What kind of paddle board do I need? Now that is a loaded question. Answers will vary depending on the questioner’s paddling skill level, the paddling environment and whether or not you are buying or renting. For purposes of this article, the assumption will be that the questioner is a first-time buyer.
Several different styles of paddle boards are available in the marketplace. Most styles are designed to perform a specific function. There are touring paddle boards which are long and narrow. They are designed to cut easily through water and to be paddled for several miles. Wave style paddle boards were created to maximize the surf experience. Race paddle boards, even more narrow than touring boards are designed for racing.
If you’re a first-time buyer and you’re asking the question “What kind of paddle board do I need?”, the answer is an All-Around paddle board.
Stable and maneuverable, All Around paddle board shapes are a great first board. All Around boards are designed to be versatile. They function well in most water conditions including small waves.
You will use an All-Around paddle board for years. Even as your skills progress and you purchase more specialized boards, you will still paddle your All Around. Plus, it’s the perfect board for family or friends. When people close to you want to try the sport, they will be able to use your stable All Around, while you use one of your specialized boards.
INFLATABLE OR HARD BOARD
Now that you know what style of paddle board you need; they next decision is determining if you need an inflatable or rigid paddle board. As long as you don’t live in a high-rise or have limited storage capability, you’ll want to get a hard board.
Without going into details, hard paddle boards are simply better than inflatables. Their rigidity makes it easier for the board to glide, and rigid boards also enable more power transfer from the body through the stroke. If you would like to learn more about the difference between hard and inflatable paddle boards, check out this article.
If you have to take an elevator to get to your apartment or condo, or if you don’t have a vehicle, then you should be getting an inflatable paddle board. It will just make your paddling life easier.
To sum everything up, a first-time buyer needs to purchase an All-Around style of paddle board. Whether you get an inflatable or rigid paddle board is up to you. If you have the storage space and ability to transport a hard board, get it.
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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