How To Choose A Stand up Paddle Board

How To Choose A Stand Up Paddle

Board SUP

Looking to get into stand up paddle boarding? The great part about this sport is all you need is a board and paddle. There a few different ways you can use a Stand Up Paddle Board and there are specific types of boards for each area. The first step will be determining what type of paddling you will be doing.


What type of Stand Up Paddling will you be doing?       

Fun and fitness: Most beginners will fall into this category. This includes leisure paddling and fitness sessions like Yoga on flat water surfaces. This would also include riding small to medium sized waves on the ocean.

Your main concern will be choosing a SUP board with stability and maneuverability for all-around use.

Touring or Race: This is for more advanced paddling and involves covering long distances and reaching high speeds. You should look for a board that can reach high speeds efficiently. Your main goal when you are choosing a SUP Touring/Race board is speed and efficiency in the water.

Core materials, width, length, hull type and fins all affect the stability, maneuverability, speed and efficiency of a board. We will breakdown each one so you can have a better idea on how to choose a stand up paddle board.


Sup Hull Types

Planing and displacement are the two Hull types a SUP board will have and they play a major role in determining how the board performs in the water.


Planing Hull (Wide)

 Perfect for beginners who want more of an all-around board.

A wide hull is designed to provide more flotation, which performs great with ocean waves. Beginners like these because they tend to be stable and can be used for surfing and recreational paddling.


Displacement Hull (Narrow)

 Best for paddling long distances and racing.

Displacement hulls are designed to cut through the water instead of floating on top of it, which makes the board more efficient. These boards are for more advanced riders, because they are longer and narrower which makes the board easier to tip over.


                   Planing Hull                                          Displacement Hull


SUP Volume and Weight Capacity

Just like any other object that floats on water, stand up paddle boards also have a weight limit that it can handle. The boards volume is determined by its weight, length, thickness and shape. The higher the volume the more weight the board can handle. The boards volume is expressed in liters, so the higher the number the more weight the board can handle. Below is a chart to give you a starting point.




Weight: 120-150 lb.
Length: 10 ft. 6 in.-11 ft.
Width: 28-30 in.

Weight: 120-150 lb.
Length: 9 ft.-10 ft. 6 in
Width: 26-26.5 in.

Weight: 160-190 lb..
Length: 11 ft.
Width: 29-32 in.

Weight: 160-190 lb.
Length: 9 ft. 6 in.-10 ft. 6 in.
Width: 27-28 in.

Weight: 200-230 lb.
Length: 11 ft.-11 ft. 6 in.
Width: 29-32 in.

Weight: 200-230 lb.
Length: 10 ft.-11 ft.
Width: 28-28.5 in.

Weight: 240-270 lb.
Length: 11 ft. 6 in.-12 ft.
Width: 32-33 in.

Weight: 240-270 lb.
Length: 11 ft.-11 ft. 6 in.
Width: 29.5-31.5 in.

Weight: 280+ lb.
Length: 12 ft.
Width: 33 in.

Weight: 280+ lb.
Length: 12 ft.
Width: 32 in.


SUP Length

Paddling on a calm lake and riding waves in the ocean are different types of paddle boarding, so it makes a difference what length your board is.  

Short boards: These are under 9’ and are more maneuverable which make them great for surfing.

Medium boards: Range from 9’ to 12’. Great start for a beginner to use for all-around paddle boarding on calm lakes and rivers.

Long boards: Touring and Racing boards. Range from 12’6” to 14’

Long narrow boards are faster and cut through the water which make them perfect for long paddles and racing.


SUP Width

Board width plays a major role in determining stability. The wider the board the easier it will be to stand on.

Wide boards (31” or wider): Wider boards provide more stability than narrow boards which makes them easier to stand on, but that also makes them slower than narrow boards.

Narrow boards (29” to 31”): Narrow boards are less stable; however, they are much faster than wider boards.


SUP Fins

Fins help add tracking and stability to the board

Single fin: For boards used on flat water bays, lakes and ponds a single fin works just well.

Tri Fin: A tri-fin provides straight tracking on flat water and good control while surfing.


SUP Paddle

Now that you know which type of board you will need; the next step is finding a paddle. You want to choose a paddle that is 6” to 8” taller than you for maximum efficiency.

You should be well on your way to purchasing your new stand up paddle board and finally enjoy what this sport has to offer. If you need more help, leave a comment below or contact us directly and one of our experts will answer any questions you still have. Start browsing our selection of boards and use your new knowledge to find the perfect SUP for you. 


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