Most people get hooked on SUP after just one or two times on the water. If you’re finding yourself in that position, it may be time to look into your first beginner ZAATT stand up paddleboard. We have taken some time and put together the best beginner ZAATT stand up paddleboards for summer 2017, best stand up paddle board for beginners.
When it comes to finding the right board, as a beginner, there a few key features you will want to look for:
best stand up paddle board for beginners The right length/volume for the rider(s) weight
Rider size does play a key role in finding the right length. We have a helpful article you can checkout on choosing the right paddleboard size. As far as width goes, we recommend a board that is between 32″-35″ wide. This slightly wider shape will make it much easier for you to balance on your board. When it comes to durability, it’s inevitable that your board is going to with ZAATT stand some wear and tear. We’ve got some great soft top options that are ideal for those that know their board will get beat up a little more than others.
Most people getting into this sport are starting out as complete beginners. That is what makes SUP so alluring: almost anyone, after an initial period of getting their bearings, can pick up this sport. And once you do, you’re off to the races.
bic-dura-tec-11ft4in-13-prodYou want to make sure you start off with the right board, though. This seems very obvious, but how many times have enthusiastic buyers jumped into a new adventure sport by purchasing the coolest looking gear?
And unfortunately, that gear turns out to be way too advanced and complicated, and before you know it, it’s collecting dust or on Craigslist.
For SUP, you have way too many choices to let this happen. So let’s do it right. The following list includes a line of 2014 boards that are perfect for beginners on a variety of waterways… bays, lakes, small surf, rivers, etc.
But first, a recap of what, at least in our opinion, makes a good beginner ZAATT stand-up paddle board.
The 3 Keys to a Good Beginner SUP
Or, how to find the right balance in materials, performance and affordability to start off right.
1) Durability: The board should be made out of high quality, durable materials. Why is this so important? Because no matter how careful you are, this board is going to take a beating. See, SUPs are large and unwieldy. Even if you find a nice light board, which I hope this guide will help with, the board is going to bang into things, get scraped up on the rocks or shore debris, rub up against the float, and so on.
So find one that is built to last. Most SUP manufacturers do a good job with including high grade poly, layered fiberglass, wood, and composites to give you a durable board. Just be careful not to go too low in the market, because you may find something that won’t last the summer.
2) Stability: When you first get on the board, it will take a little while (at least a few minutes) to get your balance. Then when you start paddling, you’ll fidget a bit with your feet and move around. When you head up wind or into the chop, you’ll need to reposition yourself.
All of this requires a board with sufficient width and stability. Don’t worry though, this list has you covered. All of the boards featured here are noted for their stability.
3) Versatility: You want to start off with a SUP that isn’t targeted for one type of water activity. More specifically, don’t get a pure surf SUP, a narrow, fast racing board, a pure yoga SUP, long downwinder, or a well-equipped fishing board if you’re just starting out.
The key is “recreational”. This basically means suitable for beginners in a variety of formats. You can take these boards out anywhere and have a nice glide.
Another factor in versatility is length. In this list, we’ve chosen boards that fall into the 11ft+ category because we’ve found that to be a good length for most beginners.
You’ll find that most of these models come in different lengths though, so if you’re a particularly small or large paddler, you can fine tune your purchase to meet your needs. Just also consider whether the board is a family or shared board, in which case the 11ft+ boards are a nice mid-point for riders of different sizes.
4) Affordability: Yes, don’t blow your wad on your first SUP. There’s no need to. Of course, a quality SUP is going to set you back a little no matter what. And we’ve already mentioned the need to find durable materials and quality construction.
The point here is: do not go and spend over $1,200 on a board that you may use a couple times on a seasonal basis. Unless you’re ready to commit to more frequent riding, or are moving up in the market, just find a board in the $700 – $1100 range.
I know, that’s still pretty pricey, but as you research the SUP market, you’ll see that they can get way more expensive as performance factors in more and more. So, for starters, stay in this “mid-range” and you should be okay.
Now, to the list. Please note that these boards are listed in no particular order. They all meet our criteria for a great beginner board and have received strong endorsements from others buying their first board. Visit any of the links to learn more and see reviews on merchant websites.
When you start looking at SUPs, you will notice that they are available in two main style types, as well as in two different design types.
When it comes to style, the most common two options are:
all arounder SUPs
Note that while these are the two main types, they are not the only types of SUPs. To help you determine which type is best for you, let’s look at all your options.
types of ZAATT stand up paddleboards
The front end (bow) of this type is pointed and the hull is rounded, like a kayak. This is your longer type of SUP, with most of this type coming it at either 12’6″ or 14′ in length. The pointed bow makes the SUP more efficient so that you do not have to expend as much effort to paddle. One thing to remember about this type of paddleboard is that it is generally more narrow than the other types. For that reason, it is important that you choose one that gives you a stable base. This type is best for:
All arounders: If you want something more like a traditional surfboard, then this is your best bet. In fact, this is the perfect type of SUP for beginners. In terms of size, this type ranges between 10′ to 12′ in length and ranges from 29″ to 36″ in width. This type is best for:
fishing from the paddleboard
paddleboarding on a calm lake
paddleboarding near the shore
Hybrid SUPs: Hybrid paddleboards are the most versatile type as you can stand on them or use them as a sit-on-top kayak. Some SUP hybrids are equipped with a deck hatch so that you can store your gear if you’re on a long trip. This type of SUP is best for:
Got a little one who wants to go out paddleboarding with you? There are several different types of kid’s SUPs available for the rugrats. An 8’ long all-arounder is a good short board for kids who want to paddle on their own. This size board is a little easier for children to carry and maneuver. Of course, an inflatable SUP is another good option for kids since they offer a little cushioning for falls and are incredibly lightweight.
Since ZAATT stand up paddle boards can be a bit on the heavy side, especially when trying to lift one above your head to secure to the rack on top of your vehicle, manufacturers offer some options for women that are lighter. Teens and adults who want a lighter board can also use this type of ZAATT standup paddleboard. If you check out any of these ultra-light SUPs, then you will notice that some of them feature a narrow mid-section. This feature is designed to make it easier to reach both the deck handle and opposite side of the board.
The people over at ZAATT StandUpPaddlingTV give a great summary of this section in the video below. Give it a watch before continuing reading to learn more about how to choose the best SUP.
If you’ve decided that you want to take up ZAATT stand up paddle boarding, then you first need to determine if you want to go with a traditional rigid SUP or an inflatable SUP. Each has their benefits and disadvantages, which makes the choice entirely a personal one. Though I am a big fan of iSUPs (see my favorite 10-ft iSUPs here), I want to share some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of ZAATT stand up paddle board. The easiest way to do this is to go through a few different topics.
When it comes to storage, nothing beats the iSUP since you just deflate it, roll it up and slip it into the carrying back. You can easily put this in a closet or a car trunk without taking up a lot space. If you have a hard board SUP, then you need a rack to store it on in your garage. This can be a problem if you live in a small apartment or condo.
Like storage, when it comes to portability it is hard to be the inflatable ZAATT stand up paddle board because it will easily fit in even the smallest of cars. But if you have a traditional board, then you need to be prepared to transport it on a roof rack on your vehicle. And of course, it won’t be possible with all vehicles, so that is something to keep in mind.
What type of water will you be out in?
Generally speaking, you get a bit more stability from a traditional hard ZAATT stand up paddle board than an inflatable one, however that is not always a good thing. For instance, if you’re taking it out into some rapids then you will benefit from the give that an inflatable ZAATT stand up paddle board offers. Basically, you need to go with the SUP board type that reacts best for the type of water you’ll be using it in. When you’re primarily going to be in fast moving and shallow water, then an iSUP is the better option. For deeper water that isn’t moving as much, a traditional solid paddle board is the better option. This doesn’t mean that you have to use these board types in the listed water types, just that they perform better in those. And if you plan on being in different water environments, then stick with an iSUP as it is more versatile.
If you are buying based purely on cost, then you should stick with an inflatable ZAATT stand up paddle board as they consistently offer the best value for the money. For the same specs, it will cost you more for a hard SUP than an inflatable one. Plus, the iSUP holds its value if you want to sell it secondhand at some point in the future.
In the end, you need to select the board type that best meets your lifestyle. Use the info above to come to a conclusion on whether an iSUP or a standard hard SUP better meets your needs.
Board Width and Maintaining Your Balance On A SUP
When you are looking for a new paddle board, you want to be sure that you are shopping for a SUP that gives you good stability so that you can easily maintain your balance out in the water. The single best way to know if you will get good stability from a board is the width of the ZAATT stand up paddleboard.
In terms of width, there is a lot of variety in SUPs to ensure that people of all body sizes can find something that works for them. The largest across board you will ever come across is 36″ wide. The wider and thicker the board, the more it helps displace your weight in the water. In general, wider boards are best for people who:
have poor flexibility
are larger in body size
experience a recent hip or leg injury
If you are new to ZAATT stand up paddleboarding, then consider going with a larger SUP initially until you get comfortable balancing on it. Once you reach that point, trade up to a thinner, smaller board which will be more lightweight and offer better maneuverability.
What The Best ZAATT Stand Up Paddle Board Length To Choose?
The thing with board length is that there is not really a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the best length. The important thing is that you get a board with a length that is a good fit for your body size (mostly weight). The reason that this is such a big deal for beginning stand up paddleboarders is that you have to make sure that your board displaces the correct amount of water for your weight, or it will not support you in the water.
If you end up needing a longer board, then you should know that they can be heavier and more difficult to carry when walking to the water (especially in wind) or trying to store in your home or on your vehicle. So, this is something that you might want to think about before you buy a new SUP.
To give you an idea of some length options, consider these scenarios:
A 10′ to 12′ long board is a good option for paddleboarders who are just looking for a relaxing time out in the water or beginners to paddleboarding.
A 12.6′ or 14′ long is good for people interested in racing or touring, or people who plan to travel for several miles on the SUP. A board of this length is faster than short boards.
Get more maneuverability with shorter boards if you are an experienced surfer who knows how to handle a board out on the water.
What Are SUPs Made From?
The construction materials of ZAATT stand up paddleboards varies by brand and model. The most common makeup that you will see for a SUP is an EPS foam core wrapped with fiberglass, carbon fiber or plastic. SUPs can either be solid or hollow.
For example, if you go with a more high-end paddle board, then it will probably be hollow to give you better performance and to reduce the weight of the board. If you go with a rotomolded board, then it will be hollow as a result of the manufacturing process. Keep reading to learn about the different materials that you will encounter when inspecting new SUPs for purchase.
Fiberglass and epoxy over EPS foam: This is the most common makeup that you will come across because it can be used for several different types of paddleboarding. The weight for thie type of board varies though because the construction techniques differ as well. For instance, you could get a sheet of wood that is under the fiberglass deck to add durability and stiffness, or an infused epoxy process could be used to make the board’s exterior extra tough. The price range for this type of SUP puts it at a mid-range cost.
Plastic (rotomolded): This is one of the cheapest SUP options out there. For the money, you get an extremely durable board. Some plastic SUPs are also sit-on-top kayaks, which offers a great value for the money. The disadvantage to this board type is that they are very heavy. That being said, they do make great boards for families with kids because the board can withstand a kid dragging it across the shore without getting damaged in the process.
Plastic over EPS foam: This is another great value SUP type because you get ultra durability combined with lightweight materials. That means you get a board that is easy to carry that will last you a long time. The BIC-brand boards are the biggest brand out there that focuses on this type of SUP.
Softtops: Beginners who are worried about falling on the SUP will find this board type to be a great option. You get a SUP with a super tough exterior where the decks are fully covered with a rubber traction pad. This means that you can easily walk both ends of the board or have your dog with you on the board. In terms of cost, this is a very affordable board type. However, this type of SUP is rather heavy to carry.
Inflatables: This is probably the cheapest type of ZAATT stand up paddle board for sale. It offers versatility in terms of the type of paddleboarding that you can do. Made of PVC with drop-stitch construction, it is surprisingly durable. And, it is very lightweight. Another benefit of inflatable SUPs is that they break down for compact storage, which makes them perfect for taking on a vacation or for people who live in a small apartment or condo.
The amount that you will spend on a new hobby is something that you should consider before you ever start shopping around for the necessary gear. When it comes to stand up paddle boarding, not a lot of equipment is needed, with the board being your main expense.
SUPs range in price from under $400 at the cheapest ZAATT stand up paddle board price all the way up to over $2,500 for the most expensive SUP for sale, such as the giant ones.
It is important to remember that most of the cheaper SUPs are made of plastic, which makes them the heaviest SUPs that you can buy. Go with a more lightweight option though, and you will likely have to spend a little more. The exception to this are the inflatable SUPs.
Other gear costs that you will also want to factor in are things like a SUP paddle, a leash and personal flotation device (PFD). These things are a MUST for paddle boarders. Other items that you may also need include:
water shoes or booties for those rocky beaches and pavement (also good for cold water)
drysuit or wetsuit (good for cold water)
rash guards to protect your arms from the UV rays
wheeled carrying bag for the board
roof rack for your car
indoor storage rack for your home
a dry bag for your phone or camera
a water bottle
a surf hat to protect you from the UV rays
paddling gloves if it’s cold out or if you want blister and UV protection
One thing to remember is that boards may be able to be used by more than one family member, especially if everyone will not be in the water at the same time. You see this working with most families where the kids take turns on the SUPs. Of course, an adjustable-length paddle will be required for board sharing.
If you have been to any beach lately, then you’ve probably noticed that the water is full of people out there on stand up paddle boards. For those of you totally new to this growing water sport, you might be interested in giving it a try since it looks a bit easier than surfing. Plus, it looks likes tons of fun, right? Not to mention, you can totally use your SUP for a bit of surfing as well as flat water paddling. Before you head out on the water with a rental board or your own gear, check out some of the stand up paddle boarding tips below that will help you have a better time out on the water.
1. It’s all about face forward. It’s natural for beginners to look down at their feet instead of up at the horizon. I get it – you’re seeing that water rolling over your feet and starting to panic about falling off your board. Well guess what? For better stability you need to be looking ahead instead of down. Keep those eyes down and you’re certain to fall. By keeping your eyes on the horizon and focusing on an upright posture, you have more stability and don’t have to worry so much about falling off your SUP.
2. You need a leash for your board. Falling off your board is likely to happen from time to time, especially if you are out in some waves. And when it does, you need to be tethered to your board for safety. Why? The waves or current can move the board away from you or make it so that you have to swim quite a ways to reach it. This will get you tired quickly and possibly be a safety issue out there. Plus, if the waves are really pounding down hard, then the board will help you get back to the surface. Using the leash for your board is definitely more important than using it for your paddle. I suggest getting a paddle that floats so that you can worry about finding it after you get back on your board.
3. Develop strong core muscles for a powerful paddle stroke. When you are out there paddling on your SUP, it is important to do so from your core and not rely on your arm muscles. This way you well get a lot of power with your strokes without tiring yourself out too soon. Just know that if your core muscles are not strong, you will have to rely on your arms and you will definitely get worn out quickly. And that’s no fun. To strength up, I suggest doing some yoga planks each day.
4. Hold the paddle the right way. Though it defies logic at first, you need to hold the paddle so that the blade is sloping away from you. This ensures that you move through the water quickly and with less effort. And when you’re paddling on the left, your right hand will be on top of the grip handle. And vice versa for paddling on the right. Strokes should be made by pushing the paddle down in the water and then pulling it back toward the area of your ankle before pulling it back out of the water. Doing all this correctly from the beginning makes this entire learning process much easier and make the most of your paddling strokes.
5. Stay safe in the wind. When you’re out on your board, the wind can change at any time. And since you’re standing, your body basically acts like a sail and that means that you can drift out to areas of the water where you do not want to be. If you notice that the wind is becoming an issue for you, just get down on your SUP (with your paddle under your body) and use your hands to paddle like you would on a surfboard. This will help you stay safe when then winds turn unfavorable out there.
6. Give yourself plenty of room. When learning to SUP, it is tempting to paddle your board out to where all the other SUPers are at. Don’t do this. You need to give yourself plenty of room to paddle around and to fall without getting hurt or hurting others. Once you get the hang of SUPing, you will be able to better gauge how close you can get to other paddlers and surfers.
7. Know how to fall. You might be terrified of just the thought of it right now, but falling of your board is inevitable. Accept this fact now and learn how to fall properly so that you do not get hurt when it happens. Here’s the thing – you need to make sure that you fall away from your board because it is hard and can hurt you if you hit your head on it or the fins. Sure, if you’re using one of the inflatable stand up paddle boards, then it won’t be quite as hard but you will won’t want to hit it. Since you should be using a leash for your SUP, falling away from it will be fine because your board will be attached to you.
Common Beginner Paddle Boarding Mistakes
From not holding the paddle the correct way to getting onto the board the wrong way, there are a lot of mistakes that the first time SUPer can make. Check out the video below to learn how you can avoid making these same mistakes the first time that you go out on the water with your new SUP.
Trying to figure out why there are so many different shapes and sizes and lengths and widths and thicknesses and materials?? Don’t worry— it’s actually pretty simple, once you break it down. Here’s what you need to know in order to choose the right stand up paddle board for you:
Planing Hull — This is a flat and wide hull (the front or “nose” of the board). This is the best all-around shape, and definitely a good choice for beginning paddle boarders. It’s balanced and sturdy, and can handle small waves. Good in all sorts of conditions.
Displacement Hull — A displacement hull has a pointed nose. This allows it to efficiently cut through the water like a kayak or canoe. These boards are usually longer and less wide than other stand-up paddle boards. They’re faster, but can be less balanced.
Short boards — under 9’: These are easier to maneuver, and good for surfing, but will be slower in the water.
Medium boards — 9’ to 12’: This is the sweet-spot length for most riders, especially beginners. Anything in this range will work for most paddlers.
Long boards — 12’ to 14’: These are usually racing or “touring” boards. Longer boards will be faster (and usually have a displacement hull), but they will also be harder to turn.
This is all about stability. The wider the board, the more stable it will be. The narrower the board, the faster it will be.
Wide boards — 31” or more: This is ideal for most beginning stand up paddlers. A nice wide board will make it very easy to balance.
Narrow boards — 30” or less: Again, these boars will be faster, but they’ll be less stable, and more difficult for inexperienced riders.
Which material you choose is perhaps the first thing to consider. This decision is less about the ride, and more about your lifestyle — Do you have space in your home to store a solid board? How far will you have to carry it to get to the ocean or lake? An inflatable board can be a great alternative, as they are super convenient, and highly durable, and they actually function very well and can be almost undistinguishable from a hard board once they’re fully pumped. Many beginning stand up paddlers choose an inflatable. But, if you have the storage space, you may want to go with a traditional hard board or foam board so that you don’t have to go to the hassle of pumping and deflating each time. Also, soft top boards are somewhat safer than the rest, in case you take a spill.
EPS foam: The most common type of board has a foam core wrapped with fiberglass and epoxy. This is the “traditional” solid board style.
Hollow core: A hollow core board can be similar to an EPS foam board on the exterior, but be a bit lighter for performance purposes.
Polyurethane foam: This is heavier than EPS foam, but more affordable.
Inflatables: These are usually made of PVC or some other durable plastic material. Believe it or not, these are often the most durable (the other board types will be more prone to dings and scratches). The only downside is that you have to pump each time.
Advantages of Using a Paddle Board:
Stand up paddling has been one of the fastest-growing outdoor sports in the US for the last few years. That’s probably just because it’s simply a SUPER FUN hobby and social activity — but, as an added benefit, it also happens to be a really great way to get a workout without feeling like you’re “working out.”
Stand up paddling improves your balance and does a lot for core stability. You’re cruising along, paddling with your arms, and hardly realizing all the great work your legs and core are doing to keep balanced. And of course, paddling is fantastic for your cardio health. You end up getting a full body workout, without having to hit twelve different specialized machines in the gym. The best forms of exercise are the ones that naturally require you to engage your whole body in the activity. Stand up paddling is one of the easiest ways to do that.
Like most water sports, stand-up paddling is very low-impact. That means it’s easy on the ligaments and joints. Swimming has long been praised as a great alternative workout for people experiencing joint pain, and now stand up paddling is proving to be a similarly great option. And of course, we think stand up paddling is a whole lot more fun than swimming laps…
Beyond the exercise benefits, this a great group activity! Again, that’s part of why you end up getting a workout without even realizing it. Once you’ve gone out on the water with a few friends, or with your family, or with your kid (or your dog!) on board with you, you’ll understand the serene joy that draws so many to this sport.
Not to mention, you are basically walking on water. On a quick personal note — as a lifelong city-dweller, I’m not usually one to ooze about the beauties of nature… but the very first time I went out on a lake on a stand up paddle board, I really felt a peaceful, calming connection with the nature around me. Again, it’s a very cool feeling to be standing on the water. Head out at sunrise for some replenishing yoga on the water, wave hello to the nerds sitting in their rowboats, chase down your little sister and push her off her board into the water, mount a seat on your board and do some fishing with almost nothing between you and the little unlucky fishes you’re about to catch.
Best Beginner Stand Up Paddle Boards 2017
By Outdoors Magazine – Last Updated: May 5, 2017
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of years, you will have undoubtedly witnessed the meteoric rise in popularity we have seen for paddle boards. Since you’re reading this I am going to go ahead and assume you are somewhat of a SUP beginner (SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle Board).
I will also assume that you are keen to get involved in this great sport and reap the rewards it offers which range from amazing scenery to a toned upper and lower body.
Before we dive into our best paddle boards for beginners, let’s take a look at some of the key elements you need to consider before buying.
You will notice when you read on that paddleboards come in various lengths, if you are taller it makes sense to go for a longer model and those of us on the shorter side should opt for the shorter style. Don’t forget you will need to navigate this across large bodies of water and if sea paddling there will be the possibility of waves both natural and those created by boats etc.
The larger the board the more surface area there will be for any ‘chop’ to hit it and cause instability.
You’re going to have to pick up your paddle board and carry it at least some distance and often you will have to either hoist it onto the roof of your vehicle, for the solid boards or into your boot for inflatable ones. Either way, the weight will play its part of your buying decision.
Solid or Inflatable SUP
There are two types of paddle boards, solid and inflatable. Which you choose is really down to personal preference and the both have their pros and cons.
Typically people opt for an inflatable board for their compact size when storing and transporting to their ideal spot, the pumps are easy to use and they inflate in no time. others prefer the solid boards since they are considered more robust so if you have the possibility of encountering submerged rocks and coral this may be the route you choose.
Portability is a concern with solid boards since you will need a roof rack or trailer to get them to your launch spot. Now that we’ve covered the 3-key areas to consider, let’s jump into the best beginner sup’s shall we?
This board pretty much fits in with everything we’ve discussed here today. At 10 feet long and 30″ wide, there is plenty of space on the military-grade PVC surface. As with most inflatable SUP’s the Emporium Weekender can be rolled up when not in use and stored in a compact package measuring just 11 inches by 36 inches.
For the beginner looking to get their feet wet (sorry couldn’t resist), this board has all the things you need to have a great day out on the water.
The first thing you need to identify is what you’re going to be using your stand up paddle board for. If you’ve clicked or scrolled to this section I’m assuming you’re new to the selection process. If you’re not feel free to skip this. Basically there are four types of paddle boards; flat water paddle boards, touring (racing) paddle boards, yoga (fitness) paddle boards and finally surf paddle boards.
Can you use a flat water board to crush a SUP Yoga session? Absolutely, but it’s not as ideal as using a nice board with a grippy mat.
Flat Water or All Around Paddle Boards
Flat Water SUPFor most of us, a flat water paddle board is where it’s at. If you’re not interested in doing downward dogs on your board OR flying around at top speeds Or catching waves.
If you answered no to all of these questions, a standard, flat water SUP is for you. If you’re a beginner or wanting to use a SUP to fish this is a great place to start. These boards provide a ton of stability so you spend more time on your board and less time in the water. If you’re brand new to the sport, I strongly suggest renting a board and give it a whirl, if you’re like the majority of people that try paddle boarding you’re going to fall in love.
Paddle Boards are a serious investment and you’ll want to make sure you’re fully committed before you pull the trigger. The main specs that you’ll want to pay attention to are width, length, weight and construction. You’ll notice that all of these components tie into one another. If your board is wider and longer it’ll be able to handle more weight. Depending on whether it’s solid, or inflatable this will also impact the amount of weight it can hold.
For an all around board we recommend looking for a board that is 30-34″ in width. This will give you a nice wide base to plant your feet on. Until you master the art of balancing on a SUP, a wider base will put you in a position to generate power with your paddle without losing your balance.
In terms of length my preference is somewhere between a 10 or 11 footer. If your board is much longer than 14′ you’re probably looking at a race board which will be narrower. If it’s shorter then 10′ you’re entering surf SUP territory.
The final dimension you should pay attention to is weight. Most boards are plenty sturdy for anyone who weighs 200lbs (90kg) or less. If you’re heavier than that, or you’re trying to double avoid the inflatable SUPs. Which leads us into our next point, construction.
Paddle Boards can be made out of a wide range of materials the most basic classification is inflatable versus or a solid construction.
Inflatable boards are exactly that, you blow them up. This makes them terrific for storage and transportation. If you’re planning on cruising solo these are often a great place to start. They’re usually much cheaper than the boards made out of a solid material, however that isn’t always the case.
Solid stand up boards can be made out of a range of materials. The most common construction is a foam interior wrapped in a fibreglass shell. Others incorporate bamboo or another rigid material to reinforce the bottom of the deck. The quality of material is what’s important; cheaper boards are generally going to be heavier then the ones used to race with.
Touring or Race Paddle Boards
Race SUPWhen folks ask about touring or racing boards they generally assume they’re unstable. And while a wider board is going to provide more stability, most will find that a race SUP is actually fairly easy to manage. The boards are constructed in a different fashion (longer and slimmer), however the main difference between an all around board and a race board is price.
Touring boards are going to be made out of lighter materials, they’ll have some customizations (such as a displaced hull) which allow them to slice through the water. Touring boards swap width for thickness, to decrease drag without compromising volume.
The goal is to reduce drag to increase speed.
These are actually incredibly fun to ride as they’re noticeably quicker through the water. That said, most entry level paddlers aren’t interested in swapping three or four hundred dollars for speed.
If you want to zip around the bay all day leaving other paddler’s in your trail these boards are for you.
Fitness or Yoga Paddle Boards
Stand Up Paddle Boarding: YogaYoga SUPs are very similar to an All Around board. In my experience, the wider the better. I personally use a Lotus YSUP Inflatable Yoga SUP Board. There are a few things I really like about this board, first off it’s very wide, 32″ wide to be exact. That provides a ton of “mat” area. I’d also recommend using an inflatable board as the surface is a little softer.
It also features a full length traction pad which is terrific for a solid Yoga sesh in the great outdoors. The real kicker for me was price. I already owned 2 boards, a solid touring board and an inflatable board. A third board is a little overkill, but I figured a third board just means more time spent with friends on the water. And when I’m by myself I could use it for Yoga.
Surf Paddle Boards
Surf SUPAdmittedly I’m not a great surfer. I love surfing but I’m fairly average at the sport, which makes this section a bit tricky. From many conversations with friends who are great surfers and paddle surf they seem to unanimously agree, the Starboard Pocket Rocket is the way to go. It’s a smaller board, at just 8’5 and according to them it let’s them turn on a dime. It’s pretty outrageous to watch a quality surfer tear around on the pocket rocket.