Inflatables vs Epoxy Paddle Boards (Which one is faster?)With the rising popularity of inflatable paddle boards (SUP), there have been questions about how they match up against a rigid paddle board made out of epoxy in terms of speed. When an inflatable SUP and epoxy SUP are compared side by side in a measured speed test, how close are they to one another? To answer this question, we took the two types of paddle boards out on the water to compare their speeds.
The paddle boards we testedFor accuracy, we selected ISLE paddle board models similar in size and dimensions for both an inflatable and epoxy construction. Comparison: 12’6 Inflatable Touring vs. 12’6 Spear Race Board
The speed test between inflatable & hard paddle boardsWe tested the two boards on a half mile, flat water bay course at Coronado Bay with minimal winds and no swell. Furthermore, we tested each board at a high intensity stroke rate as well as a casual stroke rate to minimize error. We used the Speed Coach as a heart rate monitor and stroke counter to target a similar cadence & stroke rate for each rider and board model. The riders ended up finishing with almost identical heart rates, stroke counts and intensity levels for each paddle board type.
Which type of paddle board is fasterAfter all the data was averaged out, the epoxy paddle boards were a tad bit faster than the inflatable paddle boards. Speed Comparison
- At a relaxed stroke pace, the 12’6 inflatable SUP went3.78mph and the 12’6 epoxy SUP went 3.96mph
- At an intense stroke pace, the 12’6 inflatable SUP went 4.88mph and the 12’6 epoxy SUP went 5.21mph
- Overall, the epoxy SUP was 6% faster than the inflatable SUP