Stand Up Paddleboarding "SUP" is the fastest growing sport in the World today. Every day see’s more and more people trying the sport for the first time, and catching the bug to take up the Sport.
Once you’ve decided to join the world of SUP, your first thoughts should be around which board is best for you, and even the direction of the sport you are likely to follow, so what we have for you is a breakdown of all the different styles, constructions, and aspects of the sport that will help make an informed decision.
If your still unsure, just give us a call, or drop us an email and we’ll happily put the kettle on for a virtual coffee or tea while we have a chat.
SUP Board Types...
First we’ll take a look at the different types of Paddleboards, they come in a variety of lengths, widths, thicknesses, and constructions. Ranging from pure Surf to pure Racing, with All round, Family Recreation and Convertible versions.
Generally these are a Shorter board that turns well and are naturally at home in the waves. They range from the 7’ mark up to 10’ or 11’
Durable boards with width and volume for stability, designed to have an all round feel, suitable for flat water, or small waves. This category is probably the most popular and see’s the largest influx of the iSUP constuctions. Perfect for beginners, and families where everyone can enjoy the same board. Sizes ranging from 8’ for Kids, up to 12’ plus for everyone.
These boards are generally longer in length, 11’ plus and have some extra features, like lashing points, or bungee’s for storing kit. They can have adjustable rudder systems to help with long distances and side currents or winds. The can have Fishing pole attachments, basically if you can think of something you’ll need when touring, there’s a board with attachments that cater for your needs. This category is also becoming more and more popular. These boards have great stability and glide effortlessly so great for getting out and exploring, canals, rivers and lakes alike, or even coastal downwinders.
Fitness & Race
This is quite a specialised category, the boards are generally in the 12’ plus range and can be very narrow, giving the board a very sleek and speed oriented shape. Designed to slice through the water with ease and maintain a very fast pace. With a top paddler can cover 10km distances in under 50mins, which is some pace.
For the inexperienced paddler, they are very unstable until they are up to speed. For the Fitness person, they do wider widths to help with stability.
Choosing your perfect board.
When choosing your first board, or any future board for that matter, there are some variable that need to be considered.
We've broken them down into a few categories that will help you with
Height & Weight
Height is important in paddling dynamics. For example: if you’re short, a too-wide board will force you to reach farther to the side to get your paddle into the water, which will be awkward and unnecessarily tiring.
Each stand up paddleboard is also designed for a specific range of paddler weights. If you’re new to paddling, you’ll want to be on the lighter end of the recommended weight range.
Perhaps the most important dimension of a board is its width. A wide board is more stable, while a narrow board is faster. Don’t underestimate stability—a few extra inches of width can make a board fun to paddle for everyone, while a narrow, less stable board might frighten some folks off the water. An extra inch will make no noticeable change in your forward speed, and the extra stability may help you paddle more efficiently.
Length affects how fast a board can cruise and how easily it turns. Generally, a longer board travels faster and straighter—like a sea kayak. A shorter board turns faster, which is ideal if you want to catch waves.
Thickness & Volume
The volume of a board is determined by its length, width, thickness and shape. The higher the volume, the more weight the board can support. Below is a chart of recommended weight ranges. Use this as a starting point, and try to demo the size you want before you buy.
Who is going to use the board?
Are you the only person who’s going to use the board, or will your family and friends want to hop on too? Do you have experience with other paddle sports and great balance that lets you paddle a more advanced board? Will you have to load/unload and carry a board by yourself? When shopping for a board, be sure to take all of these things into consideration to make sure you find the best board possible for your needs.
Here's a couple of our Favorite Selections to get you started on your journey.