Guide: Choosing The Paddle Board SUP For You
With paddle boarding rising in popularity, the market has become very crowded and for newbies it can be overwhelming finding the stand up paddle board for them. With multiple factors to consider such as what size you need, what SUP best suits the activities you’re going to be doing and making sure it fits into your budget. Knowing what differentiates every paddle board in each price bracket and what makes the top of the market, top of the market.
So, if you are hunting for your first, second or third paddle board, then we are here to help.
A few things for you to consider…
Different brands use different materials when it comes to creating their paddle boards. Obviously you have solid paddle boards and inflatable SUPs. Over the years, companies have been constantly working on making their inflatable SUPs are durable as possible, whether that is through more layers or different ways of sealing the seams. If you are considering taking your kids or dogs out on your board then we would recommend looking for a board that can withstand claws and knocked about, such as an inflatable SUP with double or triple layers. However, if you’re going to be careful then you could treat yourself to a higher performing board such as a solid paddle board. Just be careful as you don’t want to go through the heart ache of dinging your board.
This is an important thing to consider and is something most people forget when hunting for a paddle board. You need to think about how you will transport your SUP. Is your boot big enough? Do you have roof bars? Can you transport it yourself to the water? Are you wanting to just be able to chuck it in the water straight away or are you okay with having to pump it up? These are all the questions you need to ask yourself when considering a paddle board.
Obviously, you need a budget in mind. Have a think about if you’re willing to pay more for a high performance board with the best technology. Or are you okay with settling for a more budget friendly board whilst you suss out the sport.
At the beginning, performance may not seem all too important but it is. You need to think about whether you want your stand up board to have speed, easy to maneuver, or have stability.
Where you are going to store your SUP plays a big part on whether you get a solid board or an inflatable paddle board. The biggest pro of an blow up paddle board is that they are easy to store as you just fold them up and pop them back in their bag until you need them again, therefore taking up very little room. Of course, it’s a different story with solid boards, you need the room to store them as they aren’t exactly small. With a solid paddle board you need to make sure you have enough room to move it too as they are quite long and you don’t want to ding it, possibly getting a paddle board rack to add to your wall might be your best option at protecting it.
Inflatable Or Solid Paddle Boards?
This is the big question. Both form of SUPs have their pros and cons – let us list some for you.
Inflatable SUPs have becoming incredibly popular over the recent years as they are a lot more convenient for people.
- Storage – Obviously, due to them being inflatable you can deflate the board when you are finished and roll it up and back into the bag and pop it in the corner. It is that easy.
- Portability – Because blow up paddle boards typically come in a rucksack style bag, they are easier to transport and carry to secluded beaches or bodies of water. You can also easily fit them into the boot of your car.
- Cost – Inflatable boards do tend to be cheaper than solid boards, so they are a great option for if you are just wanting to dabble in the sport and aren’t looking to splash the cash, but be aware of the cheap and nasty inflatable boards (more on this later).
- Durability – Compared to solid boards, inflatable SUPs are more durable as they will bounce of rocks and won’t ding or crack. Ideal for if you want to take your kids out on it as it can take a bit more of a beating.
- Time – Due to them being inflatable, you need to consider the time it will take to blow the paddle board up. The time it takes to inflate them can be minimised if you were to use an electric SUP pump. You also need to remember that you will need to deflate the paddle board, although it doesn’t take long, it may not be ideal for those who are slightly impatient.
- Performance – An blow up paddle board won’t perform as well as a solid, they aren’t as responsive and don’t glide on the water as much as a solid. In the cheaper end of the inflatable SUP market, your board can slightly bend in the middle making it more difficult to paddle.
If you are more focused on performance and used to solid boards due to a surfing background then a hard SUP may be more up your street.
- Performance – Solid paddle boards have a lot more glide, meaning they perform a lot better than an inflatable SUP. They also have increased speed and maneuverability and are more sensitive meaning you can do quick turns. If you are thinking about taking your SUP into the surf then a solid board will perform better in the waves as they will cut through the water better.
- Time – Solid SUPs are super easy and quick to set up, all you need to do is carry it to the water and off you go.
- Cost – They tend to be higher priced compared to the inflatable SUPs. So really depends on your budget and what you are wanting out of your paddle board.
- Storage – Obviously, solid paddle boards aren’t as easy to store as they dont fold down into a bag. They are lengthy boards too, can be 12ft+ so making sure you have the space to store them is important.
- Portability – Unlike inflatable boards, you need to put a hardboard onto your roof, therefore you will also need roof racks if you don’t already have them. Being a little bit heavier than the inflatable SUPs, it may be that you require a helping hand with carrying it.
- Durability – A downfall of a solid SUP is that they are pricey to buy in the first place but then if you ding it or scratch it, the repairs may not be cheap either. You just need to be careful when carrying it around, storing it and putting it on your car.
What Type Of Paddle Board Is Best For You?
When searching on the internet for a paddle board you will notice that they come in different sizes. Size is a big thing to factor into your decision as they have different qualities.
Allround Paddle Board: 9’6 – 11’6
Clue is in the name, these paddle boards are great for anyone and everyone. You can take them down a river, ride small waves. These are great for if you are a beginner as they have great maneuverability and decent stability.
Touring Paddle Board: 11’0 – 14’0
This type of SUP tends to be slightly narrower so that you cut through the water better. Due to the less volume, the board is slightly less stable compared to an allround board and has more speed. These are perfect for long days out going on rivers or exploring the coast line. Perfect for the explorers.
Surf Paddle Board: 8’10 – 10’6
If you are looking to using your SUP in the waves, the shorter the board the better as they will be more agile and responsive. Shorter the board, the more speed it will provide you too. Just remember, solid boards are more ideal for surf SUPing compared to inflatables because they have thinner rails.
Although the price point on the lower end paddle boards is appealing. Just remember the price is only low because of the poor quality materials, design and they come with no added value ie, no warranty and typically no customer service. The drop stitching in the cheap paddle boards are made of really poor material and snap after a handful of uses and therefore, creates a dip in the board and that makes it more tiring and difficult for you to paddle. All in all if you're not going to expect much from your boards then that's okay but we would never recommend a cheap paddle board. For more information about why you should typically avoid the low end stand up paddle boards, check out our blog.
- What Is The Best Affordable Paddle Board?
The Jobe Leona is a great, affordable blow up paddle board sizing at 10.6 so is a great all round board. Not to mention it comes as a complete package! The O'Brien Kona is also a good quality board at a very reasonable price.
- Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Break Easily?
Of course punctures and tears can occur on a blow up paddle board but these things are pretty durable! If you have a board that is double or even triple layered, then it would take something super sharp to piece it. That being said, we don't see teared paddle boards very often.