If you’re thinking of a new way to get in shape for the summer but the gym is too boring and you live near water, you should consider stand-up paddleboadring, also known as “SUP.” Don’t be misguided – balancing on an oversized board is not as easy as it looks. Your core and legs will be shaking within minutes.
You can’t go out without proper equipment. “The right kind depends on your personal preference,” Cris Rosario from Paddleboard Specialists says. “If you just want to enjoy the water and you’re not paddling at high enough volume or flotation, then it doesn’t really matter,” he adds.
But if you’re more serious about the sport, investing in boards, paddles, wear and gear is a good idea.
Surfitech Balboa Series
All boards from this series are good for beginners, Rosario says. They have a wide standing area for stable paddling platform. “Stability is dictated by the width of the board,” he adds. These boards are durable. The boards come in different constructions and range from 12 to 34 feet. AST construction makes for long lasting low maintenance fun. A planing hull, flat and wide, is good for anyone who wants one board to do it all. Displacement hull, with pointed nose or bow, is best for paddling long distances and racing.
“This is another brand that is recommended for beginners,” Rosario says. “It comes in different lengths.” The Allround series is built so it is one of the most versatile SUP boards out there. All have a wide forward point for effective and fast paddling. The bottom has a moderate nose lift and a true single to double concave with light vee through the tail, so it helps generate speed from the very beginning.
The most important factor is picking the right paddle is that the board must be sized correctly to the paddler, Rosario says. “Nothing is going to make things easier for you,” he adds. The paddle also has to be light enough so you can use it for more than a few minutes in the water and strong enough to handle any conditions (see the most amazing places for SUP). If it’s undersized, you’ll have no stability; if it’s too long, your arms will feel like jelly in no time.
The paddle length depends on the paddling you want to do. The general rule, according to Rosario, is that the paddle should be about 10 inches taller than you. “The closer your hand is to the water, the more leverage you have,” he adds.
The SUP leash is very important. Before buying one, you have to consider what kind of paddling you’ll be doing, where, and whether you prefer comfort over safety. The Coiled Leash has quick release at the cuff for additional safety. It never drags in the water and is not suitable for surfing. The Coiled Ankle Leash is always out of the way, you usually forget that it’s even there.
Fins are important for tracking and stability purposes. Long fins are used on SUP boards that are specifically designed for flat water for maximum stability and to avoid dragging. A three-fin setup, also called a thruster, is better for maneuvering in swells and waves. Race fins, as their name suggests, are designed for racing. They are straighter and firmer, providing maximum stability.