Choosing The Perfect SUP
Choosing a SUP
With so much choice of size and shape, how do you define which board is right for you? Here is a comprehensive guide to help you decide which board to buy.
These boards are the most common of all SUPs; they have a fairly wide deck and quite a lot of volume for the first-time paddle boarder, they come in a standard rounded shape and are versatile in all conditions.
Inflatable SUP boards are much more durable compared to their epoxy brethren. Inflatable boards are great for those who are really size and space saving conscious; fitting easily into the boot of a car as they roll up to the size of a large sleeping bag, and often come with a backpack carrying system for portability. Their compact size enables explorers to reach new places to go adventuring, for example when carrying a full sized board through dense vegetation to reach a body of water would be impossible.
For the avid angler, a fishing paddle board is the go to choice; longer and wider templates are designed specifically for good stability not only during paddling but also when casting and reeling in fish. The wider template also allows for plenty of space for moving around the board without sacrificing stability, and with greater width comes more capacity for fitting all your angling gear onto the deck. So, if you want to chase bass around the coastline or head out to open water and spin feathers for mackerel, this is the board for you.
One thing you cannot avoid when paddle boarding is strengthening your core whilst getting a top-quality cardio workout yet still having fun. Surfers in the 40s started using stand up paddling as a way to improve fitness, the stand up paddle board has been seen as a tool for fitness and well-being ever since. I don’t need to reel off the countless benefits of Yoga, but what I can tell you is it provides a unique way of gaining fitness and good health while also clearing and calming the mind. With yoga comes balance, and when you want to practise yoga on the water a yoga SUP is the perfect choice. Look for the large expansive deck and wide template; enabling room for yoga, pilates or any static fitness program.
Look out for specific paddle boards that come with a more comfortable deck to be utilised as a yoga mat for those enduring positions.
When covering distance, cutting through flat water or open ocean is key, the touring board is for you. These pointed nosed boards are created for superior gliding efficiency with a nice wide deck making them suitable for beginners; with a large deck capacity, you could even start thinking about going on a multi-day tour as there is plenty of room for camping equipment for any occasion.
One of the first things Captain James Cook saw when he landed in Hawaii during the 18th century was the locals paddling great boards through the ocean and riding waves, so it is great to see a renaissance in paddle boards taking on the waves. Due to the volume of the paddleboard, they are ideal for catching small to medium sized surf while serving a dual purpose as a good flat-water board.
As a competitive paddle boarder, you want speed, long glides between strokes and the capability to cut through water fast.
Race specific paddle boards are designed for those flat water open ocean competitions or incredible down-winder days. With extra length and reduced width, you get less drag and consistent long glides.
Race SUPs can be quite a challenge for beginners who haven’t got their fitness up to scratch but don’t be put off, with extra grippy deck padding it shouldn’t take long to acquire decent balance to put down good power for the recreational racer.
Whatever you want from your stand up paddle board, whether it’s an intense workout or just a chilled fish in the sunset, there is a board out there for you.