We love an epic day in the outdoors. There’s nothing like relaxing in the beautiful sun, (or in the UK, more like the trusty wind), feeling the wind in your hair and cracking open an ice-cold beer, after an epic paddleboard session. But, how do you choose a paddle board?
Day-trippers and staycationers alike are relishing the opportunity to be able to take their SUP with them wherever they want. As the popularity of paddle boarding continues to grow and with SUP offering something for everyone, more and more people are looking to buy a SUP but deciding how to choose a paddle board can be a minefield. The options for your day of SUP’ing are endless, meaning so are your SUP choices. You can head out for a relaxing paddle on a calm lake or catch some waves in the ocean to really get your heart rate up, or you may want to try your hand at the downward dog or even compete in events, like we said, the opportunities are endless. Whatever your SUP aim, having the right one is key. But, with an overwhelming amount of boards out there and so much knowledge widely available, how to choose a paddle board which is right for you? Have a read of our insider guide below to find out the best way to choose the right paddle board for you.
When buying a paddleboard we believe there are 4 fundamental factors to consider are:
- How experienced as a SUP’er you are
- Your price range
- Where you will be SUP’ing
- What size board you will need
1. How experienced as a Paddleboarder are you?
Whether you’re practically a pro paddleboarder or a regular at making a splash in the ocean, how experienced you are and what you are planning on doing with your paddleboard will determine which one you should buy, makes sense, right?
For all of you who are new to the SUP game and looking to buy your first paddleboard or those of you who know you won’t be using it for anything other than your standard boarding then an all-rounder will be ideal for you. These versatile boards have a length which ranges between 3-3.8 meters. Its narrow tail makes it easy to manoeuvre, while its wider width makes it easy to paddle. The ideal all-rounder.
If you’re ‘practically a pro’ then opting for a high-performance board is where you’re at. A touring board is what you’re looking for due to its pointed nose, ideal for more experienced borders. This board shape is much more difficult to balance on which makes it a lot less manoeuvrable for someone who isn’t serious about paddle boarding.
2. Your price range
You can now purchase stand-up paddle boards for as little as £200, meaning if you’re just looking to dabble, you don’t need to re-mortgage your house. But, remember the price will reflect the quality of your board. So, ensure you take into account how frequently you’re going to use it and what you are going to use the paddleboard for. Plus, you may think you’ll only be buying your board for a few odd days on the lake, which might be the case, but remember, SUP is addictive (not in a bad way – don’t panic) but you’ll more than likely end up spending every weekend and weeknight paddling away. So when deciding how to choose a paddle board keep this in mind.
3. Where will you be SUP’ing?
One of the beauties of a SUP is that you can do it on so many different bodies of water. It’s not strictly one for those white sand beaches (although we love those just as much), but instead, find yourself any size area of water that you can paddle an ore in and set your SUP up for the afternoon. If you are going to be boarding on a lake, then really any paddle board works, due to its calm nature and minimal tides. If you plan on boarding on the ocean then it can be a bit tougher, so bigger really is your friend here. You should opt for a board that gives you more stability amongst the currents and waves, so think of extra width and thickness. This is certainly something to consider when deciding how to choose a paddle board.
4. What size board do you need?
What’s that saying? Size doesn’t matter? Well when it comes to SUP boards, it really does. The most important thing to factor in when choosing your SUP size is your weight. Plus, any extra furry companions or friends you choose to bring along. Second to your weight, your skill level will also help you decide on what size SUP is right for you. When deciding how to choose a paddle board, consider the below:
- Length: This affects the speed and ease of use, generally longer boards are faster than shorter boards and shorter boards are more manoeuvrable.
- Width: This affects how stable your SUP will be, a wider board will be more stable than a skinnier board.
- Thickness: This affects the buoyancy of the board. A thicker board will also give you a ‘bouncier’ ride.
Roughly, a SUP’s length X width X thickness will equal its volume.
All three of these measurements combine to make up the volume of the board. The greater the volume, the greater the weight that it can carry. If the board you are riding does not have enough buoyancy, that is volume, you’ll end up with a few issues
- Problems with riding low in the water
- Increased drag (making it harder to paddle)
- Stability issues
When choosing a SUP, you want to choose a size that has enough buoyancy for your weight and experience level to keep you properly afloat (otherwise you could end up with some unwanted splashes). Depending on what you’re planning on using your board for will depend on what size one you need: All round SUP: The clues in the name – All-rounder SUPs are perfect for any type of boarding. They are usually around 10′ and 12′ in length and 29” – 32” in width.
SUP surfing: If you want to dabble at surf paddle boarding, then purchase a SUP surfing board. SUP surfing paddle boards generally max. 10′, and narrower with a pointy nose and tail.
Touring SUPs: Touring boards are usually around 12’6” but can even span to 14′ in length they also have a pointy nose. Touring boards have less drag and are perfect over longer distances.
Yoga and fitness SUP: SUP yoga and fitness have become increasingly popular, boards are usually wide, as much as 32″ – 36″ to ensure stability and balance whilst you’re working out.
By taking this advice into account we hope it will help guide will help you with how to choose a paddle board. Any questions, please do not hesitate to drop us a message and we’ll be sure to assist you where we can!