What is the difference between a Hard Board or an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board?

What is the difference between a Hard Board or an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board?

A hard board, also known as a rigid, solid, composite or in the case of Unlock the Deep Eleven6, a bamboo composite, is generally a lightweight EPS foam core with layers of epoxy and fiberglass to give strength to the board. The Unlock the Deep Eleven6 and other SeaGods hard boards have a wooden stringer, a thin piece of wood through the center of the board, to give strength to the board while adding minimal weight.  The Sea Gods board is then layered with Bamboo, fiberglass, epoxy, printing cloth for beautiful graphics and finished off with a UV resistant high gloss glaze and an EVA pad for standing traction.  People buy a hardboard for a variety of reasons; 1) Performance. This is the most important reason.  Hull profile, rail shape, and rocker can all be made for specific purposes. A planning hull will help you keep you tip above water on those windy days or in the surf while a displacement hull with cut through flat water like a race yacht. Rail shapes can assist the board to turn sharper, respond to rider’s weight transfers more readily, catch waves more easily, cut through the water with less chatter and bounce.  The absolute rigidity makes it feel more connected to the water.  2) Speed. The shape of the board , efficiency of water transfer, and fiberglass’ lower co-efficient of friction vs PVC all help the hard board faster than an inflatable because it will have less drag.   3) Beauty.  Hardboards are shiny, can be colourful, look sleek with their shapely bodies and curved rails, and don’t get the wrinkles that an isup can have from taking it out of rolled up storage.  Nothing will stop people on the beach to ask questions like a beautiful SeaGods Bamboo composite board with the original artwork of Luke McBain.  Heads will turn and people will tell you about their instant love for the piece of art you are about to ride.  4) Connection to the water.  Also means getting a little wet- When you pivot turn or step back, your back foot will be in the water, hopefully all the way to your knee!

Cons: Foam and fiberglass are by nature more fragile.  If you don’t want to ding or dent your hardboard, don’t take it off the shelf.  You will have scratches, dings, dents, and if you have a particularly sharp or hard blow, a break.  Most will be easy fixes you can do yourself, and battle scars to remind you of epic trips, but it is possible over the life of your board that a big fall, drop or bad tie-down job will leave you with a major repair job you might need help with- much like any other nice thing you use!



Nearly indestructible, light weight, easy to store and with vastly improved performance over early models, inflatable boards are becoming the more popular choice for a lot of reasons.  An inflatable board, also known as an iSUP, such as the Elemental Wave, is composed of layers of military grade PVC with an interior layer of drop stitch material, which is two layers of base cloth with nylon strings holding them together at a consistent space so that the board will inflate to be flat and not balloon shaped.  These stitches are in a V shape, so the fabric is sometimes called V stitch.  There are a variety of ways to add rigidity to the board, and often the quality, cost and weight are strongly connected.  The Base cloth over the drop stitch is not air tight, so cheaper boards often have a liquid layer of PVC poured over, and then the top layer of PVC glued on.  This adds weight and no rigidity.  Sometimes a “stringer” is added, which is a thin strip of PVC glued along the length, to add strength with minimal weight.  In 2016 a newer technology came out called where the liquid layer of PVC is replaced with an airtight adhesive and a laminated PVC layer that adds strength and rigidity and not unnecessary weight.  SeaGods boards then have a second layer of PVC heat laminated on to add durability and strength, and finally a last layer of UV printed material with original artwork for beauty and durability- SeaGods boards come with a repair kit, but we doubt you will every need to use it.   An iSUP is the board for you to have your kids jump on or friends sit on while you pump it up, to sleep on when you are camping, to ride hard and drag up on the shore.  They have extra handles and can take the bounces, drops and drags.  You can hike it up a mountain, throw it off a cliff to the pool below, bounce it down a river and roll it up in the trunk. 


Cons: Inflatable boards need to be inflated- it only takes 5-10 minutes to inflate, and 2-5 minutes to deflate and roll up, and you can buy an electric pump if you really don’t want to do it by hand. Slower on the water.


Both Hardboard and inflatable SUP are FUN!  They are both great workouts, you can explore the waters, see the wildlife and enjoy life on either kind of board! 



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