Are Solid Paddle Boards More Stable Than Inflatable?
Solid paddle boards offer better stability and glide than inflatables.
Solid board designers are able to shape and contour the bottoms of their boards to improve performance and to maximize stability. Solid paddle boards can be shaped to have concave and double concave hulls like a catamaran to provide stability while not losing speed and glide.
Inflatable paddle board designers do not have the option to create contoured bottoms on their boards. The outward force of air pressure construction, makes it impossible to create concave shapes. Concave bottoms improve water flow and improve stability and perform better in choppy water.
INFLATABLE PADDLE BOARD INSTABILITY
Shoppers looking for the most stable paddle board should not consider inflatables.
Inflatable paddle boards do not offer the same level of stability as hard paddle boards for two primary reasons. They support the rider with air, and they have flat bottoms.
Board stability is directly related to its rigidity. Inflatable paddle boards are essentially plastic bags that are held rigid with air pressure. If the pressure isn’t sufficient, an inflatable paddle board becomes less rigid and soft. A hard paddle board keeps its rigidity at all times. Standing on a hard paddle board is like standing on a sidewalk. Standing on an under pressured inflatable is like standing on a mattress.
A paddle board’s bottom also plays a role in its stability. Because they’re rigid, hard board bottoms can be shaped to have concaves similar to a catamaran which enables the water to flow easily past the board. Easy water flow improves glide and stability. Inflatable paddle boards are flat bottomed and can’t provide the stability of concave bottoms. Although, their flat bottoms do offer strong stability on calm flat water. Other than that environment, the stability of flat bottoms is inferior to concave shapes.
Shoppers looking for the most stable type of paddle board should purchase a solid paddle board. Make sure to size the paddle board to your weight and don’t get anything to large for the extra stability. As your paddling skills improve, your balance will too. Solid paddle boards last for years and the natural stability of these boards will keep you and your family happy just as long.
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The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
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