Spring is around the corner and now is the time to look at getting the perfect ISUP. The are so many attractions in buying an ISUP, they are cheaper, lighter and much more practical than hard SUPs, plus easy to transport and store. At first glance, all inflatable SUP boards look very similar, but there are actually many different design, prices and technological variations between each ISUP.
With the help of Swiss SUP brand Fool Moon, we have put together a shopping guide to make life easier when choosing your ISUP.
Size and Shape Matters
The 1st question you need to ask yourself, How will you use your board, this will determine the shape and length that you will need.
The best yoga inflatable SUP boards are long and wide, providing a large, stable surface area for trying out ambitious yoga positions. Surfing ISUP boards, on the other hand, tend to be narrower to help them glide over the waves smoothly. Racer ISUP boards are designed for speed, these boards are light and nimble, cutting through the water easily and handling well.
Next is the length, as a general rule, if you’re under 47 kg you should choose a short 9’6″ board; if you’re between 47 kg and 90 kg you’ll need a board that’s around ten feet long; if you’re heavier (or if you’ll be carrying extra passengers) you should look for a large SUP measuring 11 or 12 feet long.
Looking a Fool Moons range you can see the difference between each model all aimed at different uses.
Kung Foo 9.6 > yoga / tricks / beginners
Bloo Moon 10.0 > Light weight (kids and women) > all-around / family / yoga
Good Karma 10.0 > Light weight (kids and women) > all-around / family / yoga
Good Karma 11.0 > Heavier weight (men) > all-around / family / yoga
Mekong 10.8 > Touring for light weights (ladies)
X-Moon 12.0 > Touring for heavier weights (guys)
X-Race 12.6 > Race board
What construction for my ISUP?
In general there are 3 different board constructions, the single layer, and 2 types of multi layered ISUPS.
Fool Moon board “Bloo moon” 10ft is constructed using the single layer technology, this board has 1 layer of dropstitich with dyneema stringer covered by a 12 cm belt on deck and hull, it gives a light board but with stiffness given by the stringer and belt, and is the cheapest board in the range. These boards are glued together, and can make them heavier. Lower the price usually means single layer technology.
The 2nd construction type is the multi layer fusion (MLF) technology, the board is constructed using a single layer of dropstitch plus 1 layer of PVC membrane, In the Fool Moon range the board Kung Foo 9.6 has this construction, this can affect the flexibility of the board so it is used for smaller boards.
The 3rd construction type also uses the MLF double layer, the board uses a single layer of drop stitch and then 2 layers of PVC membrane, The Good Karma 10.0, Good Karma 11.0,Mekong 10.8,X-Moon 12.0 and X-Race 12.6 are all constructed by this method. The MLF double layer boards are all fused together makes the board super stiff, super strong, and light, and reflects the higher price of these ISUPS. MLF Fusion is the best technology available on the market at the moment.
So the ISUP has to be inflated, Most ISUPs come with a recommended PSI. PSI is the measurement of how much to inflate your ISUP, Some boards have a max PSI of 20, but this would be quite an effort. Some cheaper brands have an inflation maximum of 10 PSI, enough to take only a child.
All the boards in the Fool Moon range can be inflated up to 20-21psi bu 15psi is generally enough. Smaller family members may have hard time to pump more than 13psi, but since they are lighter it is fine. Heavier paddlers are advised to go to 15-16psi.
The time it takes to fill an inflatable SUP to the required pressure depends on the type of pump which you’re using and, if it’s a hand pump, this is all down to your arm strength. With a hand pump, you can expect to fill an inflatable SUP in around five to ten minutes, but topping up the last few PSI can be very physically demanding on the arms and lower back. So look at the quality of the pump that is supplied with the ISUP.
Fins can be removable or fixed on ISUPS, What you are looking for depends on the function of your ISUP. All ISUPs should have some sort of fin configuration, and the exact number and placement depends on how the board should be used.
Stand up paddle boards with three fins make great all-round SUP boards; those with fewer fins work well on flat water, while boards with five fins are best suited to surfing.
In the Fool Moon range the Kung Foo board comes with fixed side fins, and the rest have a single Centre fin that is removable, the large center fins can be removed to help with storage. But please don’t forget the fin screw!
So we have chosen our new ISUP, now we need the rest. 1st we all need a paddle to get paddling, so look to see whether the pack comes with a paddle, For example Fool Moon ISUPs are delivered with en entry-level paddle with a PVC blade and fibre shaft, making paddle life easier.
The packs should also come with a backpack as standard to make travel easy, and the all important repair kit!
This list isn’t comprehensive but it is enough to get you started in the search for your ISUP. Good Luck and Happy Paddling!