Buying a Stand Up Paddleboard, Here's a Few Tips.
We see that person. Gliding across the water. Viewing the natural surrounding, above and below the water's surface. How do we get get good enough to turn this panic attack ridden moment, into a zen experience?
Stand up paddling changed my life. And it has been a goal of mine to share this life changing experience with everyone who I meet. But one of the most common concerns is not being able to do it.
These tips will help you get out on the water and enjoy nature. Just like the celebrities and athletes we see on TMZ.
What is the best board?
About 10 plus years ago. Maybe even 15. There were only a couple boards floating around. People took tandem surfboards. Big Longboards and Windsurfers. They were a bit of a challenge to paddle. And getting them to the water was a whole other challenge.
Today there are so many shapes, sizes and types of boards it is almost impossible to sort what will work.
Here's a quick tip on how to find the right board. Length, over 10 feet. Width over 32". If paddling with a little one or a pup, something bigger will work better. As these boards typically only handle up to 180 pounds. Most boards over 11' will handle paddlers in the 200 pound range. The local retailers have a great grasp of this knowledge and are the best ones to consult once it is time to make the purchase.
What's the difference in shapes?
A board that looks like a surfboard is a great place to start. It is like a beach cruiser. It is comfortable to paddle around. Can do a bit of everything. Like paddling on a lake or catching a small wave.
The ones that have a pointy nose, like that of a kayak, can work well too. They are called displacement hulls, touring board or raceboards. Don't let the name be a deterrent. If the dimensions fall into the sizes I mentioned above, they will work.
Each shape offers a different feel on the water. The round nose is a bit easier to maneuver and we will not sit as high off the water. The pointy nose, displacement shape has a bit more glide to it. Meaning it can move through the water a bit more efficiently. But the shape truly does not hinder or make the experience, unless it is causing us not to enjoy the water.
What are they made of?
Boards come in a variety of constructions. When learning the construction is not as big of a deal as the size. But if you are looking to purchase a board. The construction can come into play.
The two biggest categories are hard boards and inflatables. Simply put, think regular mattress compared to an air mattress. The hard board category has different forms of construction and types of materials. However the shape and size stays the same. While the inflatable, like the air mattress, can be deflated and fold up into a duffle bag size. Making storage and transportation a bit easier than the counter parts. There is an asterisk, you have to inflate it and deflate it on every use. With a hand pump it is a good 10 minute workout. And electric pump can make it a bit easier but still takes 10 minutes. While the hard board is always ready to be paddled.
Beyond the simplicity of hard board and inflatable, each has construction methods that are associated with them. This is where most of the common questions live.
Does the price reflect the quality?
This is a tough question as each construction can have a different benefit. However what I will say is buying a product from a retailer will ensure these questions are discussed thoroughly.
I have seen many of boards that are sold via the internet out in the water. However I have not paddled every board out there. Nor have feedback on all of them. If you are buying a stand up paddleboard from hardware store via the world wide web or even in person, it is probable that the information you are receiving is not from someone who is a paddle enthusiast. Ask yourself if you'd buy a sandwich from a mechanic and I think you'll get what I am implying.
At the end of the day I want you out on the water. The color of the board, name on it or where you bought it does not matter. What does is that you love and enjoy the sport. And if the board doesn't float you, doesn't inflate properly, missing the fin making you paddle in circles or is just too heavy. Paddling will most like become something you tried and did not like. That is the last thing I want to hear.
If you have access to a retail store, rental facility or lessons. Visit them first. The internet has a lot of information. Too much actually. And it will just confuse you. Let the people with the love and desire for the sport answer your questions. This is how I started and I'm forever grateful for it. And is the reason why paddling is a huge part of my life.