What is the Best Sup for Beginners?
Now that you’ve decided to purchase your first paddle board, it is time to do some serious shopping. Even the cheapest paddle boards cost several hundred dollars, and quality paddle boards easily cost more than a thousand. There are a lot of options in the paddle board market, and as a first-time buyer there are several decisions you have to make. Should you choose an inflatable or rigid SUP? What style is best? What size?
All of those questions can be summed up into one:
What is the best SUP for beginners?
The term “best beginner SUP” is subjective, so it’s important to explain how the conclusions are drawn. In my view, the best SUP for a beginner is any one that will give them early success while enabling them to not outgrow the board and still love it for years to come.
Best Board Style for Beginners
Let’s cut to the chase. When it comes to board style, a beginner should purchase an All-Around style of SUP. This style of paddle boards is designed to be able to do everything. From flat water to waves, these boards can do it all. As a new comer to the sport, An All-Around board will let you try everything paddle boarding has to offer. Maybe you will love going for long paddles out to the middle of the lake, or perhaps surfing becomes your passion. After you’ve been paddling your All Around for a couple of years, you’ll have a better idea as to what you want next. Perhaps it will be a touring board or wave board. The point is, an All-Around board will enable you to try it all.
All Around boards designs are shaped to provide very good stability for beginners. They are wider then touring boards, and longer than most surf style SUPs.
Should Beginners Get an Inflatable SUP?
Inflatable paddle boards are certainly less expensive than rigid paddle boards. As a beginner and first-time buyer, paying less money for your first board is appealing. Especially, if you’re not sure how much you will use it.
If paying less for your first paddle board seems like a great idea, then an inflatable may be the right choice for you. As a beginner, it is very important that you purchase a high quality inflatable SUP that provides excellent rigidity. You need rigidity. It helps provide balance, and a stiffer board is easier to paddle in the water. Don’t set yourself up for failure by purchasing an inexpensive inflatable. They won’t make your life easier as a beginner, and your long term needs won’t be met.
It is best to either purchase a high quality inflatable or a rigid paddle board. Just remember, all inflatables strive to be as stiff as a rigid board, and that a quality inflatable SUP is as expensive as a rigid one.
Proper SUP Size for Beginners
Determining the proper SUP size are articles in themselves and we have written about the topic previously. Suffice it to say that the larger the board, the more stable it is. Many beginners believe that getting a large board is great, because it is very stable from day one. Unfortunately, if the board is too large, as the new rider gains experience, the once stable board feels like they are pushing a tug boat through the water. Now that the rider has better balance, the extra stability the overly large board initially provided is no longer appreciated.
To sum it up, the best SUP for beginners is an All-Around style. The choice of Inflatable or rigid SUP is yours. Being a manufacturer of rigid bamboo paddle boards, I am biased towards rigid. Rigid boards are superior in almost all aspects, but ultimately, you have to decide what is best for your situation. Just make sure that no matter your choice, get a board that fits you properly. Your local surf shop can help you with finding the proper fit.
Have fun and welcome to the paddle boarding community!
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.
board performance explained
board care & maintenance
great for families
SUP for women
want a deal?
wholesale paddle boards