SUP boarding is fun! It is interesting and entertaining because it provides a whole new level of diversity. You have different types of paddle boarding, then there are the many types of paddle boards that allow for a variety of activities, and then there’s all the additional gear and accessories that make your paddling even more enjoyable.
I know in the beginning when I was just starting out I didn’t have such great variety, but now you have so much to choose from, that you don’t know where to look first.
With that said, here I’ll be talking about the different types of paddle boards in terms of construction but also in terms of what you can do when on them. You see, you cannot have a super-fast narrow destructive hull paddle board that you paddle on, but you also want to surf and do Yoga and fish from time to time. Naah, sorry to break it to you, but all these activities require a certain change in boards.
Firstly, we divide the types of paddle boards into two main categories: the inflatable ones and the solid ones. I’ll start with the main differences between these two, and then I’ll explain each one separately, so you truly know what you’re getting.
When looking for different types of paddle boards, you will see that the inflatable ones are referred to as iSUPs, while the non-inflatables ones are usually called solid or composite. Both have their pros and cons over the other, so depending on what you want to do on them, how you can store your board, and how you transport it, you might benefit from the one or the other.
Inflatable boards come with hand pumps and board bags for easy and safe storage. Depending on the size of the board, it takes approx. 5-10 minutes to inflate. Once fully inflated, the board will be rigid but lightweight and durable. One thing you should pay utmost attention to is the amount of air pressure an inflatable board can hold. I would recommend a board of 15psi to 17psi and nothing lower than that because it will have excessive flex and poor performance.
A quick go-to summary of the inflatable boards:
From the two types of paddle boards, we move on with the solid or composite boards. These can be found constructed of various materials like epoxy, plastic, fiberglass, bamboo, wood, carbon, Kevlar, Innegra, while the core is made from a shaped foam. Make sure the design of the board doesn’t add too much weight as it will be harder to carry and maneuver in the water.
While they come in different sizes, constructions, and price ranges, the most common ones are the plastic ones, which are considered the heaviest and the cheapest, then the epoxy with fiberglass which are mid-range priced and the carbon fiber which are the lightest and some of the most expensive ones.
A quick go-to summary for the solid boards:
As I said earlier, while there are two main categories of paddle boards, the inflatable, and the non-inflatable ones, within those two, we have tons of types of stand up paddle boards for everyone’s taste and preferences. I will explain each of the different types of paddle boards below, so depending on the use and conditions, you can choose for yourself whatever suits you best.
These types of paddle boards have gotten their name based on their versatility. If you are just starting out and you’d like a board to explore all your options of paddle boarding and different types of activities, then the all-around paddle board is your best pick. These are considered to be very stable and easy to use. You can paddle in flat water, surf, or long-distance touring.
The great thing about these is that they have lots of space since they are wide and long enough so you can carry all your equipment, additional gear, food and drinks, and whatever else you may need for your paddling trip.
The all-around SUPs range from 274cm to 365cm and have a planning hull or a round nose, which reminds you of a longboard surfboard. These boards are incredibly versatile so they can be used in lakes, rivers, seas, by anyone from a complete newbie to an expert paddler.
A quick go-to summary for the all-around boards:
Why the difference between a men’s board and a women’s board, you may ask? Well, while regular boards come in all shapes and sizes, the women’s boards are specifically designed to match a woman’s build. Most women tend to be smaller in size than men, so if they get a large board, long and wide, they will have a hard time managing it.
Also, the weight of the board is lighter, so it’ll be easier to carry them around. These will range from 274 cm to 335 cm, and their width can go from 76 cm to 84 cm. However, if you, as a woman, find a regular board that’s suitable for you, of course, you are not obliged to buy a women’s board.
A quick go-to summary for the women’s paddle boards:
If you are someone who likes to travel far and fast or tour the surroundings in a relaxing manner, these boards are for you. The touring paddle boards have a displacement hull in the front, or a pointy nose as you might notice, so they add speed and smoothness to your paddling. While they are great for speedy rides and long-distance paddling, they are designed for non-surf conditions because of their specific surface and their width.
These types of paddle boards are fast and efficient and will take you far with a little paddling. They offer enough size on board, so they are still suitable if you are just starting out with the paddle boarding. They come in lengths of 353 cm to 384 cm.
A quick go-to summary for the touring boards:
Surf types of paddle boards are extremely smooth when wave riding. They are designed to maximize the wave riding ability with their increased rocker and much more compact sizing. Their design makes them ideal for the more seasoned paddlers who want to upgrade their boards onto something more adventurous.
Their wide range of length – 182cm to 330cm – allows you to pick a shorter board just for surfing or a longer board that can be for surfing and flat-water paddling. By choosing the medium to the larger side of the length range, you have the best of both.
A quick go-to summary for the surfing paddle boards:
The yoga and fitness types of paddle boards are for the gym junkies that want to get some exercise on the sun instead. I mean, who said the gym is the only place where you can get a good workout? That’s right, it isn’t! These different types of stand up paddle boards are great for those doing push-ups or stretching on board to a shoulder stand or the pillow pose above water.
Since they are designed for fitness, they provide maximum stability, at ideal width, and length so they can be used both for training and for touring flat waters. Their sizes range from 304cm to 365cm in length and 82cm to 86cm in width. Since they are predominantly designed for doing on-board activities, they have full-length deck pads to ensure your hands and feet have good grip and traction.
A quick go-to summary for the yoga and fitness boards:
Now, you must admit, there’s no better way to relax in nature than to go fishing. However, for those enthusiasts who want to make it more fun, guess what! You can now fish on a paddle board. If you’re still scratching your head, confused, let me explain why.
You see, fishing boards are some of the most stable boards that offer the highest flotation design so they can comfortably accommodate you and all your gear. You will notice a fishing board by all its attachment points on which you can attach your additional equipment like fishing rod holders, tackle boxes, GPS mounts, and anything else you might need for your fishing trip.
In order to maximize stability, these types of stand up paddle boards are 335cm to 384cm in length and 81cm to 91cm in width.
A quick go-to summary for the fishing paddle boards:
Just like the name suggests, the beginner boards are an excellent choice for all of you who are just now starting out with the paddle boarding. While they are quite similar to the all-around boards, the beginner’s boards are specifically designed for newbies. They are wider and longer and have a straightforward approach so you can climb easily. With their high volume stability, you will have no problem standing up and paddling away from your first try.
They have a rounded nose, which makes them slower types of paddle boards, suitable for a variety of activities for beginners. Mostly, flat-water paddling is recommended with these types of paddle boards, and surfing isn’t possible.
A quick go-to summary for the beginner’s boards:
Kids and youth need a whole different structure and sizes of boards so they can easily and comfortably paddle on the water. While these types of stand up paddle boards are quite similar in shapes and characteristics with the regular ones, they are smaller in size and lighter in weight so they can be easily maneuvered by younger individuals.
Predominantly, these boards are 243cm to 304cm in length and tend to be quite wide to they can offer maximum stability and balance over water. They also have shorter paddles since they depend on how tall is the paddler.
A quick go-to summary for the kids’ paddle boards:
Speaking of families and group paddling trips, the family types of stand up paddle boards are great for beginners and for multiple users. They offer stability and balance over water so that anyone can maneuver them even with more people on board. These are ideal if you have smaller children that cannot paddle on their own so you can take them with you paddling.
Since they are designed for a variety of users and conditions, these are the most durable ones and offer a plethora of functions. Family boards come in 304cm to 353cm length that makes paddling on them a breeze for anyone.
A quick go-to summary for the family boards:
So now that you know quite a lot about all the different types of paddle boards, which one do you think it’s the best for you? When considering multiple types of paddle boards, the vital thing to pay attention to is the condition in which you’ll be using it and then the storage and transport abilities.
Of course, if you have any questions, concerns or doubts when buying a paddle board of any kind, contact me or leave me a comment down below, I’d be more than happy to assist.
Also, for more on paddle boards in general, visit my Facebook and Instagram accounts and stay up to date with the paddling world.
Leave a Reply