The variety of Stand Up Paddle Board options can become confusing for 1st time buyers.
1st consider your intended usage (cruising, fitness, racing, surfing, fishing) and consider the types of water you will be navigating (flat water, choppy). Next, determine the appropriate board size based on your weight & intended use. You also should consider storage & transportation – inflatables are growing in popularity because of their portability & ease of storage. Now you can select the best board for you.
Recreational “All Around” SUPs
Applications: Fitness, cruising, fishing
Shape: Wide nose & tail to increase stability
Sizes: L = 8′ – 12′ W = 30″ – 35″
*These are great for beginners, those interested in a variety of applications and/or boards purchased for multiple different users.
Recreational Cruisers “Rec Cruiser Hybrids” are the Most Common Type of SUP
Touring “Cruising” SUPs
Applications: Great for fitness & endurance training. Faster & straighter than All Around style boards.
Shape: Slightly narrower in the nose & tail compared to All Arrounders. Typically the hull (bottom) is designed like a kayak (displacement hull) to improve gliding speed & directional stability.
Sizes: L = 10′ – 14′ W 28″ – 32″
*These boards are a little less stable & won’t turn as sharp as the All Around boards, but provide good speed & directional stability.
*Great for beginners or novices looking to go on long journeys or train for racing.
*Most common type of SUP
Application: Racing (recreational & competitive) – not recommended for beginners
Shape: Very long, narrow body with a pointed nose & displacement hull
Sizes: L = 12′ 6″ – 19′ W = 24″ – 29″
*Often made from lightweight carbon-fiber + a hollow core, reducing weight by 30-50%.
*Ultimate speed, glide & directional stability.
*Very Difficult to turn & unstable.
Application: Fishing, Tandem, Heavy Cargo Trips
Shape: Wide, long body similar to All Around SUPs
Sizes: L = 10′ – 17′ W = 30″ – 44″
*Often designed with pilot holes & other accessories for installing a cooler, fishing pole, etc.
*These are also growing in popularity among fisherman. Paddleboards are able to go a lot of places boats cannot.
Application: Surfing, Surf Training
Shape: Shorter than most other paddleboards with pointed noses & various types of surfboard style tails
Sizes: L = 7′ – 11′ W = 28″ – 33″
*Recommended for surfers or paddlers looking to learn how to surf.
Inflatable SUPs (Recreation, River/Rapids)
Applications: All Around usage – great for river / rapids paddling
Shape: Typically similar to that of an All Around style board
Sizes: Variable – similar to All Around
*Great for traveling & easily transportable (come in backpacks usually)
*Don’t let the term “inflatable” scare you – quality inflatable SUPs rival the rigidity & performance of fiberglass boards.
*Growing in popularity due to ease of transportation & surprising performance that rivals fiberglass boards.