Home Paddle Boards How to Choose a Paddleboard: All Your Questions Answered

How to Choose a Paddleboard: All Your Questions Answered

How to Choose a Paddleboard

How to Choose a Paddleboard? First, Focus on Size – Starting with Your Size.

The most important feature of your new paddle board is size. To function properly—to keep you afloat—your board must support your weight. Boards with greater volume can hold heavier weights, and those with less volume are better suited for lighter-weighted paddle boarders.

Next, Ensure Your Board Can Match Your Height.

In addition to your weight, your paddleboard needs to be able to handle your performance. That’s where the length of the board comes into play. While paddleboards are longer than surfboards, boards under nine feet in length are best for surfing or fast-paced paddling.

Longer Boards Require Different Uses as well

Want a board that’s over nine feet in length? Choose the next sizeup: medium, which ranges between nine and 12 feet in length. These boards are perfect for the calm paddleboard participant, who prefers calm lakes and little surf in their outdoor adventures.

Then, Consider the Width of Your Board for Stability

You'll want to start with a board based on stability above all else. That’s wherewidth is important: the wider the paddleboard, the more weight it can support. If you need stability or are heavier, consider a 36-inch board versus the narrower board width of 29 to 30 inches.

Don’t Forget to Consider the Board’s Fins

In addition to the paddleboard’s ability to matchweight and your skill level, you’ll also want to consider fins. Paddleboards come with either one, two, or upwards of three fins. More fins mean more specialized for certain skills, like surfing.

Choose Your Fins and Their Placement as Carefully as Your Board

Despite the number of fins available on your paddleboard, you’ll want to ensure those fins are properly placed according to Isle Surf and Sup. Fins determine water tracking, turns and steers, and drag. A single fin makes paddling easiest, tracking the board in both waves and flat water.

Consider What, Exactly, You’ll be Using Your Paddleboard for

Choosing the best standup paddleboard for you includes determining what types of adventures you’ll be taking your board on. Will you be traversing waves on the open ocean, or following a calm river? The activities you prefer determine what type of board you’ll need.

Make Your Paddleboard Travels Easier with a Lightweight Inflatable Board

If you’re looking for a lightweight paddleboard, an inflatable board is a great option. Those who have little space in which to store a board, or who focus solely on river SUP, will prefer these light boards that are durable and tough against rocky river bottoms, avoiding dings and tears.

For Fun and Weekend Fitness, Look for Beginner or All-Around Boards

Most paddleboard aficionados want their board to tackle both leisurely days on the water and a wave every now and then. For these instances, an all-around SUP board is best. These boards can keep you stable and atop their surface in any condition, and are easy to maneuver.

Want to Do It All with Your Paddleboard? Choose a Versatile Board

You'll want a multipurpose board that’s longer, wider, and thicker in volume if you’d like to tackle flat waters. If you plan on skipping surf, instead aim for a cruising paddleboard that’s suited for lakes. These are also great for first-time paddlers.

Want Speed? You’ll Need a Racing or Touring Paddleboard

If it’s your dream to pick up the pace and speed through the ocean or other water, you’ll want to choose a touring or racing board. These boards are efficient, offering stability, maneuverability, and speed with long lengths and increased volumes.

Paddleboards for All Weather and Water Should be Similar to Surfboards

Purchase or use a narrow, shorter board that is lighter in weight if you’re interested in fast-moving, high-performance paddleboards. These varieties can tackle tough waves, but they do prove less efficient when it comes to long-distance trips.

If You’re into Distance Paddling, Consider Less-Stable Racing Paddleboards

Long-distance paddlers or racers will want boards similar in shape to kayaks. This means boards with displacement hulls come in handy – so if this suits you, choose a longer, narrower SUP to improve speed while maintaining balance as much as possible.

I’ve Found the Perfect Paddleboard – What’s Next?

You should try broadening your purchase beyond a mere board. You’ll also need to consider a leash, which attaches your board (especially if you aren’t a strong swimmer) and perhaps a personal flotation device if you need some additional safety on board.

Consider Adding Traction to Your Board’s Slippery Surface

Traction pads are a great addition to your paddleboard experience that’ll make things easier. This grippy foam ensures your stance stays static no matter the water on your board—and you can move easily without slipping.

When I Choose a Board, Will I Also Have to Choose Paddles?

Although much of the focus is on boards, you certainly shouldn’t forget about choosing your paddles. Paddles need to be approximately four to 12 inches taller than you, and if you’d like to paddle through whitewater or rough waves, you’ll want yours on the longer side.

Be Particular with Your Paddle’s Blade Shape as Well

Choose smaller-bladed paddles if you need increased maneuverability. This allows you to develop less joint and muscle strain while paddling for long distances through tough terrain. You’ll increase power while keeping speed.

Too Confused by the Options? If All Else Fails, Keep Short and Long in Mind at First

If all else fails and you’re unsure which board is best for you, consider choosing a medium-sized board. These boards of 9 to 12 feet are perfect for all-around paddleboard adventures, making them ideal for beginners and adaptable to any environment, calm or otherwise.

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