What to consider when buying your first SUP.
There are so many stand up paddle boards available today that making a choice is a hard task. For many newbies, it can seem overwhelming. Do you go hard board or inflatable? And what about SUP length, volume and width? Style of board can also play a part. So where to begin?
SUP skill (and being honest with yourself).
When in the market you need to consider multiple aspects. First up is your personal skill level. Whilst it’s good to have aspirations and goals good practice is to be honest with yourself. You may yearn for that uber narrow race machine, or low volume performance surf sled. But these will be hard craft to pilot if you’re barely out of the beginner stages of stand up paddling.
Something that’s accessible, but with traits to grow into, will be the best course of action. This will deliver maximum fun as you progress on your SUP journey. And it’s the fun element that’ll keep you coming back for more. Owning a board that’s too tricky to use won’t do much for your continued enjoyment of the sport. If you find yourself groaning at the prospect of paddling your own SUP then you might not have chosen the best fit.
Usual stand up paddle board stomping grounds.
Your local stomping ground should dictate what type of stand up paddle board should be purchased. By this, we mean what type of conditions you get and are most likely to be riding in.
For instance, if your local is generally mirror flat water, with some interesting nooks and crannies, then it’d be foolish to buy an all out surf SUP. Something touring orientated would make more sense.
Or if you want a dabble in waves on the same board a SUP like Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s Classic would be a good option. Perhaps the bigger 10’6 if it’s going to be a more flat water bias to your paddling (or you’re a heavier rider). But the 9’11 works as well.
The inflatable SUP option.
Your first stand up paddle board doesn’t have to be the hard variety. Inflatables are good to go as well. In fact, based on what the masses generally buy, iSUPs are it. Usually around the 10’6 mark. But you don’t need to follow trends. Following your own path is often the course of direction.
The issue with inflatables – as has been discussed at length across various forums – is the manufacturing and material quality with some of these boards. Cheap iSUPs are just that: cheap. Not budget. Budget, wallet friendly is something else entirely. You can get quality inflatable SUPs that are budget orientated.
Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co offer two styles of iSUP. Our 10’6 is designed to give enhanced glide and tracking (via its slightly elongated nose). Whereas the longer 11’5 compact touring SUP is fit for any adventure you can to throw it at. Both these designs are examples of time and effort spent getting the shape right and making them fit for purpose for many different styles of paddler.
Don’t forget your SUP paddle!
We talked about upgrading your SUP paddle in this article. To reiterate: your SUP paddle is everything. Arguably more important than your board, the paddle defines what stand up is and should therefore be given due thought and consideration.
Far too often we see riders happy to make do with any old paddle. This is never going to enhance the fun factor of stand up paddling. So the best advice is leave a few coffers in the kitty for an upgrade if your included package paddle isn’t up to the job. (Unlike Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s package paddle which has a good deal of thought and design behind it).
Stand up paddle board progression.
Whatever type of stand up paddle board you plump for it ideally should have some progression elements inbuilt. SUPs can be high price ticket items for many so having to upgrade mere weeks down the line isn’t that cost effective.
Fortunately most well respected brands, offering quality stand up paddle boarding gear, have plenty of applicable kit that can be used to advance your skills with. For instance: Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s 10’6 Classic is a great longboard style surf SUP. It’ll quite happily cover some ground (or water) on the flat. But, for those who fancy some wave carving fun or toes over the nose riding, it does the job perfectly.
The 9’11 Classic is just as progressive and versatile. Albeit with slightly more leaning to waves for bigger riders. Mid to featherweights will have plenty of flat water paddling fun aboard it though. And still be able to slide small to medium sized waves.
Whatever you stump up for should deliver on the smiles front. Do some research, ask questions of reputable sources and speak to the brand you’re looking at. Knowledgeable retailers should also be able to guide you accurately. The more happy paddlers we have the more longevity SUP has. So it’s in the best interests of all parties to get riders partnered up with their ideal stand up paddle boarding craft.
If you have any questions about Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co.’s range of hard or inflatable SUP boards get in touch. And for more articles like this hit up the following links from our blog.