Hardboard Vs. Inflatable SUP: Which is Better?

Hardboard Vs. Inflatable SUP: Which is Better?

AQ Staff
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Are you struggling to decide between a hardboard vs. inflatable SUP (paddleboard)? It's Rylan from AQOutdoors here, and I want to walk you through a common question we get asked about the two types: is one better than the other?

The short answer is... it depends. Inflatable and hard SUPs each have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages that make them different. Factors like portability, speed, tracking, weight capacity, and other performance aspects will play a crucial role in determining your preference. However, it's easy to get bogged down in technical details. So, to make your purchasing decision easier, here are some of the significant benefits offered by each type of board.

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Hardboard SUP

Do you see yourself touring around lakes and oceans, or even ocean surfing? If the answer is “yes”, then a hardboard might be a good option for you.

Hardboards are traditional SUPs that are made from either fiberglass or PVC plastic. They have a more defined rail and match the performance closer to a surfboard.

[ Also Read: Best Inflatable Paddleboards for 2023 ]

Hardboard SUPs are great for touring around, as they are super stable and track nicely through the water. However, one major downside to hardboards is how delicate they are. They are more prone to dings and dents, which makes them less ideal for rough water conditions or for those who want a board that can withstand accidental damage.

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Inflatable SUP

Inflatable SUPs, on the other hand, are made from durable PVC materials that are designed to withstand impact and abrasions. They are perfect for running rivers and jumping from island to island.

Inflatable SUPs are also highly portable, making them great for those who live in apartments or have limited storage space. They can be easily packed into a backpack or a car trunk and inflated on-site.

[ Also Read: How To Stand Up Paddleboard: Complete Guide ]

Another advantage of inflatable SUPs is their affordability. In the inflatable SUP market, a wide variety of boards are available at lower price points, making it a great place for beginners to start. However, investing in a higher-priced inflatable SUP is recommended for those looking for a premium board that will last longer and perform better on the water.


When it comes to choosing between hardboards and inflatable SUPs, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It all comes down to personal preference and intended use.

Growing up on hardboards, I must admit that I have a soft spot for these traditional paddleboards. But I'm also a sucker for the convenience and portability of inflatable SUPs.

If you prioritize performance and stability over portability and affordability, a hardboard may be the best option for you. However, if you value convenience and durability, an inflatable SUP may be the better choice for you.

Shop AQ Outdoors SUP Collection

AQ Outdoors Contact

Edmonton:  (p) 780 463-4892 (e) info@aquabaticsedmonton.com

Calgary:  (p) 403 288-9283  (e)  info@aqoutdoors.com

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