Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has continued to grow in popularity, and there are more activities than ever for you to choose from. Whether you want to relax out on the water, or get a great work out, you will need to find the board that is right for you. How do you know which board is the right one? Depending on the type of paddling you like to do, you can choose from a number of different factors. Here are some to consider…
Solid or Inflatable? The choice is yours…
Solid Boards :
- Solid boards perform the best on water. They are faster, smoother, and travel with less effort than inflatable boards.
- Solid boards are available in more sizes than inflatable SUPs, so it’s easier to find one that will fit you.
- Solid boards are more rigid than inflatable boards, so the ride can feel more stable. Solid board materials:
- Plastic: Heavier, more affordable, but lacking the performance of other boards.
- Foam core wrapped with fiberglass and epoxy: Fairly lightweight, affordable, and durable.
- Carbon Fiber: Lighter and stiffer, but more expensive.
- Inflatable boards have PVC exteriors with drop-stitch construction that creates an air core.
- They are inflated with a portable pump.
- Easy to store – they take up less space than solid boards.
- Softer board surface is more comfortable for SUP Yoga than a solid board.
There Are 2 Different Hull Types
The body of a paddleboard is known as the ‘hull’. It determines how the board performs in the water. Most SUPs have a planing hull or a displacement hull, and some have a hybrid design. You will want to choose the hull best suited for how you plan to use your board, as some are better suited for certain activities.
PLANING-HULL: Best for surfing, SUP yoga, whitewater and leisure paddling.
- Designed so it sits on top of the water and is easy to maneuver. It is similar to a surfboard, as it is flat and wide.
- Planing-hull boards are very forgiving, and the board will perform well for you – as long as you are below the weight capacity.
DISPLACEMENT-HULL: Best for racing, SUP touring and fitness paddling.
- The front end is pointed like a canoe or kayak, which creates a smooth, fast ride.
- Displacement-hulls require less paddling effort than a planning hull, allowing you to travel farther, and at faster speeds.
- They tack nice and straight, but are less maneuverable than planning hulls.
- On a displaced hull SUP, volume and weight capacity are more important. If there is too much weight on a displacement board, it will cause it to sink too low, and it will drag and feel sluggish. If you’re too light for a displaced board, it won’t sink enough, and the board will feel heavy and difficult to control.
Other Factors To Consider
BOARD LENGTH: Longer boards are typically faster, but shorter boards are easier to maneuver.
- Short boards that are under 10 feet: Great for kids or surfing. Easy to maneuver, so they are perfect for surfing waves.
- Medium boards, from 10 to 12 feet: Great for SUP yoga, and all-around use.
- Long boards, that are 12 ½ feet or longer: Faster than short or medium boards, and great for fast paddling or long distances.
WIDTH: A wider board is more stable, but it will be slower. Wide boards work great for yoga, but for other activities, you don’t want a board to be too wide, or it will be difficult to paddle.
THICKNESS: The thickness of a board will determine how much weight it can support. Thicker boards can support more weight. If you are a smaller person, you might want a thinner board so that the overall volume of the board is lower, and it will perform more efficiently.
FINS: Add stability and tracking to a board.
- Larger fins, with wide bases and longer front edges, track straighter and are more stable than smaller fins.
- Smaller fins are more maneuverable
- Inflatable SUPs have either flexible rubber fins or semi-rigid fins. There are many factors to consider when choosing a board… and we’re happy to assist you with finding the perfect board for your active lifestyle. YOLO!