There is nothing quite like the Stand Up Paddle Board, an exciting new sport that can be practiced by all. But, the only way to make the most of your experiences as an avid SUP enthusiast is, to begin with, the right board.
The right board will be an expression of yourself and your personal style. You will need to consider your ideal practice and your favorite waters where you will spend many happy hours cruising the big blue. If you are reading this article, you are undoubtedly fascinated with the idea of this engaging sport and looking for the best way to begin.
So, read on to learn more about SUP Boards and discover what you need to know to make the best choice of SUP for you.
1. Different Types of Board
The first and foremost topic when entering the SUP market is the various types of SUP boards available. Each features a special design that makes the board especially suited to specific activities and situations.
Some SUP boards feature dedicated designs that are best suited to a certain activity, but others are well-rounded and can support a wider variety of purposes. Here is what you should know about 4 of the major SUP Boards you will find on the market.
The “All-Around” SUP
This medium-length SUP board features a rounder nose and slightly wider body. This makes it super stable and a great option for family vacations, practicing yoga, or even fishing. This is the best option for those with little experience in boating, surfing, or SUP boarding.
The “Surf’s” SUP
If you know your way around a surfboard or are looking for a challenging SUP to improve your balance, strength, and speed, this is an excellent choice for you. The surf style SUP is the shortest and has a pointed nose and wide deck. Essentially, an extra-large surfboard.
The Touring SUP
The touring or flatwater SUP board is long and wide, making it the best option for covering longer distances. They also have a good speed and balance even for beginners.
The Race SUP
For those looking to get into competitions and refine their skill as a speedy SUP boarder, you will need something lean and clean to slice through the water and reach the finish line. Racing SUP boards have the narrowest deck and are especially pointed in the nose and tail. Maybe a little advanced for the beginner, but with a bit of practice, you too can join the ranks of Elite SUP boarders.
2. Paddle Boards Sizes
Now that you know which type of SUP board you need to match the type of practice and fun you hope to have on the water. It is time to get more specific. You will need to choose a board size that best suits your weight, skill, and purpose. Consider the volume of the SUP board you will be buying. The greater the volume, the better the stability and the weight it will be able to carry, but the performance, agility, and speed will suffer somewhat.
It is often a good idea to begin with a bit more volume so that you gain good stability, this will allow you to improve your skills and downsize to a leaner, more nimble model in the future.
3. Epoxy SUP or Inflatable SUP
There are inflatable SUP Boards and Epoxy boards as well. Your best choice will be to consider your personal budget and capacity to care for and store your SUP board.
The inflatable SUP is a dream in terms of portability and storage. This makes it the best option for carrying around to a wide variety of locations for events, vacations, and family visits. Then when you get home, just clean it, roll it, and stow it. You won’t have to think about it till next time you need it.
On the downside, a truly professional SUP boarder will notice that the inflatable SUP lacks the finesse of the epoxy board, but it is still a good option for beginners to use.
SUP boards can be BIG! Really BIG. You can expect a nice 12-foot Touring SUP board to be a bit of a hassle to store and carry around. You will probably have to think of additional investments like improved storage solutions and a rack for your car (see the following section).
But, the upside is that epoxy boards slip across the surface of the water like butter on a hot pan and also feature durability that is unrivaled by the inflatable SUP board.
4. SUP Board Storage
If you don’t have a sure-fire plan for storing and maintaining your SUP, this could be an investment that ends in tears. You will need to protect your SUP Board from all types of damage, as these are especially delicate watercraft. For an epoxy board, you will need to find a suitable indoor location where your board will not be bothered. You will need to keep your board in a board bag that will protect the fragile board from dust, dings, dents, and all other damage.
An inflatable board is even more fragile, and a small impact can severely weaken the inflatable walls of the craft leading to early retirement if repairs are not made right away. Both the Epoxy and inflatable SUP must be protected from sunlight, which can deteriorate the materials. Be sure to consult your manufacturer’s instructions for the best advice on storing and protecting your SUP board.
Make sure you have a plan to use your SUP board often and frequently, so it is not spending its service life in storage.
5. SUP Board Manufacturers
Many manufacturers are making all kinds of SUP boards at all price ranges. You cannot always assume that you will be getting a good deal by the little pictures on the screen or the manufacturer’s descriptions. Look for what you can get for your budget limit and what guarantees are offered. If you can call up your manufacturers, you may get a better idea of what kind of service to expect.
Finally, do your research. There are many sites out there with lists such as Best Paddleboards these lists usally have a full review on each of the boards and a rating. Armed with the information provided, you know what you will be looking for. So, be sure to look up reviews and consumer reports on the types of SUP boards are best for you. It may pay to spend a bit more to get something that will last, but the most expensive options are not always the best choices for a beginner.