SUPs, or stand-up paddle boards, have something to offer everyone. You may go surfing in the sea or have a leisurely paddle on a serene lake. Alternatively, you may try SUP yoga or a vigorous paddle to burn up a sweat. Having the correct board is essential to your enjoyment, regardless of your goals. We’ll go over the key considerations for selecting a board in this buying guide.
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Consider your intended usage, body type, and desired handling characteristics when selecting the ideal stand-up paddle board. The form of the board, achieving the right volume and capacity, as well as the appropriate length, breadth, and thickness, will be the main deciding factors. Your options for a solid or inflatable board will mostly rely on storage space and how you plan to move it. After that, you’ll think about a board’s fins and any other features or add-ons that suit your needs.
SUP Types of Hulls
A paddle board’s hull, or body, has a big impact on how well it functions in the water. The majority of SUPs use a displacement hull or a planing hull. A small number have a hybrid design that combines the greatest features of both designs.
Beginner paddlers can appreciate any hull shape, but there are certain distinctions that make them more suited for different activities. This is why it makes sense to base your board’s hull type decision on your intended usage.
Planing hulls resemble surfboards in that they are broad and flat. It is made to be incredibly agile and glide on top of the water. Planing hull boards are an excellent option for whitewater, surfing, SUP yoga, and recreational paddling.
Hull of displacement
SUPs with displacement hulls resemble kayaks or canoes in that they have a pointed nose or bow, or front end. The hull improves efficiency and produces a fast, smooth ride by slicing through water and forcing water over the nose to the sides of the SUP. You can paddle a displacement hull more efficiently and cover more distances at a faster pace than a planing hull. Although they are often a little less agile than planing hulls, they likewise track quite straight.
Although displacement hulls are used for a range of purposes, paddlers usually consider speed and efficiency when making their selections. Fitness paddling, SUP touring/camping, and racing are a few uses.
SUPs: Solid vs. Inflatable
The majority of solid boards feature an epoxy and fiberglass-wrapped EPS foam core. This structure is reasonably strong, reasonably light, and reasonably priced. Although carbon fiber is more costly, it is a stiffer and lighter choice. Although plastic SUPs are less expensive than other materials, they are more heavier and perform worse. Some SUPs have excellent looks by using lightweight wood.
The PVC outer layer of inflatable SUPs is constructed with drop stitches to form an air core. They include a storage bag to keep the board in place while not in use and a pump for inflating the board. When filled to 12 to 15 pounds per square inch, a high-quality inflatable SUP should feel extremely stiff.
Volume and Weight Capacity of SUPs
A SUP board has to fit your body type. The board may seem unsteady and you won’t feel properly supported if it doesn’t shift the appropriate quantity of water for your weight. The board’s volume and weight capacity have an impact on both your sense of stability and the board’s ability to cut through the water.
The board’s thickness, breadth, and length define its volume and weight capacity. To attain various performance qualities, SUP makers employ varying combinations of these three dimensions (for further information, see to the sections on SUP Length, SUP Width, and SUP Thickness in this page).
Volume: A paddle board’s volume, measured in liters, indicates how much weight it can support when floating. The board can hold a greater weight when the volume is bigger. On REI.com, the volume for a SUP is indicated in the specifications.
Weight capacity: The rider weight capacity of each paddle board is specified in pounds in the specifications found on REI.com. It’s critical to understand a board’s weight capacity since an overweight person will force the board to ride lower in the water and be less effective to paddle. When calculating weight capacity, take into account the overall weight you will bring onto the board, which includes your body weight as well as the weight of any food, drink, and equipment you want to bring.
In relation to hull type, volume and weight capacity: Most planing-hull boards are extremely accommodating, so long as you stay below the weight limit, you should be able to get good performance out of them. On the other hand, volume and weight capacity are more important for displacement-hull SUPs. SUP manufacturers put a great deal of effort into figuring out where displacement boards work best in the water. A displacement board will drag and feel sluggish if it is overweight and sinks too low. Being too light for a board can prevent you from sinking it far enough, making the board seem unwieldy and challenging to use.