“The ins and out of selecting your first SUP! With so many options and choices you might need a little guidance. Here are some basic tips on how to select the board and paddle that will be right for you.”
So by this point you’ve probably tried a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and whether it was one you borrowed from a friend, a rental you used, or a demo you tried you loved it right away! The next big step, and really the last one, is to buy your own paddleboard and paddle. As you begin you’re search you might feel overwhelmed with all the options and choices but with a little guidance you’ll be out there sooner than you think on the right board for you.
The first steps to take when picking out your first SUPs is to identify what type of paddler you are and where you will be paddling. Chances are you will fall into one of three categories listed below:
Your primary focus is surfing in the ocean. You’ll need a small maneuverable board that catches waves and rides them well.
Your primary focus is distance, speed, and/or exercise on lakes, rivers, bays, and calm ocean. Here you’ll want a long streamline board that is easy to paddle and quick.
You don’t really have a primary focus and want a board that can do just about everything. Most people fall in this category and there are a ton of great options that will have you enjoying waves to flat water!
So now that you’ve narrowed it down to one of the three categories list above you can start to shop!!! My number one recommendation here is to deal with a surf shop who stock a variety of boards and have some first hand knowledge of them. Explore the shops in your area and visit them, see what they carry for boards, ask any question you may have, and do a little research on the different options.
Like I pointed out above chances are you will be looking for an All Arounder that is great in a variety of conditions. Generally a good All Arounder will range in the 10 to 11 foot range and have a board width of 30 to 33 inches across at the widest point. The board width will greatly effect the stability of the board and will be determined by rider experience and weight.
The other thing you will most likely be considering when picking out you SUP is board construction. Most boards are made of a durable epoxy and are a great option. You can also find fiberglass boards, but I would stay away from them unless you’re very experienced, and carbon fiber which are amazingly light and responsive but pricey. Nine times out of ten a good epoxy SUP is exactly what you need.
As far as paddles go you have a few options. The material the paddle is made of will be your first option. They range from inexpensive aluminum shafted paddles with plastic blades to Full carbon fiber paddles. You’ll be able to notice the weight difference between the two immediately as well as the difference in stiffness (which you want). Your other option will be to choice a paddle that is a fixed length, meaning it’s measured and cut to your height, or an adjustable paddle that can be used by a variety of paddlers. When it comes to paddles my advice is not to skimp, get something that light and responsive. Again a good shop will have a variety of choice with great info to go along with them.
My overall recommendations are to explore Focus, Walden, and NSP stand up paddle boards and Kiolia and Trident paddles. These are all boards and paddles that I highly recommend and have used myself. Good luck with your purchase and I’ll see you on the water!