Inflatable or rigid paddle boards?

Inflatable or rigid paddle boards?

The short version
Get an inflatable SUP

The long version…….
Inflatable stand up paddle boards  (iSUPs) outsell their rigid cousins by at least two to one, but which is right for you?
In other words, are the advantages of iSUPs overblown, or should you stick rigidly to a fibreglass SUP? Ha!
As well as our excellent website H2O Sports have always been and always will be a bricks and mortar shop too, run by some of the most experienced water sports experts ANYWHERE.  Nothing beats checking out the kit for yourself and it also we can check you out too…!
Your size, weight, experience, aspirations
Logistic stuff like budget, ways to pay, storage issues
Choosing the right paddle and other accessories 

We have a huge selection of rigid boards and iSUPs from the world’s leading brands including Red Paddle Co, Fanatic, JP, O’Shea, RRD and F-One to name a few! 

Please note - all our iSUPs are top quality from established manufacturers that have a pedigree in the water sports industry. There is some cheap ‘stuff’ out there that may be OK as a beach toy but little else. Our brands will perform better, last longer, look better and hold their value. And of course the back-up is there from us at H2O Sports 

For most the benefits of an iSUP outweigh the slight performance advantages of a rigid board. Come and look, touch, pick up and smell (if you like..) a modern iSUP and you’ll see what we mean. It’s fun in a bag!

We’ve produced a list of pros and cons to help you to the right decision:

Rigid SUPs
The real benefit of rigid SUPs is performance. Rigid boards outperform ISUP boards – fact! But most of us won’t really need this extra bit of performance or benefit from it unless we’re hard-core racers or searching for the biggest waves around!  Ultimately the 3-D shape (rocker, outline and rail shape) of rigid SUP can be defined more precisely than in an iSUP. This translates to better glide on the race course or grippier carves on the wave-face. But the differences are small, and as iSUPs evolve, getting smaller. Ask us about these technicalities if you want to talk like a dude!

Negatives of rigid SUPs are size and transportation issues, it’s a roof rack or a long wheel base van. Storage at home can be an issue too– you’ll need a decent shed, garage or garden. Travel abroad is near on impossible and very expensive… And leads us on to the next issue, durability The rigid boards are more prone to damage during both travel and use – Hitting against other boards or rocks etc We always recommend either a paddle guard or rail tape on your rigid SUP to protect the sides from continual paddle scraping!  
Price – always more expensive than iSUPs especially in the more exotic construction (carbon)


Pack-up into an oversized ruck sack – perfect for storage, transportation, and travelling with! Be it on a car boot, bus or the train, even an plane. Inflate in minutes and you’re ready to go exploring! Perfect for stowing on a boat as well!  Weight – lighter than all of the rigid board constructions (except the elite carbon models) so easier for the ladies, kids to handle. On and off the water. Durability –way better than the rigid boards! From the thousands we’ve sold here at H20 Sports – returns on the iSUPs is less than 0.25% through damage where it’s a lot higher on rigid board – from being dropped off car roofs, dented, cracked on rocks etc! This also helps with bump and bruises as the boards are slightly softer and more forgiving to the body. 

Many iSUPs come windsurf-ready too! So you really can have 100% fun for the whole family! Windsurf, Surf or paddle your Inflatable Fanatic paddle board – like the Fanatic Premium Air models!
All members of the family can enjoy the
Did you know that there are now completely inflatable windsurfing rigs too? Perfect partner to your new iSUP . Even more fun in a bag! Take a peek here

Negatives of the iSUP
They are more affected by the wind as they sit on top of the water – rather than in it with ballast like a hard board –but like us you’ll quickly come to realise that paddle boarding isn’t much fun in the wind be it on a rigid or inflatable paddle board! If it’s windy try the windsurfing options.
While there are iSUP designs that can surfed and raced to quite a high level, the construction limits the 3-D shape for ultimate performance. There are iSUP categories in some races and the best of the iSUP racers are fully competitive with their rigid counterparts.  And down on the beaches you’ll see plenty of riders having a blast in the waves using the more wave specific iSUPs like the Fanatic Stubby and the Red Paddle Co Whip
The iSUPs that we sell are strong and durable, but care should be taken around sharp objects on and off the water. Of course iSUPs need to be inflated initially, but many owners will leave them inflatable between sessions to save time and effort.
Perhaps you now understand why we’re selling so many iSUPs, they really can do anything! From beginner to racer, for yoga to surfing there is an iSUP for you.

Why are some SUPS more expensive than others? So once you’ve decided on your type of board – you’ll notice a large range of prices! 

With rigid boards, you’re paying for the materials in the board… Cheaper pop out boards like the Bic models are strong but super heavy great for keeping in a beach hut and fun for the family. More bucks gets you lighter, stiffer and more performance, if you need it, or want it!

With Inflatable boards typically again like the rigid models – it’s down to the construction. Although iSUPs all look similar there are hidden differences that make a big difference. Premium brands use stretch-resistant drop-stitch technology, resulting in more rigid and durable boards. Another factor is the layering of the skin, Single skin boards like the Fanatic Air range and the JP LE range are very light weight, perfect for lighter riders – Kids etc – but for most of us 80kg plus these boards do not have the rigity with a single skin to prevent bending in the middle – making the board look like a banana – meaning they just don’t work or go in a straight line! 
Thus most brands now glue a second skin on to this single skin and reinforce the rails – the weakest point – meaning the board is now very stiff as they can be inflated to a higher pressure. Models like the O’Shea use these constructions and are great performance boards that don’t break the bank! 

A big step up in performance comes with the premium brand’s top models. Fanatic and Red paddle boards have taken the construction to a new level with durability and performance with pre-bonded light-weight laminates. With these models you’ll also gain better bags – with roller wheels. The Red boards come with the ground breaking Titan pump, which cut your inflation time in half! Higher quality paddles and heavier duty leashes complete the packages. Fanatic premium iSUPs come with a performance glass fin and are all windsurfing compatible while the Red come with three indestructible moulded fins and only certain models like the WindSUP are windsurfing compatible. 

All models discussed here are available with free mainland UK delivery and 0% Finance at the best available on line prices! H20 Sports now offer a whopping 0% Finance over 12 months / 18 months or even 36 months for the big spends! We only work with the best known brands in the business, stocking a huge selection Have any questions while choosing which boards right for you? Or need advice on where to ride? Give us a call and we’ll talk you through the all the options, let us help you choose which sup will be best for your needs. 

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A Hebridean Adventure

A Hebridean Adventure

With the festive season all but a distant memory and the winter slowly drawing to a close, you may be pondering a far flung kite / windsurf holiday destination to shake off your winter blues.  A destination not unlike the one in the photo below, with blue skies, crystal clear turquoise water and white sandy beaches.  Well look again and consider the fact that the destination in the photo is actually one of the amazing kite /windsurf locations in a group of inlands called the inner and outer Hebrides, located just off the west coast of Scotland.  Yes you read it right Scotland, as these islands sit just off the golf stream, they tend to bring in nice weather and are only a couple of degrees cooler than the south, both air and water temperature, in the summer months you can happily kite in a three quarter length wetsuit.  

This is a short tail of our kite surf adventure on some of these islands in August 2016, our itinerary was as follows: Load van, and drive from Poole to Glenelg, Glenelg to Skye (on the only turn table in the world), Skye to North Uist, North Uist to South Uist, South Uist to Barra, and Barra to Tiree.  

The journey from Poole to Glenelg took approximately 9 hours and we decided to do this late afternoon and evening, we did stop to sleep in a travel lodge at the bottom of Loch Lomond.   From there we headed to Skye via the Glenelg turntable ferry, the chaps that worked on this ferry were very friendly, and happily posed for the photo below!  

Our first day of kiting was in the North of the island near Solas, a shallow flat water lagoon where we had to wait for the tide to come in.  It was a gusty ish 7m day as it was blowing cross off, but a good day to test the water and wind.  This spot could have worked in most wind directions apart from bang southerly.  Just over the dunes from the bay we were kiting in, was a fantastic wave beach although a little bit of a walk to get to it.  We spent two days camping and walking on Skye as this was always a place we wanted to visit, unfortunately the weather was not the best, and there was no places to kite where we were.  Our ferry from Uig to Loch Maddy, North Uist was very comfortable, and we knew that that the weather on North Uist was already much better than it was on Skye.  As soon as we landed on North Uist, we took to the roads and quickly realised that the island is considerably larger than we first thought.  We quickly scoped out the kite beaches, supermarkets, pubs and our accommodation.  We had luckily found a fantastic little place called the Tractor Shed owned by Duncan.  Consisted of a very simply bunk house with shared kitchen and 6 grass roofed camping pods each equipped with its own little peat burner.  We had only booked to stay two days here, but decided to say longer.  You could literally stay here and walk to one of the bays to kite.  

All along the top end of North Uist there are so many bays to check out, we ran out of time that day.  On Day 2, we went up to Berneray, it was a lovely day with the sun shining and strong wind on the drive there we found so many bays of crystal blue water, you know the type you find in the Caribbean islands.  We found a great kite spot near on the East of Berneray near the youth hostel, although on the west side there was again a fantastic wave beach which produced some very nice medium sized swell with the right conditions this could be huge.  

Day 3, we decided as the wind had dropped to take a bit of time to explore Benbecula and South Uist and we found plenty of beaches on the west coast all the way down the whole of the islands.  All of these beaches are amazing locations for kite surfing and windsurfing, some open water wave spots and some sheltered bays perfect for flat water antics.  It’s advisable to get an OS map of the area to get a real feel for where you are going and where you can kite.  There is literally no one at every beach that we found, apart from the odd dog walker and on only one rare occasion a lone kite surfer, you are pretty much guaranteed to have the spot to yourself, but with this you need to have a good level of competency.  

Day 4, we unfortunately had a ferry to catch from Erskay to Barra, so we were sorry to leave North Uist as we felt very much at home here.  It took approximately 2 hours to get from North Uist to Erskay (the very bottom of South Uist), the ferry was very small although there was lots of marine life to see on the way.   Upon arriving in Barra the weather and tides were not on our side, we could see the potential in this location although were not able to test.  The main kite beaches, are at the top of the island, the largest is the airfield although is restricted due to aircraft landing at low tide.  There is a fantastic wave spot over the dunes from the airport, and is very popular for surfers.  The other possibilities for kite / windsurfing are the southern end of the island in Vatersay where there are two beaches opposite each other, east would be fairly sheltered and the west would be a good wave spot.  Barra is quite a small island, however there is quite a lot of tourists, and with this there are lots of pubs, shops and restaurants to choose from.  

Our final destination was an island that we are very fond of and have visited a number of times before, Tiree.  Tiree statistically is the sunniest and windiest place in the UK, therefore great for kite / wind surfing and every year they hold the Wave classic wind surf competition.  Our journey from Barra to Tiree was a bit of a mission, as we had to go to Oban before Tiree to meet our friends who joined us for the remainder of the holiday.  If you time the ferries right, there is a direct ferry from Barra to Tiree on a Wednesday.  Despite the long ferry journeys, we had time to spot Dolphins, seals and Basking sharks, the sharks were particularly close to Gott Bay, Tiree, and a few days later we were also kite surfing with them (Bit surreal!!)  Tiree has lots to offer, with approximately 11 large beaches to kite from ranging from big wave beaches to open bays with flattish water.  Gott Bay and Crossapol are great for beginners, the Maze is the best for big waves with the right conditions and Balevullin beach is the best for surfing / SUP surfing.  You can hire any kit or get lessons from either Will at Wild Diamond or Marti at Blackhouse water sports, both very friendly and helpful.  Accommodation wise, we always hire a small cottage (Fuaim Na Mara) and this is approximately £400 per week for 4 people (season dependant).  This lovely little cottage is nestled near a little bay half way between Crossapol and Scarnish, the bay has been known to have sea otters playing and if you are lucky you can see Basking Sharks from Crossapol beach, 5 minutes walk away.  There are two hotels and one campsite on the island which are very nice, Wild Diamond runs the campsite.  Tiree never fails to deliver, we only had one day of marginal wind, despite the wind there is plenty of other things to do on the island and you will never get bored.  

At the end of the week, we caught the ferry back to Oban to start the sad journey home however the good thing about Tiree is Oban is only 9 hours from Poole, so we will be back.  On reflection, we would definitely go back to North Uist to explore a bit more, but stay there for longer.  We may even see what is on offer on Lewis and Harris.  

Many thanks to... Darryl And Claire
North Kite boarding UK and H20 for some awesome kite kit.
Duncan at the Tractor shed
Donnie and Janice at Fuaim Na Mara, Tiree

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36 Months 0% Finance

0% Finance over 36 Months now available*

H20 Sports are leading the way again! This ground breaking leap in 0% Finance, get's you the toys of your dreams right now! For not a penny more! Pay for them over 36 Months! Want it, Ride it, Get it - With H20 Sports... Flexible finance available. 0% means 0%, don't pay more for the products you love.

Interest free, unlike a credit card, leaving you with money in your bank for when you really need it.

How to apply, On Line, in store, over the phone or on email! It's never been easier to apply. Use our calculator next to every product that can be purchased with finance to choose your prefered deposit and experiment with your monthly repayments, once your happy add the product (s) to your basket and proceed to checkout! Select Finance as your payment method when completing checkout and follow the prompts on our secure site! Takes minutes, with an instant decision and next day shipping! Or call us on 01202 733744 for more information and we will talk you through it.

0% finance is available on all items we sell from £275 upwards; Wetsuits, Kites, Paddle Boards, Kayaks, Windsurf board, Wake Boards, Bikes and many more amazing products. If you're looking for something more affordable then take advantage of our interest bearing finance options (up to 19.9%), you can pay a minimum 10% deposit on any order over £275 then pay the balance over 12, 24 or even 36 months. It's up to you how much deposit you put down, the more you can, the lower the monthly payments will be.

H2O Sports offers a wide range of finance options, allowing you to purchase the product you want either in store or online and delivered straight to your door, we can even offer you next day delivery (larger items 3-5 working days). Whatever you are looking for, we can guarantee that you will find a finance option to suit your budget. And noew with our newly added 0% Finance option over 36 Months for items with a value over £1000.00 it's never been more affordable! It's much cheaper than renting or any of these new-fangled club ideas... Plus at the end of the year rather than being left with nothing - you'll own your own gear!

We offer 0% interest FREE finance over nine months on items priced from £275 - £500 and a range of credit finance options on all our products over £500. Delivery is FREE and next day on most products. Sorry but we're unable to offer finance on items lower than £275 RRP. On items over £1,000.00 we're now pleased to offer 0% Finance over 36 Months making more afforadable then ever!

It has never been simpler... Just choose the product and any additional extras you wish to purchase from the variants menu against each product and using the drop down menu you can view the different finance options available to suit your needs.

Once you are happy with your selection add the item to your basket and either continue shopping to add more products to your basket or head to checkout. Follow each stage of the checkout process until you have to select your preferred payment method. From the drop down choose Pay4Later, and you'll be directed to our finance portal to complete the online form, it's simple and fast, normally taking around 3-5 minutes, with the approval even quicker). You'll then come back to our main site and your order is complete. You should receive a confirmation email within half an hour, then simply sit back and wait for the team to contact you (usually within 4 [confirm this timing] hours - we might be out on the water or sleeping!) regarding delivery and any special requirements you may have.

To find out more, if you're unsure of anything or to ask a question please phone us on 01202 733 744 or complete a customer enquiry form CLICK HERE and we'll come back to you ASAP.


* For Spends of £1499 or more

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Demo Weekend 2017 June 24th 25th

H20 Sports Demo Weekend 2017... Free Event 2017 Water Sports Demo Weekend June 24th 25th... Save the date!

H20 Sports Demo Weekend! Free Event

What’s it all about? 

We've combined with Poole's finest watersport partners
(H20 Sports, Easyriders, FC Watersports and The Watersports Academy) To bring you the biggest and the best event possible…
We present "Poole Watersports Festival 2016"
When… Saturday 24th  And Sunday 25th June (Free Day Event 10am until 5pm)
Where… Based at the Sandbanks Hotel in Poole Harbour, both sea side and Harbour side.
Booking a Free taster Session…On the hour every hour… Pre book on line here ( to avoid disappointment or on the day visit our registration trailer.
Equipment Demo’s… Any time, any day! Visit the registration trailer on the day and we’ll take the care of it… Simple as that…
Registering for our SUP racing… Pre-register on line to avoid disappointment here ( or before 10am on the morning of the event… Individual racing with plenty of prizes and our new XL 
SUP Team Racing! Get a team together of five to nine folk and we'll provide the XL SUP and Paddles for this new fun racing event! Just turn up with your swim suit and towel and we’ll take care of the rest... All equipment provided!
Social… Saturday night Party on the beach at the Sandbanks hotel… BBQ, DJ, dancing and much more to follow…
Register / Book a Free Taster / More information here

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Watersports Careers

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H20 Careers.

H20 Careers...  Summer Job… Uni not for you... Gap year… Careers change... Fed up with the weather… The reasons are as numerous as the people who do it. What they all have in common is a passion for the sports or living the beach lifestyle in great locations. You get to work and play with like-minded people with some of the best kit and equipment available. Plus, introducing clients to and teaching them the sports you love is great way to spend your working day. H2O Careers and its training partners will deliver your future RYA And BSUPA qualifications to highest standard. 

We are dedicated to helping you find your new job in the watersports industry so once qualified we will introduce you so some of the leading holiday and watersports schools in the country. All our advisers have been where you are today so completely understand your journey ahead. They will have all completed one or more of the courses available so can guide you through every step.

Find out more here...

H2O Careers is part of H2O Sports one the UKs premier retailers based in Poole Dorset. It’s here in the unrivalled area of Sandbanks and Poole Harbour that your training will take place, there is no other location like it in the UK!We are dedicated to helping you find your new job in the watersports industry so once qualified we will introduce you so some of the leading holiday and watersports schools in the country. All our advisers have been where you are today so completely understand your journey ahead. They will have all completed one or more of the courses available so can guide you through every step.

WHY CHOOSE H20 Careers... Unlimited resits on selected courses, Dedicated career support, Highly qualified and experienced tutors, Professional development and mentoring... Get qualified in as little as 6 weeks with in-house Funding Facilitators to guide you through your course financially

Choose either Course A Dinghy Paddleboard or Course B Windsurf Paddleboardand over a 6 week (Core ITC) course we will train you up to and pass the required level to be a Dinghy and Paddleboard instructor, and provide you with all the qualifications you need to get your first job either in the UK or abroad in one of the world’s top resorts.
Category A - Dinghy & Paddleboard

Or combine Course A+B Dinghy, Windsurf Paddleboard and Over a 10 week (ITC+) course we will train you up to and pass the required level to be an instructor in all 3 core sports. Additional weekend training available, self-practise and possibly even the odd road trip to some of the south coast’s hidden gems!

Payment Options (Example Category A - Dinghy & Paddleboard 6 week ITC course)
We have a number of payment options available. We believe everyone has the right to get the career they want and financing your training shouldn’t stop you. That is why all H20 career courses can be paid in 3 ways meaning no ones ever penalised for not having the cash up front.
1. Pay in full We accept all debit and credit cards or see our details on page 11 for a bank transfer
2. H20 Affordable Credit Example - Affordable Credit 19.9% - Course Fee £2999 - Deposit £300 (10%) - 36 x £100.17 - Total repaid £3606.01
3. H20 Guarantor Finance Plan
To secure your place on one of our courses, call your advisor on 01202 73374

Apply here

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SUP Paddles

Your basic free alloy paddle that we all give away is great for all round family fun, it's super durable, safe (plastic blade doesn’t do much harm to you or your board) and with most paddles offering a good amount of adjustably it's great for sharing and all round fun! The Fanatic Paddle even has the ability to cater for kids and adults with the middle section that can be removed or added!

But... And a reasonably big But! If your looking at putting in some distance or riding some waves with your paddle board - Rigid or Inflatable, your standard alloy paddle is like cycling a bike with half inflated tyres and you’re not going to get anywhere fast!

In this instance arming yourself with a performance Glass or Carbon Paddle means in a couple of strokes your riding a wave in stead of flogging a dead horse with five or six strokes to pick up the same old wave! The same for distance, the bend and flex in an alloy paddle with a plastic blade means that a good percentage of your effort is wasted, plus all the extra un wanted weight! And if your like us, we hate wasting energy! So by upgrading your bat - you'll be flying from A to B where ever that may be in the fastest possible time or scoring many more waves with half the effort as your mates...

But remember if its good old family fun, the our Alloy Paddles hit the nail on the head! Check out the whole range of Paddle Board Paddles and Grab one that's right for you... Or call the Paddle Boarding Experts 01202 733744.

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