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How to choose a Stand Up Paddleboard?

How to choose a Stand Up Paddleboard?

How to choose a Stand Up Paddleboard?

Choosing a paddleboard (also known as a stand-up paddleboard or SUP) involves considering various factors based on your preferences, skill level, intended use, and the conditions you'll be paddling in. Here are some key considerations to help you choose the right paddleboard

Paddleboard Type:

  • All-around: Versatile and suitable for beginners, recreational paddling, and small waves.
  • Touring: Designed for longer distances and stability in various conditions.
  • Surfing: Tailored for wave riding and maneuverability.
  • Inflatable: Portable and easy to store, great for traveling and beginners.
  • Hardboard: Offers better performance, speed, and tracking but less convenient for storage and transportation.

Solid vs. Inflatable SUPs

Hard/solid paddleboards are known for their durability, stability, and performance. They are often preferred by more experienced paddlers or those who are looking for a higher level of performance on the water. Hard paddleboards tend to be more rigid and provide better tracking and speed compared to inflatable paddleboards.

There are different types of hard paddleboards available, including:

  1. Epoxy Paddleboards: These boards are made from epoxy resin and fiberglass, making them lightweight and durable. Epoxy paddleboards offer excellent performance and are suitable for various water conditions, including surfing, touring, and racing.

  2. Wood Paddleboards: These boards are crafted from different types of wood, such as cedar, bamboo, or paulownia. Wood paddleboards are highly regarded for their aesthetics and often provide a smooth and quiet ride on the water. They require more maintenance compared to other materials.

  3. Carbon Fiber Paddleboards: Carbon fiber paddleboards are lightweight, strong, and offer excellent performance. They are often used in competitive racing due to their stiffness and responsiveness. Carbon fiber boards can be more expensive compared to other types. 

shop hard boards here 

An inflatable paddleboard, also known as an inflatable stand-up paddleboard (SUP), is a type of paddleboard that can be inflated and deflated for easy transport and storage. It offers a convenient alternative to traditional rigid paddleboards, which can be bulky and difficult to transport.

  1. Inflatable paddleboards are made from durable materials, such as PVC or drop-stitch fabric, that are resistant to punctures and abrasions. They typically feature a valve that allows you to inflate the board using a pump, and when fully inflated, they provide a stable and rigid platform for stand-up paddling.

    One of the main advantages of inflatable paddleboards is their portability. When deflated, they can be rolled up or folded into a compact size and easily carried in a backpack or a storage bag. This makes them convenient for travel and allows you to take them on trips, vacations, or hikes to remote locations. Inflatable paddleboards are also a popular choice for people living in apartments or those with limited storage space, as they can be easily stored in a closet or under a bed.

    Despite being inflatable, these paddleboards offer good stability and performance on the water. They typically have a similar shape and design to traditional paddleboards, with a wide and stable deck, a non-slip surface, and a fin system for tracking and maneuverability. They are suitable for various water conditions, including lakes, rivers, and even ocean paddling.

    Inflatable paddleboards come in different sizes and styles to accommodate various skill levels, body weights, and purposes. Some models are specifically designed for touring and long-distance paddling, while others are more focused on surfing or yoga. They often come as complete packages, including a paddle, a pump, a leash, and a carrying bag.

    Proper care and maintenance, such as avoiding sharp objects and regularly inspecting for any leaks or damages, are essential to prolong the lifespan of the board.

    Overall, inflatable paddleboards offer a convenient and versatile option for stand-up paddling enthusiasts, providing the freedom to explore and enjoy the water wherever and whenever you want.

shop inflatable paddleboards here


SUP Length

The length of a paddleboard can vary depending on the specific type and purpose of the board, as well as the preferences of the rider. In general, paddleboards can range in length from around 8 feet (2.4 meters) to 14 feet (4.3 meters) or longer.

10'6 - 11' is our most sold and most popular size - this suites most paddlers 

Shorter paddleboards, typically around 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) in length, are often used for surfing or maneuvering in waves. They are more agile and easier to turn, making them suitable for riders who want to navigate through waves and perform tricks.

Longer paddleboards, usually between 11 to 14 feet (3.4 to 4.3 meters) in length, are commonly used for recreational paddling, touring, or racing. Longer boards provide better stability and glide, making them ideal for covering longer distances or paddling in calmer waters. They also have more surface area, allowing riders to carry additional gear or passengers.

It's important to consider your skill level, intended use, body weight, and the type of water you'll be paddling in when selecting the appropriate paddleboard length. If you're a beginner or looking for a versatile option, a board in the 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.7 meters) range is often a good starting point. However, it's always recommended to consult with a paddleboard specialist or rental shop to find the best size for your specific needs.

stand up paddleboard hard board starboard longboard


SUP Width

The width of a paddleboard can vary depending on the specific model and intended use. Paddleboard widths typically range from around 28 inches to 36 inches (71 cm to 91 cm). However, there are specialized paddleboards designed for specific activities that may have narrower or wider widths.

Narrower paddleboards, around 28 to 30 inches (71 to 76 cm) wide, are generally more suitable for experienced paddlers , those looking for higher performance lighter riders. They offer increased speed and maneuverability but can be less stable, especially for beginners or in choppy water conditions.

Wider paddleboards, around 31 to 36 inches (79 to 91 cm) wide, provide better stability and are often recommended for beginners or those looking for a more stable platform. They are more forgiving and easier to balance on, making them suitable for recreational paddling, yoga, fishing, or paddling with children or pets.

It's important to consider your skill level, intended use, and personal preferences when choosing the width of a paddleboard. Trying different widths and consulting with experts at a paddleboard shop can help you find the right width that suits your needs and abilities.


SUP Thickness

The thickness of a paddleboard can vary depending on the specific type and model of the board, as well as the intended use and the manufacturer's design choices. Generally, paddleboards have a thickness ranging from 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters).

Thinner paddleboards, typically around 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 centimeters) thick, are commonly used for lighter riders, surfing and are more maneuverable in the water. They provide better stability and responsiveness when riding waves.

On the other hand, thicker paddleboards, typically around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) thick, are more commonly used for all round paddler 80kg plus -  all-around or touring purposes. The extra thickness provides increased buoyancy, allowing for better weight distribution and stability, especially when paddling in calm water or carrying gear for longer trips.

Ultimately, the appropriate thickness for a paddleboard depends on factors such as the user's skill level, preferred activities, and the conditions in which it will be used. It's recommended to consult with the manufacturer or a knowledgeable paddleboard retailer to determine the most suitable thickness for your specific needs.


SUP Fins

Paddleboard fins are attachments that are fixed to the bottom of a paddleboard to enhance stability, tracking, and maneuverability in the water. They are typically made of durable materials such as plastic, fiberglass, or carbon fiber.

Here are some key points about paddleboard fins:

river fin - sup fin - paddleboard fin

Types of Fins: Paddleboard fins come in various shapes and sizes, each designed for specific purposes. The most common types of fins include:

    • Center Fins: These are large fins positioned at the center of the paddleboard. They provide stability and help the board track straight in the water.

    • Side Fins: Also known as side bites, these smaller fins are placed on the sides of the board. They assist with maneuverability and turning.

    • Removable Fins: Some paddleboards have removable fins, which allow for customization based on different water conditions or personal preferences. These fins can be attached and detached easily using fin boxes or fin systems.

    • Fixed Fins: Other paddleboards have fixed fins that are permanently attached to the board. These fins are typically more durable but offer less flexibility in terms of adjustment.

  1. Fin Configuration: The number and configuration of fins on a paddleboard can vary. Common configurations include:

    • Single Fin: A single center fin provides stability and tracking for all-around paddling and calm water conditions - you only need one fin for paddleboarding unless surfing

    • Three-Fin (Thruster) Setup: This setup consists of a larger center fin and two smaller side fins. It offers a good balance of stability and maneuverability, making it suitable for a variety of water conditions.

  2. Choosing the Right Fin: The choice of paddleboard fin depends on various factors such as the paddler's skill level, water conditions, and intended use. Here are a few considerations:

    • Skill Level: Beginners often benefit from larger center fins, as they provide stability and straight tracking. More experienced paddlers may prefer smaller or more flexible fins for increased maneuverability.

    • Water Conditions: For calm water and flat paddling, a single center fin or a thruster setup may suffice. In surf conditions, a thruster or quad setup with smaller fins can provide better control and responsiveness.

    • Paddling Style: Different paddlers have different preferences in terms of maneuverability and speed. Experimenting with different fin configurations can help find the setup that suits your style.

  3. Installation and Maintenance: Installing and removing fins depends on the type of fin system your paddleboard has. Removable fins usually require sliding them into fin boxes and securing them with screws or clips. Fixed fins are typically molded into the board during manufacturing. It's essential to periodically check and tighten screws to ensure the fins remain securely attached.

Remember that specific paddleboard models may have unique characteristics and recommendations regarding fins. It's always a good idea to consult the manufacturer's guidelines or speak to a knowledgeable paddleboard retailer for advice on the most suitable fin setup for your board.


SUP Extras and Accessories

Here are some common extras and accessories that can enhance your SUP experience:

  1. Paddle: A high-quality paddle is essential for stand-up paddleboarding. It should be lightweight, adjustable, and durable. Paddles come in various materials like aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber.

  2. Leash: A leash is a safety device that attaches your ankle or calf to the paddleboard. It ensures that the board stays with you in case you fall off, preventing it from floating away.

  3. Personal Flotation Device (PFD): A PFD is a crucial safety item for water sports. It provides buoyancy and ensures your safety in case of emergencies. There are different types of PFDs available, including inflatable options designed specifically for SUP.

  4. Board Bag: A board bag protects your SUP during transportation and storage. It typically features padding and a sturdy construction to shield the board from scratches, dings, and UV rays.

  5. Roof Rack or Carrying Straps: If you need to transport your paddleboard by car, you'll need a roof rack or carrying straps. These accessories secure the board to the roof of your vehicle, allowing you to transport it safely.

  6. Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case allows you to keep your phone with you while paddleboarding. It protects your device from water damage and enables you to capture photos or videos on the water.

  7. Dry Bag: A dry bag is a waterproof bag that keeps your personal belongings safe and dry while you're paddleboarding. It's perfect for storing items like keys, wallets, snacks, and extra clothes.

  8. Sun Protection: When spending time on the water, sun protection is crucial. Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and applying sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful rays.

  9. Water Bottle Holder: Staying hydrated is important during physical activities. A water bottle holder or hydration pack can keep your water bottle easily accessible while you're on the water.

  10. SUP Fins: Fins are attached to the bottom of your paddleboard and help with tracking and stability. Different fin configurations can enhance your paddling experience in various water conditions.

These are just a few examples of the extras and accessories available for stand-up paddleboarding. The specific accessories you choose may depend on your needs, preferences, and the type of paddleboarding you plan to do.

shop all accessories here

SUP Lessons

Paddleboarding is a fun and popular water activity that involves standing on a large board and propelling yourself through the water using a paddle. If you're interested in taking paddleboard lessons, here's some information to help you get started: you can book with us here

  1. Finding a Paddleboard Instructor: Look for certified paddleboard instructors or schools in your local area. They will have the expertise to teach you the proper techniques and safety guidelines for paddleboarding. You can search online, check with local water sports shops, or ask for recommendations from friends or fellow water sports enthusiasts.

  2. Lesson Options: Paddleboard lessons can be offered in different formats, depending on your needs and preferences. Here are a few common options:

    • Private Lessons: One-on-one instruction with a certified instructor. This allows for personalized attention and a tailored learning experience.
    • Group Lessons: Lessons conducted with a small group of people. This can be a more affordable option and also provides the opportunity to learn from and interact with others.
    • Lesson Packages: Some instructors or schools offer packages that include multiple lessons at a discounted rate. These can be beneficial if you want to progress your skills over time.
  3. Lesson Duration and Cost: The duration and cost of paddleboard lessons can vary depending on factors such as the instructor, location, lesson format, and equipment provided. It's best to reach out to specific instructors or schools in your area to get accurate information on pricing and lesson durations.

  4. What to Expect: Paddleboard lessons typically cover the following topics:

    • Equipment and gear: Learning about the paddleboard, paddle, leash, and safety equipment.
    • Basic Techniques: Balancing on the board, paddling techniques, turning, and stopping.
    • Safety Guidelines: Understanding safety measures, including proper use of a leash, how to fall safely, and navigation rules on the water.
    • Advanced Skills: As you progress, instructors can teach you more advanced skills, such as pivot turns, racing techniques, and paddleboard yoga.
  5. What to Bring: Depending on the instructor and the lessons, you may need to bring or consider the following:

    • Swimwear or clothing suitable for water activities
    • Sunscreen and a hat for sun protection
    • Water shoes or sandals
    • Towel
    • Water bottle for hydration

Remember, paddleboarding can be physically demanding, so it's essential to listen to your instructor, practice proper technique, and stay within your comfort zone as you progress. Have fun and enjoy the experience of learning a new water sport!

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