SUP stands for “stand up paddleboarding”.
It’s a watersport that combines elements of surfing with kayaking, as you essentially just stand on a large surfboard and use a paddle to move through the water.
It’s a relaxed, fun, and low-risk hobby, and it’s one of the fastest-rising sports on the water.
If you’re new to stand up paddleboarding, there are a few basic things that you need to know, including the types of boards that you can buy.
What are the Types of Paddle Boards?
As with surfboards, paddle boards come in many different shapes and sizes, and the one that’s right for you will depend on everything from your weight to your experience level.
There are three main types of board to consider:
Surf Stand Up Paddle Board
A surf-focused stand-up paddle board is much shorter than the other boards on this list and also has a very narrow nose and tail.
The streamlined frame offers more maneuverability, allowing you to turn sharply and easily in the surf.
These boards have more of a rocker than allround and flatwater boards (discussed below) and are a good option for surfers who are new to stand up paddle boarding.
Allround Stand Up Paddle Board
The allround board is a longer, wider, and thicker option.
They are so-named because they are multi-purpose boards, ones that you can take into any swell.
They are great options for budget boarders who don’t have the funds for a varied quiver and just want an all-in-one board.
These longer boards also provide a lot of stability, giving novice boarders more of the control that they seek when stepping into the surf for the first time.
You can even find allround boards that have a windsurfing mount, allowing you to attach a sailing rig.
Flatwater Stand Up Paddle Boards
As the name suggests, these boards are best suited for flat water.
Take them onto the calm open water, make sure the wind is at your back, and have some fun.
Flatwater SUPs have a pointed nose to help them cut through the water and they also tend to be very long boards.
Solid or Inflatable?
SUPs, like surfboards, can be made from a number of different materials, including wood, foam, fiberglass, and resin.
The material will impact the durability and overall performance, but if the price is the only thing that you care about, look for an inflatable SUP.
Inflatables are made from layers of PVC and woven fibers and are much stronger and more capable than you might expect.
They are light, cheap, and very capable, but they’re obviously not as strong, quick, or agile as hard boards.
How Much Do SUP Boards Cost?
Cost is one of the biggest factors that will influence your decision when looking for a stand up paddle board.
Not only can there be a sizeable difference between hard boards, but there’s a huge one between inflatables and hard boards.
An inflatable stand up paddle board will cost you a couple of hundred bucks on average, but if you step up to an epoxy hard board, you can expect to pay anywhere up to 10x as much.
$2,000 is a massive ask for a boarder on a budget, but if you shop around, you can find a high-quality hard board for around $1,000.