Product comparison

Inflatable SUP Boards

Jorren Eggenkamp at

You can have fun on an inflatable board in a wide range of conditions, enjoying it in different ways. For sure there will be a Unifiber board that fits your requirements and style. 

This page explains the different board types and their specifications, so that you can make the right choice.

Board types

  • All-round SUP. This is the ideal board for beginners or for advanced paddlers who value versatility. You can paddle around on flat water, discover the area, or try to catch a wave. These boards have average lengths and widths, and 'comfortable' volumes.
  • WindSUP. An all-round SUP with the possibility to fix a windsurf sail. Ideal to paddle around on flat water, or glide over the water on wind power. The removable center fin prevents sideways drifting when windsurfing.
  • Touring/Racing SUP. Made for speed and maximum gliding distance. The boards are long and narrow to minimize drag, and are constructed a little thicker for extra stiffness.
  • Wave SUP. Although some brands have inflatable SUP boards that are dedicated for wave riding, it is impossible to come close to the performance of hard (epoxy) SUP surfboards. The production techniques for inflatable boards simply don't allow the dynamic board shape and sharp rails that are required to make carving turns on a wave.
  • Yoga/exercise SUP. The boards are wider to make them more stable. They also have some convenient features, such as an extra large EVA patch and a strap to securely store your paddle.

Length, Width, Thickness and Volume

The dimensions of a board most are the most important pointers to understand what it does best. It's all about finding the right balance:

Length: Longer boards have a higher top speed, and are more directionally stable (meaning they prefer going straight / are more difficult to turn)

Width: Wider boards are more stable, but have more drag. For this reason racing boards are narrow: they are fast, but more difficult to balance on. If the board is very wide then moving the paddle from one side of the board to the other is more awkward and inefficient.

Thickness: By making a board thicker, the stiffness and volume are increased. A negative is that the higher sidewalls catch the wind more, so more effort is required to maintain a course.

Volume: The more volume a board has, the more buoyancy it has. Light paddlers might prefer smaller boards because these are easier to maneuver. Heavier paddlers will probably prefer boards with more volume. An incidental downside of very high volume boards is that a lot more pumping is required to fill the board with air!

Board construction

The way a board is constructed influences the stiffness, weight and durability. Stiffness is very important, as a flat board has much less drag than a board that bends under the load of the surfer.

All inflatable boards are made with 'dropstitch' PVC. This material is made of 2 layers of fibre-reinforced PVC that are connected by vertical threads (see below image). The length of these threads define the thickness of the board. Because all the threads have the same length, the top and bottom of the boards are perfectly flat. The scoop and/or rocker of the board are made by the shape of the side wall, and by making the top layer a bit shorter than the bottom layer. 

Roughly, there are 3 different dropstitch techniques:

  1. Single layer (SL). Simple and budget-friendly. When the board is used for laid-back recreation, it's all you need.
  2. Double layer. The board is reinforced by an extra layer of fibre-reinforced PVC laminate. Heavier than single layer, but much stiffer and much more durable. 
  3. Fusion Composite Dropstitch (FCD). The best available. More fibres, less PVC and less glue than the double layer construction. This makes the boards lighter, stiffer and very durable. 

Some brands add stringers with Kevlar or Dyneema fibers to make the boards even stiffer. But this also makes the boards very expensive. 

Price vs quality

A higher price doesn't necessarily make a board better. However, there are a lot of cheap inflatable boards on the market that lack in build quality as well in quality control. A badly built board can lead to life-threatening situations, so be wise when buying an inflatable board. We advise to buy your board at a shop who specialize in watersports. They can help you find the board that will give you the most bang for your buck.

Fin set-up

Each type of board has its own ideal fin set-up:

  • Single fin. One large fin. This set-up is ideal for touring and racing. The drag is kept to a minimum.
  • Thruster. One large fin and two small side fins. This set-up was adopted from surfboards. The side fins make the board easier to turn. But since inflatable SUPs are not really made for wave-riding, the side fins are not really relevant.
  • Single fin + centre fin. One large fin at the rear end of the board, plus one large fin placed in the middle of the board. This set-up is ideal for boards than take a windsurf sail. The center fin helps to prevent sideways drifting.

PVC rail

A sharp edge on the tail improves the water release, decreasing the drag of the board. For higher top speeds and longer glides. 

Why Choose Unifiber iSUPs?

Unifiber offers a comprehensive SUP range to make sure that all needs and budgets are catered for without compromising on quality.

We maintain a extremely high standard for quality control. Next to the numerous visual checkpoints during the manufacturing, we conclude with a 72 hours test to check for any possible leakage. For every single board.

Fusion Composite Dropstitch technology used in our boards provides top-rated strength, stiffness, and minimal weight.

Unifiber also offers a comprehensive 1-year unconditional warranty on all iSUP models and 2-years coverage for manufacturing faults.