Stand up paddle boarding is the fastest growing sport in the world for good reason. Not only is it a great workout and easy to learn, paddle boarding is also fun, invigorating and enables you to connect with nature. While you have a number of options, selecting your first paddle board doesn't need to be any more challenging than learning the craft. How to choose a stand up paddle board — or SUP — comes down to your lifestyle, what you plan to use it for, and of course, the paddle board’s price. If you’re not 100% sure which SUP is the best fit for your goals, you've come to the right place.
1. The Different Types of Paddle Boards
In order to find the best stand up paddle board, it’s important to know the difference between each type. Be advised that there can be some crossover, as most people will use their paddle boards for multiple types of activities, such as SUP surfing, recreational use, touring and even racing. Below, you’ll find the four most common types of SUP boards on the market.
The paddle board shape is designed for yoga, flatwater paddling and any fitness related exercise
Constructed for stability on calm water
Expansive deck pad gives ample room for yoga
2. What Size Paddle Board Do You Need?
Determine your stand up paddle board size based on your weight and paddle boarding experience. Think of your ideal board size in terms of volume. The wider, longer and thicker the board, the more volume and weight capacity it will have. The more volume the board has, the more stable it will be on the water. Beginner paddlers will usually want a board with more volume as well as thickness because of the additional stability this offers. As your skill, balance and strength improves, you can downsize to a board with less volume. By then, your older board will be great for friends and family to use! Check out our SUP SIZE & WEIGHT CHART to find out what size paddle board is best for you.
SUP Hull Types
Another aspect to consider as part of the SUP size is the design of your board’s hull, or body. The hull will also determine the characteristics of how your board performs in water. The two most common types of paddle board hulls are: Planing Hull - A planing hull is when the bottom of the board slightly tapers off towards the edges (like the bottom of a boat). This makes it a great choice for casual paddling as well as surfing due to the design's added maneuverability and stability. Displacement Hull - A displacement hull has a sharp pointed nose which displaces the water to either side, making it the perfect choice for paddlers who want to cover long distances. The sharper nose allows the hull to slice through water and gives the rider a fast and smooth ride. Most touring boards are designed with a displacement hull, allowing the rider to travel longer distances with ease.
3. The Difference Between Inflatable and Epoxy SUPs
Once you’ve figured out the type and size of SUP you want, it’s time to decide if you want an inflatable SUP or an epoxy paddle board. There are many differences between inflatable and epoxy paddle boards. When determining whether an inflatable or epoxy SUP is right for you, it really depends on your budget and storage/transportation options.
For a first time paddler, an inflatable board is ideal and works great in all conditions.
A big concern a lot of people have before buying a SUP is where they will store it at their house. To keep your board in great condition and increase its lifespan, you’ll want to minimize its exposure to the elements when not in use. Regardless of the type of climate where you live, it is highly recommended that you keep your stand up paddle board indoors when not in use. For all boards, the key is to keep your SUP in a cool dark location where it is safe and protected. Here are some tips for storing your paddle board.
5. On Average, How Much Do Paddle Boards Cost?
Often a large part of the decision factor is the price of a stand up paddle board. You don’t want a super expensive board, but you also don’t want to buy a cheap board (read: not long lasting) just to save money. It’s important to do your research to compare boards and companies when it comes to paddle board cost and quality.The paddle board price breakdown is as follows:
Basic level boards - <$500
Often cheaper boards sacrifice quality, materials, and design to achieve their lower price. Be weary, the board may not last as long as one constructed with higher quality materials. The designs tend to be very basic, such as solid colors with few artistic elements.
Premium priced boards - $500 to $1000
High quality, great performance, artistically designed and moderately priced. There’s not much more you can want from a paddle board. This is what we like to consider the sweet spot when it comes to paddle boards. Most of ISLE’s SUPs fall within this price range. Additionally, we have many high performance boards, without the high performance cost.
6. Where can you get the best SUP value?
With plenty of stand up paddle board companies to choose from, it can seem overwhelming to find the perfect one. The key is to look beyond the marketing and pull back the layers to see exactly what each company offers. The major things to consider when choosing a company are the makeup of board, the price of the board(s), the guarantee, and the customer service.
7. Why Get Your SUP From ISLE?
At ISLE, we offer many great incentives along with top-quality stand up paddle boards: Manufacturer Direct: We only sell direct to our customers. In other words, we do not sell to retailers where the boards are marked up even more – we cut out the middleman so you can save money and get better service. Board Purchase Guarantee: Purchasing a stand up paddle board is an investment, and the last thing you want is to be stuck with a board that you don’t absolutely love. For that reason, you should have reassurance that you are getting the right board specifically for you. At ISLE, we understand that this is a big decision, and that’s why we extend a board purchase guarantee. 60 Day Ride It & Love It Guarantee: We want to make sure you are happy with your board choice. Try it for 60 days and if you don’t 100% love your board, you can always send it back and get your money refunded with a 20% restocking fee per item. Customer Service: Customer service should come first for every company because it reflects your entire business and how you value your past and potential customers. At ISLE, customer service is our number #1 priority and we’ve built our brand around it.
5,000+ five-star reviews. With 3,000+ perfect reviews, no one has a better service record than we do.
98% referrals. Practically every past customer has had such an amazing experience they've referred us to family and friends.
At ISLE, our only job is to make sure you find that perfect stand up paddle board and our outstanding track record over the past 16+ years demonstrates just how committed we are! Please feel free to call or email us regarding any questions or guidance you need.