Stand up paddleboarding is a water sport that is a combination between kayaking and surfing. SUP boarding offers a variety of activities to everyone. You can paddle on a calm lake or pond for a relaxing day and connect with nature. If you are the adventurous type, you can ride waves in the ocean. Some people even do yoga while on their SUP board. You should put into consideration how you are going to use it, how you want to handle it in water, and what size will be suitable for your body. In this guide, we will discuss the various aspects of SUPs and how to choose the right one for you.
Types of SUPs
There are four types of SUPs; surf, all-around, race, and flatwater. As the name suggests, surf SUPs are designed for surfing the waves with a paddle. They are usually shorter, have more curves, and have a narrower nose and tail than other types. They are perfect for maneuvering waves but they are slow and less stable on flat water. All-around SUPs allow beginners to explore any type of activity the sport has to offer with only one board. These boards are wider, longer, and thicker than surf SUPs. Flatwater boards are perfect for flat water such as lakes, ponds, or open oceans. They are longer than all-around boards and have a pointed nose (front part) to slice through the water smoothly. Finally, the race SUPs are the same as flatwater ones but they are narrower to increase their speed.
Solid Vs. Inflatable SUPs
Solid SUPs are made of a variety of materials including foam, fiberglass, plastic, kevlar, and wood. If you want to perform on the water, then solid SUPs are perfect for you as they travel faster and smoother. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you will most likely find the right one for you. Solid SUPs are more stable than inflatable ones, especially in surfing. However, you should have a place to store your board as it takes a lot of space which also makes it harder to transport. Inflatable SUPs are made of layers of PVC with drop-stitch construction that stores air inside. If you have limited storage, then an inflatable SUP would be your best choice as they get folded when deflated and can be stored anywhere easily. If you are traveling or hiking, inflatable SUPs are easier to pack and move around wherever you go. You don’t necessarily need an inflatable board for SUP yoga, but they feel softer and thus more comfortable than solid ones.
It is crucial to find the right SUP to support your body size and weight. Every board has a volume rating expressed in liters which indicates the weight it can handle. To know how much volume you should look for, use these formulas:
- Your weight (in kg) x 2 for beginners
- Your weight x 1.7 for intermediates
- Your weight x 1.3 for experts
The length of the board determines how you want to handle it. Typically, longer SUPs are faster than shorter ones, but if you want to maneuver waves, then shorter SUPs are better. Short boards under 10’ are suitable for surfing or for kids. For all-around use and Yoga SUP, you should opt for a medium board between 10’ and 12’ to feel stable and comfortable on the board. If you are into fast paddling or long-distance touring, large SUPs above 12’6’’ are perfect because they are faster than any other size. To determine the right width for your SUP, if you are a small person, you should get a narrower board. If you are a big person, you will need wider boards. Wide SUPs are also perfect when you are touring and carrying extra gear with you. If you are a beginner, you should opt for a wide board to give you more stability while paddling.
Once you found the right SUP, you should consider planning the right fin setup which varies by the type of activity you are doing. The paddle should be proportional to your height as it should reach your wrist when you stand in front of it with your arm raised above your head. Make sure to have a personal floatation device with you to prevent any accidents if you fell off into the water. Once you figure out where you will paddle and how experienced you are in paddling, you will find the right SUP that will improve your experience with this exciting sport.