This past winter I discussed some of the advantages of owning an inflatable paddle board compared to the more traditional hardtop paddle boards made mostly of fiberglass. Within the context of fall and winter paddling, it can be quite a challenge to avoid the exposed rocks that poke above the surface of the water when water levels drop during this time of year. Now that it’s summertime and water levels are back to “recreational levels,” the risk of damaging your paddle board by running over an exposed rock or stump is lessened, but the advantages of an inflatable paddle board carry-over into every season.
While the rocky shorelines have disappeared and our boat docks are finally surrounded by water rather than mud, summertime paddling does present other challenges to protecting hardtop paddle boards. The most common situation in which a paddle board will be damaged is during its transportation. We all love to take our paddle boards out on a boat for the day, drive our boards to new lakes and rivers, explore quiet coves and meet up with friends at the sands bars. Water is certainly the safest environment for a paddle board, but every time we transport our boards somewhere in order to use them, the risk of colliding them with something sharp and unforgiving goes up dramatically. This is where inflatables really separate themselves. Inflatable paddle boards are not only extremely durable, they are also light-weight, compact and portable.
At the Billy Lush Board Shop, our favorite line of inflatable paddle boards is made by YOLO Boards because they strike the best balance between quality of construction, rigidity and style. Many inflatable paddle boards are designed for the pragmatist and lack much of the personality that many of us value in our crafts. As you can see from the images below, YOLO never cuts corners with regards to color and design. This puts their line of inflatables in a separate class, and makes them appealing to a wider range of paddlers.