While choosing the best stand-up paddle board may seem like a simple task at the first glance, many people usually find themselves confused when making their choice. This is mostly attributed to the fact that the market nowadays is absolutely flooded with all kinds of SUP paddle boards of all sizes, shapes, and designs. To make matters even more confusing, there are plenty of models that are almost indistinguishable from one another.
With that said, when it comes making the right purchase, you need to take into account a good number of important factors and nuances that matter.
Key elements of a good SUP board
Of course, let’s start with the most important feature, the dimensions. When it comes to these, you should take into account the width, the thickness and the length of the board. You should base the dimensions of the board on your own size. If you are a bigger person, go with a bigger board, for enhanced stability. If you are a shorter, lighter person, a smaller, lightweight board should be your top pick
In addition to the dimensions, you should also consider your style of paddling, water conditions as well as workout goals, if you have any. Your skill level should also be a determining factor when making a choice.
When it comes to the stability and ease of control, longer boards are usually better, especially when paddling in a straight line. However, maneuvering and turning with a longer board is more difficult. Shorter boards with a smaller footprint and a lower volume are much better suited for quick turns and maneuvers. This is why they are a top choice for many professional and experienced paddlers, particularly for surf and ocean conditions. If you are a novice paddler, the best choice would be a longer board.
If you plan to use your SUP paddle board for, say, wave surfing, you can get the best experience from a 10-feet, high-performance board. While shorter paddle boards with lesser displacement allow for more maneuverability, keep in mind not to end up with a board that is too short. With such a board, maneuverability, speed and control can become somewhat too “loose”. Those highly experienced paddlers can usually get the best out of very short boards, but no one besides them should try paddling with them.
The style and extra activities
A “fun-shape” or flat-water style board is an excellent choice if you want to use a paddle board on calm rivers and lakes or to paddle on the flat ocean. In addition to paddling, many people have started using SUP paddle boards for other recreational purposes, as well. Some of these include physical exercises, fishing, and even yoga. When it comes to these extra activities, a large sized paddle board is a preferable choice, since it is better at providing stability and increased control. They can be used by paddlers of all skill levels and ages, but only on flat water surfaces. Additionally, larger boards can be also used by multiple riders and can serve as an excellent option for families to paddle together.
Finally, for competitive use, you can look for hybrid paddle/surf or racing boards. They strike the perfect balance between the agility of lighter boards and stability and control of bigger ones.