How to choose a paddle board? a quick guide to help you to choose a paddle board:

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is something for everyone. You can set out for a relaxing swim on a calm lake or catch waves in the ocean. And you may want to do SUP yoga, or go for a fast-paced paddle to get some workout. Whatever your goals, getting the right board is the secret to your enjoyment. Within this buying guide, we’ll look at the key points you need to think about when choosing a board (also great for paddle board rental )

To find & to help you how to choose a paddle board for you, consider how you’re going to use it, how it suits your body, and how you want it to be treated in the water. The main decision points would be the shape of the board, the correct volume and capability as well as the right length, width and thickness. Whether you want a solid or inflatable board will mostly depend on how you transport it and how much storage space you have. From there, find the fins of a board and any additions or attachments that fit for you. 

Paddleboard Hull Types:

The hull or frame of the paddle board plays a crucial role in deciding how the boat works in the water. Most SUPs have either a plane hull or a displacement hull. There is a handful of hybrid designs that incorporate the best qualities of each design. 

Beginner paddlers can enjoy any hull shape, but some variations make them better suited for certain activities than others. That’s why it’s smart to select a hull style based on how you expect to use your inflatable paddle board. 

Planing Hull

A plane hull is flat and wide, similar to a surfboard. It’s built to sit on top of the water and be very maneuverable. Planing hull boards are a popular option for recreational paddling, sailing, SUP yoga and white-water. 

Displacement Hull

Inflatable paddle boards with displacement hulls have a pointed nose or bow (front end) similar to a kayak or canoe. The hull cuts through the water, forcing the water around the nose to the sides of the SUP to improve efficiency and build a quick, smooth trip. The performance of the displacement hull requires less effort than the padding hull, enabling you to travel longer distances at higher speeds. We still follow smooth and straight but are usually a little less maneuverable than the plane hulls. 

Paddlers use displacement hulls for a variety of applications, but always with an eye to paddling efficiency and speed. Many of the activities include fitness paddling, SUP touring / camping and surfing. 

Solid vs. Inflatable SUPs

Rolling hull and displacement hull SUPs are available in two different general construction styles: strong or inflatable. 

Solid SUPs

Most strong boards have an EPS foam core covered in fiberglass and epoxy. This is a relatively lightweight, robust and inexpensive building. Carbon fiber is a lighter and stiffer alternative, but it is also more costly. Plastic SUPs are cheaper, but they are very heavy and lack the efficiency of other materials. Many SUPs are made of light wood for a stunning look. 

Why get a solid SUP:

  • Quality is your priority: Solid boards deliver the best water efficiency. We fly quicker, easier with less effort than an inflatable. If paddling quick and far is your goal, a strong SUP is for you. 
  • For ideal fit: Solid SUPs are available in a wider range of sizes and precisely tuned shapes than inflatable paddleboards, so you’re more likely to find one that fits you correctly. 
  • Stability is essential: a solid paddleboard is a bit stiffer than an inflatable board, which can offer a more stable feel, mainly when riding waves. Strong boards also prefer to sit lower in the water, which can also produce a more comfortable feeling. 
  • You’ve got a place to store it: Strong SUPs will take up a lot of space. If you have enough storage space in your garage and a vehicle that can handle it, then a strong SUP is a good option. 

Inflatable SUPs

Inflatable SUPs feature a PVC exterior with a drop-stitch design that provides an air core. Inflatable paddleboards come with a pump to inflate the paddleboard and a storage bag when it’s not in use. The high-quality inflatable SUP is designed to be inflated to 12–15 pounds per square inch and should feel very rigid when fully inflated. 

Why get an inflatable paddle board:

  • You have limited space for storage: if you live in a small house, condo or apartment, you may not have room for a big solid board. Inflatable SUPs are lightweight when deflated and can be conveniently placed in small spaces, such as a closet or a car trunk. 
  • You’re traveling: whether you’re on a road trip or if you’re on a boat, you can take your inflatable SUP and do some paddling when you reach your destination. The inflatable can be checked on a plane or placed in a train, bus, or car packed in its storage bag. Most storage bags have backpack straps for fast handling. 
  • You’re hiking to the lake: if you’re going to the alpine lake and you want to swim, you can’t have a solid surface. An inflatable stowed in his storage bag is still big, but it’s pretty much your only option. 
  • You’re paddling white water: like a raft or an inflatable kayak, an inflatable SUP is better suited for navigating bumps around rocks and logs than a solid surface. 
  • You like paddleboard yoga: you don’t have to get inflatable for SUP yoga, but they appear to be a little softer than solid surfaces, making them more comfortable for yoga poses. 

Try it on a paddle board rental if you want before to buy one

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SUP Volume and Weight

A SUP board have to fit with your size. When the board does not displace the appropriate amount of water for your weight, you will not be well supported, and the board will feel unstable. Board volume and weight capacity are two variables that influence how stable you feel and how well the board flows through the water. 

Volume and weight capacity shall be determined by the length, width, and thickness of the plate. SUP manufacturers combine these three dimensions in a number of ways to achieve specific performance characteristics (see the SUP Height, SUP Width, and SUP Thickness parts of this article for more information). 

Volume: The volume of the paddleboard, measured in liters, reflects the capacity of the vessel to float by weight. The higher the distance, the greater the weight that the board can bear. You will find the volume for the SUP specified in the pakaloa.com specification. 

Weight Capacity: Each paddle board has a rider’s weight capacity, which is specified in pounds in the pakaloa.com specifications. Understanding weight capacity is vital because if you’re too big for a boat, it’s going to be lower in the water and difficult to paddle. If talking about weight power, consider the total amount of weight you are going to bring on the frame, including your body weight and the weight of any clothing, food, and drinking water you are going to carry with you. 

Weight and capacity as it relates to the hull type: the majority of the hull boards are very forgiving, and as long as you are below the weight capacity, the board will perform well for you. Nevertheless, with the SUP displacement of the hull, volume and weight capability are more important. SUP manufacturers spend a lot of time deciding the most suitable location for the displacement boards to be in the water. If you overweight the displacement board and make it sink too far, it will drag and feel sluggish. When you’re too small for a board, you’re not going to sink it enough, and the board will feel heavy and difficult to manipulate. 

Paddleboard Length

The length of the frame plays a crucial role in deciding the board’s handling. Generally, longer boards are quicker than shorter boards, but shorter boards are more maneuverable. Keep in mind your intended use when determining how long SUP to buy:

  • Shortboards (under 10) ‘are perfect for surfing and/or kids. Almost always, these boards have a planing hull. Shortboards are more maneuverable than long ones, making them ideal for surfing waves. Boards designed especially for children are typically around 8 ‘tall. 
  • Medium boards (10 ‘to 12’) are suitable for all-round use and SUP yoga. Some of these boards have planing hulls, but sometime you’ll see the SUP displacement hull at this length. 
  • Large boards (12’6 “and above) are perfect for easy paddling and long-distance touring. The bulk of the boards in this size range are SUP displacements. They’re quicker than the short and medium ones, so they seem to be straighter. If you’re interested in paddling quickly or traveling long distances, you’re going to want a long paddle. 

While selecting a length, it is important to consider how it applies to volume and weight power. Longer boards can increase volume and capacity, which can make them feel more comfortable and allow them to hold more on board (width and thickness are also factors in volume and ability; see the SUP Width and SUP Thickness parts of this article). 

Remember, too, the length of the board in terms of your type of vehicle, the home storage situation, and the duration of the walk to the beach or shore (longer boards are more difficult to carry, particularly in windy places). 

Paddleboard Width

Width is another significant element that influences the way the board treats it. A wider board would also be more stable than a thin board, but bear in mind that a wider board can be slower and if the board is too wide for you, difficult to paddle. SUPs are manufactured in widths ranging from 25 inches to 36 inches to match a wide variety of needs.

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When deciding how big your SUP should be, think about the type of paddling you’re doing, your body size and ability level:

  • The size of paddling: if you’re going on long tours that allow you to bring extra equipment, such as a food cooler and a tent, choose a paddle board wider in order to have more storage space. The same is true if you do SUP yoga; a board that is 31 inches long or more will allow you room and stability to make poses. Narrower decks, on the other hand, are quicker and more maneuverable, making them the alternative between racers and surfers. 
  • Body size: Try to align the body type with the width of the SUP. Generally, if you’re a small person, go with a smaller board, and if you’re a big guy, go with a wider board. That is because a smaller person can usually find a balance on a narrow surface, while a larger person can fail to do so. Often, if you put a smaller person on a board that’s too large for them, they have to clumsily reach out to the side to bring their paddle in the water, resulting in an inefficient stroke. 
  • Skill level: If you’ve paddled a lot, you could be confident on a smaller, quicker SUP. However, someone brand new to SUP would prefer a little extra width to make them feel more comfortable. 

Like with range, width affects the total volume and weight efficiency, so you should select a width with this in mind. For example, if you have defined the length you want based on the type of paddling you want to use, you can choose the width (and/or thickness; see the paddleboard thickness section of this post) that gives you the correct volume and weight capacity of the board. 

Paddleboard thickness

After finding a board with the length and width that makes the best sense to you and your paddling style, consider the third factor: the thickness of the board. 

The key explanation for considering the thickness of the stand-up paddleboard is how it influences the total volume and weight power. If you look at two boards with the same length and width but with different thicknesses, the thicker the board has more volume than the thinner one and the higher the volume, the more weight it can bear. 

Here’s how you might use thickness: you’ve decided that you want a long, thin, flat-water cruising surface. If you are a small individual, using a thin board will keep the total volume of the board lower so that you weight the board correctly for the most effective results. 

Paddleboard Fins

Fins attach stability and monitoring to the paddleboard. Generally, larger fins with wider bases and longer front edges can track straighter and provide more stability than smaller fins. On the other hand, a smaller fin has greater maneuverability. Many of the fins are removable, so you can change out the fins and use them for storage. 

There are several different choices for how the fins are mounted at the bottom of your SUP. Some of the common SUP fin configurations include:

  • Single fin: many SUPs have a single fin placed in a fin box and secured with a nut and screw. The fin box has a door for the fin to slide back and forth. The single fin offers good tracking and low drag, making it a good option for flat-water paddling. 
  • 3-fin rig: Also called a thruster, this configuration facilitates straight tracking on flat water and provides good power in surfing. The three fins are typical of the same size. 
  • Configuration 2 + 1: This design involves a larger central fin with a smaller fin on either side of it. It is a growing configuration of SUPs built for surfing. 
  • Finds for inflatable SUPs: Inflatable SUPs that have any of the fin configurations already specified. What sets them a part is that they have either flexible rubber fins fixed to the board or detachable semi-rigid fins. 

SUP Additions and Accessories

How to Choose a Paddle Board &  accessories: Depending on how you decide to use your SUP, you may want to look for a paddleboard with extra features, such as

  • Bungee straps / tied-down: often placed on the front and/or back of the board, these extended straps or tie-down spots are perfect for securing dry bags, clothes, and coolers. 
  • Attachment points/mounts: Some boards have different attachment points for fishing rod holders, chairs, cameras, and more. Such parts are typically sold separately. 

After buying a SUP, you need a few more main pieces of equipment to enjoy paddleboarding. These include:

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Paddle: A paddleboard paddle looks a bit like a stretched-out canoe paddle with a tear-shaped blade that angles forward for optimum paddling capacity. The right length paddle should touch your wrist when you stand the paddle in front of you and lift your arm over your head. 

PFD’s (Personal Flotation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard classifies paddleboards as boats (when used beyond the restricted limits of swimming or surfing areas), and you must wear a PFD. In our post, PFDs: How to Choose, learn how to pick the best PFD for you. Remember that the regulations also allow you to always bring a safety whistle and to have the light accessible if you are paddling after sunset. 

Proper clothing: in cold temperatures where hypothermia is a problem, wear a wet suit or a dry suit. In milder temperatures, wear shorts and a t-shirt or bathing suit — something that travels with you and can get wet and dry easily. 

Leash: Usually sold separately, a leash is tied to your SUP, holding it near when you fall off. Your paddleboard is a large flotation device, so attaching to it may be vital to your health. There are leashes built specifically for sailing, flat water, and rivers; be sure to buy the correct leash for your intended use. 

Car rack: If you don’t have an inflatable SUP, you need a way to move your board to your car. There are special SUP racks built to match the crossbar of your roof rack, or you can use padding, such as foam blocks, inflatable blocks and utility straps to attach the board to the roof of your car.

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