Introduction to Types of Paddle Boards and How to Choose the Right SUP for Yourself


Table of contents

1. Paddle board construction.


2. How to Choose An Inflatable Paddle Board for SUP Yoga.


3. How To Choose A Race Board.


4. How to Choose a SUP Touring Board.


5. What equipment do you need for paddle boarding.


Types of paddle boards 

To recommend the right stand up paddle board for you, consider how you're going to use it, how it will fit your body and how you want it to handle in the water. The key points will be the shape of the board, getting the correct volume and capacity, as well as the proper length, width and thickness. From there, you’ll consider a board’s fins and any extras or accessories that work for you. 

Paddle board construction

Stand up paddle boards can be differentiated by construction methods and materials. Traditional paddle boards would have been made using wood, until fiberglass and epoxy became standard.

Over time, materials have been developed and enhanced to be better suited for beginner paddlers, learner boards, speed features, and maneuverability.

However, all construction types of boards come with specific benefits suited for certain individuals better than others. Sometimes

  • Hard paddle boards
inflatable paddle boards

Hard SUPs cut through the water and glide with ease. They tend to have sensitive control making them ideal for SUP surfing and maneuvering on waves. There is little drag from the materials so, shape allowing, these boards can gain a lot of speed as well.

As these boards are more responsive to the rider’s movements, beginner paddle boarders often struggle with hard boards. Therefore, epoxy SUPs are best recommended for expert riders.

  • Soft/Inflatable paddle boards
inflatable paddle boards

Inflatable paddle boards are made using heavy-duty PVC with drop-stitch technology that creates an air core. When inflated correctly, inflatables should feel just as rigid and stable as an epoxy board, and they are also super durable and can handle rough environments. They glide along the surface of the water rather than cutting through, so can be slower than fiberglass SUPs.

paddle boards construction

here are many different types of inflatable boards ranging in terms of versatility and performance level, so you really can find something to suit any sort of rider, regardless of ability and chosen paddling activity. 



How to Choose An Inflatable Paddle Board for SUP Yoga

yoga SUP board

Have you ever had the experience of doing yoga on an inflatable paddle board? It is must a fantastic way to enjoy being out on the water. But not each inflatable paddle board is suitable for yoga. Therefore, the first step to start yoga on the water is to choose a right paddle board.

When picking an inflatable paddle board for yoga, you need to pay attention to this aspects.

  • SUP size

When choosing a paddleboard, one of the first and most important factors we have to consider is the stability of the paddleboard. This includes the width, length and thickness of the paddleboard.

The main factor is the width, which is the most influential factor in stability. It is generally recommended to choose a board that is wider than 33 inches. Especially for novices, it is best not to choose one that is less than 32 feet, that is likely to fall into the water during yoga. However, the wider the paddleboard the slower it will be, so find a balance between stability and speed. For the length of the board, we recommend around 10'6 to 11'6. The optimal thickness of the board is around 5 to 6 inches. A thicker board will provide better stability

  • SUP Deck pad/EVA pad

The function of a deck pad is to prevent slippage. The deck pad of the paddle board is equivalent to the yoga mat, so it is best to choose a paddle board with a large deck pad to meet the needs of doing various yoga moves. Avoid slipping and falling in the process of doing yoga and having a bad experience.

products features
  • Fin set up

When selecting a paddle board, we should also pay attention to whether the board is a single fin or triple fin unit. Generally speaking, tri-fin is more stable than single fin. In addition, there are boards with removable fins. Although there is a possibility of losing the removable fins, this is usually not the case if you are careful. Choosing removable fins allows for the pleasure of both single and triple fins.


How To Choose A Race Board

  • Size for SUP race board

There are different race classes and race boards made specifically for them. 12’6’’ is the most common race class worldwide. The second most common class is 14’. A 14’ board is typically faster than a 12’6’’ boards. 

Most race boards of the said lengths are of 26’’ or 28’’ wide. Narrower boards usually have less drag and are usually faster. For most paddlers, 28’’ is narrow enough as it won’t sacrafice too much stability. But there are still paddlers who want to get the highest speed and they would opt for the narrower 26’’ boards. 26’’ boards would be faster but balancing bocomes a challenge and may distract you from achieving higher speed.

Race boards are typically rounded, usually have a flat tail and a low nose rock.

  • Race Board Fin System

Fins of different sizes and shapes will perform differently in a race and you can further optimize the performance of your board by adjusting the position of the fin in the fin box.

In flat water, a single fin configuration would perform better than a three-fin system as it has less drag. But a three-fin configuration will offer more stability which becomes an advantage when you race in rough conditions.

  • Deck Pad Design

A deck pad that features diamond groove on it will offer you maximum traction, it’s the best choice for racing in rough conditions. Otherwise, you’d be better off with a smoother surface as it’s more comfortable for you to stand on especially if you have sensitive feet and will be paddling for longer hours.

Some board will feature an arch bar and raised edge at the tail to give the rider more grip for doing buoy turns. If the race you participate in involves doing buoy turns, it’s worth considering getting a race board with an arch bar.


How to Choose a SUP Touring Board

A commonly accepted length for a touring board is 12’6, which is also commonly used for a race board. There are also touring boards at 11’6 long.

You can tell a touring board apart from a race board by its width. But there’s no set standard for how wide a touring board and a race board should be.

A board that’s 28’’ wide or less is usually considered to be a race board. And touring boards are typically at 30’’-32’’ wide. 32 inches is the ideal width for a touring board which balances glide performance with stability perfectly.


What equipment do you need for paddle boarding?

SUP board

For beginners, you'll need a paddleboard; this will depend on where the SUP board will be used, who will be using it and how experienced they are. Choose the right board for the user is a key component to enjoying your SUP boarding experience.

You should consider:

  • The hull type – most SUPs have a planning or displacement hull, but there are some hybrids too. Both can be used and enjoyed by beginners. Planing hulls are ideal for leisurely paddling, SUP yoga and white water. Displacement hulls are ideal for fitness paddling, SUP touring and racing.
  • Solid or inflatable SUP – solid SUPs are available in more shapes and sizes. They also provide more stability and offer faster paddling. Inflatable SUPs are compact, more comfortable for yoga poses and can handle bumps against rocks and logs.
  • Length – Short SUPs (under 10ft) are great for kids and surfing. Specially made SUP boards for kids are available at a length of around 8ft. Medium SUPs (10-12ft) are ideal for all-around use and SUP yoga. Long (12.6-14ft) work well for fast paddling and long-distance touring.
  • Width – The wider the board, the more stable it will perform, although it will be more difficult to paddle and much slower.
  • Thickness – The thickness will impact the weight it can support.
  • Fins – Fins engage your boards tracking and stability. Most fins are removable so that you can change them depending on the occasion.


The correct length paddle will depend on what type of paddling you intend to do. If you would prefer to have the ability to change between paddling styles and types, you have the option to either purchase two paddles or an adjustable one.

There are three types of paddle: Surf SUP paddles,, Flatwater SUP paddles, Racing SUP paddles.

Floatation device

Your PFD(personal floatation device) can be a buoyancy aid or a lifejacket. It's best to choose one that still allows a good range of movement so you can continue to paddle freely. A PFD will help to keep you afloat and offer you some time to recover from your fall.

SUP leash

A SUP leash shouldn't be considered an optional extra; it's one of the more important pieces of safety equipment as they can potentially save your life. The leash will help tether your SUP and maintain close proximity if you fall into the water.

So you will need to ensure that you have the correct leash for the environment that you will be SUP boarding in.

There are a number of SUP leashes available, including:

  • Coiled
  • Straight
  • Quick release waist belts

Rescue whistle

Rescue whistles are essential when you're out on the water as they can warn and communicate to others, such as boaters.

SUP fins

Fins will add tracking and stability to your paddleboard. There are two major differences between fin sizes, these include:

  • Larger fins with longer front edges and wider bases will track much straighter and offer more stability than smaller sizes.
  • Smaller fin will increase the board's manoeuvrability.

Clothing and footwear

  • Broad Shorts
SUP clothes

For men, these are highly recommended over your typical swim trunks due to the possibility of you sitting on your sup board. Wearing board shorts will help minimize any rashes on your legs from rubbing on the sup board. If you are confident about your SUP skills, this is a great option. But if you are a beginner and use an inflatable SUP, which tends to be wobbly when you first stand on it, you might not want shorts since if you fall, they are going to get wet and uncomfortable for you.

  • Bathing Suit Top
paddle boarding suit

For ladies, make sure to wear a comfortable/athletic top when riding your sup board. Ensure that you are comfortable when making a rowing motion, this will help you avoid uncomfortable rashes from the repeated motion of rowing.

  • Surf booties

Many sup riders believe that the grip from your bare feet is the most effective, but some days it is too cold to worry about this belief! On the colder days, surf booties can be a great alternative to barefoot riding.


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