What Makes A Great Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard?



Summer 2022 is turning out to be a scorcher in the UK and Europe, and presents an excellent opportunity for water sports start-ups to capitalise on the current popularity of inflatable stand-up paddleboards (ISUPs) among beach goers. Whether your business manufactures ISUPs for B2C retail, B2B wholesale, or direct hire, there are several characteristics that make for a great inflatable stand-up paddleboard.

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1) Easy To Use

Ease of use is one of the main considerations when it comes to water sports equipment. This is especially true for ISUPs, which are often purchased by people with little or no water sports experience. Ease of use considerations include:

  • A stable paddleboard (at least 30 inches wide, or more for total beginners).
  • A board that can navigate in different water conditions and settings (rivers, lakes, sea water, in slow and fast moving waters, etc).
  • A wide and softly curved tail and nose, unless you’re targeting pros that only plan to use your ISUP riding against waves.

2) ‘All-Rounder’ Access

‘All-rounder’ ISUPs provide a safe and enjoyable experience for boarders of all skill and experience levels, and are suitable for both adults and children. Often, these are multi-person paddleboards with an advanced layer of design that ensures they can handle a higher weight capacity than single-person boards. Some inflatable SUPs can carry up to 8 people, making them perfect for trainer sessions (if you are targeting the hire market) and for family use.

However, you also want the board to be lightweight and quick to inflate. Overall, you want your board to be balanced and stable in the water even when it’s being used at maximum capacity.

3) Durability

Paddleboarding can be quite addictive for users, so for consumers you want to offer a board that is made to last and that delivers fun year after year – and for businesses investing in your products for hire, you’ll want a durable ISUP that delivers a good ROI through repeated use. This is especially important if you are planning to market your ISUPs for use in extreme conditions or on a professional basis.

One of the key factors that contribute to durability is what material the board is made of. We recommend not cutting corners here and going for a paddleboard made with professional-grade materials, such as carbon fibre composite rails, heavy duty PVC, or hardened rubber. Cutting corners on product standards not only lowers the board’s safety rating, but could also deter hire companies and ‘pro-level’ retailers from purchasing your boards.

4) Make Sure It Has Quality Functional Valves

You need to make sure the ISUP has functional valves of the highest possible quality. The inner mechanisms of a paddleboard are a vital component, since boards are inflated to a very high pressure.

Quality valves ensure that pressure levels are maintained even with repeated use, which is essential for overall stability and safety.

The majority of inflatable paddleboards are made using drop stitch materials. Therefore, it is beneficial to use valves catered to this. Our drop stitch D7 is an inflation valve designed with a mesh filter to prevent slow leaks caused by drop stitch threads and other debris. Although they are not as common, Leafield Marine suggest you use a pressure relief valve on an iSUP in order to prevent over inflation. They are a useful safety feature. We suggest a Leafield A9, as this is specifically designed for use on high pressure equipment. Furthermore, the A9 features mesh filters similar to those of the D7.

Next Steps

At Leafield Marine, we provide a range of inflation and deflation valves, as well as pressure relief valves suitable for ISUPs – in fact, our valves are used by many premium brands. Take a look at our site to find out more about the valves we supply for inflatable SUPs.