Photo via: Chad Guenter
Need some advice on buying a paddle board? Community Assistant and BIC SUP athlete, Alex Mauer, has shared some insightful tips on how to decide what to buy.
Words by Alex Mauer:
So you have decided that you want to buy a stand up paddle board. Whether you are looking to paddle recreationally, paddle whitewater or start racing for fitness benefits, these tips will help you chose a board right for your paddling needs.
The total volume of the board is the total length, width, and thickness of the board. Volume influences the buoyancy of the board. The greater the volume of the board the more flotation it has.
Lighter paddlers may find that four-inch-thick boards perform just fine. If you are a heavier paddler or plan on paddling with small children or dogs on your board, a 6 inch thick board is what you are looking for.
Photo via: Bruna Zielasko
The longer the board the faster it will move through the water and straighter it will track. However, a longer board is going to take a little practice to get good at turning. Your paddling will adapt after a few sessions on the water.
Racing is fun, and to be competitive you will want a longer board. 12'6" and 14' are most common race lengths. That being said, 14' is faster. 12'6" is a designated in and out of the surf (Battle of the Paddle style) length. 14' is a designated elite distance length.
Choose the length based on your local race scene. Contact some local racers and find out what length of board everyone races on. This way, you will have the right board to be competitive and maximize your fun while racing!
Photo via: Johan Furestad
The wider the board the more stable it is going to be. On the other, hand a wider board will move slower in the water, regardless of length. As a beginner paddler you will want to start out on a wider board and gradually move towards a narrower board as you get more comfortable on the water.
That being said the learning curve on this sport is so quick. Take your size into consideration when choosing a board width. For example, a taller paddler with a higher center of gravity would benefit from a wider board.
Photo via: Tj Edmondson
Buying a paddle board is a big investment, so make sure you do your research prior to buying to avoid getting something that doesn't suit your needs or abilities. If you have any questions, please ask us in the comment box below, or head to your local retailer where they should be able to assist you in your buying needs.