Stand up Paddleboard Buying Guide
Surf SUPs are usually shorter boards ranging on average anywhere from 7ft6iin-9ft6in, this is so they are easier to maneuver and have more response on the water. These boards typically do well in medium and large waves and are less stable on flat water. They are designed for quick turns while catching waves and not designed for long distance paddling. Ideal for an experienced rider or surfer.
Ideal for paddling on flat water, in lakes or outside the surf zone. All-Around/Touring boards range anywhere from 10ft6in-12ft in size. Perfect for beginners because they offer more width, length and volume which is key for stability on the water.
Most racing boards will feature a displacement hull, a more rounded “kayak like” hull. Ranging from 12ft-6in-14ft, racing boards are long and narrow so they can stay on track and cut through water with ease. These boards will cater to advanced riders due to their long length and narrow width. These boards tend to be unstable unless you are paddling forward and gaining speed.
Yoga Sups are usually a bit longer and wider than surf SUPs and most commonly feature a soft top for grip and stability. These boards have numerous places to hook up exercise equipment and can be anchored.
Made for stability, fishing SUPs are usually larger width boards (32in-39in is ideal) and feature numerous places to store gear and hang accessories.
Board Length, Width And Volume
SUPs come in a variety of sizes
Knowing what your goals on the water are makes choosing a board that much easier
Your SUP needs to be the correct size for your body type and paddling ability
In the case of stand up paddle boards, the longer the board, the more stable it will be on the water. Most beginners and recreational paddlers commonly need a board that is anywhere from 10ft to 12ft. All-around/Touring boards are longer enabling them to go faster on flat water than a shorter, surf style SUP. These are all things to consider when purchasing a board.
Race SUPS - Suggested size 12ft-14ft with a displacement hull
Surf SUPS - Suggested size is 7ft6in-9ft6in with at least 3 fins for maneuverability
All-around/Touring SUPs - Suggested size is 10ft6in-12ft
*Make sure to consider the overall size of the board when you choose it, longer boards usually weigh more (30-40lbs)
WIDTH AND VOLUME
Stand-Up Paddleboards are typically made up to 36in wide (fishing SUPs can have larger widths). This is to accommodate various body types and different skill sets. The width of the board is the most important piece of puzzle when assessing its stability. Wider SUPs are ideal for larger people, beginner paddlers or SUP anglers.
Added width will help displace weight in the water
Larger paddlers should look for a board at least 30in in width with more volume
Small paddlers can use more narrow and lighter boards, this is because they don’t need as much displacement to counter their weight.
*Best for the paddler who wants one board that can do it all
Flat and wide - resembling a surfboard, they are designed to ride on top of the water and perform in waves. Typically beginners start out with a planing hull because they are more stable and more versatile for recreational paddling.
*Best for racing and paddling long distances
Displacement hulls have a pointed nose (front end) and are similar to a kayak and have the ability to cut through water, pushing the water around the nose of the board and to the sides of the board for efficiency. To be able to push the least amount of water possible, the board itself needs to be long and narrow, this will make them faster but less stable.
Boards are constructed with a variety of materials and most technology has been carried over from surfboard or kayak construction techniques that have been used for decades. These are the three most popular constructions for SUPs.
Fiberglass And Epoxy Over Eps Foam
Fiberglass and epoxy over EPS foam is the most common construction for SUPs and they can vary in price and weight. Manufactures will also use a sandwich style construction system that integrates a sheet of wood veneer underneath the fiberglass deck for added durability and rigidness.
Rotomolded construction is usually the most affordable, however it is heavy. These boards are made with a durable plastic exterior and a hollow interior.
Made of PVC with dropstitch construction, inflatable SUPs are super durable and can be used for an array of paddling. These boards are easy to store in small places and transport, typically they come with their own bag for storage and will require a high pressure pump to inflate. Inflatable SUPs come in a variety of prices and styles.
*This is an overview of the three most common types of construction, however it is not all-inclusive.