A Guide To Buying Your First Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)
Stand-up paddleboarding has become ever increasingly popular in recent years. From its idyllic roots associated with the tropical waters of Hawaii and South East Asia, SUP has now become a common water themed pastime on rivers, lakes and coastlines throughout the United Kingdom.
Despite its reputation as a calm and relaxing watersport, stand-up paddleboarding actually offers an incredibly effective total body workout. The muscles that are worked simply through balancing and turning on your board can be a great substitute for the traditional cardiovascular routine.
Of course, the main draw of stand-up paddleboarding is the way in which boarders can capture a unique perspective of nature from the water rather than the land. Exploring the rivers of the UK or seeing a coastlines beauty from out on your paddleboarding can be a great way to experience nature.
For these reasons, and many others, an increasing number of people are taking to the waters on paddleboards and trying out a new hobby that they otherwise wouldn’t have. With this comes a multitude of questions that newbies have in terms of what they should be looking out for when purchasing their first SUP.
So here’s our handy guide on the number of different things that should be taken into consideration when making the purchase of your first stand-up paddleboard.
The Comprehensive Guide On Purchasing Your First SUP Board
The first thing which you need to address for SUP boards is the ideal thickness level you feel comfortable with. Inflatable stand-up paddleboards range from between 10 centimetres to 15 centimetres in thickness.
Whilst a board on the lower end of this scale will be lighter and somewhat easier to manoeuvre, the closer you are to the water will increase the chance of the board taking on some water - making it harder to balance and more likely to fall in.
All in all, selecting the right size for your first stand-up paddleboard is dependent on how confident you are on the water and what you’re planning to do. If you’re going to be challenging yourself then it's probably better to opt for a thinner board. If you’re just looking to relax out on the water with friends, then a thicker board is probably going to make more sense.
After considering the thickness, you’re then going to want to consider the length of your paddleboard. You need to take into consideration your own height and weight when it comes to deciding on the length of your paddleboard. The taller and/or heavier you are will likely mean that you need to be looking at a longer board.
Also, your intended use for your paddleboard will influence the decision on length. If you are looking at racing and/or touring, then the majority of boards best suited to this are typically much longer and more streamlined.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, but following the thickness and length of your SUP, the next thing to consider is the width of the board itself. Naturally a wider board will provide you with a wider centre of gravity and make balancing much easier. However, the wider your stand-up paddleboard the slower it will travel and the harder it can be to manoeuvre.
As we mentioned regarding the length of the stand-up paddleboard above, if it is a case that you’re looking to go racing or touring then you’re going to need a different kind of board. Typically, in respect of its length, a racing SUP will be significantly longer than its more common use counterpart.
Essentially, when it comes to deciding on the length of your first stand-up paddleboard - if you are truly at the beginner stage then you should consider a standard board around 80cm. For racers and tourers, the best course of action would be to look at specific racing SUPs or contact a local watersports centre for some advice.
In respect of the physical paddleboard itself, the final thing to consider is the weight of the board. One thing that many novice paddleboarders fail to consider is that in all likelihood you’re going to be carrying your paddleboard to a more remote location and then potentially inflate it on the beach or riverbank. Taking weight into consideration is certainly a good idea, as you don’t want to have to dread going paddleboarding simply because of the labour involved with moving the board from your car to the water.
Other Factors To Consider When Buying Your First SUP Board
It's not just the paddleboard itself that you need to take into consideration when purchasing your first SUP, although it is undoubtedly the most important. There are other factors which influence any purchasing decision and should certainly also be considered in the case of a stand-up paddleboard.
The first place you should look with any purchase is how much you are prepared to spend. Your budget is going to be at the forefront of influencing which stand-up paddleboard you choose to buy. A realistic pricing range to expect when it comes to purchasing your first SUP is between £250 and £1000 depending on your requirements and the brand you select.
Finally, as with many high value purchases that we make as consumers, you should take a look through reviews of the different boards. Whilst the specifications and brand may well be the most appealing to you - it is worth looking into what other paddleboarders thought of the same SUPs.
Many experienced paddleboarders will take to online forums such as Northern Kites Kitesurfing Club and review platforms, and given the fact that they will have built a key understanding and strong knowledge of what to look for, you should certainly value their input.