stand up paddleboarding faq

Paddle Boarding FAQ – All You Need To know

During the past decade, paddleboards have become increasingly popular once the inflatable SUPs entered the market.

Currently, there are about 41 well-favored SUP brands that are putting out a good number of good-quality rigid and inflatable paddle boards to all skill levels, sexes, age groups, and disciplines. This post is made to answer some of the basic questions many SUP owners are facing these days.

Have a look and feel free to contribute as well.

stand up paddleboarders

 

 

 

What is paddleboarding?


Paddleboarding is a sport and a recreation performed on a large (usually over 10′ long) paddleboard by using a paddle to navigate on the water. Paddlers can be kneeling or standing up on the board. For best performance, paddleboarders are standing – that’s where the term SUP=Stand-Up Paddleboarding originates from.

There are many disciplines and board types to choose from.

Main SUP Types

  • All-around
  • Yoga
  • Fishing
  • Multi-person
  • Touring
  • White-water
  • 2in1 Kayak & SUP
  • etc.
kinds of paddle boards
Read more13 Types of Paddle Boards

 

 

 

What is a SUP paddleboard?


SUP paddleboard is usually a 10′ board that is used for recreational, touring or fitness purposes. Rigid/Solid/Hard SUP boards are generally made of epoxy, and inflatable paddle boards are made of military-grade PVC. The wide outline has plenty of volume to offer balance when standing up on the board to navigating on the water by paddling.

The length of a paddleboard paddle should be set to 6″ to 10″ (15-25cm) above the paddlers’ height for best optimal performance.

A complete SUP bundle consists of:

  • A paddleboard with traction pad, bungee cords, and D-rings.
  • A paddle.
  • Fins.
  • Coil leash.
  • Inflatable paddleboards also come with a hand pump, pressure valve, carry bag, and a repair kit.

sup parts

 

 

 

What are modern SUP boards made of?


When first started in 18th century Hawaii, paddleboards were obviously made of wood. Today, the materials used to make one vary quite a bit – and there are basically no wooden paddleboards available. Since there’s lots of technology and experience combined into making a modern paddleboard in 2022 – the main choice comes down to an epoxy SUP or an inflatable SUP. Wooden finishes are still used among many SUPs.

While surfboards are made in three specific constructions, epoxy (EPS) is the go-to choice for building a paddleboard.

 

 

 

What materials are used to make a SUP?


  • RIGID SUP
  • Foam core (with or without wooden stringers in the middle for added strength).
  • Multiple layers of fiberglass cloth (for added strength).
  • The epoxy resin hardens the fiberglass cloth.
  • Vent plug in the middle made of plastic – to let the board de-pressurize (keeps the core strong during rapid temperature changes – while flying or going from the hot air to cold water).
  • Soft EVA Deck Pad (Memory foam for increased traction on the board).
  • The grab handle is made of neoprene for comfort & latex-treated polyester webbing for durability. The same material is used in tension ratchet straps.
  • Leash plug – Made of plastic & metal rod.
  • Fins are generally made of plastic or carbon.
  • Paddles & paddle blades are usually made of plastic, aluminum, or carbon.

parts of a paddle board

 

 

 

What are the average paddleboard size and weight?


  • The average rigid all-around paddleboard size is 10’5″ in length, 32″ in width, and 4.5″ in thickness.
  • The average inflatable all-around paddleboard size is 10’6″ in length, 32″ in width, and 6″ thick.
  • The average rigid paddle board weight is around 24lbs.
  • The average inflatable paddleboard weight is around 16lbs.
paddleboard size chart
Read more – Average iSUP Sizes

paddle board paddle length

 

 

 

What is the best inflatable paddleboard?


There are two types of best inflatable paddle boards on the market – the ones that have tens of thousands of reviews, and those made by good-quality SUP-specific brands.

  • The best inflatable paddleboard fits best to its target market. Generally an all-rounder board for someone who uses the board once or twice a month. These iSUP bundles cost around $500-600$.
  • There are also premium inflatable SUPs made for each discipline by good-quality brands. These boards have slightly better quality construction, and the rest of the parts – pump, carry bag, paddle, etc.

high ratings on amazon

 

 

 

 

What is the lightest paddleboard?


One of the lightest paddleboards on the market for adults is the Pau Hana Solo SUP 10’10” Backcountry weighing in at 14.8lbs! The carry bag is only 25-inches tall, making it an ideal choice for travelers. Matter of fact, Pau Hana designed this board for digital nomads specifically.

portable sup solo 10'10"
10’10” SOLO backcountry weighs in at just under 15lbs

 

 

 

What are the latest inventions in paddleboards technology?


We are standing on the verge of new inventions, and here is one of the few unseen solutions:

  • Paddleboard with an availability to add a 5HP outboard motor on it.
  • Inflatable paddleboard with a see-through window on deck.
  • 2 in 1 paddle for SUPing & kayaking. (Comes with an extra blade & kayak seat).
  • Ultra-compact high-performance technology at a super lightweight. (Pau Hana SOLO Backcountry).
  • A collapsible SUP.

pau hana inflatable paddle boards

 

 

What is the best all-around stand-up paddleboard?


All-around stand-up paddleboards are one of the most popular – therefore the best-selling and mass-produced iSUPs.

  • All-around paddleboards are not as short as whitewater or surf SUPs (Under 10’0″, and not as long as touring boards (12’0″ and over)
  • The width of an all-around SUP is generally 32″, while race boards are thicker, and yoga boards are slightly wider.

 

 

 

What is a soft stand-up paddleboard?


The term ‘Soft-top paddleboard’ is generated by soft-top beginner surfboards as this is the first thing to come to mind among beginner paddle boarders.

A soft-top paddleboard is quite uncommon due to the fact that paddleboards are extra long, therefore need to be sturdy. It would be difficult to make a durable yet cheap soft-top paddleboard. This is where inflatable boards come along by offering a great alternative to paddleboards made of foam.

If you are interested in soft-top paddle board, check out Boardworkssurf.com

longboard surfboard made of foam
Inspired by longboard surfboards like this

 

 

 

What is the best paddleboard?


The best paddleboard is the one that fits your / your family’s needs – it should be durable, easy to use, have the right size (volume), light in weight, and obviously good-looking as well. Take a look at our 41 Best Paddle Board Brands review to get a better understanding a choose from there.

rigid SUPs

 

 

 

What is an inflatable stand-up paddleboard?


An inflatable stand-up paddleboard is one of the recent inventions in the world of water sports. They offer nearly similar performance and feel to their solid counterparts, as many users can’t tell the difference between a solid and an inflatable board. The biggest reason why people turn for inflatable boards is their compact size while transporting or storing – there’s no need for extra crossbars and roof racks, nor a specific spot in the garage.

  • Inflatable paddleboards are super compact.
  • Inflatable paddle boards have to be inflated up to 12-15PSI with a hand pump that’s included in the bundle.
  • It takes 10-15 minutes to fully inflate an ISUP.

Read more – Inflatable vs Rigid SUP comparison

inflatable and rigid paddle boards
Inflatable paddleboards are much thicker compared to rigid SUPs

What size paddle board is right for me?


It is recommended to leave an extra 50lbs (15-20%) from the boards’ maximum weight capacity.

There are two sizes when it comes to choosing a paddleboard – Volume and overall size (board type). When buying a paddleboard, make sure to check its recommended maximum capacity. The average paddleboard size is 10’5″ x 32″ x 4.5″ for a rigid, and 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″ for an inflatable SUP.

If you are planning to:

  • Do yoga – Get a board that’s got at least 33″ to 34″ width
  • Haul more gear and use the SUP in messy conditions – Get a touring bag that’s above-average; over 12″ long and 32″ wide.
  • Use the SUP for fitness and fast riding – get a Race SUP – over 14’0″ and less than 30″ wide.

 

 

 

What is a good paddle board?


A good paddle board is one that helps you to progress and ride preferences.

  • A recreational all-rounder is a good paddleboard since it is beginners-friendly, more affordable than the rest. It has the most casual outline for a wide variety of uses.
  • A good paddle board is made to last a long time.

 

 

 

What is the weight limit for paddleboarding?


Single-person paddleboards are generally around 250-300L in volume with a max capacity of 250lbs.

  • All-around paddle boards have a volume of 250L – 300L
  • Two-person paddle boards have a volume of over 400L
  • One of the largest inflatable paddle boards have volume of over 1,000L
pau Hana 15'0'' Bimini iSUP
The 15’0″ Bimini has 1,500L of volume and is designed to hold a 5HP outboard motor on it.

 

 

 

What paddle board is best for me?


Before buying a paddle board, make sure what will be your main preferences. Are you planning to take it easy – to explore calm waters on lakes and nearby the shore, or are you wanting to use one for fitness purposes – race, or why not for camping and ultimate exploration – a touring bog? Many fishermen are also turning to paddleboards for fishing that have integrated rod holders and the accessibility to add such accessories.

 

 

 

What is a good paddle board for beginners?


The good news is that beginner’s paddleboards are quite affordable these days, starting from $400 for a board that’s got over 10,000 reviews on Amazon.

A beginner’s paddleboard should be about 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″ for inflatable, and roughly the same for a rigid board. We recommend beginner paddlers use an all-rounder or yoga board due to their casual outline and average size which is easy to paddle with.

 

 

What is a good size paddleboard?


  • Good non-inflatable SUP for surfing is 9’0″ x 30″ x 4″ in size.
  • Good allrounder SUP is 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″.
  • Good race SUPs are longer than 14’0″ and have a wide shape.

surfing with sup

 

 

 

What is a good stand-up paddle board?


A good stand-up paddleboard is one that meets your needs and budget. Before choosing a paddleboard, make sure which type are you going prefer – casual, racing, long-distance, fishing, or all-round paddling. Are you going to paddle often for the upcoming years and want the best available board for that – get a rigid SUP. If you are not as frequent users and don’t want to give up extra space as well – get an inflatable SUP.

 

 

 

What is a hybrid paddle board?


Hybrid meaning – by combining two different elements.

In this case, a Hybrid Paddleboard is known as an all-around SUP, a mixture of a touring and a surf or yoga SUP.

  • Surf SUP elements – Pointy nose, triple fins.
    (Surf SUP’s is usually 9′ to 9’6″ long)
  • Yoga SUP elements – Single win, wider width & round outline.
    (Yoga SUP is usually 10’6″ long and extra wide at 33″ to 34″.
  • Touring SUP – Long & narrow for extra stability in messy conditions.
    (Touring SUP is usually 12’6″ to 14″ long and less than 30″ wide)

 

 

 

 

What is a good inflatable paddleboard?


A good inflatable paddleboard should be made of durable PVC materials that are either of marine or military-grade PVC. There should also be D-rings on the deck for bungee cords to store away a waterproof bag. Good iSUPs are also equipped with a removable single fin and two ‘side-biters’ for increased traction, and a decent pump.

Inflatable paddle boards prices

  • Affordable & cheap inflatable SUPs cost from $250 to $350
  • The price for reliable iSUPs start from $400 to $600
  • Premium SUPs average at around $999

*The more expensive the board – the better quality product you are going to get. There are many brands with a vast number of inflatable paddleboards, and many small brands with only a few boards that have gathered a bunch of good feedback online.

 

 

Are inflatable paddle boards worth the money?


Inflatable paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing trends in recent years which slowly started to rise about a decade ago. That being said – iSUPs are indeed worth every penny, they offer an unparalleled alternative to rigid SUPS by having a more compact size, nearly identical performance, and all that at a superb value.

 

 

 

Are inflatable paddleboards durable?


Inflatable paddleboards in 2022 are more durable than the average consumer could imagine. Yes, they are filled with air at 12-15PSI, but the feel on the water is often unnoticeable compared to solid paddleboards. Depending on which brand you prefer – there’s plenty of technology put into the whole construction so there’s no need to worry extra about its durability.

  • The weight capacity of a 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″ board averages around 250-300lbs.
  • Inflatable paddle boards have the risk of punctures

 

 

 

What is a good paddleboard brand?


  • One with a vast number of specifically designed boards.
  • A brand that sells boards with a factory warranty.
  • A brand that is active on social media.
  • A brand that uses environmentally-friendly and reusable materials.
  • A brand that stands up for their quality of products.

A good paddleboard brand is one that has been around for a while and put out a great number of SUPs – both inflatable and solid paddleboards. We have covered one of the main brands so far – Bote, ISLE, Pau Hana, but have a look by reading our 41 Best SUP Brands review to get a better understanding.

best sup brands

Read next

Inflatable vs Rigid Paddleboards

What to wear paddleboarding?

About the author

Ermo J

I created Nulltuul to share my experience, knowledge, and analysis with other surf enthusiasts out there. If I'm not surfing on my travels, I like to photograph waves, surfers, and the surf lifestyle in general.

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