How to choose between Epoxy and Inflatable Paddle Boards
Paddle Board Guide
With both Epoxy and Inflatable SUP boards providing their own individual set of benefits, it can be a difficult choice in deciding which type best fits your individual needs and priorities. If you’re looking for storage convenience, then an inflatable SUP offers a greater advantage. But if you don’t have the time to set up an inflatable board every time you go out and want to get on the water straight away then a rigid board provides better advantages. Performance, comfort, storage and convenience are some of the important criteria that your purchasing choice depends on. Let’s have a closer look.
When it comes to purchasing the right SUP board the single most important criteria is performance. Developments in the design of inflatable boards have improved in rigidity to make them feel similar to epoxy boards. However traditional boards still offer relatively improved responsiveness and overall feel. So if your goal is to have ultimate in stability a rigid board, whether that be epoxy or soft-top construction, is a far better choose for performance capabilities.
Inflatable boards are fairly comfortable if you have a large enough board with floatation, they are not ideal in any sort of wind with the lightweight construction. Epoxy, on the other hand, offers a smoother glide and a much better response when turning and are able to handle choppy conditions. In our experience, paddlers always enjoy the feel of a rigid board for overall stability, better speed and responsiveness provided by a traditional rigid SUP board.
The construction of traditional rigid paddle boards is done with composite layers of materials around a foam core. This solid construction allows for more overall volume that is better suited for carrying heavier paddlers. Inflatable paddle boards feature a highly durable robust rubber material with “drop stitch” technology and this style of board are lighter to carry. Keeping in mind that some rigid boards only weigh 10 kilograms if molded using the latest technologies.
If you’re leaning towards a traditional board, you will need to have adequate clearance space to store it when not in use. Measuring available space is critical when choosing your board. Nothing worse than arriving home with your new board only to find it doesn’t fit in the garage. Inflatable boards make storage issues a lot simpler. Deflate, roll up and in a bag it goes. Just make sure that before storing, the SUP is completely dry.
Traditional boards can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to transporting them over long distances. By road you would need factory-installed cross bars on vehicles. Flying with your board may require paying additional fees and buying a quality travel bag. Inflatable SUP’s don’t require as much consideration. Deflated boards can be easily packed along in your luggage.
As robust as epoxy boards are they, too, are susceptible to scratches and dents. Superficial scratches may reduce aesthetics but do not impact on performance unlike deeper dents and dings that can allow moisture to seep into the core. Repairs can be made yourself with a DIY kit or you can have it attended to at a reliable SUP repair shop. Inflatable SUP’s are purchased with a repair kit included and like any inflatable over a short period of time the material can become inferior.