by Pierre-Philippe Loiselle

How to Choose the Right SUP Board

Thinking of buying yourself a board? Before you do so, you’ll need to consider these points to make an informed decision. These may include:
  • Your height and weight
  • Your experience in SUP (lake, yoga/fitness, long distances, SURF, with children, etc.). 
  • Storage  
  • Transportation/travel 
  • User (children, friends, etc.) 
  • Body of water (river, lake, waves, etc.) 

Because there’s quite the list of factors to consider, we’ve broken it down for you so that you can make a well-informed decision when purchasing your board.

What is the right volume? Weight and size?

When buying a board, your weight is a very important factor to consider so that you get the ideal flotation. The more weight put on a board, the greater the volume you’ll need.

To determine the volume needed, one standard rule in the industry is the following: for a beginner using a board for cruising, 1 lb on the board requires (+/-) 1 liter of volume in return. Example: a 180 lbs person will need a board of minimum 180 liters.

Tips: If you plan to share your board with a family member, a friend or if you want to carry items with you on your paddle board, you may then want to take into consideration the extra weight of possible passengers (family, friends, children, your dog, etc.).

To remember:

Width: width is synonymous with stability. On the other sand, a narrower board will be synonymous with speed, but obviously, much less stable! 

Volume: the volume of the board (written in liters) corresponds to the floating capacity of the board. In other words, the higher the "volume" (ex: 200 liters and more), the more the board will float. On the other hand, the lower the volume (ex: 100 liters and -), the less the board will float.

Body of water: Where do you want to use your paddle board?

The question you should yourself is: "In what environment or type of water will I most likely use my board?". Use the 80/20 rule -meaning that 80% of the time, in which environment will you use your board? 

On a lake!

Are you looking to paddle on a small lake with little wind or on a large lake exposed to the wind? Do you want to paddle long distances in search of adventure, or are you more of a sunset rider? This is an important question to ask yourself and one where the volume fo your board comes into play.

If you're going to paddleboard on a particular lake, take the time to get to know the lake: distance, wind direction, etc.! If the lake is rather large, you may want to ride long distances and the winds may be stronger and therefore requiring a board that rides well in these conditions such as, a board specialized for touring like the blue or green Kazuzu. 

Going down the rivers!

Is river shallow or deept? Is the current strong or is it rather calm?  

If the water is shallow and there are lots of rocks, buying an inflatable board is best. It would be wise to consider a board whose specifications allow for excellent stability and buoyancy on the water. Our Kanoa, for example, would be an excellent choice.

The sea with or without waves!

Do you dream of SUP surfing the waves of the East Coast, or even the Pacific Ocean? If so, two choices are available to you depending on your level of expertise: 

  1. A shorter paddle board will allow you to make the most out of calmer cruising conditions. That’s when you’ll need a board like the Eska, the Akoya or the Hana. 
  2. A SUP Surf board will allow you to be much more agile on the waves, but difficult to use for larger people as a regular board in calm water. However, it’s a nice challenge to take up according to your progression.

    What type of boards?

    Our online store offers different categories of boards that will allow you to maximize your experience on the water. Here is a brief description of each of these categories: 

    « All Around/Hybrid » (9'' to 9'6):

    These boards, called "hybrid" boards, will allow you to paddle on lakes and will allow you to SUP surf as well. The Eska, the Akoya and the Hana, are excellent boards for smaller people (-150 lbs) as well as teenagers and children. When choosing your board, it will be important to make sure that the volume of the paddle board suits your weight.

    « All Around / SUP Yoga » (10' to 11’6):

    Designed for efficient use in a variety of conditions, this type of board will meet the needs of all users. The variety of sizes available in this category will allow you to make an appropriate choice according to your size. Boards: Borea, Awen, Thuya and Thuya 11'4.   

    Touring (11' to 12'6):

    Generally larger and with a more streamlined shape, these boards are perfect for users who want to train, go on expeditions or experience a feeling of gliding that offers both speed and stability. Touring boards like the Kazuzu (blue or green), are typically narrower and longer than a standard board, and as a result, faster on the water.

    Race:

    Boards designed for racing are faster, but less stable and not as easy to handle due to their narrow build. On the other hand, what a pleasure it is to be able to glide quickly on the water. The Race 14' is perfect for training and competition.

    SUP Surf (7'7 to 8'4):

    Shorter and designed for SUP surf, these boards have a shape that will allow you to be more aggressive in the waves. With a sharper shape and a more pronounced rocker, SUP surfboards are generally less wide (therefore less stable), have less floatation (smaller volume), but are easyto maneuver in the waves. If not used for SUP surfing, these boards can also beused for youngchildren.

    Hard or inflatable board?

    Lucky for you, we've already written a complete blog for you that lists the differences between rigid and inflatable SUPs. We'll give you a short summary below:

    HARD SUP

    Hard paddle boards are more stable, faster and more efficient than inflatable boards. If you have enough storage space to store a hard board and you want to experience the best gliding sensation on the water, you should definitely consider buying a hard board. However, it is important to know that they are more fragile and require more care! 

     

    INFLATABLE SUP

    Inflatable boards have two main advantages: easy storage for those who live in small places and easy transportation for those who travel around lots in the sense that it takes up less room. 

    Inflatables are for those who want to easily transport their board from point A to point B; who want a board that requires less maintenance (less fragile); and for those who like to bring their board on a multitude of airplane trips? Despite the great rigidity and high quality of our inflatable boards, you must keep in mind that they will always have a little bounce to them.

    THE PADDLE, A SUP'S BEST FRIEND

    Buying a paddle that meets your needs is just as important as buying the right board. After all, the name of the sport PADDLE BOARD meaning paddle AND a board. It's the paddle that will get you going once you’re on the water!  

    Because you’ll be spending much, if not most, of your time paddling, making hundreds, maybe thousands of strokes, you want to be sure that you pick the right paddle. Having the right one will make all the difference; it’ll cut right through the water like butter. 

    There are several options available depending on your needs: the classic 2-piece paddle which is enjoyed by many, the 3-piece paddle is perfect for those who want to pack it into their inflatable paddle board travel bag, or there’s the fixed paddle (1-piece) which you can perfectly adjust to your size. We have a wide variety of paddles all made with different materials, weights, flexibility and shapes so that can better suit your individual needs.

    If you have any questions, we're here! 🙋‍♀️