How I Chose My Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (iSUP)

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When I started renting stand up paddle boards on Lake Michigan in the Chicago area, I went to Montrose and North Avenue Beach.  Both are incredible places to paddle and have viable rental options.  After a few summers, I started thinking about buying my own SUP and I had so many questions. How much did they cost? Where would I store it? How would I transport the board? My previous experience with an inflatable SUP (iSUP) a few years back wasn’t the best - it just felt like a long floaty, so I was a little unsure.  Since owning an SUP didn’t really seem feasible for city life, I shelved the idea.

Shark Tank is one of my favorite shows on television because it activates the business side of my brain and also introduces new, innovative products.  I may or may not have a few Shark Tank impulse purchases around the house.  The first time I saw Tower Paddle Boards on Shark Tank, I was very skeptical considering my previous experience with an iSUP.  It seemed that iSUP technology had improved, but I wasn’t convinced.  About a year later, Shark Tank had an update segment featuring Tower Paddle Boards.  In the segment, Tower demonstrated the rigidity of their iSUP board by placing the ends on two chairs about 10 feet apart and a grown man stepped in the middle of the board and jumped up and down - the board barely moved.  This demonstration changed my mind about inflatable paddle boards and it went to the top of my wish list. 

In 2016, I received a Tower iSUP for my birthday and I was ecstatic.  The Tower iSUP package came with a 10’4” iSUP, a manual pump and a 3 piece fiberglass paddle.  I also separately received a backpack to transport my iSUP.  I opened the package and inflated the board in my apartment right away.  The iSUP took about 10 minutes to inflate with the manual pump.  I immediately stood in the middle of the board and was surprised to find it felt just like a hard board.  I have no idea how Tower has pulled this off, but it really feels like a hard board!

We took the iSUP to Montrose Beach that Memorial Day and rented a hard board for comparison.  We switched from the iSUP to the hard board and could barely tell any difference.  The paddle board was easy to deflate and I wiped it dry with a towel as I was rolling it up to place in my backpack for transport home.  The 3 piece paddle breaks down and can be placed inside the roll of the iSUP.  Everything is contained in the backpack and weighs about 25 pounds. 

The iSUP is easy to store and transport.  It fits inside my coat closet in between uses and can also easily fit in the trunk of my car.  I can carry it on my back for about half a mile before feeling fatigued and I also have a Burley Travoy Bike Trailer that can attach to my bike for longer trips.  I’ve had my iSUP about a year and a half and it seems to be indestructible. 

In the last year and a half, we've accumulated many SUP accessories including an anchor, dry bags, a dry suit, carbon fiber paddle, life belt, board lights and a second iSUP board option!  Follow along as I post more information about my iSUP and all of my accessories.