What the Heck is an iSUP? (inflatable stand up paddleboard)

A few years ago, I started noticing people standing up on what looked like a surfboard with a long canoe-like paddle.  At first I thought it was totally dumb — what are these people doing and WHY would they be doing it?  But it’s becoming more prevalent and I keep seeing people on surfboards standing up.  David thinks they look like windsurfers and offered to get ours off the wall in the garage  just in case I wanted to try standing up on a board.  I politely declined.

My first time on a inflatable Tower Standup Paddleboard.

My first time on a inflatable Tower Standup Paddleboard.

Then friends Dave & Carolyn from s/v Barefoot Gal (and my Boat Galley Cookbook co-author) bought a Tower inflatable SUP and brought it to the lake – before it goes to their boat this fall.   She invited all the lake friends to try it and I couldn’t resist seeing for myself.  What could possibly be the attraction?   First of all, it’s “easy” … and hard all at the same time.  I got on from the dock, standing up and after a few rocky unstable moments was paddling across the cove.   For my observations scroll to the bottom of the article.

Here are two of Carolyn’s links regarding the Tower inflatable SUP’s – one that explains the boards themselves and another with photos that all kinds of The Boat Galley readers send in showing them on their SUP’s.

Carolyn literally paddles all over the lake -- usually with little Paz accompanying.

Carolyn literally paddles all over the lake — usually with little Paz accompanying.

Tower Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboards … from The Boat Galley

Can I Stand Up Paddleboard?  — photos & more info from The Boat Galley

Friends Peter (shown below) & Jody on s/v Mary Christine love their Tower iSUPs (inflatable stand up paddleboards).  They left Florida last January, cruised down the Eastern Caribbean and are now waiting out hurricane season in Grenada.

Peter from s/v Mary Christine aka www.wherethecoconutsgrow.com shows off his fishing prowess on his SUP.

Peter from s/v Mary Christine aka www.wherethecoconutsgrow.com shows off his fishing prowess on his SUP.

They have lots of fun on their two paddleboards – fishing, playing bumper boats, taking them to all the great snorkeling locations and beautiful beaches (palm trees included, of course).  To check out lots of fun photos as well as Jody & Peter’s Pro’s & Con’s about the Tower inflatable SUP’s on a full time cruising boat, check their blog – www.wherethecoconutsgrow.com.  Or click here “Where the Coconuts Grow:  Best SUP for a Liveaboard Sailboat”

Just for the record, here are my observations …

1.  If we didn’t already have 2 kayaks on board, we’d definitely add iSUPs (inflatable stand up paddleboards). Because it’s inflatable, we could just deflate it, roll it up and store it much easier than the kayaks, although they just stay in their racks.  Because it does take a bit of inflating, I think we’d just leave it inflated and in racks similar to our kayak racks once we arrive in a cruising area – only deflate it for passages and maybe storms to get rid of the windage – or maybe just lash it to the foredeck like we do the kayaks in case of an anchorage storm.

2.  The paddleboard is different exercise than the kayak.  I discovered very quickly (not that I didn’t already know) that my upper body strength could use some help.  The canoe/shoulder motion used on the paddleboard is more of a shoulder/upper body workout than I anticipated.

3.  Balance …  balance is important to everything in life and I think this is what the iSUP does best, improves balance.  Despite the fact that Carolyn’s iSUP is very stable, you still have to be aware of balance – especially while turning.  It’s possible getting an iSUP as we get older would be all the balance reinforcement we need (although some yoga poses are still my favorites).

4.  QUIET!  The iSUP is every bit as quiet as the kayak for observing nature – one of my favorite things to do in the kayak.  No worries about startling the deer or beaver just around the next corner.  If it’s there, you’ll see it.  Birding is good too!

5.  The clear aqua swimming pool waters of the Caribbean (and anywhere the water is clear) provides an even bigger advantage …  according to a friend that I questioned about why they would buy SUPs to add to their extensive collection of boats … from her standing position, you can see LOTS more underwater than from the kayak.  Hmmm… that added to reinforcing balance might be my rationale for buying one of these someday soon.  🙂

6.  Price – the iSUP prices from Tower are very good for the durability and quality of the product  One of the primary reasons the price is so good is that Tower only sells direct.  You can’t go to a store and buy one.   Check out the links above for more information, including prices and specifications.

Leave a comment and let us know what you think of the SUP craze – are you like me and think they’re all nuts?  If so, be sure to try one before passing final judgement!   🙂

Carolyn's husband Dave enjoys sunset at the lake on the iSUP.

Carolyn’s husband Dave enjoys sunset at the lake on the iSUP.

 

 

Comments

  1. Moving On says:

    We purchased two Eagle iSups and they are truly amazing. Blowing them up was a bit of a chore so we bought one of those fast pumps on Amazon which made the task way easier. The one downer, literally, is when we were at Shroud Cay we heard that crappy hissing noise and knew we had a hole in it. It wasn’t from use because we only used that one twice – it was storage. Something rubbed against it during our passage and ended up piercing.

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