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Picking the best paddle board

How to Choose a Paddle Board

As Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is the fastest growing water sport how do you choose the best paddle board? The SUP movement is been motivating many to buy paddleboards. SUP is a low impact sport that anyone can participate in. You can increase your success by riding the right board for your skill level. The width of the board, skill level and weight of the rider determines stability. Proper board sizing can make the difference between fun and falling! Beginners should start out on larger boards to achieve greater balance.

When choosing a paddle board consider these elements

Before you buy a paddle board consider how you plan to spend your time on it. There are various sports that beginners can explore with SUP. Touring and paddle surfing are the most common. However, advanced paddlers are taking SUP to a new level with racing. Yoga and fitness classes on the water are also gaining popularity.

Most popular paddle boarding activities include:

  • Flat water paddling – viewing nature
  • Yoga & fitness classes – may want a board with a full deck pad covering the board
  • Fishing – may want a wider board for stability
  • Racing – speed paddling
  • Touring – distance paddling
  • Surfing – shorter board & a tri-fin design is best

Considerations to determine the best paddle board specs for you

Determining what you’re most interested in will help you pick the best paddle board for you long term. 

Paddle board companies realize the demand for these growing sports and are making models specific to them. The boards are made with different dimensions depending on the sport. Before making an investment in a paddleboard consider your ambitions.

Paddleboard Sales

This is not a post about the best paddle board brands

Second, it’s not about the brand! Look beyond the brands and focus on dimensions and materials used to make the paddle boards.

How are paddle boards made? 

Most paddle boards are made with a foam core and hard epoxy shell. The foam core creates the boards shape, makes it lighter and provides buoyancy. The outer shell is usually constructed with epoxy however the material and layers depend on the board manufacturer. The durability of the paddle board results from the outer materials.

Touring paddle boards

Touring boards are ideal for intermediate paddlers pursuing distance. These boards are usually lighter than stock boards and are shaped differently. Some models feature a nose rocker that elevates the board up after waves.

Typical Specs: 

  • Width 28” to 33”
  • Length 12′ to 14′
Racing paddle boards

Racing paddle board models are targeted toward intermediate to advanced paddlers. There are three classes for racing, 12’6 and under, 14’ and anything over 14’ is considered unlimited. Shaped more like boat hulls, racing models are narrower and will increase your speed.


  • Width 25” to 30”
  • Length 12’6 to unlimited 
Stock boards

There are different types of boards and the most commonly purchased are stock board models. Stock boards vary in size from 9’ to 12’ long and are typically between 30’’ to 33’’ wide. This is basically a large surfboard, and can be used for cruising around. Its larger and wider size makes learning easy. These boards are enjoyable for fitness and yoga classes on the water as they offer increased stability. Beginners usually advance fast and desire more from the basic stock board as their skills increase.

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