If you want to enjoy hours of fun on the water, finding the right paddleboard can be a challenging decision. There seems to be an endless array of paddleboards to choose from, each with their own shape, design, and purpose. If you are looking to buy a paddleboard for the first time, or if you are looking to upgrade your paddleboard because your skills are growing, how can you know which is the best paddleboard? This guide will help you know which paddleboard is right for you.
Factors to Find the Perfect Paddleboard
First of all, deciding on which paddle board to buy will depend on a number of factors. These are:
- Type of paddleboarding activity. If you plan on using it for racing, surfing or want a general all-around paddleboard, then the shape is a factor.
- The weight of the paddlers. In general, the heavier the user, then more volume and buoyancy the paddleboard should have.
- Storage space. If storage space is an issue then you can buy an inflatable SUP.
There are many different types of paddleboards to suit all types of activities and all sizes of paddlers. Let’s look at the 4 main types of paddleboards:
Planing Hull Paddleboard
This is the most common type of paddleboard because it makes for a great all-around SUP. It usually has a shaped or rockered bottom, round pointed nose and rounded tail (pin tail), squared off tail, more stability or a v-cut tail (swallow tail). Swallow tail more common in Surf specific. These boards can turn very easily, zig zag and play in the waves and are much more stable than a surfboard. Because of the lifted nose and tails, they are easy to maneuver. So, if you plan on using your SUP on small to mid-size waves with some wind, then this is a great choice. The shorter boards are better for surf whereas the longer boards are more stable and better for gliding on flat water. This board style is like a mountain bike, very maneuverable, can go anywhere, fun to play on the bumps with.
Displacement Hull Paddleboard
Paddleboards with a displacement hull are designed for speed and are usually the choice of racers or someone wanting a touring board for paddling longer distances.The main characteristic is a nose more like a kayak or canoe which helps to cut through the water rather than go over the top of the water. They are usually narrower and longer than other boards. The hull design also provides much better volume and this means that the board will float more on the water. This means that you get more distance per stroke with a displacement hull paddleboard. Think of this board as more of a road bike.
Surf Shape Paddleboard
As its name suggests, the surf shape paddleboard is more designed for having fun on the waves. The shape more resembles a surf board and are mostly used the same way as you would a surfboard. Because of the hull design, they are not the best choice if you plan on going long distances. The longer surf shape paddleboards are better designed for recreational paddling and the shorter one are better for the surf.
If storage space or transport is an issue, then an inflatable paddleboard is an excellent choice as they require little room. They also come complete with a high-pressure pump so that you can inflate them enough to do everything a standard paddleboard can do. It also makes it a great option for kids because there is less risk of injury with an inflatable paddleboard. Inflatable paddleboards are great all-around boards and provide fun for the whole family or you can purchase a inflatable race board and hit some some of the races on your next holiday without trying to ship your carbon race board which would arrive in 2 pieces most likely. Extremely versatile and the fastest growing area in paddleboard design.
The next factor in finding the perfect paddleboard is to think about the design. There are many factors that can influence the final cost of the board. These are:
- Size. Larger paddleboards will cost more.
- Materials. Paddleboards have to be light and durable. Most are made from Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) or Extruded Polystyrene (XPS). All will use some fiberglass, and varying amounts of carbon fiber.
- Veneers. Paddleboards come in various veneers and this can affect the price of the board.
A paddleboard can give you hours of fun on the water, but it’s important to choose the right one. Think how much that nice new pair of powder skis cost you or that new road bike you just got, or carbon golf clubs. Paddleboarding is an amazing sport, you don’t have to buy a season’s pass or fuel it up, you can paddle on just about any body of water. There are all levels of boards as in a any sport. The best way find which paddleboard is best for your needs to visit your local SUP shop and ask for a demonstration.