How to Choose a Stand Up Paddle Board: A Guide to Finding the Perfect SUP
Finding the perfect SUP isn’t too difficult, you just need to know what to look for and how to compare products. That’s why we wanted to create this guide on how to choose a stand up paddle board.
We want to make life easy on you. Our goal is to help you find the perfect board for your wants and needs. Maybe you want to paddle surf? You’ll find how to buy the ideal surf SUP below.
Or you might be looking to take your dog on the SUP. That’s easy, too. We’ll show you exactly how to choose a stand up paddle board that’s good for pups.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at what to expect when shopping for SUPs.
Your Guide to Finding the Perfect SUP
To choose the perfect paddle board, you need to think about a few things:
While it might seem like a lot, that’s what we’re here for. To help you understand SUP sizes, how to buy a paddle board, and so much more.
Type of Board
First and foremost, you need to find out what type of activities you want to do on the water. This will make picking a paddle board so much easier. For the majority of new SUP fanatics, this information will simply be semantics.
New users will typically want an all-around paddle board. An all-around SUP will allow new users to test and try out many activities on their paddle board. These boards are typically designed to be used on every body of water. From lakes to oceans and rivers.
These SUPs will also allow you to enjoy a number of SUP activities. You can just paddle around, go on a tour, try some yoga, SUP with your pup, and so much more while on an all-around paddle board.
If you know exactly how you’ll use it, then choosing the right SUP board becomes a little easier. Here’s a few other SUP types:
Solid Vs. Inflatable
The great SUP debate continues. What type of board material and construction is better? Some swear by solid SUPs, while others will only use an inflatable paddle board. It all depends on what you’re using it for and you paddle board goals.
Solid paddle boards are generally made of an EPS solid core. This core is then covered in fiberglass and/or epoxy. Certain boards are made of carbon fiber, but these tend to be more expensive.
Inflatable SUPs generally are made of military-grade PVC and drop-stitch construction. The boards come with pumps and carrying cases. You pump the SUP up to use it, then deflate it when the session is done for the day.
But, how do you decide if you need a solid SUP or an inflatable one? Well, it’s pretty simple…
Solid paddle boards are ideal in two situations. If performance is the most important factor, then a solid board is ideal. If you want to catch monster waves, teach a yoga class, or when a SUP race - then you’ll want a solid board.
As well, solid boards are ideal if you have property on a body of water and won’t be traveling with the board much. For example, a solid SUP at your lake house is a great idea, as you’ll never have to transfer or move it around.
Inflatable boards are ideal in other situations. If you’re new to paddle boarding, then an inflatable board will often be what you want and need. These boards tend to be a little cheaper and offer a ton of flexibility.
As well, it’s super easy to travel with an inflatable SUP. You simply deflate the board and put it in the carrying case. Many of these cases are like backpacks and make transporting the SUP simple as can be.
Some people want to get super complex when discussing SUP board fins setup. That’s just completely unnecessary until you’ve become an expert. Overall, finding the perfect fins configuration is fairly simple.
Larger fins with a wider configuration make the paddle board more stable. If balance is an issue and stability is of concern, large fins are your friend.
Smaller fins with tight configurations make it easier to maneuver and make sharp turns. If you want to have more control of the way your SUP moves, this could be the ideal setup.
However, it shouldn’t be a huge factor in how to choose a stand up paddle board, as most fins are removable. You can switch them in and out.
Here’s a few common configurations:
Whole articles have been dedicated to finding the perfect SUP length, but we wanted to keep things simple for you. So, we created the guidelines below.
If you’re wondering how long of a SUP you need to succeed, everything you’ll want to know can be found below:
The width of your paddle board will be determined by what you want to do on the board and your body type. It’s more of a personal decision than anything else. A wider board will be more stable, but it’ll also be a little slower. And vice versa.
Here’s a few things to think about when talking paddle board width:
Overall, most SUP boards are 25-36” wide. Many all-around SUPs are 30-32” in width. Consider the factors above when finding the ideal paddle board width for your needs.
The thickness of a board isn’t as important of a factor as the length or width. Generally, a paddle board will be 4-6” thick. Some of the specialized boards created for flat water racing may be a little thinner, but the vast majority of boards tend to be of similar thickness.
Accessories and Extras
Many all-around and beginner SUPs come with a full accessories package. This means the company includes everything you’d need to hit the water with the board. This is especially important when buying an inflatable board.
Most accessories package include:
How to Choose a Stand Up Paddle Board
If you’re curious how to select a stand up paddle board, then the guide above should feature everything you’d need to know. For beginners, an all-around paddle board should be all you need.
If you’re looking for a great recommendation, click here to check out our top all-around SUP for beginners!