We are stoked on inflatable stand up paddleboards.

The sport continues to make giant waves in product development, and while we were all inside during COVID-19, industry champions from SIC MauiNaishStarboard, and Red Paddle Co were hard at work doing what they do best.

So what's changed? Two massive new benefits for both the experienced and new paddleboarder: balance and durability. The pressure these new generation boards can hold is downright impressive.  Where in the past 11psi was the standard, now even the cheapest models go to 15psi, and the higher quality brands go as high as 20psi. This all means that the latest round of boards is much stiffer and when it comes to paddle boards, stiffer is better. The higher the PSI the higher the performance. This year's offerings are getting closer and closer to hard board performance; and should be a consideration for any SUP enthusiast.

The second big change is welding. Where before the manufacturers were gluing and sewing the board seams, this latest round of boards is using heat to fuse the two panels in-to one. What does that mean? The durability of inflatables has greatly improved over last season–while the weight has gone down (FINALLY making 2022 inflatable boards a viable competitor for the hardboard!)

2022 Starboard SUP Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard Collection Cover Desktop 2 min

Here’s a look at some of the new improvements and features of the new 2022 inflatable stand-up paddle boards that now make them a worthy comparison to hardboards whether you are new to the sport or a die-hard prone paddle-boarder:

1. Balance: When comparing an inflatable to a hardboard of similar size, the inflatable can be a little tippier. At 101 Sports, we recommend adding 1-2 inches of width to your inflatable to get the same stability. Why are inflatables less stable? Based on the way they are constructed, they are much lighter which is a pro if you need to transport your SUP, but it also means the inflatables’ surface area is a bit higher off the water than the hardboards which results in a higher center of gravity that can be an issue for a newbie who hasn’t gained their sea-legs yet. 

2. Set-up: While it can be a hassle to inflate your SUP before you use it, the good news on this one is twofold. First, the manual pumps on even the cheapest boards are all now 2 stroke pumps. 2 Stroke pumps aid in filling up the boards fast, and make it easier to get to the higher pressures needed to make these boards work as good as they do! The latest round of electrical pumps work way better than the loud slow pumps of the past. 101 Surf Sports has researched the various pump options on the market today, and have found that the Vamo Pump is far and away the best for the money. Quiet and dependable, it works on 12 volts and makes pumping up as simple as turning a dial.

3. Price: With most of the new 2022 inflatable boards checking in at about 50% of the price of their hard-board counterparts, an inflatable is the perfect choice for the budget-conscious paddleboarder.

4. Weight: The biggest bonus for this season is the incredibly low weights for the new SUP inflatables that include a whole new selection of boards running 5-10 lbs lighter.  This makes the boards fast on the water and easy to move around on the land. In fact, inflatable SUPs can go just as fast as race boards of the same size in calm waters.

5. Durability: This is another big bonus of the inflatable paddleboard. When talking about blunt force trauma their durability is off the charts. Some models even show cars driving over them with no problem! But please note that inflatables do not like sharp objects. While you can literally pound on them with a hammer, if you use that hammer with a nail, they can be popped. They also do not like UltraViolet light, so storing them outside in the sun is a no-no and you should use a board cover or store them in the shade.

6. Storage and transport: These are the two primary features that drive most folks to look at the inflatable paddleboards in the first place. With all inflatable boards packing up to the size of your average suitcase, these SUPs are easy to pack up and take to your launch site, and even easier to store since most can fit in a hallway closet or the trunk of your car, and can also be brought on the airplane with you (just be sure to take a foldable paddle with you). If you are planning to take your inflatable SUP on tour with you, one feature we really like on the mid to high end models is having wheels on the bag. While at first blush that may not seem like a big deal, they are a huge help when maneuvering through airport check-in or down a paved walkway to the waters’ edge.

Need help picking out the perfect board for you or a family member?

SUP Sale Best Inflatable Starboard

101 Sports offers all of our community members access to our “try before you buy” experience. We want you to become a life-long fan of the sport and so our team will work with you based on your experience level, budget and intended destinations to choose the right fit for you.

How it works: First you put down a $100 nonrefundable deposit as a “demo insurance” (wink). This $100 can then be applied towards the purchase of the board you decide on. This fee lets you try any board – including the hardboards. You have 2 months to continue the test ride process until you find the board that is right for you. Demo rides are usually 15-30 minutes in length so you have enough time to try out the board in the San Rafael canal area right out our back door. This allows you to switch back and forth between the various models noting the differences and evaluating your own list of pros and cons as you look for the best board for you. To enroll, stop by and introduce yourself to the team at the 101 Sports store in San Rafael, California and we’ll get you on the water testing your new board for the summer!

Red Paddle Co Inflatable SUP at 101 Surf Sports Sale

We also provide group and personal training classes for newbies and experienced boarders who might want to start participating in our monthly races and other Bay Area SUP events. With complete SUP packages starting as low as $349 with a paddle included, now is the time to upgrade your existing gear, add a new “toy”, or introduce a friend or family member to the sport with one of our gift certificates. 

Here are our top 5 picks for 2022 inflatables:

1. If you are on a budget, it's hard to beat the 11' Solstice Touring package.

2. The two most travel-worthy wheeled bag options we like are the Starboard Igo 11'2 Deluxe SC

3. ... and the SIC 11' Air glide Tour package for those looking for a larger board to take on the road.

4. For the performance-minded, the Red Paddle Co boards are leading the way. With the best pump, the best overall bag, and a 5-year warranty, they are a great value even if they are the most expensive. We like the Red Paddle Co 10'6 Ride for a fun all-arounder. 

5. ... but the Red Paddle Co 12'6 Voyager is one of our very favorites of all time for those that want to go fast andd cover distance. 


The inflatable paddleboard has come a long way and we can honestly say we are super excited about this year’s crop of boards. Come on down and check them out.

Browse our inventory online -  Stand Up Paddle Inflatable Inventory

Red Paddle Co Ride 106 Review 1 2 min

Newsletter Archive