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SUP Buying Guide

ISUPS or Rigid Paddle boards? So, what do we actually need and why! Well hear At H20 Sports we stock in our Poole store at 91 Salters road – a huge selection of board rigid and Inflatable paddle boards from the world’s leading brands to include in the Inflatable line up Red paddle co, Fanatic paddle boards, JP Australia, O’Shea and RRD to name a few! While our Rigid line up of hard paddle boards comprises of F-One, Fanatic SUP and JP Australia SUP’s… Of course with their paddles

Our experienced suggestion... Unless you’re looking purely at performance in the waves or racing! Then the benefits from the ISUP’s are huge and sway the large majority of customers to them over the rigid sups! Again everyone’s unique situation is different so of course giving us a phone call to discuss in more detail is always advisable 01202 733744 or hit us up on our live…

We’ve produced a list of pro’s and cons Below to assist with your decision elp to decide more clearly which is right for you!

Benefits 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! 

Negatives of Rigid SUPS. Size and transportation – Don’t pack down at all so it’s a roof rack or a long wheel base van… Storage in houses / flats etc – you’ll need a decent shed or garage! Travel abroad is near on impossible and very expensive… And leads us on to the next one – Durability! The rigid boards are more prone to damage during travel and use – Hitting against other boards or rocks etc

 Price – always more expensive than ISUPS especially in the more durable constructions… 

The Benefits of the inflatable sups (ISUPS) They pack up into an oversized ruck sack – perfect for storage, transportation, and traveling with! Be it on a bus or the train, even an aeroplane.. 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 more durable 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! We always recommend either a paddle guard or rail tape on your rigid SUP to protect the sides from continual paddle scraping!  With Brands like Fanatic Paddle boards all their premium boards 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!

Negative of ISUPS... 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 fin in the wind be it on a rigid or inflatable paddle board! If it’s windy – plug in a sail like the popular Arrows Irig bolt on a wind stopper and get windsurfing! Rail shape – due to the boards being inflatable it’s only fair to say the design, rail shape and hull of the Rigid boards are designed to glide better and provide better carving performance in the waves than the isups – But like we said earlier – if its racing or performance in the waves your after – then chat to us about our Rigid SUPS…. But as you’ll see – in flat water conditions for racing Inflatable riders are now regularly getting podium positions – less often in choppy / breezy conditions thought! And down on the beaches you’ll see plenty of riders having a blast in the waves using the more wave specific inflatable sups like the Fanatic Inflatable stubby and the Red Paddle co Whip.

Benefits of Rigid SUPS… Performance – these boards Ouse performance with increased glide on the flat and are less affected by the wind for racing and for dropping in on waves! More rail shape and carving performance in the waves and again for straight line racing!

Negatives of Rigid SUPS. Price – always more expensive than ISUPS especially in the more durable constructions… Size and transportation – Don’t pack down at all so it’s a roof rack or a long wheel base van… Storage in houses / flats etc – you’ll need a decent shed or garage! Travel abroad is near on impossible and very expensive… And leads us on to the next one – Durability! The rigid boards are more prone to damage during travel and use – Hitting against other boards or rocks etc

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 ingredients in the board… Cheaper pop out boards like the Bic models are mainly a pop out construction like a foam surf board – Super heavy! But light on the wallet and great for keeping in a beach hut and fun for the family… Where are once you start using much lighter and stiffer ingredients like glass fibre and carbon – the weight of the board decreases dramatically and of course the price increases… But if its high end performance in the waves – or racing then carbon Is the answer!

With Inflatable boards typically again like the rigid models – it’s down to the ingredients… Starting with the drop stitch in the middle – Threads that run from the back of the board (Bottom hull) to the top of the board (Deck) Higher quality threads used by brands like Fanatic and Red stretch much less giving the core of the board a much stiffer shape! Then it’s on to how many skins the board has – 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 and can receive much higher psi pressure making it stiff and rigid! Taking away all the problems of the single skin designs! Models like the O’shea use these constructions and are great performance boards that don’t break the bank! 

Stepping up and leading the way by a country mile are Fanatic Paddle boards and Red paddle boards – they have take the construction to a ground breaking level… Starting with the highest grade drop stitch core – it comes pre bonded and the second skin is welding rather than glued meaning the additional weight of a couple of kilos of glue is removed from the process making the boards much lighter, stiffer and requires less PSI to gain the stiffens making then way more durable! As the human error factor of spreading the glue on the board is taken out of the equations – Whereby if the manufacturer misses even a finger nail size area – this air pocket in hot climates can expand causing a bubble – and we know what a pain this is as we ship a lot of boards abroad to the Caribbean that charter boards use! So that’s one of the main reasons Fanatic premium air models and red ride paddle co boards are in the more expensive price bracket! With these models you’ll also gain better bags – with roller wheels, pumps – The Red boards come with the ground breaking Titan pump! Which cut your inflation time in half!  Higher quality paddles and heavier duty leashes… Then the main difference between our two most popular and recommended boards – is that the Fanatic come with a performance glass us box fin and are all windsurfing compatible while the Red come with three indestructible moulded fins and only certain models like the winds up are windsurfing compatible! All moulded fins – can be bent and twisted! Simply pour hot water on them and hold them straight as they cool and they’ll return to their straight shape as before… 

All models discussed here are available with Free main land 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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