What Are The Different Types of Paddleboards?

Paddle boards are a fun way to enjoy the beach or any safe body of water.

You’re here because you’re curious about the different types of paddle boards you can use. 

The short answer is that there are solid and inflatable stand-up paddle boards (SUPs), but there’s more to it.

Stick around to learn more about the types of paddle boards available today. 

A Young Man And A Dog On An Orange Paddle Board.

Solid vs. Inflatable SUPs

Solid SUPs

Most solid boards have EPS foam in the middle, fiberglass, and epoxy.

It is a construction that is light, strong, and cheap.

Carbon fiber is lightweight and stiffer than other materials but costs more.

Plastic SUPs are more affordable but are heavy and don’t work as well as those made of different materials. 

The light wood brings out the elegance of some SUP.

Why Get a Solid SUP?

Your main goal is to do well.

The best performance on the water comes from solid boards.

These types of paddle boards move faster, smoother, and with less effort than an inflatable.

If you want to paddle quickly and far, you need a suitable SUP.

Solid SUPs come in more sizes and shapes than inflatable SUPs, so it’s more likely that you’ll find one that fits you perfectly.

Remember that stability is essential.

A solid board is a bit stiffer than an inflatable board, making it feel more stable, especially when riding waves. 

Solid boards also tend to ride lower in the water, making them feel more stable.

Well-made SUPs can take up a lot of room.

A solid SUP is a good choice if you have enough space in your garage and a vehicle that can carry it.

Inflatable SUPs

As their quality has improved over the past several years, inflatable boards have gained popularity.

A common mistake about paddle boards is that they are made of cheap materials. 

Modern construction and materials have made it possible for iSUPs to compete with fiberglass boards and even do better in some ways.

Inflatable SUPs are made with drop-stitch technology and heavy-duty PVC to create an air core.

When inflated correctly, inflatables should feel as rigid and stable as an epoxy board. 

They can withstand harsh conditions and have a high level of durability overall.

Since they don’t cut through the water, they can be slower than SUPs made of fiberglass.

The inflatables’ most significant strength is their portability and compactness compared to other board storage options.

Just take the SUP out of the water, roll it up, and put it in the SUP backpack, which usually comes with the purchase.

Each type of inflatable board has its range of possible uses and levels of performance.

It means that any rider can find something that works for them, no matter how good they are or what kind of paddling they like to do.

Inflatable paddle boards are great for people who want to take their SUP on the road and see where the adventure takes them. They work well all around. 

They are also great for people with little room to store things.

Why Get an Inflatable SUP?

There may need more room for a massive solid board in a smaller home, condo, or apartment.

When deflated, inflatable SUPs are small and easy to store in small spaces, like a closet or car trunk.

You can bring your inflatable SUP with you on a road trip or a plane and paddle when you get to your destination.

You can pack an inflatable in your luggage and carry it on a train, car, or airplane. 

Most storage bags have straps that make them easy to carry, like a backpack.

You can’t bring a solid board if you want to paddle on an alpine lake. 

Even when it’s in its bag, an inflatable is still heavy, but it’s your only choice.

Like a raft or inflatable kayak, an inflatable stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is better at handling rocks and logs than a solid board if you paddle in whitewater.

It also works if you like SUP yoga.

You don’t have to use an inflatable board for SUP yoga, but they tend to be softer than solid boards, which makes them better for yoga poses.

Related Reading: Some DIY Paddle Boards – Learn More Here.

Material Types for Stand-Up Paddleboards

A Man And His Children Relaxing On A Stand-Up Paddle Board.

Fiberglass Paddleboard

The solid fiberglass board is the most popular of all the solid boards you can buy.

The light weight of fiberglass makes it easy to move in and out of the water. 

But it is also solid, which means you can do many different things on it.

Paddle boards made of fiberglass have an EPS foam core and several layers of fiberglass on the outside. 

They are then sealed with epoxy resin over them more than once.

These layers protect the inner core and keep the board’s surface from getting dinged.

EPS is a type of high-density foam that stands for “expanded polystyrene.” It is very stiff but light, so paddle boards are mostly made of it. 

It is made of closed cells and can withstand solid compressive forces, making it perfect for sports and long-distance paddle boards.

Like fiberglass boats, these SUP boards can cut through waves and tend to make the ride smoother and faster.

They also move through the water more smoothly and are easier to control than many other boards.

The hull’s shape enables this board to cut through water quickly or paddle slowly and smoothly.

Soft-Top Paddle Boards

Soft-top paddle boards have a front deck made of foam that is soft and spongy.

At the front, the foam curls up just a little to help the board glide over the water’s surface. 

It’s stable, but it can still handle the occasional bump into a rock, a tree branch, or something else.

Even though the foam is soft, the core of a smooth top board is still solid.

It is often made of EPS foam with a high density, just like a fiberglass board. 

Soft top boards also have a stringer, a rigid piece of plastic that runs from the nose to the tail.

Because of this, it will be sturdy enough to withstand your weight and the swell.

If you like to ride without shoes, these boards are great.

Since your toes do most of the “driving” to keep your balance, the soft foam lets you “grip” the board with your feet.

One of the best features of soft top boards is that they don’t show much wear and tear.

Unlike fiberglass boards, which can get scratched easily, the soft foam coating on top of soft-top SUPs makes it hard to tell how old they are.

They are also great for people just starting, so give them a try if you are.

Wooden Stand-up Paddle Boards

Many SUPs include bamboo decks since it is the most sustainable wood option.

It’s as tough and durable as a carbon fiber board but far more affordable.

Carbon fiber is the strongest material in paddle boards but is also very expensive.

Foam Paddle Boards

Foam boards are the lightest on the market, making them the easiest to pick up and move around.

It is easy to carry inflatable SUPs inflated than deflated.

On the other hand, they are always easy to move on a foam board.

Despite what most people think, foam paddle boards are very durable.

Because of foam, they can take a beating and keep going.

Foam SUP boards are slower than fiberglass ones but faster than inflatable ones, which many people prefer.

Not to mention way more affordable.

Related Reading: The Best Fish Finder For Kayaks – Read About It Here

Final Thoughts

Different people prefer different types of paddle boards and various activities.

You need to find one suitable for you and your budget.