On the face of it, with some 70% of all sales of SUP boards being inflatable, the obvious question is why? This can be summarised by the term, urban-paddler-traveller, whereby the hype of the sport beyond ‘It offers a core workout’ for those who remember, soon polarised quickly into the idea, here was a recreational activity that through inflatable technology, could be stored in the boot of your car, stored in the corner of your apartment and taken with you to the ends of the earth and back again.
Through it all, Mistral has been a significant advocate of this lifestyle focused aspirational idea, producing some of the finest and most practical inflatable boards of their time. But it must be said, we’re also big fans of hardboards with our immense windsurfing background and we appreciate and recognise the virtues they offer, namely high levels of on-water performance and durability, being their biggest plus points. Further to this, our SUP and windsurf hardboards represent some of the finest designs and construction technologies on the market today.
For the very same reason windsurfing went into recession, the inconvenience of size and storage limits, has meant the inflatable has ruled the waters in terms of sheer numbers in relation to SUP due to its convenience, but not so in all parts of the world it has to be said. Where there are pre-existing hardcore board sport areas of the world such as Australia, Hawaii and California, inflatable SUPs are not on the radar of most participants.
Here there exists a culture of the hardboard, through surfing and windsurfing, kayaking, surfski and outrigger canoeing. Roof racks and storage are all part of a lifestyle, where performance is not to be limited by convenience, because performance is everything beyond any issue of transportation or storage issues. Indeed it simply would not be ‘cool’ to be seen riding an inflatable anything.
We’ve produced an FAQ for your to consider should you be considering the hardboard option.