Complete Buying Guide For Stand Up Paddle Board Beginners

Table of contents

1. What size paddle board should I get
2. The different types of paddle boards
3. Volume and weight of paddles
4. Other features to consider when buying a board

Paddle board Beginner Guide

On a hot, sunny summer day, nothing beats getting out on the water. Nowadays, SUP are being used as a tool to access the water by lots of different people in many different ways. Not only is it a great workout and easy to learn, paddle boarding is also fun, invigorating and enables you to connect with nature. 

However, the styles, parameters, materials, types and structures of paddles on the market are diverse. How to buy a satisfactory paddle must be a headache for every paddle beginner, as it is the first step of learning the craft.

How to choose a stand up paddle board comes down to your lifestyle, what you plan to use it for, and of course, the paddle board price. Read on and we’ll help you choose the paddle board that perfect for you.

What Size Paddle Board Should I Get

Determine your stand up paddle board size based on your use and paddle boarding experience. Those new to stand up paddleboarding should opt for a longer, thicker, wider stand up board for the greatest stability. 

An all rounder is the perfect beginner paddle board, with a size or around 10’6″or 11 feet long by 30+ inches wide being a good size for a beginner stand up paddle board. But be careful and not get a paddle board that is too wide, as it will creates more drag when paddling through water and can make your paddle board slower. It can also be difficult for short people to paddle with an extra wide paddle board. If you plan on going on long distance trips, consider getting a touring paddle board at about 12' long, it'll have faster speed and help save your energy on the trip.

stand-up paddle board

The Different Types of Paddle Boards

To find the most suitable SUP for you, think about how you’re going to use the board. At this point, it is necessary to learn the differences between each type. Below, you’ll find the five most common types of SUP boards on the market. Be advised that there can be some crossover.

All around SUP

  • About 10’-12’6’’ long, 30’’-34’’wide
  • Mainly for cruising on calmer waters
  • Good stability, more suitable for first-time and beginner paddlers
  • Inferior to racing SUPs in speed and flexibility
  • Family friendly and dog friendly
All around SUPs

Touring SUP

  • About 11’-14’long, 28’’-32’’wide
  • Designed for long-distance and fast paddling
  • Perfect choice for serious paddlers with an interest in high intensity workouts in open ocean, bays and lakes
  • Relatively friendly to beginner paddlers
stand-up paddle board

 Racing SUP

  • Length is mostly 14’and the width is mostly 24’’-26’'
  • The shape is longer and sharper, which helps to improve the speed of competition
  • Strong flexibility but relatively poor stability
  • Sometimes challenging for beginners but perfect for elite
stand-up paddle board

Surfing Sups

  • About 7’-10’5’’long, 27’’-32’’wide
  • Better flexibility, but it will take more effort to get balanced
  • For those who want more surfing action out of their paddle board experience
  • Challenging for beginners
stand-up paddle board

Fishing SUP

  • About 11’-12’long, 32’’-34’’wide
  • Extremely stable, but much more slowly than other types of paddle boards
  • Have plenty of space to store tackle gear
  • Perfect choice for those who love to go fishing, but don’t want to invest in a boat or kayak
Fishing SUP

To sum up: the paddle board function is ultimately related to the water environment. It is suitable for either still water environment or surfing environment. The all around paddle board is a cross-border product.

If you have good balance and are willing to use paddle board as a daily fitness project, racing board is your first choice. Average balance, but you often use paddle as a weekend sport, parent-child sport and short distance travel, touring SUP is perfect for you.

There is no reason not to choose a all around SUP in a clam lake or river, but there is only one exception: you like yoga or fishing. In this case, you can choose a wider paddle with a large deck pad, such as the fishing SUP.

However, if you don't want to ignore the fun of inflatable sup surfing forever, the board type must take care of the surfing function. Those who like challenges can go directly to the surfing SUP.


Volume and Weight of Paddles

Make sure to choose a inflatable paddleboard that is the right size and volume based on your skill level and weight. If the displacement of the board doesn’t match your weight, you won’t be supported well and making it difficult to paddle.

Beginner paddlers will usually want a wider board with more volume as well as thickness because of the additional stability this offers.

In general, board volume and weight capacity are two main factors that affect how stable you will feel and how well the board will travel through the water.

Volume: A paddle board's volume, expressed in liters, gives an indication of the board’s ability to float with weight on it. The more volume a board has the more weight it can support. A short board can have a good buoyancy if it’s wide and thick. Therefore, a short, easy to operate but large volume board (wide and thick) is a perfect choice for a 200 pound surfer.

Weight capacity: Each paddle board has a rider weight capacity, which directly affects how your board handles in the water. When you are overweight for the board, it will sink and create drag - making it much harder to paddle. Don’t forget to include any equipment when thinking about weight capacity, your body weight, your child, food and drinking that you’ll be taking with you.

Other Features to Consider When Buying a Board

Paddle board length

The length of a board plays a major role in determining how the board handles. Therefore, determine your intend use when choosing what length paddle board to purchase. Shorter boards perform better in surf and can maneuver better than longer paddle board, however longer boards are more stable and perform better when paddling long distances.

  • Short paddle boards (10’ and under) are ideal for surfing or kids. Compared with the long board, the short board has better maneuverability, which making them great for surfing waves. Boards under 8’ in length are usually designed for kids.
  • Medium length boards (10’ to 12’6) are the ideal size of all-around use. A board length in this range is very versatile, which will be perfect for a range of rowing activities for most people, like paddling in the lake or simply surf in the sea.
  • Long paddle boards (over 12’6) are great for competition and long-distance touring. The speed of long board is faster than that of medium and short board, and it is easier to slide in a straight line. If you are interested in competing or hiking, you need a long board to race or glide long distances to your camp.

Paddle board width

Paddle boards are found in a variety of widths, the most common width paddle boards are from around 26 inches to 36 inches. Consider the following when choosing your ideal SUP’ s width:

  • Type of paddling: If you’re going on long tours or fishing that require you to carry extra gear, choose a wider board in order to have more storage space. Choose a narrower board if you plan on SUP Surfing or racing.
  • Ability level: Board width equates to stability. For this reason, beginner paddlers should usually look for a board that is designed with wide proportions. This usually starts around 32’, less than 30’ will be a little tippy at first and harder to get comfortable and find your stride.
  • Weight & body type: try to match the width of the paddle board to your weight and body type. If you’re a bigger person, you’ll find that choosing a larger width can make you balance easier. Similarly, if you’re a smaller and light person, choose a narrower board otherwise you’ll have to make wide, inefficient strokes with your paddle.

SUP Paddle

carbon fiber sup paddle

When it comes to the choose of paddle, a general convention is to add nine to 10 inches to your height to find the total length of the paddle, but the range may change depending on the intended use of your SUP.

Surfers can get by with paddles as short as six inches above their height, while racers may want one a full foot longer. Beside its size, it is important to know the material with which the paddle is made as it is the blade material that determines the weight of the blade and the cost of it.

The material used for the SUP paddles can be classified into the below three types:

  • Aluminum: This material cost the least among the three. While it’s not as light as fiberglass or carbon, it’s lighter than wood. An aluminum blade is durable and will last you a long time without any issue. Our Aluminum SUP Paddle is a great value telescopic paddle for stand up paddle boarding for beginners.
  • Carbon Fiber: A paddle made of carbon is the lightest, so you won’t get tired quickly. Meanwhile, it’s the most expensive of the three. Carbon paddles tend to have a stiffer shaft reducing power loss as you paddle, especially in rough waters. While carbon paddles tend to be a more fragile on rocks then alloy or fiberglass the lightness, strength, and looks of carbon fiber paddles make them extremely popular for intermediate and experienced paddlers.
  • Carbon and Fiberglass: A carbon shaft keeps the weight down while the fiberglass blade increases durability and decreases the price. For those who want the benefits of carbon but also want something a little more durable and affordable, a carbon/fiberglass or carbon/plastic blend is a great choice.

Paddle Board Prices Range

As you look into buying a new stand up paddle board you may find yourself asking, “how much should I spend to get a good board?” Normally, you don’t want to choose a cheap board just to save money, which means it may not long lasting, but you also don’t want to spend much on paddle board. Thus, it’s significant to understand the differences between a cheaper inflatable paddle board and a more expensive one.

  • Basic level boards--$400 to $800

paddle boards in this price range are the sweet spot in giving decent performance and durability at a great price for exceptional value. You’ll find a lot of these boards will have the same or similar features to the high-end boards like: tri/quad-layer PVC, carbon fiber rails, and carbon fiber paddles.

If you’re willing to sacrifice a little on construction or the finer details in durability or weight reduction, you can definitely find a decent board for less than $800.

  • Premium priced boards--$800 to $1500

One thing that you’ll always find with this price range is that the boards tend to be more durable due to their higher quality and built using the newest technologies, which often geared for more experienced rowers.

In addition, you can also expect to receive a premium accessory package with high end inflatable SUPs, which gives you extra value. The Goosehill Sailor isup board is a fantastic example of this.

Purchasing a stand up paddle board is an investment, but the returns are definitely worth it. We hope you can use this information as a guide in researching your first board...Of course, it can also be the next board.

At Goosehill, our only job is to make sure you find that perfect stand up paddle board and demonstrates how committed we are! Please feel free to call or email us regarding any questions or guidance you need.

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