What type of stand up paddle board should you use? It’s the first question that you need to answer before making a purchase, and while there are a few different options, it’s actually a very simple choice.
What Are the Different Types of Stand Up/Surf Paddle Boards?
Generally, SUP boards will fall into one of the following types, all of which are categorized by material:
Fiberglass SUP Boards
Fiberglass boards are solid and lightweight, ensuring that they stay strong on the waves and are easy to take out of the water.
Fiberglass SUP boards, just like surfboards, are made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam core that is wrapped in a fiberglass coating. The foam core ensures that the board is lightweight and buoyant while the fiberglass coating protects the board from water damage.
Benefits of a Fiberglass Stand Up Paddle Board:
- Very lightweight
- Delivers a smooth and fast ride
- Cuts through the waves easily
- Capable of dealing with compressive forces
Wooden Stand Up Paddle Boards
Most wooden paddle boards are made from bamboo. It’s cheap, sustainable, and strong. It’s also very flexible and durable and is a good option for eco-conscious paddle boarders.
Benefits of a Wooden Stand Up Paddle Board
- Often made from sustainable bamboo
- An eco-friendly option
- Light and strong
- Different varieties of wood to choose from
Foam Paddle Boards
Foam boards are very light, making them easy to carry around. They can take a beating and you don’t need to worry about dings, scratches, and other common damage. They are not the best option for experienced riders, but if you’re just looking for a cheap board to have some fun, or a beginner board to learn the ropes, foam SUP boards are ideal.
Benefits of a Foam Stand Up Paddle Board:
- One of the lightest options
- Surprisingly durable
- A good option for beginners
Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards
Inflatable paddle boards are some of the most common. They are also the ones that many beginner paddle boarders make a beeline for.
As the name suggests, inflatable boards can be inflated and deflated as needed, making them easy to carry, store, and transport. If you don’t have a lot of space in your house or garage but fancy trying your hand at paddle boarding, an inflatable board could be ideal.
Benefits of Inflatable Paddle Boards
- Very light
- A super cheap option
- Can be deflated and carried in a backpack
- Easy to store away at home
Types of Paddle Board By Use
In addition to the material type, SUP and surf paddle boards can also be categorized by use:
Touring Paddle Boards
Touring boards are designed for long-distance paddle boarding. They tend to be much longer, as it means that they will sit higher in the water and provide more comfort and stability over long distances.
Most touring boards also ride straighter in the water and are designed for speed, buoyancy, and distance as opposed to agility.
Recreational Paddle Boards
Recreational boards are all-rounders and are designed to provide an enjoyable experience on the water. These stand up paddle boards are often a little shorter than touring paddle boards but they may also be wider, as the goal is to have fun and not to generate high speeds or perform sharp turns.
Racing Stand Up Paddle Boards
Racing boards are built for speed and performance. They are narrower and focus on a shape that optimizes speed and turning ability without worrying as much about buoyancy and stability.
What is the Best Stand Up Paddle Board?
It really all depends on what you need it for. If you’re using the board to travel long distances, then you should look into longer touring boards. Longer boards will make your life much easier and allow you to cover large distances with ease.
If you’re an expert, hard boards may be the best option, specifically those designed for agility and speed. As a beginner, it’s all about foam and inflatable stand up boards, as they provide the buoyancy that you need at a very reasonable price.
What is the Best Stand Up Paddle Board for Beginners?
Beginners are best suited to foam boards and inflatable boards. These boards are not necessarily designed specifically for beginners, but they often touch upon the points that beginners need, including affordability, durability, weight, and ease of transport.
With inflatable boards, for instance, you don’t need to worry about roof racks and home storage space, as they can be deflated and stored in a backpack and drawer.
Summary: Types of SUP and Surf Paddle Boards
Whether you’re looking to start touring and need a longer board that can cover longer distances, or you have your newbie eyes set on an inflatable stand up paddle board, there are clearly many options to choose from. All budgets and needs are covered, so make sure you keep the material and purpose in mind before you purchase your new SUP boards.