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What To Look For In A Stand Up Paddle Board

When it comes to choosing the right stand up paddle board, the selection process can seem a little overwhelming. With the right amount of product knowledge, you will be able to make your decision confidently and believe it or not, pretty easily.

What To Ask Yourself Before You Start

Once you figure out what you want the board to do, you will be able to narrow your options down to the proper board type for your ideal water conditions. Here are a list of questions we ask our customers when they come into the shop looking for a stand up paddle board.

Is this your first board or will it be used by beginners?
Look into an all-around type board. These are the most stable and easiest to ride for all experience levels.

Will you be doing any surfing?
An all-around board on the shorter end of the scale will perform best in surf. Also, look for more rocker (bend) in the nose for more control and a smoother ride in waves.

Do you want to race or demand more speed/performance?
A race or touring board type would be the best in this case. Touring boards are generally wider and more stable versions of race shapes.

Will you be traveling with your SUP or have limited storage space?
Inflatables are a great option for anyone with limited space or want to travel. Inflatable SUP boards come in all sorts of styles, so you can narrow down an inflatable SUP type just as you would a standard board.

Who will be using the board?
If multiple people will be using the board you'll need to determine the weight ranges of those riders to choose the right size (length). Most stand up paddle boards range between 9' and 14', with the 10'6" - 12'6" range being the most common. The proper size will depend on the board type, so checkout the max rider weight spec on each board to determine the best fit. Keep in mind that a lighter weight rider can ride a longer board but a heavier weight rider will slow down a shorter board.

Overview of SUP Board Types

Based on how you answered the questions above, here is a break down the most common stand up board types and what makes one type of board different from another.

All-around/Surf Stand Up Paddle Boards
Most people choose the classic all-around surf/SUP shape for their first board. These are classic longboard-style boards with the rounded nose and tail and are great for cruising around most water conditions and playing in small surf.

Touring Stand Up Paddle Boards
Touring SUP boards usually have a pointed nose (displacement hull) and are generally a little narrower than many all-around style boards. These boards will be faster through the water and are great for longer distance paddles or the active guy or gal who want a little more performance out of their board.

Race Stand Up Paddle Boards
Race SUP boards are very narrow, have a very defined, strong displacement hull and are generally very lightweight. These boards are more difficult to balance on due to their narrow shape but will be the fastest option out of all the types listed above.

Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards
Inflatable SUP boards can roll away into a convenient storage bag and are perfect for travel. Inflatable SUP boards come in various types and sizes just like the ones we mentioned above. Each board will come with a pump, bag and fins are a great option for those looking for added durability.

This is just a quick overview of what to look for in a stand up paddle board. Learn more about paddle boarding and choosing the right gear by using the helpful resources below.