Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP as it is commonly known, offers something for almost everyone. You can head out for a relaxing paddle on a lake or natural spring, or even catch some waves in the ocean.
Finding the Right SUP for You
To find the right stand-up paddleboard for you take into consideration how you want to use it, how it will fit your body, and how you want it to handle while in the water. The key decisions that you’ll need to make include:
- The shape of the board
- The correct volume and capacity
- Proper length, width, and thickness
- Solid vs. inflatable
- SUP fins
SUP Hull Types
The hull or body of the paddleboard plays a crucial role in determining how your board will perform in the water. Most SUPs have either a planing hull or a displacement hull, but there are a handful of SUP boards that have a hybrid design that incorporates the two.
Beginners can use a SUP board with either hull shape, but there are differences that make them better suited to some activities than others. Choosing a hull type based on how you plan to use your SUP will help you get the most out of your board.
A board with a planing hull is flat and wide and is similar in shape to a surfboard. It is designed to ride on top of the water and be super maneuverable. This hull shape is a good choice for leisurely paddles, surfing, SUP yoga, and whitewater boarding.
Displacement hulls have a pointed nose or bow similar to a canoe or kayak. The hull slices through the water and pushes the water around the nose to the sides, which improves efficiency and creates a smoother ride. Displacement hulls are best used for fitness paddling, SUP touring/camping, and racing.
Solid Vs. Inflatable SUP
Generally, SUP boards are made from EPS foam core that is wrapped with fiberglass and epoxy which makes a fairly lightweight and durable board! Carbon fiber is a lighter and stiffer option but can be quite expensive. Plastic boards are more affordable, but can be very heavy and lack performance. Some solid boards incorporate wood for a beautiful appearance as well.
Solid SUP’s are a good bet if:
- Performance is a priority. Solid boards travel faster and with less effort than an inflatable board.
- You want a perfect fit. Solid SUPs come in a variety of sizes and finely tuned shapes, so you can find a board that fits just right.
- Stability is important. A solid board can provide more stability than an inflatable board, especially if you ride waves.
- You have a place to store it. Solid SUP boards can take up a lot of space, but if you have ample room in your garage, and a vehicle to transport it, a solid SUP is a great choice!
Inflatable boards feature a PVC exterior with drop-stitch construction that creates an “air core.” They come with a pump for inflating, and a storage bag for when it’s not in use. SUP boards should feel very rigid when fully inflated and are designed to be inflated to 12-15 lbs per square inch.
An inflatable SUP might work for you if:
- You have limited storage space. They can easily be stowed in small spaces like a trunk or closet.
- You’re traveling. If you are taking a road trip or going on a plane, you can bring your SUP along to do some paddling at your destination.
- You’re hiking. If you’re headed to a beautiful alpine lake and want to bring your paddleboard, sticking an inflatable SUP in your pack is pretty much your only option.
- You’re paddling whitewater. An inflatable SUP is better suited to handling bumps up against rocks in a whitewater situation than a solid board.
- You are a SUP yogi. You don’t have to use an inflatable board for SUP yoga, but they can be more comfortable for yoga poses since they are a bit softer than solid boards.
Board Size: Volume, Length, Width, and Thickness
To get the most out of your SUP board, you must get one that matches your size and weight. If the board doesn’t properly displace the correct amount of water for your weight, your board will feel unstable. Board volume and weight capacity are factors that affect how stable your board is, and are determined by the length, width, and thickness of your SUP board. SUP board manufacturers combine these dimensions to achieve different performance characteristics.
The volume of a paddleboard indicates the board’s ability to float with weight on it. The higher the volume, the more weight the SUP board can support.
Weight capacity is important because if you are too heavy for your board, it will be inefficient to paddle since it will ride lower in the water. When considering weight capacity, consider the amount of weight you will put on the board including your body weight, any gear, food, etc. that you will have with you.
The length of the SUP board plays a major role in how your board will handle. Longer boards are faster than shorter boards, but a shorter board is more maneuverable.
The width also affects how a board handles. A wider board is more stable than a skinny board, but a wider board will be slower and can be difficult to paddle depending on your size.
Find the Right SUP Board with 3RK
While it can be a challenge to find the perfect SUP board, with a few careful considerations based on your weight, height, and preferences, you can find a board that will essentially “fit you like a glove.” Check out our lineup of SUP boards, and get the gear that you need with our easy lease-to-own options. We can’t wait to help you get out there in the water!
image courtesy of visitflorida.com