Are Inflatable Surfboards Worth It? Why Every Surfer Should Try One
Are inflatable surfboards any good?
Obviously, as a surfing beginner, choosing the best surfboard is something that you will have to square with sooner than later. After all, it is the main determinant of your experience on the water.
In another article on this website, we asked: what is better between rigid vs inflatable stand up paddle boards? We saw that both are good options depending on the user.
In this article, we consider inflatable surfboards. We ask: are they any good? That is what we are going to explore here.
But first, here are good surfboards that you can buy on Amazon.com if you are a beginner surfer:
Inflatable surfboards have many benefits, but they are not available on Amazon.com. However, you can find them in other outlets. They offer more buoyancy and more flex on the water. Therefore, they can work perfectly on waves.
Can you surf with an inflatable surfboard?
Since the inflatable board is made for surfing, you sure can use it on the water. However, it has totally different dynamics as compared to a rigid surfboard.
There are many benefits of using an inflatable surfboard especially when it comes to logistics. In another article on how to transport rigid SUP Boards without a rack. It can be quite a bother.
So, yes, you definitely can surf with an inflatable board. However, because of the extra buoyancy and the lightweight, the dynamics of using an inflatable board are very different from those of using a rigid board.
How to choose an inflatable board for surfing
There are many brand names of inflatable surfboard in the market. However not all of them are going to be good for you.
Here are a few important considerations to bear in mind when choosing an inflatable surfboard:
High PSI rating for your inflatable surfboard is recommended. The reason for this is that such a board is firmer than one with a low PSI rating.
Experts recommend that you choose a 12 to 15 PSI board. Any lower than that and the board might not be firm enough to carry all of your weight through the entire surfing session.
Another way to get a good inflatable surfing board is to consider the thickness. Obviously, 6-inch thick surf boards have a higher PSI rating than 4-inch ones.
Short vs long inflatable surfboards
When it comes to choosing the size of your surfboard, it depends on your experience.
Short inflatable surfboard is best for beginners
That is correct! Shorter boards are easier to control in the water. They are more stable and if you use them on unbroken waves, they will not be tossed about.
When you are a beginner, you need not worry about speed. You worry about keeping your balance, moving over the waves and getting the other beginner moves right.
As soon as you move from beginner to intermediate surfing level, you can graduate to a longer inflatable surfboard.
Long surfboards are best for experienced surfers
Long inflatable surfboards are faster and more stable in chaotic waves. When you are intermediate and advanced surfing level, you want to be working on your speed. You also want to keep more stable in the water as you take turns at high speed.
If you already know the basics of surfing, buy a long inflatable surfboard.
Pros of inflatable surfboards
While both rigid and inflatable boards have their unique benefits, there could be more reasons to buy an inflatable board over a rigid board. Here are some benefits:
Inflatable surfing boards are easy to transport
You just need to deflate the board and then roll it up and stuff it in its sack or carry bag. It rolls quite small enough to toss in one corner of the trunk. This is a benefit that you do not get with stiff boards.
Storing the inflatable boards at home is much easier and they do not take up much space. Also, carrying one on your person is ever so easy.
They are durable
If you check the material used to make inflatable SUP and surfboards, you will find that it comes with a core (which holds the air) and the covering is made with high quality PVC. With good care, these boards can last a long time.
Thus, for many people who ask: are soft surfboards any good? The answer is a resounding yes. They give you great value for money.
Depending on your budget, you can choose single or double layer soft surfboards. Of course, the latter is more durable, but it will cost more.
They take a beating better than rigids
As you learn how to surf for the first time, you will find that falling onto the board and into the water is part of the process.
If you fall on a rigid badly, it is going to hurt you. At the same time, if you hit a rigid board against a rock, log or something, it is going to break.
An inflatable board cannot break. If you hit a fully inflated ball against a stone wall, does it rip open?
Cons of inflatable surfboards to be aware of
Everything about inflatable boards is not all glory without doom. You should be aware of a few things:
They need more care and maintenance than rigid boards
Inflatables need more thorough cleaning with the right products. They also need to be air-dried completely so that when you roll it up for storage, it will not develop mold.
You have to pay more attention to the seams in case they start to show signs of bursting.
They require more preparation
Unlike the rigid boards that you can just pull off the rack of your SUV and toss them into the water, for an inflatable, you have to bring its pump and give it a couple of minutes to fill up.
You also have to check the health of the valves, nozzles and other parts. This is more work than when using a rigid surfboard.
It does not ride the waves as well as a rigid
Simply said, you cannot achieve the same type of curvature as you would a rigid board.
Therefore, the nose is a bit blunt, which makes it hard to ride the waves. The tail too is hard to curve up, so the board fetches too much water.
Are inflatable surfboards the same as soft surfboards?
Inflatable surfboards are the same as soft top surfboards. As their names suggest, the inflatable ones are inflated with a pump. The soft surfboards are made of soft foam, which makes them flexible, more responsive and accommodating to beginners.
Another difference between the two types of surfing boards is that the soft surfboard is firm and solid. Therefore, transporting it is not as easy as the Easy Eddy 3-piece modular paddle board, or an inflatable board that you can deflate and roll up.
Even when it comes to storage, the inflatable ones are easy to store while the solid ones occupy more space. Just make sure the board is clean and completely dry.
Are Inflatable Surfboards Any Good? FAQ
In case you need more clarification about the benefits of inflatable surfboards, these frequently asked questions and answers might help:
Can you surf with an inflatable SUP?
Well, if you are looking to get into traditional surfing, an inflatable SUP board will not be as good as a surfboard. Thus, if you are in both surfing and stand up paddle boarding water sports, it is best to buy a board for each sport.
Are bigger surfboards easier?
Longer boards are more stable and they catch the waves much better than shorter boards. However, for training, use a shorter and broader board. For speed and maneuverability, you need a long board. So yes, bigger surfboards are easier.
Is a 7-foot surfboard good for beginners?
A 7-foot soft board is good for beginner kids who are not older than 12 years. As he or she grows older and gains more experience, you might want to graduate them to 6.5-foot boards. For an adult beginner an 8, 9 or 10-foot surfboard would be more ideal.
Are soft surfboards any good?
Soft surfboards come with a soft deck, and they are perfect for beginners thanks to their un-aggressive nature.
Such boards can last long and they are easy to maneuver because of their minimal weight.
They also do not sustain dents easily because the EVA material absorbs the impact when the you knock the surfboard against something.
They have rounded rails and a soft deck. Their core is made of EPS foam, and then it is covered with Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate.
EVA is the same material that’s used to make exercise mats. It is soft, flexible and responsive. It is also the same that’s used to make stand up paddle boards for yoga.
So, to answer the question, yes! Soft top surfboards are a lot of good, not only for beginners but advanced surfers as well.
You will find these soft top boards in different sizes. Some are even longer than 5 feet, some are shorter. Shortboards of up to 8 feet are regarded as professional or performance surfing boards.
Irrespective of the sizes, they share one thing in common – they are more stable, buoyant and lightweight.
Here is a very resourceful article on why soft surfboards are perfect for every surfer.
What surfboards do professionals use?
When people ask this question, usually, what they are asking is: What size surfboard do professionals use?
Shortboards are regarded as the performance boards. Therefore, most professionals use boards of sizes spanning 5 to 8 feet.
Shortboards are the most popular boards with surfers right now. In fact, most of them prefer board sizes that are 5.5 to 6.5 feet.
Short surfboards are easy to control in the water. Because they are stable and easy to maneuver, you will have room to do more tricks with the board. For instance, making fast turns in the water is easier with a short board than with a long board.
Also, because of the reduced contact with the water (due to the short size), these boards build speed really fast. Because of this, short boards might not be too good for beginners.
Are there inflatable surfboards?
Not only are there inflatable surfboards, but there are some incredible ones as well. Such surfing boards are simple to transport. You do not need a car roof rack to transport the surfboard.
While they are not as popular as the hard or soft top surfboards, they are available. For instance, there is the Mountain to Water Inflatable Surfboard.
It comes in different sizes, starting at 7.3 feet. Other varieties of this surfboard measure 8.0 and 9.0 feet long.
The price of the Mountain To Water Inflatable surfboards is also affordable, at $375 by the time of publishing this post.
Unlike the inflatable SUP boards that are available in large numbers on Amazon.com, it might be hard to find inflatable surfboards.
How good are inflatable surfboards?
They are good enough because professional as well as beginner surfers use these surf boards. In fact, even when it comes to maintenance and durability, these boards take abuse better than the hard ones.
There are brand names that specialize in inflatables, such as Mountain To Water. Another brand name you might want to check out is the Hydro-Force Compact Surf 8 Inflatable Surfboard, but it seems it is only available in the UK.
It measures 8 feet long, 3 inches thick and 22.4 inches wide. The manufacturer says this surfing board is perfect for surfers of all skill levels, including beginners.
With a casual glance, you cannot be able to tell the difference between inflatable and solid surfing boards.
For transporting the boards using a car, it is so simple! You just need to deflate it, roll it up and stow it away in the trunk of your car.
You need not go to the trouble of using ratchet straps and foam blocks to transport the board on your car without a roof rack.
Are inflatable surfboards any good? Now, we know that they are good. We have also seen their downsides.
It is always good to know the good sides and the downsides. That way, you can make a good decision.
If you need to buy a soft surfboard, make it a big one. Also, make sure that it comes with a repair kit because somewhere in its lifespan, you will need to repair it.