So, you’re thinking about taking up the sport of stand up paddle boarding?  Choosing to SUP isn’t the hard part, but choosing the right board, can well, feel like a kid in a candy store! So many choices-how can one possibly decide? We’re here to help, and help you choose the right SUP board for you!

WHICH SUP CATEGORY BEST SUITS YOU?

We can start by dividing all of the boards into a few categories:

RECREATION

The most versatile category of SUP boards, recreational boards are built with a planing hull, meaning they are flat and wide, like a surfboard.  This shape makes these SUP’s stable and maneuverable making them suitable for both beginners and more experienced paddlers.  Recreational boards are a great choice to have at the cottage, for everyone to paddle. Maybe you want to do yoga on your board, take a child or a dog out with you, maybe go fishing and casually explore your favourite lake, a recreational board may just be the board for you.

TOURING

Touring SUPs are efficient.  They have what is called a displacement hull, shaped with a pointed nose, which allows the board to cut through the water more efficiently.  Their shape is generally longer and narrower than recreational boards, which makes them track straighter and travel faster.  Touring boards take less effort to paddle and allow for longer distances.  Most will come equipped with tie down points to attach gear to the board.  Touring SUPs are great if you are looking for a workout, you want to cover distance or maybe camping with your board.

RACE

If the touring SUPs are equivalent to a luxurious 4 door BMW, the race boards are more like a Mercedes Grand Prix car.  These boards are designed primarily for speed.  Built with the same type of displacement hull as the touring boards, race SUPs are long, slender and deep with a shaped nose to cut through waves.  As the name suggests, these boards are designed primarily for racing, however they can also suit a SUP enthusiast who is looking for a fast fitness board.

Close up of feet on an SUP
Headstand on a SUP board

INFLATABLE OR SOLID?

SUPs are constructed either with a solid construction or as an inflatable.  A board with Solid construction is built with a foam core surrounded by layers of fibreglass and epoxy.  Inflatable SUPs are made from PVC and have an air core.  They come with a pump for inflating and a bag with backpack style straps for easy carrying.  Below are a few reasons to settle on either construction type.

Inflatable Solid
  • Storage space is an issue
  • You travel, and so does your board
  • a favourite lake is a hike in destination
  • whitewater paddling
  • Storage isn’t an issue
  • You want a more stable board
  • You want more performance from your board

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED?

Once you’ve settled on a board, it is time to consider which accessories you require.  There are accessories (such as a paddle!) that are mandatory to paddle and stay safe, and then there are items that boost your paddling experience.

To keep you legal: SUP’s, if used for navigation, fall under the same category as canoes and kayaks, therefore you are required to carry a PFD, signal device (whistle) and a flashlight at dusk and dawn.

Experience enhancers: proper sun protection (sunglasses, hat, UV clothing), gloves, footwear, SUP storage bag, board cover, electric pump, dry storage (dry bag or deck bag), waterproof phone/camera case, lessons

Looking to learn even more? First, visit our website and have a look at our 2019 line up of Stand Up Boards and then come visit us at the shop, and we’ll help you choose your SUP board!

Group of people paddling on SUP
Woman carrying SUP board