Which SUP to Buy?
This Guide helps you know what to look for and consider when buying a paddle board.
Once you get a taste of stand up paddle boarding, you will soon want to own your own board that you can take out and use whenever you please. If you are wondering what SUP boarding is, then you’ve come to the right place. This increasingly popular sport is mainly a combination of surfing and kayaking. A paddler simply stands on a surfboard and uses a paddle to propel themselves.
Before making your purchase, you need to first find the right board for you.
Different Types of Stand Up Paddle Boards
There are generally four types of paddle boarding, thus four different boards. They include:
- All Round / Hybrid
- Racing / Touring
- Yoga / fitness
These types are shorter, comprise of a narrower nose and tail, and more curve (rocker) than the other types. This type is manufactured specifically for those individuals who are always spending majority of their time in the surf and are not suitable to paddle longer distances in flat-water. They are typically less than 10’’ long. Its narrow nose and tail shape makes it easier for a rider to maneuver on just about any water conditions. However, these boards are generally slower and do not track in a straight line when used on flat water. They are also less stable and are best suited for paddlers who have more than a beginner skill level. Before you buy your first stand up surfing board, you need to first look at the type of stand up surfing you’ll be doing and your skill level. Before making a purchase, key considerations should include your gadgets length, fin setup, tail-shape, rocker, rails, and bottom contours.
For example, are you looking for a short board or are you more of a long board style rider? Is it your first time attempting SUP? If you buy surf SUP that is too small for you, you will end up spending most of your precious time falling in water and trying to get back up on your board. If you are used to surfing on a 10-foot-long surfboard, then you should definitely think twice before stepping down to an 8-foot model.
Key Things to Consider When Buying the Best Surfing Stand Up Paddle Board
- Read reviews and check out videos of a specific board in action before making a purchase.
- Look out for one’s that have double leash plugs. They are very helpful as you start propelling yourself in larger surf. Plus, if one snaps off, you always have a backup.
- Don’t go for a too small board too soon. Paddles love using the smallest board possible but if you are not a professional, stick to one that can support you with ease.
It's advised to match a potential board with your surrounding environments. For example, if you get only slow waves at your local area, then there is no point purchasing an over the top SUP that will not work well in such conditions and vice versa.
Best SUP Board for Surfing - 2017 Loco El Diablo Surf
This is a highly versatile board. It comprises of increased tail rocker and thinner nose and tail that make maneuvering it fairly easy. Its deck pad provides excellent traction. It is ideal for intermediate skill paddles and above. For more information, please follow the link provided.
All Round Paddle boards
Just as its name states, this type is very versatile. They are also referred to as Hybrid boards. These boards are thicker, wider, and longer that surfing models. Since they are wider, they provide a user with more stability. They have a good glide and track very well in flat water or Open Ocean. Aside from their versatility for flat-water paddling and open ocean touring, they also offer a fairly decent surf performance.
Some of these models come with a windsurf option. They come inclusive of a mast foot fitting located on the deck of your boards so that a user can mount a windsurf sailing rig. Talk about an exceptionally versatile SUP.
If you are a first SUP surf attempt, then an All-Round type can be good for you. Due to their length and thickness, they provide a ton of stability allowing even a beginner to be able to stand up and paddle with ease. This type is also suitable for individuals who are planning to use their SUP on flat water and for surfing.
Key Things to Consider When Buying the Best All-Round Stand Up Paddle Board
If you are a beginner, you do not want a SUP that is too long in terms of length. It is best to find one that is shorter and has less volume. Also, a fuller Hybrid board will help you maintain balance with ease on flat water.
It’s best to look out for a model that suits your specific needs. For example, depending on your needs, you should get one that is either better suited for surfing or one that is better for flat water.
Best All Round SUP Board - Red Paddle Co Ride
This inflatable stand up paddle board is one of my favorites and my current board, I love it! It is wide, providing great stability to its user. This model is perfect for those persons that are heavy sat, as well as taller individuals. It comprises of a stylish looking deck, three fins, deck pad, and a built-in carry handle. Please click on provided link to learn more about our pick for the best All round SUP board.
Touring or Racing
This type is best for individuals who have great paddling experience. They are great for covering long distances and reaching high speeds in a short span of time. The main focus for individuals looking for touring such boards is speed and efficiency. If you are one of the competitive type individuals, then we are certain that normal paddle surfing is not enough. You will crave to go beyond the casual and relaxed flat-water paddling; if this is the case, then step right up to a board designed for nothing else but speed.
There are numerous things to consider when looking for the best racing stand up paddleboard. SUP’s designed for general touring – meaning travelling for long distances on flat water – have a high volume and are designed to keep going with little to no effort from a paddler once they are gain enough speed.
For larger touring, it’s best to look for a model that tracks well and is extremely stable. This type tends to provide maximum efficiency with less effort from a paddler. You might assume that since this type is wider, then it must be hard to maneuver. On the contrary, these types are designed with such precision that they are fairly easy to manage. They are longer and slimmer and made out of lightweight materials.
Key Things to Consider When Buying the Best Touring/ Racing Stand Up Paddle Board
- Keep in mind that the main goal is to reduce drag and increase on speed
- Board Length and width
- Nose, tail, and rails design
- It’s paddling ability
- Stability provided by said model
Best Racing/ Touring SUP Board - Pocket Touring Stand Up Paddle Board 2016, Wood, 9’6”
This model gives a paddler all the power required from a touring board. It comes in a nice manageable size that is easy to maneuver, yet providing exceptional stability. It comprises of a unique shape inclusive of a strong displacement hull, a slimmed down tail that ensures minimal drag, and a recessed deck area. This model is super stable and the perfect item to purchase for racing or long distance paddles. Click on the provided link to learn more about our top pick.
Fitness/ Yoga SUP Boards
SUP yoga boards have grown rapidly within the last few years. Regardless of skill level, yogis are opting to practice outside on top of water than inside a stuffy room full of mats. This is because, aside from being one with nature, outside water yoga offers additional challenges in balance and the chance to cool down without having to take a break. Yoga SUP’s are designed with great emphasis on width, volume, and stability. These paddleboards provide the ultimate balance and stability one requires for fitness on water.
These models are designed to help a user maintain balance as they incorporate a variety of yoga poses and routines. They are incredibly smooth on water, sturdy enough to hold persons of all shapes, sizes, and yoga skill levels, yet fast enough to ensure that a rider does not get left behind by fellow yoga buddies.
These SUP’s lets you enjoy the tranquility of being on water while achieving a great workout at the same time. We all know that yoga requires great balance – if you want a SUP that can provide you with such, then a yoga Board is exactly what you need.
These types are generally considered multi-purpose as they can be used for more than just yoga. Aside from fitness, this type is the perfect choice for beginners as they are good for using on flat water and riding those small to medium sized waves when out in the ocean.
Key Things to Consider When Buying the Best Fitness/ Yoga Stand Up Paddle Board
Your primary consideration when choosing this type of SUP is stability and maneuverability.
Best Yoga/ Fitness SUP Board - Ten Toes Weekender 10'
It comprises of a large deck pad that creates a near imitation of a floating yoga mat on water. This wide, flat deck allows a user to practice and maintain difficult poses with more ease. If you are a pro yogi, then this is the model for you as you can do your head stands and other complex poses on this model.
The model also performs exceptionally well in flat water. It tracks straight and paddles well. Click on the provided link to learn more about our top yoga SUP.
A Little Bit More About SUP’s
Now that we have discussed about types of stand up paddle boards, let us take an in-depth look at some SUP terminologies that matter more in some types of SUP boarding than in others;
Rocker - It generally refers to the curvature or bends in a board. It is highly essential for surfing as it helps avoid nose dives. If you are planning to use your SUP”s in waves, then a rocker is very important. However, you want to look out for the smallest possible amount of rocker when looking for a SUP for flat water paddle boarding.
Plaining vs Displacement - Plaining hull is great for paddling through waves. A planning hull tends to rise out of water to reduce the wetted area and increase speed.
If you are using your paddleboard in area without waves, a displacement hull will help cut through water rather than rise over it. These SUP’s tail side of the board tends to look more like the front.
Volume - This terminology is used to describe how much space a board occupies. The higher the volume, the higher your paddleboard will float in water, the less drag it’ll have, and the easier it is for you to paddle. SUP Boards with big volume catch small waves effortlessly. However, they deem a bit difficult to maneuver once you are on a wave. Big volume paddleboards are great for paddlers of a larger body size.
Fins - It is never really clear how many fins a standup paddleboard should have. Most model comprise of a single fin located in the middle. However, some manufacturer’s use more than one to improve turning and increase grip. The most common fin setup is a large fin located in the middle with a smaller one on either side – or sometimes four small fins.
Whether you are a pro or a beginner, there is a type of stand up paddleboard out there that will suit your exact requirements. However, finding the right fit for you can be overwhelming. Our advice to any beginner reading this is to first find out what type of paddleboard you are looking for. Once you narrow this down (Yoga, surfing, racing, or an all round one), then you can move on to looking for the best stand up paddle board. We have picked out our best 2016 SUP’s. From surfing to keeping fit on top of water, the choices are endless. It is clear that stand up paddleboards are becoming more popular by the minute. So grab your paddleboard and see you out there!