Buying your first paddle board can be a challenge. Stand up paddle boards (SUP) aren’t cheap, and I know from experience that a first time buyer can quickly be overwhelmed by all of the options and variations that exist in the market place. Inflatable or hard board? What size should you get? Hull shape? Length? Materials? Price? The stuff one needs to learn seems to go on forever. Well, I hope to make your decision making process a little easier, by providing answers to the basic questions faced by every first time buyer.
Inflatable or Hardboard
Should you get an inflatable SUP, or hardboard? I have been asked this question at least 100 times over the years by my students, rental customers and even my niece. Personally, I think that if you have the space, and can afford it, your first board should be a hard board. Why?
Forget the 8’ board that looks wicked in the surf shop. If you are a first time buyer and weigh more than 100 lbs that's way too much board for you! Remember this rule: The smaller the board, the less stable it is. My first board was 11’6”, and I still use it today. I have smaller and longer boards now, but they are for specific purposes like paddle surfing or open ocean downwind paddling. You first board should be a good all around board. You will have it for years (like me), and it will be great for friends and family to use too.
Materials and construction method is what really determine the price of a stand up paddleboard. Better materials make a SUP stronger and lighter. A light board might not matter when you are renting from the beach and they guy carries it to the waterline for you, but when you are walking a few blocks from the parking lot to the beach, it makes a difference.
Only you can determine how much you can afford to pay. If you love paddle boarding and you are dying to get your own board, but your budget is limited, get an inflatable. If you need the best of the best, get a carbon fiber SUP. Otherwise, look for the lightest and best constructed board you can afford with the best materials possible.
I hope these insights will help you with your first stand up paddle board purchase. If you have any questions about purchasing a SUP, I will be glad to help. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 844-Go-Wappa (469-2772).
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
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