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Choosing an iSUP board


Chinook Inflatable SUP Boards


Why inflatable?

 It’s now getting to the point that a better question is why not?

Inflatable SUP boards (iSUPs) have been on the market for many years and are now a real alternative to their rigid cousins for nearly all users. Even the most extreme paddleboard disciplines, racing and surfing, can now be done on inflatable boards. For instance many races now include an inflatable board category. A recent report showed that speed difference between inflatable and rigid boards is around 5.5%, not really significant or even noticeable to most paddlers.

For most Stand Up Paddle Boarders the advantages of iSUPs far outweigh the disadvantages


  • easy to transport and store – huge deal for many owners
  • light and easy to handle on and off the water
  • performance is now very close to rigid boards as technology has advanced
  • softer and more forgiving to paddlers and safer to other water users
  • excellent value
  • robust, not brittle like many rigid boards


  • need to be pumped up, but our 2-way pumps make this easy (many owners leave them inflated anyway)
  • need to be treated relatively carefully around sharp objects although Chinook materials are really strong and seams are heavily reinforced. They can be easily repaired too
  • nature of the construction prevents sharp profiling of the hull, less efficient for racing and surfing

For many experienced paddle boarders an inflatable SUP Chinook board may complement their more specialised surf or race boards for use on holiday or on fun recreational* outings.

*As far as we are concerned nearly all paddle boarding is recreational, with the exception of the professional element, we are all doing it for FUN only. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be an incredibly good work-out or you won’t get the thrill of racing, surfing or exploration on your new iSUP. After all is the great appeal of SUP – FUN FOR ALL!


Choosing an inflatable SUP board


Factors, these are approximations and should only be used as guidelines.  

Get in touch if you would like more guidance

Weight-the more you weigh the bigger (volume and width) the board you’ll want (widths are measured in inches and volumes in litre – 1 litre of volume will support 1kg)

  • Up to 50kg, 28” & 130-200 litres
  • 50 – 70kg, 30” & 180-230 litres
  • 70 – 90kg, 32” & 230-280 litres
  • 90 – 110kg, 34” & 280-330 litres

Experience –same factors as weight, should be considered along with weight

  • First time/little experience - choose a board in your own category or perhaps the next weight category up
  • Medium experience – choose a board in your weight category
  • Very experienced – choose a board in your weight category, or in the next weight category down if required (surfing and sharing with smaller family members)

Aspirations/commitment –with greater aspirations you can choose a board closer to your ‘ultimate’ board. Also consider with weight and experience

  • If you know SUP is going to be a big part of your life and you will be able to practice a lot you can choose a slightly smaller board than your weight and experience would suggest,
  • Alternatively, if SUP is more recreational* and relaxed for you, stick to the weight guidelines above

Discipline- are you aiming to specialise in touring, racing, surfing, yoga, windSUP, or simply recreational use etc. There are sizes and designs of boards for all these purposes

  • Boards for racing and touring tend to be narrower, longer, thicker and have a more pointed bow (Chinook RT). This allows them to track faster and straighter and cover distance more efficiently
    • We have used the RT 11'6" extensively around Poole Harbour and find it fast and stable (even for a 90kg paddler). Fabulous board for exploring 
  • All round boards are shorter, wider and thinner, making them more manoeuvrable and stable, and also better in the surf (Chinook AR)
    • We have also tried the AR 10'6" iSUP in the waves (at Kimmeridge of course) and it will pick up 1 to 2 ft waves soooo easily and its also surprisingly manoeuvrable so long as the riders weight is kept back. iSUPs are also safe for both the rider and others in the line-up
  • All Chinook SUP boards can also be windsurfed and the 11’6” model can be fitted with an additional centre fin to enhance this ability
  • For Yoga, wider boards are preferred for their stability (Chinook AR)

Chinook AR and RT SUP Boards in more detail See detailed specification http://www.k-bay.co.uk/files/Chinook-iSUP-Boards-2016.pdf

The current range of 6 boards is designed and constructed to appeal to the vast majority of paddle boarders. Committed racers and surfers may still prefer rigid boards, with one of our inflatable boards as a travel or recreational back-up.

Construction is key to iSUP performance

Chinook have built an enviable reputation in the windsurfing industry with over 30 years of innovation and quality. The brand is synonymous with “the stuff you trust” and the iSUP construction is typically Chinook, being light, stiff and durable.


General points to consider are width, length, volume and style/type

  • Width, the wider the more stable, the narrower the faster. Chinook boards are 30” to 33.5” wide. It is surprising what difference 3.5” makes.
  • Length, longer boards track in a straight line better, but are slightly less manoeuvrable
  • Volume indicates the inherent buoyancy, too much buoyancy for your weight can make a board difficult to manoeuvre and prone to be blown of course in breezy conditions
  • Style/type. The All Round Chinook AR boards are designed for the majority of recreational paddlers and are versatile to be used for fun, cruising, small waves and fitness paddling. The Race/Touring Chinook RT boards are for those who still want versatile performance, but with the emphasis on covering longer distances, exploring and racing

All Chinook iSUPs;

  • use a proper singe centre fin only, as the soft moulded fins on some other brands have little function.
  • have a cargo net to allow you to carry provisions, spare clothing, masts and snorkels etc
  • Come with high quality 2 way pump, making 15-20 psi (1-1.3 Bar) easy to achieve
  • Are supplied with a high quality roller bag and repair kit
  • Come with a coiled leash, which won’t drag in the water and pick up weed
  • Have a windsurf base insert

All prices are inclusive of VAT. Copyright © K-Bay Limited. All rights reserved. Company No. 4648557. VAT No. 807605925.