Choosing a Stand Up Paddleboard
Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is a craze and it is the fastest growing watersport. 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.
Before you buy a paddleboard there are some things to take into consideration. First, what do you want to do with your paddleboard? 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. Paddleboard 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.
Second, it’s not about the brand! Look beyond the brands and focus on dimensions and materials used to make the paddleboards. 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 paddleboard results from the outer materials.
Learn as much as you can about paddleboards. There are different types of boards and the most commonly purchased are stock board models. Stock boards vary in size from 7’ to 14’ 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. 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. Racing 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.
Try before you buy! Always demo the board that you are interested in purchasing to make sure it is a good fit for you. SUP Englewood is offering free paddleboard demos at Stump Pass Beach State Park from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM every Sunday this month. Various models of SUP Englewood and SUP ATX paddleboards will be available for demos.