3 Tips On How To Choose A Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)


We already explained how to choose the right stand-up paddleboard for the water  – trust us, it matters – and now we’re back with a few tips for choosing the right SUP period. Read and learn.


1. Start with your personal stats
Board manufacturers routinely publish the length, width, thickness, weight and volume of a board. Here’s what you need to know about these specs.


IMG_0728• The length of a paddleboard will affect its speed and maneuverability. The longer the board is (increased waterline), the faster it will go. But the bigger you are, the longer of a board you’ll need. Bottom line – it has to work for your size by displacing enough water for your weight. Anything under 11’6 for an average adult will fall into the surfboard-style category, so keep that in mind if you’re paddling local (Tahoe, Lahontan, Boca, Sparks Marina, etc.) or other types of flat-water like ocean harbors, inlets, bays, and beyond the surf zone.


• The width of a board is somewhat directly related to stability – the wider the board, the more stable it will be on the water. On the flipside, the wider you go, the less maneuverable the board and the heavier it gets when you’re hauling it around off the water.


• The volume of a board gets tricky. This spec is directly related to buoyancy (i.e. weight capacity). You want a paddleboard that has enough volume for your own weight, and any extra gear loaded on to it. Every manufacturer lists weight capacity for each board, which usually looks like enough to hold two or three people at once. But keep in mind this stat isn’t necessarily ideal because it takes into account the volume of the whole board. When in fact, only the volume of the board under water (when loaded) is related to the weight being displaced. You should also understand that most surf-style SUP’s are designed with less volume because they are primarily used in salt water, which becomes inefficient in fresh water when it comes to buoyancy.


Your height and weight are a good place to start when it comes to choosing the perfect SUP. Make sure to take into account the combination of the above three board specifications and not just one. Most manufacturers indicate which boards are intended for paddlers of varying sizes, so don’t be afraid to ask.


2. What’s your plan?
Are you going to be racing on this paddleboard? Cruising the lake? Playing in the chop? Is it just for you, or will the kids be hopping on too? An elite race board may work in one scenario, or be an expensive disaster in another. Be sure to consider how you’ll be using your board before you buy. We recommend choosing the “best fit” category for what you will be using it for, then pick a specific board from there.




3. Consider the water
We discussed water conditions at length in our previous post, but in a nutshell, different boards excel in different water conditions. If you’ll be paddling on flat-water, a flat-water design is your best bet. If you’ll be surfing, go with a surf-style SUP. Again, manufacturer descriptions should detail where each board excels.


4. Bonus tip – don’t buy a board based on your ability today
The learning curve on a stand-up paddleboard is exceedingly gentle. Don’t drop all that cash on aboard you’re going to outgrow before your very first session. Personal stats and how and where you’ll be paddling are a much sounder platform for scoring that perfect SUP.


Ready to take the plunge on a board of your own? We’re psyched to answer your questions and get you set up with the perfect SUP. Call, click or come on in today.


6 responses to “3 Tips On How To Choose A Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

  1. Hey, I’m new to the sport and looking to buy my first board this summer. I’m 6′ 3″ and 190lbs. I like the Wet Woody board and was wondering if I’d be better off on a normal wet woody or a wet woody sport?

    Thanks !

  2. Hi, I’ve been paddle boarding for a few years now on a “beginner” board. It’s an extremely heavy (45lbs) board that doesn’t get me around very quickly. Plus it’s near impossible to transport on your own. Typically I’m out on a fairly calm bay at the cottage with occasional chop. I’ve been looking at the heavenly air as a good option in case I want to start travelling to different locations. I’m about 5’11” and 150lbs.
    Would this be a good option? Also, what would a good solid option be? thanks!

    1. Hi Eric, the boards made this day and time are extremely durable, stable, and less in weight. All do to better construction through years of development. Find a board that’s suits your type of water conditions along with knowing your weight and height will direct you into the right board of choice. If you need additional help just give us a call 775-852-9100 and we will be more than happy to guide you in the right direction.

  3. My finance and I are new to paddle boarding we are really loving the sport. We were looking for something that will pretty much do everything. I would like to be able to do yoga and be fast enough to keep up with him. We live in Florida so salt water most of the time. Also like to be able to handle chop water if we need to. We don’t surf. He might want to try fishing from the board. Sorry I’m jumping all over the place with this, just very new to the sport and want to spend money on the proper board.

    I’m 5’2 140lbs.
    He is 6’5 210lbs.

    Thank you

  4. Hi I am 5’10” 195 lbs. would love to use the board on rivers and ocean. What would be the best board for me.

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