for that, the board does have a 1 year long warranty and when a company trusts their products that much, you can’t really say it’s bad unless you try it.
In the end, inflatable SUPs are coming strong this year and they have already taken over a big portion of the SUP market. The reason behind that is the many benefits inflatable SUPs offer in comparison with hard boards. Not only are they just as rigid but they are also more flexible/practical.
Inflatable SUPs do not require big storage space nor do they require a means of transportation. You can easily wear the back pack, go to your nearest body of water and voila, you’re ready to go.
I call them the smart boards.