Common mistakes when buying a SUP
When I’m out paddling or on the beach seeing people with their SUPs, I see so many paddlers with boards too small for them.
If you are confused about the optimum paddleboard size for you, a bigger board is way better than a board too small for your weight. A board too small for a rider will lay low in the water and have poor glide and stability.
Many SUPs on the market have a shape that allows all round use of the board. All round boards can be a great option for families wanting share a board but will not give as high performance in every activity as a board with the shape for the purpose you intend.
If you want a stand up paddle board for exploring/fitness where glide and course stability is important, then you should choose a longer slimmer shape. In contrast, if you intend to use your SUP for Yoga, then you need a wider more stable board that has a pad covering most of the deck. It will also need good tie in points so you can drop a weight or moor it to a yoga hub etc.
Letting price decide your choice of board
It’s possible to produce paddleboards at a very low cost and then sell them cheaply. But to do this the manufacturer needs to cut some corners and produce a SUP that will not last long, have poor performance and to be honest, not look as good ;-D. This is especially important when you buy an inflatable SUP. A cheaper board is most likely not designed for high pressure resulting in a softer, less rigid stand up paddlboard with poor paddling performance. With low quality manufacturing you also the risk that it cracks open in a seam from heat expansion of the air inside when having it in the sun.
Thinking you need a hard board
The inflatable SUPs have developed so much the last years and have so many advantages over a hard board so I would recommend anyone to choose an inflatable over a hard board unless:
- You want a fancy looking bamboo/wood board
- You want it to go surfing
- You want to be among the top contenders in a SUP race
After you have chosen the correct SUP, the next step is to select the correct paddle. Again think of how you intend to use the board. If you’re planning exploring/exercising then it is probably worth investing in a full carbon paddle. It will be the lightest and stiffest paddle giving you maximum performance. If you intend for the whole family to play on the SUP, a more durable paddle with plastic mould blade is more suitable. You may even consider a rubber edge on the blade to prevent damage to your board and a softer impact if kids are playing with the paddle. Middle of the range are the glassfibre and hybrid with a mix of glassfibre/carbon. Lighter and stiffer than the plastic paddles and they are lower in price than the full carbon models. If you have an inflatable SUP, make sure to buy a paddle in 3-pieces so it fits into your backpack together with the board. If you have a hard board chose a 2-piece paddle. I would recommend adjustable paddles to the vast majority of paddlers. It does not add much weight but allows length adjustment so you can share paddles with friends and family of varying heights.