As a manufacturer, Wappa regularly receives the question “How much do paddle boards weigh”. We’re always glad to answer this question, because a paddle board’s weight is a good indicator of the technology, manufacturing techniques and materials that went into the construction of the product.
Depending on the board’s size and materials, a paddle board could weigh as little as 10.5 lbs or as much as 60 lbs. Simply put, a paddle board’s weight is almost directly connected to its price. The lighter and stronger the board, the more expensive it will be.
So why the weight discrepancy? How a paddle board is made, its size and the materials that go into it are primary factors in a SUP’s weight.
Ideally, a shopper wants to purchase the lightest, stiffest paddle board he or she can afford. If money is no object, a pure carbon fiber SUP is the way to go. Carbon fiber is super strong and super light. It’s a great technology for paddle boards, as long as you can afford the $3K price tag that come with it. A 7’ long all carbon fiber surf style paddle board can weigh as little as 10.5 lbs.
On the other end of the weight scale is injection molded shapes that are filled with foam. Often these paddle boards are often manufactured by kayak or boat companies. These boards are very durable and they only cost a few hundred dollars. However, these types of paddle boards weigh in around the 50 lb range for a 10’6” long SUP.
Look for paddle boards that are made using sandwich construction technology AND vacuum bagging. Sandwich construction is the layering and compressing of different layers of materials around the core. Vacuum bagging removes all excess epoxy applied during the sandwiching processing. This enables the board to lose excess weight without losing strength.
Just because a brand uses sandwich technology, don’t assume that the board has also been vacuum bagged. Cheaper products are often not vacuum bagged, which causes excess epoxy to set in the fiberglass layers, and increases board weight.
If you’re going to purchase a carbon fiber board, feel free to skip ahead. Carbon fiber replaces the layers of fiberglass, and most epoxy resulting in a lighter SUP.
Examine the layers of fiberglass your prospective paddle board may have. Cheap board may only have one or two layers of fiberglass. More expensive paddle boards will have more than 2 layers. Manufacturers use multiple layers of fiberglass and other materials to improve board stiffness and strength. However, don’t be fooled by a board that has 4+ layers of fiberglass. While stronger, each layer of fiberglass adds weight from the amount of epoxy needed for application.
That’s the key, finding a paddle board brand that is strong, light and affordable. It’s for this reason that Wappa manufactures exclusively in bamboo. Bamboo eliminates a layer of fiber glass and it’s accompanying weight without sacrificing the structural integrity of the paddle board.
Paddle Board Size
It should go without saying that with all other factors being equal, the longer and wider a paddle board is, the heavier it will be compared to a smaller board made the same way. Weight may vary by less than one pound for every foot in length depending on the manufacturing style.
The simple answer to the question “How much do paddle boards weigh?”, is that it varies. Weight is a good comparison factor. As stated earlier, a buyer should want the lightest, stiffest paddle board one can afford. However, I will say this, do not purchase a paddle board solely on price while ignoring its weight. Would you rather get exhausted pushing some heavy tug boat through the water or day, or would you prefer to be zooming along having a great time with a board that is half its weight but twice the price? Ultimately, it’s up to you.
“What should I wear”? was a common question I heard when I operated a stand-up paddle boarding school. While it was simple to tell my students what to wear, there is no easy answer to this question in a general article. It depends on where you live, your experience level, and the weather conditions on your paddle day.
Instead of recommending any single outfit for paddle boarding, I suggest you consider the following recommendations when planning your outing.
Dress for Your Experience Level
Novice paddlers tend to fall into the water more often than experienced riders. Just because you are going for a paddle with an experienced friend, it doesn’t mean you should be dressing like her. She may anticipate having an easy paddle and may dress accordingly because she is confident she won’t be falling. You on the other hand, should plan on falling, and getting wet. Dress appropriately.
Dress to Get Wet
Can you paddle in jeans and a sweatshirt? Sure can, but if you have ever tried swimming in wet heavy clothing, you know it’s not fun. Wear synthetic fabrics that are thin and drain the water quickly. These fabric types are light, dry quickly and keep you from getting cold. Bathing suits, board shorts, athletic apparel all work well in the water.
Dress for the Environment
The physical environment really dictates what you should be wearing. If you live in North America or Europe, board shorts, swimsuits and rash guards will be all you need in the summer months. In the spring or fall, shorts and a kayak jacket will work. Also consider wearing booties in the spring and fall months once the water gets cold again. Maybe it’s just me, but when cold water is constantly splashing on my feet in April or May, my tootsies get a little uncomfortable.
When it’s warm and sunny, a rash guard is a must. It keeps the sun off your back, and if you get hot, just jump in the water and your wet rash guard will keep you cool for the next 30 minutes of hard paddling.
Dress for Cold Water
Paddling in colder months when the water temperature is in the 40’s -60’s Fahrenheit should only be done with a wet suit. According to a University of Minnesota study a person loses body heat 25% faster in cold water (40°-60°F). Without protection, you could lose consciousness in as little as 30 minutes if you became stranded in the water.
Don’t Wear Constrictive Tops
Paddling requires your upper body to twist, bend and extend. Don’t wear clothes that are constricting or bind in the armpits. I have had several students over the years complain that they wore the wrong top and were uncomfortable.
Don’t Wear Anything You’re Not Prepared to Lose
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. It doesn’t matter how good of a paddler you are, at some point you will have an unexpected fall. If you are not prepared to have your sunglasses, hat or phone sink to the bottom of the ocean, DON’T WEAR THEM PADDLE BOARDING. You might not lose them today or tomorrow, but you will lose them eventually.
Be Comfortable with Your Body
The most important thing is to be comfortable when your paddle boarding. If you would never wear a bathing suit, but are comfortable going into the water wearing a T Shirt and shorts. Do it! The simple fact is that you have enough to concentrate about just staying up and paddling. You don’t need to worry about being self conscious by the way you look.
I’ve developed these tips during my years of teaching. I’ve had students who were young and old, skinny and fat. I’ve learned that as long as people follow the tips I’ve listed above, they have had a good paddle boarding experience. If you keep what I wrote in mind, I’m sure you will have a great time too.
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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