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Different Kinds of Stand Up Paddleboards: Which One Fits You?

If you enjoy being outdoors, and want to have fun on the water, you should definitely give stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) a try.

Not only is paddleboarding a pleasurable water sport, it can also have major benefits for your physical and mental health.

Spending a few hours every week in the lap of nature, surrounded by tranquil waters, can work wonders for your mental health. SUP has been known to help people deal with feelings of anxiety and claustrophobia, while also providing them with an opportunity to spend quality time with their family and friends.

On the other hand, paddling long distances – and navigating large waves on the SUP board – can help build your core and back muscles. Regular paddling is also a great way to improve your balance, burn calories, and enhance your fitness levels through a fun and engaging activity.

Why You Need a Great Paddleboard

To make the most of your paddleboarding sessions, however, you need to have the right SUP kit or equipment. And the most important piece of SUP equipment is, as you may have guessed, the paddleboard itself.

You will, of course, also need to invest in a pair of adjustable paddles, a pump, a comfortable ankle leash, and loads of sunscreen. But none of that will do you any good without a world-class paddleboard to carry you over the waves and currents.

What kind of SUP you want to try will determine which paddleboard is ideal for you. With a stand-up paddleboard, you can go racing, explore foreign shores, surf tall waves, practice yoga, or simply float around your local lake, watching the fish swim by underneath.

Due to the versatility of the sport, there is no one type of paddleboard that is ideal for everyone. The major types of SUP boards include the all-around board, the racing board, the touring board, the surfing board, and the yoga board.

Each one of these paddleboard varieties is made from different materials. The different types of paddleboards also come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and volumes. As a rule of thumb, however, most paddleboards are made from wood, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), fiberglass, foam, or polyethylene.

If you know about the features of each of the different kinds of SUP boards, it will be easier for you to choose the one that best suits your needs. This, in turn, will help you stay safe, comfortable, and self-possessed on the water, even when the conditions are less than ideal.

That’s why we will now take stock of the different kinds of stand-up paddleboards available in the market.

Inflatable and Solid Paddleboards

As the name suggests, an inflatable paddleboard is one that can be inflated or deflated, according to the needs of the user. Such paddleboards are typically made from polyethylene, foam, or PVC. When not in use, they can be folded up and packed away inside a backpack or case.

Inflatable SUPs can be inflated with the help of a pump (be it manual or electronic), just before a paddleboarding session. This makes inflatable boards highly portable, convenient, and easy to store. If you are planning a beach vacation, for instance, you’ll have no trouble taking the inflatable board with you on a train, airplane, or in the trunk of your car.

Solid or hard paddleboards, on the other hand, are typically made from wood, fiberglass, and epoxy resin. These are typically large, wide, inflexible, and heavy. This makes them difficult to transport from one place to another.

However, what a solid paddleboard lacks in portability, it makes up for in performance and durability. Experienced paddleboarders usually opt for solid boards when they have to surf tall waves or navigate choppy waters.

The sturdiness of a solid paddleboard makes it more stable and maneuverable on the water. As a result, solid boards are preferred when the currents are fast or the weather adverse. Being heavier, they are less likely to flip over or get knocked around by strong currents.

Choosing the Right Paddleboard 

When buying a stand-up paddleboard, you will have to choose from a wide range of available options. Some of the most popular types of SUP boards are as follows:

  • All-Around Board: Also known as recreational paddleboards, these boards are designed for beginner paddlers, focusing more on buoyancy and stability than performance. When buying an all-around board, you should ensure that it is at least 10’6 feet in length and 32 inches in width. This will ensure that you are able to sit and stand comfortably on your paddleboard, with minimal risk of falling into the water.

  • Touring Paddleboard: These boards are designed specifically for long-distance paddleboarding sessions that may last eight hours or more. They are optimized for sturdiness and maneuverability, and can be used to explore remote beaches, lagoons, coral reefs, etc. Most touring boards are inflatable, so that you can take them with you on trips.
  • Surfing Paddleboard: These boards are designed for optimal performance on choppy waters and tall waves. Usually, solid paddleboards are used for surfing, as they offer greater stability and maneuverability, making it easier to catch waves without falling into the water. They typically also feature a wide, rounded hull, to ensure that the board glides smoothly over the waves, rather than cutting through them.
  • Racing Paddleboard: Optimized for speed, these paddleboards are narrow and long. They are usually 13-14 feet in length and 25 inches wide. They are slightly less stable than the average paddleboard, but can cut quickly through the water, covering great distances in a short time. They usually feature a displacement hull for better traction.

Think carefully about what kind of paddleboarding you want to partake in, before you choose the board that is right for you. Additionally, be sure to only purchase your paddleboard (and all other SUP gear) from a reputed seller that you can trust.

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