Cabo San Lucas|Image: RaShel Pelzel
SAN DIEGO, California - One of the greatest things about being part of a sport/lifestyle like Stand Up Paddling is being able to do it anywhere. Not just around your home town or even other parts of your country, but anywhere around the world - provided there is water. Paddling in other parts of the world allows you to experience a new place in a familiar way, adding a new dynamic to any trip. One of the biggest drawbacks to traveling is the criminal charge that most airplanes place on taking a board. This is why inflatable boards come are so handy. To help us better understand the process of traveling with an inflatable board and what the pro's are, we've broken down five easy points to consider.
Lake Isle of Innisfree on Lough Gill, Sligo, North West Ireland | Image: David O'Hara
3. Fuss/Stress free
If the the anguish of paying to have airline staff manhandle your board isn't bad enough, you've also got to lug it through airports and then to/from your hotel, resort or hostel. As much as we all love our boards, they weren't designed to fit on public transport - anybody who's been on a train or bus with a board will testify to how annoying it is. An inflatable board fits into a regular sized bag, which you can carry like a piece of luggage.
Juliette Ball on a dream trip to Greenland
2. They're Tough (And Repair Easily)
Inflatable boards are tougher than they look. They're not floaties - those things can take a beating and still live to fight another day. If you do end up with a ding or a hole, patching an inflatable board takes minutes.
Jim Weir doing some 'performance testing' in Costa Rica
1. Quality Boards
Inflatable paddle boards have come a long way in the last few years. The premium boards on the market have been performance tested by leading athletes and fine-tuned to a point where they are as good as most fiberglass or epoxy models. For people going on serious surf, white water or touring trips, this is probably the most important thing to consider - faith in your equipment matters. Jim Weir from ULI Inflatable Paddleboards, who has traveled extensively over the years, says that it's the one thing he'd advise people who are traveling to consider. "The confidence you have in your gear, that if you get the right conditions your equipment will your demands and beyond."
Sunset Paddle, Costa rica | Nate Smieja
You don't want to hit waves, rapids or currents on sub-standard equipment - and you don't have to. Before buying a board do some research into its track record - or better, test drive the board yourself first. You also don't want to be surfing perfect waves on a board that doesn't go. This is another reason to buy a performance tested inflatable rather than the cheapest one you can find. This is obviously less important to people going on a relaxing holiday, where the lagoon in front of the hotel is perfectly flat and safe.
More at Uli Inflatable Paddle Boards.
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