Things You Need To Know Before Buying Your First SUP

Category:Sports

There are some factors to be taken into account before buying a SUP board because there are many models available on the market and you need to make an educated purchase. If you have never owned one before and you are just starting to get the hang of stand up paddling, it will be even harder to pick one. Given how different boards can be, it’s best to do some research and find out which are the things you need to know before buying your first SUP board.

The types you can choose from

Before picking a SUP board, you need to know your options. The main characteristic is the construction that splits them into two categories: solid and inflatable. The solid ones are made of fiberglass, epoxy, or a combination of plastic and epoxy that offers them the renowned rigidity and durability. They are heavier and harder to control, being more suitable for surfing high waves and experimenting complicated moves.


The inflatable boards are made with a strong military-grade PVC that is equally hard and durable with the added advantage of being easily transportable. You can deflate it after each use to make it more comfortable to carry and transport and you will have to inflate it every time you want to ride it.

Where do you plan to use it?

When picking a model, it’s important to know where you will be using it because not all boards are suitable for any type of water. Learn that the SUP boards are spread into categories based on the design so you will find all-around, flat water, race, and surf that can be used for a variety of activities. As we could tell after reading inflatable paddle board reviews, the all-around type is the most versatile and can be adapted to many types of waters from ocean to rivers and lakes. Flat water boards are only suitable for calm waters paddling or yoga while race boards are great for competitions and fast paddling. If you want to surf high waves, look for long and sharp boards that can cut through the waves and provide easy control.

How skilled are you?

This factor should also weigh in helping you determine the type of your first SUP board because it will influence the development of your skills. If you are a beginner, you will need a recreational board that is wider for more stability and maneuverability. Narrow and long boards are more appropriate for advanced paddlers and surfers who like to pull off complicated moves. Flat water boards are the most recommended for novice users because they are easy to control and don’t reach high speeds that would limit the control of the direction. All-around models can also be an option if you are starting to get better at paddling and you don’t have a problem with balance. Racing and cruising boards are perfect for experienced users who can deal with the narrowness that challenges their stability.

The size of the board

By far, this aspect is the most important when purchasing a board, be it your first or a replacement of an older one. When it comes to size, you need to take into consideration three measurements and those are length, width, and volume. The length is important because it will enable it to sustain your body weight and it should be picked based on your paddling skills as well. If you are a beginner, a top 10′ should be enough while more experienced users can choose as much as 14′ for their board. The higher and heavier you are, the longer the board should be. In terms of width, you can choose a 30” or a 32” model, also depending on how confident you feel. As a beginner, a wider board will make you feel safer and more stable so you should start with 32” wide. Last, but not least, the volume will help you feel more stable and float on the water. As a beginner, you need to go for a volume that is at least twice your body weight and for this, you need to make some calculations. The volume is expressed in liters and, let’s say, you weigh 200 lbs or 90 kg. As such, you will need a board with at least 180 liters volume if you want to make sure you will float.

What accessories should you look for?

Any board comes with some additional gear that completes it and helps you enjoy a relaxing paddling session. While some come in the package, others need to be purchased separately so you should know which are the accessories that are mandatory and which can be considered optional.

    • Fins

They are usually made of fiberglass or nylon and they influence the maneuverability by adding or taking away smoothness on the water. One fin is enough for flat water and slow paddling while up to three fins are great for surfing and racing. The more fins, the better the board will glide on the water and it will be easier for it to handle any type of water from rivers to oceans.

    • Paddle

You can’t have a SUP without a paddle to help you move along the water. When picking one, it’s best to go for aluminum or a carbon that are lightweight and will allow it to float so it will not sink in case you drop it. Also, keep your eyes open for adjustable length so you can customize it to fit your height.

    • Ankle leash

If you are afraid you will fall and drift away from your board, you might want to get an ankle leash to keep you tied to it. The leash connects to the tail D-ring and is the best way to help apprentices get more confident and familiar with paddling.

    • Pump

In case you go for an inflating paddle board, make sure you also get a pump so you will have it up and ready to use in mere minutes. A good pump is a dual-action one that inflates it twice as fast by pumping air with every movement you make.

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