Table of contents1. 5 Common Types of Paddle Boards
2. Difference Between Hard Board and Inflatable Boards
3. Pros and Cons of Inflatable Boards
4. What Size Paddle Board Should I Get
5. What SUP Accessories Do I Need
6. Budgets for SUPS
SUP buying guide
Stand-up paddle boarding is the fastest growing sport in the world for a good reason. It brings a lot of fun, it's a great workout and anyone can do it because it's easy to learn. Ready to buy a stand up paddleboard, but not sure where to begin? Not every SUP is made the same, Choosing the right paddle board comes down to your lifestyle, what you want to use it for and your budget. This guide to buying a SUP will help focus your search, so you get a board that’s going to match your paddling style and budget, and last for years to come. We assure you that shopping for your ideal paddle board can be easy and fun!
5 Common 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 sups
- It is usually wider and larger than other types of boards
- Better stability
- More suitable for beginner paddlers
- Family friendly and dog friendly
Racing Sup Board
- The shape is narrower and sharper, which helps to improve the speed of competition
- Only when it reaches a relatively fast speed can it have better stability
- Sometimes challenging for beginners but perfect for elite
- Designed for long-distance and leisure paddling
- Perfect choice for serious paddlers with an interest in high intensity workouts in open ocean, bays and lakes
- Relatively friendly to beginner paddlers
- The design is relatively shorter and wider
- Better flexibility
- For those who want more surfing action out of their paddle board experience
- Challenging for beginners
Fishing SUP Board
- Have plenty of space to store tackle gear
- Extremely stable
- Much more slowly than other types of paddle boards
- Perfect choice for those who love to go fishing, but don’t want to invest in a boat or kayak
Difference Between Hard Board and Inflatable Boards
Once you’ve figured out the type of SUP you want, it’s time to decide if you want an inflatable SUP or a solid paddle board.
Inflatable-- For a first-time paddler, an inflatable board is ideal and works great in all conditions. It is suited perfectly for SUP yoga, SUP fishing, and gentle cruises with friends. An inflatable SUP is easier to inflate, transport and store, they fit in a backpack and are convenient for both car and plane travel. Besides, inflatable boards aren’t brittle like hard boards, making them more suitable for downriver and whitewater paddling.
Solid board-- generally, the performance of hard board is better than inflatable. It will give you greater speed and more agility, which can be easier to maneuver and are better suited for surfing. If the water is choppy, hard boards are more stable than inflatables because they have more weight to them. In calm and flat water, such as in lakes, inflatables perform well. I should add, solid boards are a little more cumbersome and usually require a large vehicle or rack and straps for your car.
Pros and Cons of Inflatable Boards
- Strong stability, more suitable for beginners
- Light weight, easy to transport
- Don’t take a lot of space to store
- Great for traveling, yoga, fishing, etc.
- Good quality inflatables are very durable
- They don’t perform as well as traditional hard boards
- They require work to inflate
- Limited speed and flexibility
What Size Paddle Board Should I Get
Determine your stand up paddle board size based on your weight and paddle boarding experience. Beginner paddlers will usually want a wider board with more volume as well as thickness because of the additional stability this offers.
A very wide board that is around 34 inches will be very stable and perfect for tall or large people or even two small people. But you want to 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.
What SUP Accessories Do I Need
As with every sport, apart from the basic equipment needed to start up, there will also be a plethora of accessories designed to enhance the experience. These few basics make for a great starter kit:
- SUP paddle: you have to have a paddle which is one of the base accessories for paddle boarding. The kind for inflatable paddle boards break down into two or three pieces and can fit in the bag with the paddle board.
- Ankle leash: a leash keep the board connected to you when you inevitably fall in.
- Life jackets: life jackets are an essential accessory for paddle boarding, which is closely related to your life safety.
- Dry bag: dry bags are a great way to keep your belongings safe. They are watertight and can float, meaning you will never lose your keys or phone to the water when paddle boarding.
- SUP pump: You have to have a way to inflate your paddle board and whether it’s by using the hand pump or electric pump. Of course, electric pumps make life a lot easier, but dual-action hand pumps are a good standard option.
- SUP backpack: having a place to store your board, paddle, pomp and everything you need on the way to paddle boarding. They are large enough to fit all the essential accessories. Just make sure your inflatable paddle board is completely dried off before putting it in its bag.
- Waterproof phone pouch: a waterproof phone pouch is not a necessity but it can prevent water from entering the phone when you play with the phone or take photos.
Budgets for SUPS
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 board is a fantastic example of this.
Follow our guide, we’re sure you’ll be ahead of the game already. We can’t wait to see you somewhere on the water. Happy paddling!