How to Choose The Right SUP Board

How to Choose The Right SUP Board

By Pierre-Philippe Loiselle
Taiga Ambassador
Paddle Canada Instructor at KSF

Thinking of getting a board soon? Several technical points are to be considered to allow you to make an informed decision. For example: 

  • Your weight and height 
  • Your experience in SUP (lake, yoga/fitness, long distances, SURF, with children, etc.). 
  • Storage  
  • Transportation/travel 
  • User (children, friends, etc.) 
  • Water plan (river, lake, waves, etc.) 

We have therefore decided to simplify the task for you by presenting you with our advice regarding the purchase of a SUP board. 

What is the right volume? Weight and height?

When buying a board, your weight is a very important element to consider to make sure you get the ideal flotation. The more weight you put on a board, the greater the volume of the board will be. 

To evaluate the volume required, one of the rules that exists in the industry is the following: for a beginner using a board in promenade mode, 1 lb on the board will require (+/-) 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 transport items on your SUP, it is also important to take into account the weight of possible passengers (family, friends, children, dogs, luggage, 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 (evoked 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 floats. On the other side, the lower the volume (ex: 100 liters and -), the less the board floats. 

Body of water? Where do you want to use your SUP?

The question to ask yourself is: "In what environment or type of water body will I mostly use my board? ». Use the 80/20 rule, which means that 80% of the time, in what type of 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 ride? This is an important question and here lies the importance of thinking about the size (volume) of your board. 

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 want to ride long distances and the winds are strong, you will much prefer a touring type board like the blue or green Kazuzu. 

Going down the rivers!

Is the level of the river you want is deep or shallow? Is there a lot of current or is it rather calm? 

If the water is shallow and there are a lot of rocks, buying an inflatable board is the best idea. It would be wise to consider a board whose specifications allow for excellent stability and buoyancy on the water. A Kanoa, by 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? Two choices are available to you depending on your level of expertise: 

  1. A shorter paddleboard will allow you to take advantage of calmer cruising conditions. Let's think about of the Eska, the Akoya and the Hana. 
  1. A SUP Surf board will allow you to be much more agile on the waves, but difficult to use for larger sizes in calm water. A nice challenge to take up according to your evolution. 

    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 10'') :

    These boards, which are called "hybrid" will allow you to paddle on a lake quietly as well as SUP surfing. 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 here, it will be important to make sure that the volume of the SUP suits your weight.

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

    Designed for efficient use in the vast majority of conditions, this type of board will meet the needs of all users. In addition, the variety of sizes available in this category will allow you to make an appropriate choice according to your size. Boards: Boréa, 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 speed and stability to the paddler. Tourings, like the Kazuzu (blue or green), are normally narrower and longer, therefore faster on the water, which is a significant advantage in terms of speed. 


    Racing style board are faster, but less stable and less easy to handle due to their narrow construction. 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), float less (smaller volume), but are easily maneuverable in the waves. They can also be used for young children. 

    Hard or inflatable board?

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


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



    Inflatable boards have two main advantages: for easy storage in small storage spaces and for easy transportation. 

    Want to easily transport your board from point A to point B? You want a board that requires less maintenance (less fragile)? You would like to bring your board on your various airplane trips? An inflatable board will suit you perfectly! In spite of the great rigidity and quality of our inflatable boards, you must keep in mind that they will always have a little bounce feeling. Unfortunately, they can't only have qualities! 


    Buying a paddle that meets your needs is as important as buying a board. After all, the name of the sport PADDLE BOARD evokes two words: paddle and board. It's the paddle that will get you on the water! 

    When you go out on the water, you will make hundreds, even thousands of paddle strokes. Therefore, the choice of your paddle will greatly affect your practice and your appreciation of the SUP. 

    There are several choices available to you: 2-piece paddles that will allow many users to enjoy it, 3-piece paddles that fit easily into an inflatable SUP transport bag, or fixed paddles (1-piece) that you can perfectly adjust to your size. Materials, weight, flexibility and shape of the paddle, our range of paddles has been developed to better meet your needs. 


    We are here if you still have questions :