How To Choose Stand Up Paddle Board – Experts Way

Nothing beats the fun of getting on the waters on a hot summer day!

Water sports are the best ways to make you hit the waters and go for a ride. Be it paddle boarding, or going out on surfing to catch a wave or kayaking, everything requires that you have the perfect board to get the best results.

You can use paddle board on the lake and do some Yoga exercises while you can also take it to the beach to catch a high wave and surf to the shore.

What is Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a water sport that is a combination of surfing and kayaking. You will be standing on a surfboard and using a paddle to make your way through the waters.

The major difference between the paddle board and surfboard is that SUPs are wider and long to give you better balance than traditional surfboards.

Types of Paddle Boards

There are various shapes of boards available for paddleboarding. Finding the right paddleboard is very important to make your paddleboarding experience enjoyable.

  • 1
    Surf Specific Boards
  • 2
    SUP Racing Boards
  • 3
    SUP Yoga Boards
  • 4
    SUP Touring Boards / All-round Boards
  • 5
    Inflatable Stand Up Boards

1. Surf Specific Boards

surf board

Surf specific SUP boards look like the surfboards with a narrow nose and tail. It seems curvier and is shorter than most other types of paddleboards. Being narrow makes it easily maneuverable.

Since they are designed for surfing that involves fast turns, it is not recommended to use them for long distance paddleboarding as they move very slowly. You will find it very difficult to keep them on track and are less stable in still water.

2. SUP Racing Boards

SUP Racing Board

Intending to participate in the racing competition or want to flex your racing muscles, you will require a racing type paddleboard. These boards look similar to the surfboards, but more pointed on the nose and the fin areas.

The sharp edges give the maneuverability through rough waves. The major drawback with this board is that it is not capable of traveling at lower speeds. It gets very unstable at slow speeds, and there are chances you might fall into the water.

3. SUP Yoga Boards

SUP Yoga board

The yoga boards are wider and longer in looks. You can have this if at all you would want to hit the static waters to perform yoga. These boards come with a soft top and provisions to hook up additional materials required for the yoga.

4. SUP Touring Boards / All-round Boards

SUP Touring Board

If you are a first-timer, it is best to get started with this board as you can learn and explore the different aspects of water sports with a single board. These boards are wider, thicker and longer than the surf specific board types.

They offer the best stability when it comes to flat water paddling as well as can be used to cut through the waves on a surf mission. There are also provisions to attach a windsurf to do windsurfing on the waves.

5. Inflatable Stand Up Boards

inflatable sup board

These are a particular type of SUPs made from layers of PVC plastic. There are woven fibers that connect the top and the bottom of the board on the inside.

They are light in their weight, and this makes it easy for people to carry it from one place to another. These SUPs are more affordable than the solid versions of SUP.

Which is Better - Solid SUP or Inflatable SUP?

Well, this might be a burning question in your mind at this point. No worries, below you have both the Pros and Cons of the two types.

Solid SUP

Solid SUPs are made similar to the surfboards using a foam core surrounded by fiberglass layers. The edges of the SUP board will be reinforced to offer extra durability. Sometimes the fiberglass is replaced with carbon fiber or even bamboo (epoxy resin).

If you want to paddle fast and travel long distances by paddleboarding, then solid SUP should be your preferred option.

  • Ensure there is ample space for storing your solid SUP. If space is a constraint, you must think of opting for the inflatable option.
  • You get the perfect stability when maneuvering through rough waves, and the solid boards are more rigid when compared to inflatable boards.
  • You get different sizes and shapes of boards. So you can pick the best one according to your need.

Inflatable SUP

As mentioned previously, inflatable SUP is made of PVC and fiber-stitches that connect the board on the inside. You need an air pump to inflate the board. When not in use, it goes into as small as a backpack.

  • Best suited if you have limited storage space in your house.
  • Ideal for enthusiasts who prefer to venture out to lakes and backwaters that cannot be accessed using a vehicle.
  • Can be easily stowed into the trunk of your car or checked-in on a flight.
  • Just like kayaking, an inflatable board is the better choice when you are paddleboarding through rocky waters.

Beginners Guide To Picking Up Your First Paddleboard

Before buying a paddleboard, be clear of where you will be paddleboarding. Identifying this will help you in picking the right paddle board.

Choose the right size of the paddle board depending on your weight and height. If you weigh under 130 pounds, opt for a paddle board of 9-feet in length.

For people, more than 150 pounds, choose an all-round paddle board that will offer more stability. Paddle boards in the range of 9 – 12 feet are ideally suited for all-around use.

For stand up paddling (SUP), all-around SUP is the best and recommended type of paddle board.

More the fins, more you can use it for specific surfing purposes. For paddleboarding in ponds and lakes, a single fin is well suited. The three-fin setup is ideal for perfect surfing conditions.

Paddle – Carbon fiber paddles are costly but used by experts. Paddle with Aluminum shafts and plastic blades are the best choice. Smaller blades offer better manoeuvrability and reduce the strain.

Larger leaves are perfect for expert strokes. The paddle should be 4 - 12” taller than the person. Make sure the paddle is adjustable according to the environment. While surfers prefer shorter paddles, racers and flat water paddlers prefer the long paddle.

Keep your SUP accessories handy. Always have a visual and audible signal with you when out on the waters.

Conclusion

Now, you can conclude that Boards with a wider surface area is more stable, but slower. And Boards with more volume floats you better, but these are less responsive.

For the selection of the Paddle Board, you need to consider the construction of the board and the material as it determines the price, weight, durability and, performance. Height and weight are also a considerable factor while the selection.

But remember, not all this factors and research is enough. Look for the place where you can try and test different boards at the same time. Then choose wisely by where and how are you going to choose your board.

Always use and have a test drive with the demo boards available, before taking a Paddle Board, is a good practice.

Glen Jensen
 

This is Glen Jensen founder of Fisher Picks. I started this blog to provide guide and reviews of best fishing & outdoor products.

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