When it comes to actually deciding on a Stand Up Paddleboard to buy people tend to get overwhelmed. There are so many options out there, at so many different price points. So let me give you a few tips that Green Water Sports say are the essentials to picking the right board for your needs.
These are the 4 most important things to think about;
Storage of your board
Do you live walking distance from the local lake or river you will be paddling in? Do you have a large garage where you can hang the board? These are both things I do not have. So I use an inflatable board which gets very small and fits in my closet in my apartment. Then when I want to take it to the river I throw it in the back of the car.
Some people have a car with a roof rack, if you plan to transport your board this way you will need extra straps to make sure it stays put. But the way you plan to transport your board will surely affect which one if best for you to buy.
This is one of the easiest questions for people to answer usually. Will you be transporting your board often or can you keep it at home close to the water? I always suggest that people who think they might be moving the SUP more often than not go with an inflatable.
The inflatable boards are so common these days. The companies know how and why you use these so they have perfected the art in my opinion. Your inflatable will come with all the accessories you need (a pump, ankle strap, paddle) as well as a backpack that it fits inside. This makes transporting your board so easy, you can take it on all your camping trips or just down the street to the river if that’s what you want.
Now this has hopefully helped you narrow it down, do you want an inflatable or a hard board?
The Height and Weight of Primary Paddle Board Rider
The actual size of the person who you are expecting to use the board the most can be a big factor. This is important because the board will need to have enough volume to hold the person above the water. Although not too much so they don’t have full control over the board. If the person is too heavy the board may sink under in the middle, if the person is too light they may bob around like a floating cork in the water.
The Volume or the PSI is what we are talking about here. Choosing a board that will allow your weight on the board and be properly distributed is important. I use a board that’s perfect PSI is 15. This is standard for most boards. Cruising and normal everyday use of a board is great at 15. I also have a board that I use for Yoga which as a perfect PSI of 18. This gives it a little more stability, it is a little farther above the surface of the water so I can move and stretch without getting wet. My friend has a board which is meant a little more for racing, it is skinnier and longer. His board’s perfect PSI is actually 13. This means his weight is held on the board but a little closer to the water. He can go quite bit faster with this setting!
Size of board and the volume it holds will also align with the skills the rider processes. Whether the rider is a beginner just trying to nail down the skill of balancing. Or if the rider will be racing competitively and is very physically fit.
Primary Use of your SUP
This means what you intend to use the board for but also where you think that you will be using your board the most.
If you are going to be someone who will be normally just cruising or if you intend to surf or race with your board. These different uses of your board will have a large part in helping decide which one will be best.
Also if you want to be out on the calm river by your house, or a rowdy lake with many speed boats or maybe even an ocean with lots of waves. You will want to have the right board for these conditions. The shape and length of the board will determine its ability to react in situations out on the water. The elements are an important part of choosing a board.
For most people I suggest looking at a board which is 10’6” to 11′. Anything shorter is usually meant more for a child. Much shorter than that and the average adult is going to be too tall. While anything longer than 11′ is meant more for racing. These long skinny boards are very aerodynamic and great for going fast. But with little space in the middle to actually kneel or stand, this can be very difficult for a beginner.
Your Board Budget
The money is always a huge factor for people. How much do you have to spend on a new amazing paddle board? How much are you willing to spend on this amazing investment? With SUP becoming such a popular sport, boards are more accessible. As they become more accessible the range of pricing grows as well. Some companies are making these boards for over $1,000 and some for hundreds less.
Spending a little more money is going to get you the military grade material, which is almost impossible to damage. Incredibly durable and worth those few extra dollars because it will last you forever.
I have attempted to purchase a cheaper board when I was abroad once. Since I don’t like in Ireland all the time I thought I could get a board for around 100 euros and it would be fine for what I needed. After I bought it I could not even get it to pump up and then when doing some research there was news banning this specific board because it was sinking! So be careful and of course do your research before purchasing a board.
This is not necessarily a cheap sport though, you will spend at least several hundred dollars for a quality board.
Here are a Couple of Categories to Get Started
Cruising Paddle Boards
Skinnier Boards for Racing
Hang 10 – Best Surf Boards
General Stand Up Paddle Options