SUP Basics

Posted by on 6/19/2014

Stand Up Paddleboarding is currently the fastest growing watersport in the world. Why shouldn't it be? It's a great work out, you don't need a boat, and you can even bring your dog. If you are interested in learning to stand up paddleboard, but don't know where to start. Look no further. We've outlined some basic SUP facts and considerations you should know.

First of all you need to understand there are 2 main types of SUPs:

  • Traditional Boards: These offer a traditional surfboard-style hull and are 10' to 12' long, wider for more stability. They are best for beginners, anyone who paddles on a calm lake and stays close to shore, or those who want to fish from their boards.
  •      Race or Touring Boards: These have a pointed nose and a more round back; most are 12' to 14' long. The pointed nose is more efficient and requires less effort to paddle longer distances. Race and touring boards tend to have a narrow width. Are meant for more experienced SUP users. 

Keep in mind the wider the board the more stable it will be. Wider boards are better for bigger users, people with injuries or people with poor balance.  32” to 36” wide are the most common widths for recreational boards. Board length is also very important, if it isn’t long enough and you are to big for the board, you will displace to much water. Beginners should look at boards in the 10’ to 12’ range. The longer a board is the faster it will be.

There are many types of materials boards are made out of including:

  •      Plastic (Rotomold): The cheapest and most durable boards. Very heavy but tough.

  •      Fiberglass and foam: The most expensive type of board, some boards have a sheet of wood under the fiberglass deck to add durability and stiffness. More for experienced paddlers.

  •      Plastic and foam: Less expensive than fiberglass boards. But cost more than rotomold boards. Light and durable, a good everyday paddle board.

  •      Inflatables: Very durable and easier to transport. Can be used for a variety of paddling, from whitewater to slow speed. Made of PVC with drop-stitch construction. Perfect for people who want to SUP but don’t have space for a board. Mid price range.

  •      Soft tops: a great option for beginners. They are made with a tough exterior with decks fully covered with a rubber traction pad. Durable and a little bit more than a rotomold.

Finally, there are a few accessories you'll need to get up and SUPing:
  •      Leash, to prevent the board for floating away if you fall off.

  •      The USCG considers SUPs a vessel, so you must have a PFD and signal device on the board. 

  •      Paddle designed for stand up paddling. 

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