Like many water sports, paddle boarding is a fun activity that also promotes body strength and agility. Hailed as one of the fastest growing water sports in the world in recent times, its popularity has surged, spawning the creation of numerous companies offering paddle boards and other gear.
Note: If you’re unable to grab a stand up pedal board we recommend you try a paddleboard instead.
Not all boards are created equal however. From board composition and size, to design and other dynamics, there are quite a few features to consider if you’re thinking about trying paddle boarding.
|Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2|
|California Board Company (CBC)|
|BIC Sport ACE-TEC Wing|
|Solstice Bali Stand-Up Paddleboard|
|BIC Sport Sup AIR Inflatable Stand up Paddleboard|
There are different reasons why people choose this activity. Understanding your reason is key to selecting the right paddle board for your needs. Look at the options below and first decide where you fit.
Just for Fun
If you’re a complete newbie, then you probably fall into this category. You’ll want a board that is easy to maneuver, and at the same time it should offer the stability you need to advance your skill and get comfortable.
If you’re a fitness junkie, then you fall into this category. Not only does paddle boarding offer great exercise of your core upper body muscles, but it is also fun on the calm water for things such as Yoga. If you fall into this group of people then like the fun folks, you’ll want a stable board.
Thinking about bringing out your competitive spirit? Have a few friends you want to challenge? Perhaps there’s a big competition coming up such as the Isa World Standup Paddleboard Championship. For those who compete you need a board that allows you to be efficient when paddling in the water. Ideally, choose one that quickly cuts through oncoming waves. You’ll also want to consider things such as the volume, length and core material that makes up your board.
If you’re choosing one for the first time, it may turn out to be a bit of a challenge. Either way, we can help you make the right choice. To begin with, you need to know that there are different types of stand up paddle boards (SUPs), relative to what they are used for. The four main ones are: surfing paddle boards, flat water paddle boards, fitness paddle boards (particularly for yoga), and racing or touring paddle boards.
Here is a look at some of the best on the market and the advantages they provide which could determine the right one for you.
Tower Paddler Board Adventurer 2
Combining the convenience of easy storage and portability with all the benefits of a hard board, the Tower Paddler is an excellent all-round choice for both fitness and surfing activities. It boasts an overall thicker base and higher rigidity than other inflatable boards in its class and can manage up to 350 pounds out on the water, which is twice the weight capacity of similar paddleboards. Also, it is manageable enough for people who are just beginning to learn about paddling and can be used for both beginners and tandem runners.
At 10’4”, it is among the most highly rated paddleboards on Amazon. It is marked highly for durability, being made from military-grade PVC, and can be rolled up and stored away easily when not in use. The Tower Paddler comes with a fiberglass paddle that adjusts from 65” – 85”, as well as a pump, and also has a fiberglass fin. However, it doesn’t come with a leash.
California Board Company (CBC) Stand up Paddle Board
Weighing 25 pounds and having a height of 10’6”, this SUP is among the most affordable on the market. In addition, it also comes with an adjustable paddle (can adjust from 63” to 83”), which allows people of different heights to use it, and it also comes with a surf leash and camera mount. It is made from high-density EPS foam that is heat laminated for optimal waterproof performance and comes with molded-in nylon leash plug and molded nylon SUP handle with grooves for the fingers.
Other extras that it comes with include a neoprene ankle strap and padded roof straps to assist with portability. The CBC Stand-Up Paddleboard is considered a budget board for those looking for the bare essentials and also for people who are beginners. The weight capacity on this board is 300 pounds.
BIC Sport ACE-TEC Wing Stand Up Paddleboard
Durable and lightweight are the two adjectives most often attributed to this premium touring board. It also gets high marks from reviewers for stability and helps to explain its Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year award achieved in 2013.
Available in several eye-catching designs and two sizes (11’ and 12’6”), the ACE-TEC Wing SUP has a lot going for it, such as a non-slip deck pad and a lightweight EPS foam core that makes it watertight. It is the most expensive of the boards we looked at but seems to worth every penny. It is built for racing and longer excursions, with a smooth-glide design that cuts through the water. Some of its main features include a removable fin system, multiple attachment points for leash and securing gear, and recessed standing area for enhanced stability.
Solstice Bali Stand-up Paddleboard
This board is by far the heaviest of the paddle boards that we looked at, weighing close to 40 pounds and having a height of 10’8”. However, that weight also translates into a wider base and a durable layered PVC construction. Once fully inflated, the Solstice Bali SUP promises high rigidity and stability for leisurely cruising and possibly some yoga.
In addition to its notable features, the Bali comes with a comfy carrying strap, four stainless steel tie-downs for securing your gear, and a convenient carrying bag. It also comes with its own hand pump and pressure gauge, but you will need to get paddles. This board ranks as another budget board and is suitable for casual paddlers.
BIC Sport SUP AIR Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
Weighing a measly one pound, this inflatable SUP is about as lightweight as you will ever get. This is a series of boards, available in several designs to meet the needs of people looking for all-round, touring, windsurfing, or river SUPs. Product features 6” thick drop-stitch construction for enhanced stability and can accommodate weights ranging from 175 pounds (for 10’ board) up to 240 lbs (12’6” board). There are four different sizes, with the other two being 10’6” and 11’. The longer boards are designed with narrower profiles for superior gliding and touring while the shorter boards are more for yoga/fitness runs and more casual paddling.
Other notable features of this board include handy carrying handles, gear rigging, a removable center fin, and a carrying bag. No paddles are included with this paddleboard.
Choosing the right paddleboard becomes easier once you know what you’re looking for. Carefully consider your needs before selecting any of the boards mentioned here or any other type.
Choosing Between Different Stand Up Paddle Boards
As mentioned before there are different types of paddle boards to choose from and the one you
decide on depends on your purpose. For beginners or newbies, we recommend the Flat Water board
as it allows you to get up and to run super fast.
Before deciding on a board ensure you do your research and tune into not only the type you’re looking for but also take note of the width and height. As you may have figured there are different specifications for each. Generally, I recommend a 30″ width board. Weight is also a factor so be sure you check that too.
Board Width and SUP Accessories
If you’re looking to be stable on the water, then you’ll want to consider the width of your board. Width comes into consideration especially if you’re a racer. You see, the wider your board is, the more stable your board will be. Beginners will want to look towards wide boards.
The standard width of such boards is about 31 inches (31″).
For racers and competitive people (no newbies here) you’ll want to try your hand at a narrow board. Though these are not as stable or maneuverable, they provide the benefit of speed allowing you to propel much faster through the water.
The average width of such boards is about 29 inches (29″).
When it comes to accessories, the most obvious one is the paddle. Ideally, you’ll want one that is about 6 inches taller than you are. Another primary accessory is the leash, you’ve probably seen this before especially on surfers. It serves two purposes: 1) It allows you to be close to your board if you fall off and 2) Because the board can float, it provides safety to you since you can easily hop on when you do fall off.
We hope this was a helpful guide and answered some of the questions you may have had. The best way to enjoy the water is to get out there and hop on a wave. So go ahead. Enjoy!