Buying your first standup paddle board
The first decision you need to make when considering buying a standup paddle board is what are you planning to use it for? Are you planning to paddle distances along the coast, or is it a family fun board for a bit of everything including the kids, or are you looking to try and catch some waves and go surfing?
The next questions is whether you want a solid board or an inflatable board. There are pros and cons to both options. A solid board has slightly better performance, but only slightly (except in surfing). You need to have a place to store your board and a means to get it to the beach. (Lagoon Watersports Club offers SUP storage)
An inflatable SUP has slightly lower performance, but in most cases not much. It is easy to store and transport them as they come in a large ruck sack. They are hard to damage as they tend to bounce off most things except sharp objects. You will need to pump them up at the beach. You can leave them pumped up and stored in the garage for the summer. It will not damage them.
It really is swings and roundabouts. For surfing I only use solid boards, but for coastal cruising I am completely happy on an inflatable.
The size of board you choose depends on what you want it for. As a guide a longer board e.g. 12 foot plus is better for distance paddling. A board between 10 and 11 foot works really well as an all round family board and a board that will do pretty much anything. That size is fine for surfing.At the SUP school in Brighton we use 10’8 for teaching and general hire and then 12’6 or 14 foot boards for more experienced paddlers looking to cover some distance.A quick look on the internet and you will come across some really cheap new SUP boards. Buyer beware! The explosion in the popularity of SUPing has lead to an influx of low quality cheap boards. You really do get what you pay for and you are better going for a recognised brand. Not only will it be a better board it will be much easier to sell in the future. Obviously there are some really great small brands making high quality boards as well. Price is an excellent guide. If it is very cheap there will be a reason. I have seen people turn up on boards that you just cannot get enough pressure in and they are like paddling a lilo. This is no fun. If you are on a budget you are better buying a better quality used SUP board.
Something that is also worth bearing in mind is SUPing is a paddlesport. The paddle is often neglected by the novice paddler but in fact it is more important than the board. Looking for advice on buying a SUP paddle…
Lagoon Watersports uses SUP boards and paddles made by one of the leading brands, Fanatic. The SUP school/club sells these boards on a regular basis so please feel free to come and have a look, or try one before you buy. Feel free to pop in for advice.
See you on the water….