Everyone buying a stand up paddleboard; men, women, kids and even seniors have different expectations and needs. You see a board you like and imagine yourself riding on the water and all your friends looking on in awe.
It’s not as simple as that.
You also should make sure the board suits your needs. When determining your needs, consider three factors: size for your weight, size for the water conditions, and size for your convenience.
Size for Your Weight
Flotation is a combination of the length, width and thickness of the board. Study the dimensions of the boards you are considering and make sure you don’t choose a board that is too small.
The general rule is that, once you’re up to paddling speed, you don’t want the tail to drag.
Stepping slightly forward will smooth out the water release at the tail, but If the board is too small, your nose will dig in.
Watch other paddlers of weight similar to your own and note the tail turbulence and trim of their boards when underway. Ask for the dimensions of their boards, or at least the length of their boards, and size yourself accordingly.
Board makers generally agree on certain dimensions.
Rave Lake Cruiser SUP Paddleboard Teal 11ft 6in
from: The House Boardshop
For example, 11ft boards are around 29in wide and 4¼inthick, while 12ft boards are around 30inwide and 4½in thick.
If you can’t test a board, are inexperienced, or If your height or weight does not fall within the “average” for paddleboarders, listen to the advice and experience of others and consult the expert at your favorite paddleboard shop.
The division between lightweight and heavyweight in windsurfing is 170 pounds. This is a good reference weight for stand-up paddleboard flotation.
Heavyweights should have the biggest boards, around 12ft, paddlers who weigh right at 170 pounds do well on 11ft boards, and very-lightweights can go as short as 10ft.
Size for the water Conditions
Odyssey Surf SUP Paddleboard w/ Paddle 10Ft 6In
from: The House Boardshop
There are three basic water conditions: flatwater, rough water, and surf.
Flatwater is the ideal condition to check for tail turbulence and trim. You can see your wake and actually hear turbulence. You will even be able to trim a board that is too small, but don’t get cocky and think this will work for you in all conditions.
The size and weight recommendations, above, work well in flatwater.
Rough water is not as forgiving. The board seems much less stable, and the nose will dig into the chop. The board that seemed fine in flatwater will seem too small in rough water.
Get a board that is approximately six inches to one foot longer for rough water stand up paddleboarding. For paddle adventures on rivers, for example, longer boards are often better for stability, so you can avoid falling into cold water.
Surfing has contrasting demands. You want the speed and stability of a bigger board for paddling out and catching waves, yet when you are riding a wave, you want the maneuverability and high performance of a smaller board.
Beginners in the surf should stick to the long board they use in rough water. It will catch the waves more easily, reducing the number of falls.
Experienced surfers will prefer smaller boards. They’ve learned the knack and timing for paddling out and catching waves, so performance when riding the wave is primary.
Occasional surfers will prefer 11ft and 12ft boards, while high-performance surfers will use 9ft 6in to 10ft 6ins stand-up paddleboards.
Size for Your Convenience
Besides riding your board, you will carry it to the water, hoist it over your head to load it onto your vehicle, and store it. Keep This in mind when selecting a board to buy.
It is no good to set your heart on a certain 12ft beauty If you cannot physically handle it, especially when the wind blows.
While shopping for your board, try picking it up and carrying it. Hoist it over your head. If you have trouble, look for a board with a hand slot or buy our handle kit to attach a carrying handle.
Smaller boards, which are lighter in weight and have thinner rails, are easier to handle when out of the water, making them especially popular with women stand-up paddleboarders.
Surftech Blacktip SUP Paddleboard 8ft x 36in
from: The House Boardshop
It is worth sacrificing some paddle glide by choosing a smaller board If it means that you can carry and load it.
You also need to consider the place where you will store your board. If it needs to fit into the locking personal storage bin in your vacation condo, make sure it will fit before you purchase it.
Having a smaller board in the locker is better than Having a big board stolen from the carport rafters. Easy carrying, loading and storing is part of the love affair with your first board.
Stand up paddleboarding is a great activity, but it requires careful thought and preparation.
When selecting the right board to buy, you must consider not only the kind of stand up paddleboarding you plan to pursue flatwater, rough water or surfing but also your own height and weight.
Listen to other surfers, but also consult the expert in your favorite paddleboard shop before you make your selection. And don’t forget to consider where you can safely store your board when it’s not in use.