Now that you have decided to go the route of paddle boarding, the next step is picking the right paddle board for you. Today, we will be going over how to pick a paddle board. It is important to know that for the remainder of this article, paddle board may be referred to as SUP, standup paddleboards, or paddle boards.
The Right Paddle Board for You
What You Should Pay Attention to When Picking a SUP
There are a few key attributes that you will want to look for when picking a paddle board. This also will affect the price of the board, so keep that in mind when deciding which aspects you want to focus on.
Length is a very important aspect of the paddle board. The longer the board, the faster it will go. If you are a beginner, you will likely want to get shorter length boards. This is so that you can get used to the entire concept of paddle boarding. Otherwise, getting a longer board is typically fine. This is especially true for more experienced and serious paddle boarders. Getting the fastest speeds may be why you enjoy the activity so much.
Although, it is important to remember that this extra speed does make the board harder to control. This is another reason why beginner paddle boarders do not want to go with longer boards. If you are a beginner, try to stick with 10 to 12 foot boards.
Thickness determines how well your paddle board will float. More thickness means more buoyancy typically. This is different with inflatable paddle boards however. The general feeling of inflatable boards are completely changed based on how much they will inflate (become thick). So, when you are choosing an inflatable paddle board, you want to go for something more than 6 inches in thickness once fully inflated.
To clarify more on the inflatable paddle boards, hand pumps do not do a great job of allowing you to reach peak thickness. So, if you do find yourself in this position, try to get an electric pump to get your board fully pumped.
Width has the special ability to change the stability of the board. This affects how well the board will be able to handle strong winds and waves. Better stability means easier riding. The relation is more width means more stability. For this reason, beginners will likely want to get a wider board. This will make the experience easier on you as a rider.
Almost the opposite of the length, more width means the board will go slower. So, if you plan on racing, you will want to get a narrower board. 28-inches and below is what most racers will go for in width while beginners should stick with 31 inches and above.
For those of you who will be using paddle boards to surf, rails can come in handy. They are only really useful for surfers though. Rails are located on the side of the paddle board and help with carving into the face of the water.
The nose rocker can be seen as the distance in which the front of the board pulls up. This is another aspect that is only really essential to surfers. If the rocker is not big enough, you will find the board submerging into the water. This feature is only evident in hardwood paddle boards. Inflatable boards do not have this issue.
The hull shape affects many different aspects of paddle boarding. This is the shape of your paddle board. Depending on what you plan to do with your paddle board, you will want a certain hull shape. For racing, having a displacement hull that looks like the bottom of a sailboat is helpful. Flat bottoms are great for beginners as it helps make the board stable and easier to turn. Studying the different hull shapes that you have to choose from is one of the most vital aspects of pikcing a paddle board.
So, going through our different features that affect the different aspects of paddle boarding, you should be able to pick one that is just right for you. It is all dependent on your skill level and the type of paddle boarding you plan to do. However, understanding each part of the paddle board will have you heading in the right direction for sure.