Choosing the first stand up paddle board is not an easy thing to do for a rookie stand up paddler. There are various kinds of stand up paddle boards out there and you need to figure out what kind of board suits you the best if you want to have the best SUP experience. And it’s not easy for a beginner or even someone that has never done paddleboarding before to know clearly what kind of paddleboard suits them best. Here we’ll list a few factors to take into consideration when you are picking your first stand up paddleboard.
The first thing to figure out is the function or the activity that you want to do with a SUP board. Generally, there are 3 main types of SUP activities, SUP racing, SUP surfing, and recreational paddling.
A recreational paddle board is probably the most common kind of SUP board you’ll find on the market. A recreational SUP typically has a much fuller outline in the nose. It’s not as pointy as a surfboard or a race board. And it’s typically wider than the other two kinds of boards. A wider SUP board will have better stability which makes them perfect for recreational paddling. It will just make recreational paddling more easy and enjoyable.
For SUP racing, the best choice for a SUP board would be a longboard. Longer boards tend to be narrower as well, and such kinds of boards can optimize the speed by decreasing the drag.
For SUP surfing, there are surf-inspired stand up paddle boards. A paddle board for surfing usually has a more punched-in nose, punched-in tail and is usually narrower than a regular board for recreational SUP paddling. A surfboard is shaped like this to enable surfers to optimize surf ability. A board with a punched-in nose and punched-in tail is able to provide a quicker response when you do maneuvers. And what a narrower board does is it offers faster rail to rail responsiveness.
Another important feature of a surf-inspired paddle board is low volume. Most standard boards you can find on the market are about 140 liters or less.
Your height and weight
Your height and weight are important factors when it comes to picking a stand up paddle board and need to be taken into account. For people who are tall and heavy, the best choice would be bigger boards that have got more flotation, more volume to provide more buoyancy for the extra height and weight. And shorter or lighter people can opt for a smaller board as they don’t need the extra buoyancy to support their weight.
Also, there’s a difference between the body built of guys and girls. Guys generally have big broader shoulders whereas girls have bigger hips which lead to a lower center of gravity than man. And as is said previously, taller and heavier people should get a bigger board to have better stability and extra buoyancy. But girls who are lighter and have a lower center of gravity can paddle on smaller boards with no problem.
Another point to take into consideration is what environmental conditions you are going to be paddling in. Different places present different environmental conditions. If you are going to be paddling in the same place for a long time, then it’s worth taking the environmental conditions there into account. Different kinds of SUP boards will allow you to optimize your performance under certain circumstances.
Your future goal
When picking a new board, you should also know your future goal or what you want to do with your SUP board in the future. If you are only going to be paddle boarding on weekends or even once or twice a month, then your best choice is an inflatable paddle board that suits your skill level. If you are going to be paddling frequently like multiple times a day or at least four times a week, usually you will be progressing really fast. And you should probably pick a board that’s good enough for when you progress and become a skilled and experienced paddler.
Now that you’ve figured out what you want, the next thing is to address board specifics. Before picking a board, take a look at the dimension of the board you are interested in to have an idea of what kind of SUP board it is.
Take a look at the size of the board including the length, width, thickness and volume.
Let’s talk about length first. A SUP board that’s 9 feet or shorter is a more surf-oriented board. Paddleboards that are between 9 feet to 11 feet are usually for recreational purposes. And SUP boards that are twelve feet or longer are for SUP races.
The reason why longer boards are more suited for SUP races is that they optimize the fluid dynamics better. And shorter boards are better at providing great maneuverability.
The width is also an important parameter to consider. Most standup paddlebords are between 28 inches to 36 inches. SUP boards that are 33 inches wide or above are usually very stable boards and very suitable for beginners and those paddlers who struggle to balance on the board. They also allow the possibility of having multiple paddlers on the same board. SUPs that are 30 inches or narrower are usually not as stable as wider boards but usually have more surf ability or faster speed. So narrower boards are more suited for SUP racing. In general, the main difference between wider boards and narrower boards is that wider boards have more surface area which creates more drag whereas narrower boards have less surface area which means less drag and more responsiveness.
Thickness is probably the least important dimension to consider because it could be a misleading number when trying to account for how floaty the board is. There are a lot of boards that are thicker in the middle and thinner on the nose and rail. And it makes it hard to try to account for the buoyancy of the board.
Volume is one of the most important dimensions to consider when picking your first SUP board. It’s measured in liters and it basically represents the water displacement of the board and tells you how floaty the board is. A SUP board with a high volume like 200 liters or above can be considered a big SUP board. If you are a big guy, this is the kind of board that you need if you want a more stable paddleboard for recreational activities.
For a top-notch choice of all-around inflatable SUP board for recreational SUP activities, consider the Goosehill Rainbow R inflatable stand up paddle board. It's a well made all-round SUP with great durability as well as stability. If you want a nice SUP to enjoy your time on the water, this is the board to get.