There are a few things to take into consideration when shopping for a SUP board. In this post, we’ll highlight some important points to help you choose the right stand up paddle board.
1. Board Style
Inflatable paddle boards come in different shapes and sizes, here’s a brief overview that might help you with your decision making when choosing an inflatable SUP board.
Short & Narrow
Shorter SUP boards offer more maneuverability when turning in the water. Narrow boards tend to be quicker over wider SUP boards. Smaller boards are often best suited to smaller, lighter paddlers but if you’d prefer a smoother more stable paddling experience then do consider something longer and wider. Lighter paddlers can of course use bigger boards for better stability but we wouldn’t recommend a heavier paddler use a smaller board that cannot carry approx 1½ times their body weight.
Long & Wide
Wider boards tend to offer greater stability and will be stiffer on water when paddling. A longer board can carry more weight, are generally easier to paddle long distances and you won’t have to change sides as much on your paddle stroke to maintain a straight line in the water. The Aqua Marina ATLAS is a larger wider board and you’ll find other, similar iSUP boards in our All Round Advanced category.
Long & Narrow
Longer boards are better for distance on water and narrower boards are better for speed. SUP boards like Aqua Marina HYPER 11’6″ or MOAI 12’6″ from our Touring category are built for speed, adventure and are recommended for the more advanced thrill seeking paddler.
Your weight would be the first thing to consider, you’ll want a board that can hold your weight and maintain stability. Our inflatable SUP boards range from payloads of 50kg to 170kg. Max payloads are listed on each board’s page under ‘additional information’ in our shop. SUP boards can vary in height from around 8’ for youths up to 14’ for racing.
A SUP board’s volume (measured in litres) is also a consideration under the topic of weight. Just like that interesting chapter on ‘displacement‘ from your school science book, the volume of a board will offset the weight of the person(s) on it.
1 litre of volume = 1 kg in body weight
If you weigh 80kg and stand on a board with 80 litres of volume, the top of the SUP board will be level with the waterline. This will keep you above water, but just barely. A general guide would be to double your weight in kg and convert to litres so find a suitable board for your weight, therefore a board with a volume of 140L – 160L would be suitable for a weight of 80kg.
Inflatable SUP boards when pumped to the correct recommended air pressure (usually 15PSI) are generally quite stable, but thicker boards of 6″ (15cm) do tend to offer more stability over boards 4″ thick. All dimensions are listed on each inflatable board’s description.
4. Skill Level
If you are new to SUPing, we’d recommend a board from the All Round or All Round Advanced range. For those that are comfortable on the water and would like a little more adventure, stealth and speed have a look at the Touring or Racing lines.