Inflatable vs. Rigid: Why are inflatable kayaks and paddleboards dominating watersports market share?

Imagine transporting your kayak or paddle board without a roof rack, trailer or truck bed. What if it was next to impossible to fatally nick, scratch or damage your boat? Envision a tandem kayak so light it can be slung over a shoulder and carried to the put in, solo. Welcome to the wide world of inflatable watercraft

Since the latest version of raft technology was first developed in the middle of the 19th century, inflatable kayaks and paddleboards have come a long way. Rigid, fiberglass and plastic versions of kayaks were around long before the malleable, rubber and pvc fold-away modern styles. Not popularized until the early 1970s, inflatable kayaks (IKs) became mainstream way before their paddle board counterparts, ISUPs, which didn’t gain traction until the 2010s. 

Here are some reasons inflatables should be considered over hardshell vessels:


Although most damage to paddle vessels is incurred during transport, fractures and gouges also happen on the water from collisions with obstacles like rocks or incidents while beaching a craft. 

If you're paddling in shallow water, accident prone, or new to water sports, go with an inflatable for maximized durability. 

The Duratx outer fabrication used to construct Aquaglide boats is bomber. Some crafts also come with a canvas wrap, increasing their durability. With a softer, forgiving, inflated outer material, Aquaglide vessels can absorb impacts with obstacles without resulting in major damage. 

Ease of Transport

Do you drive a vehicle without roof rack capability, is too tall to heave a boat on top of, or is too small to fit a boat inside of? Inflatables are perfect for rolling up and transporting no matter what your ride. Plus, with a car adapted Hurricane electric pump plugged into an auxiliary outlet, an IK or iSUP can be inflated and on the water in under 10 minutes. 


Hauling a rigid kayak or paddle board from your car to the put-in can be taxing. Rigid vessels can be 25 to 50% heavier than their inflatable cousins. Plus watercraft are so long, the weight is awkwardly dispersed and requires tricky angles of carry. 

Aquaglide inflatables come with a convenient Crossroads Backpack. Essentially, a ready carry case which you can easily tote from your parked car to the launch point. With a Aquaglide Dual Action Hand Pump, inflating and deflating at a moments notice gives the paddler more choices in strategizing transportation. 


For a novice paddler, an inflatable is more approachable. They are easier to store, easier to carry, and easier to paddle. They are also easier to recover if you were to find yourself out of the boat, owed to their unsinkability.

For these reasons and more, modern inflatables should have a spot in every paddler's quiver.

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