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Yes, inflatable paddleboards are better for beginners than hardboards. Rigid boards are significantly more expensive than inflatable ones. Also, hardboards are way more difficult both to transport and to store.

Inflatable paddleboards are one of the reasons why paddleboarding got so much more accessible over the last years.

The majority of beginner paddleboarders start out with inflatable boards, so let’s check out if they are actually better for beginners than rigid ones.

Also, there are tons of great inflatable beginners paddleboards available.

Reason #1: Inflatable Paddleboards Are More Affordable Than Hardboards

Hardboards cost a lot more than inflatable paddleboards.

The price difference between an entry-level inflatable and a basic hardboard is about £500 to £1,000.

The reason for the high price of hardboards is the material and the labor used to build them: an entry-level hardboard costs about £250 to £350 in raw materials alone.

To get it into a final product, additional labor costs are involved that. Also, the shipping fees for such a large object are also way higher than for an inflatable packed in a compact box.

We don’t think beginners should spend so much money on the first paddleboard. Especially, picking a board to make such an investment without much experience, sets you up for disaster.

Reason #2: Hardboards Are More Difficult to Transport

Hardboards definitely require more effort and space to transport than inflatable paddleboards.

The first drawback of a hardboard is that it often measures of over 3 to over 4 meters in length.

This means, you won’t be able to fit many hardboards into the back of your car and putting one on your roof rack costs more time and money (e.g. you’ll need to purchase a professional roof rack – and a fitting one is just available for larger cars).

Reason #3: Hardboards Are More Difficult to Store

The third drawback is that storing a hardboard certainly takes more space than it does with an inflatable paddleboard.

Inflatable paddleboards can easily be deflated and stored in the backpack included when purchasing the board.

Finding an empty place to store a more than 3 or even 4 meters long board is almost impossible. However, you also have to get the board there. Transporting a rigid paddleboard to wherever you want to store is board, is another challenge in itself.

If you live in an apartment in the city, you will end up having to rent out space (ideally near the water) in some facility large enough for storing your board. Some water sports stations or canoeing clubs offer such a service for a fee.

Final Verdict

It’s not easy to choose your first paddleboard. However, for sure, you should look at getting yourself an inflatable paddleboard. Just consider the size and width of the beginner board. Also, consider checking out our beginner guide here.

You can also find great beginners paddleboards by checking out this article.

We’ve reviewed more than 50 paddleboards (most are beginner paddleboards) and summarized all our results here in this article.

Make sure to click here to find our best picks for beginners.

Hi, my name is Max. In 2016, on my first SUP trip, I was still a bit shaky on the SUP board. But quickly the ambition grabbed me and my passion for SUP was ignited. That’s why I founded stand-up-paddling.org the same year. Our mission is to help beginners discover this sport and bring more transparency into the market with our in-depth product reviews.

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