2024 red paddle co racing paddle boards - 2024 range of inflatable race SUP paddle board

What is the difference between Starboard Astro Deluxe and Zen constructions?

For a few years now, the Starboard Astro inflatable paddle board range has been available in 2 constructions, Zen (previously known as Fun) and Deluxe. Let’s take a side by side look at the differences between these two constructions and why one or the other may be more suited to your needs, not just your wallet!

First the value-for-money Zen construction. Formerly 4″ thick drop stitch and since 2015, 4.75″ thick, the Zen construction is the go to board construction for many paddlers. It offers a the best mix of rigidity, quick inflation, ease of use and durable construction.

The Deluxe premium level construction uses a 6″ thick drop stitch setup resulting an even stiffer board for enhanced performance. It also suits bigger paddlers looking to keep the board size smaller, but not compromise rigidity. Deluxe boards come with features such as a dual stringer and carbon rails for a stiffer board, removable side fins on certain models and half layer PVC laminate to reduce weight.

Inflatable SUP stiffness or rigidity is a function of the materials used, the inflation pressure and the thickness of the board. To achieve the same level of stiffness with a certain material, you could pump to 15PSI with 6″ drop stitch or 18PSI with 4.75″ drop stitch. Therefore a 6″ thick board pumped to 18PSI will be stiffer and perform better or be better suited to bigger paddlers. Read more about inflatable SUP construction here.

Astro Zen Construction


Strong and durable.

Features include:

  • Strong double layer PVC laminates for maximum strength on the deck and bottom.
  • Visible double rail band with extra thick PVC Outer Rail Band for maximum protection.
  • Biaxial dropstitch for strength and stiffness.

Added Features:

  • Zen is over 2 kg lighter than similar sized boards in the market.
  • Neoprene paddle holder and carry strap on the tail.
  • Quality padded neoprene handle.
  • Integrated tow ring in the valve area and bottom of the nose.
  • EVA deck pad for easy grip.

Fin box:

  • Flexible permanent side fins for tracking and safety.
  • Universal US Center Fin Box to fit all sizes of fins. Short for easy board roll up.
  • Supplied with black injected moulded fins.

Astro Deluxe Construction


Stiff and light.

Features include:

  • Dual Stringer on the deck for increased rigidity.
  • Carbon Rails for extra support in the critical standing area.
  • 6” Dropstitch with uni-directional connecting yarns increasing longitudinal stiffness.
  • Half Layer PVC laminates reduces the weight significantly.
  • Linear dropstitch.

Added Features:

  • EVA Carry handle.
  • Neoprene paddle holder and carry strap on the tail.
  • Integrated tow ring in the valve area and bottom of the nose.

Fin box:

  • Side fins will fit the standard removable
  • Surfinz or your favourite FCS fins.
  • Universal US Center Fin Box to fit all sizes of fins. Short for easy board roll up.
  • Supplied with black injected moulded fins.

Let’s see all the Starboard Astro inflatable SUPs we have in stock:

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.