Everything You Need to Know About Flat Water Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding comes with a lot of lingo and paddlers with an intense love for all things paddle boards.

It can become intimidating to ask, and we're here to help you skip that step!

Here's everything you need to know about flat water paddle boarding.

What is Stand Up Paddleboarding?

Stand up paddle board (also known as SUP) is a popular water sport or hobby. Stand up paddleboards are a unique and awe-inspiring way to explore the water whether that's the Ocean, Bay, Lake, River, or Rapids! With so many various types of bodies of water, there are bound to be so many different hobbies or activities of paddleboarding.


What is flat water SUP?

There are many different kinds of SUPs that we have covered in our Comprehensive Guide to Inflatable paddle boards, but there are essentially two different kinds of paddle boards. There's an inflatable board or a solid SUP.

The best flat water paddle board is an inflatable SUP that is usually a wider board, with both the displacement hull or a planing hull and a medium to long board length. This design will help enable you to maintain stability, while being light weight enough to cover long distances that will keep beginner paddlers and advanced paddlers all happy.

The best inflatable flat water SUP is usually all around boards. Glide Paddle Boards has designed and created a durable, super stable, beginner friendly, drop stitch construction, all around inflatable paddleboard called the O2 Retro that's perfect for flat water paddling.

Activities most paddlers enjoy that are best on flat water are leisure paddling, exploration or "Touring", paddling with family and friends, SUP camping, picnics on your inflatable paddleboards, taking your dog on your SUP, etc. The options are endless and fun with calm waters to play on!


all around inflatable paddle board


Get to know Flatwater Boards Better

Flatwater boards are designed to serve you best for flat water paddleboard activities. The best board for this is the O2 Retro Inflatable paddleboards. A flat water board needs to be ideal for newbie paddlers of any skill levels because we often learn how to paddle board on a calm lake.

You'll find the right board based on it having enough volume and weight rather than focusing on the length. Depending on how thick and wide, the board has a volume and weight to it. The weight of the paddle board will tell you how much it's capable of moving and carrying around. The larger in volumes, the heavier the board will hold. All inflatable paddle boards have a weight capacity, as do solid boards.

Stand up paddle boards can be found ranging anywhere from 6' to 12'6+. The length really isn't what will make it harder or easier to paddle board, which in turn means that it's not about your height for length but actually your height for width, but we'll get more into that later in this blog post.


flat water paddle boards


All Around SUP Vs Touring Paddle Boards for Flat Water Paddle Boarding

A Flatwater board are typically all around boards or touring boards. Both of these types of SUPs excel for flatwater paddling. The perfect answer doesn't exist for the question of, "Which is best?" because it's all about preference and skill level.

The Glide All Around Inflatable Retro SUP has a great stable platform that will give more stability over the touring board models. The Retro has a round nose which provides the board with enough space to have two adults on it, your dog, or to place your SUP camping gear and dry bags securely under the bungees. This board stands at 10'6" tall, 33.3" wide, has a volume of 290 L, and a weight capacity of 400 LBS which will keep every body type, including heavier paddlers stable and feeling confident!

The Glide Touring Inflatable Quest SUP is a close runner up. This SUP is a narrower board sitting at 30" wide, but has more volume than the Retro at an outstanding 320 L. It's got a pointed nose that keeps your track straighter, and cut through any choppy waves. This 12'6" tall board has quite a longer length compared to the all around board, and due to it's smaller width it does take more of an effort to remain stable, but you will get your core muscles worked out and your body will thank you! These Glide boards also have D Rings that can be used for additional attachments like our kayak seat that is included in an inflatable paddle board purchase which is the best to use with the O2 Quest because of how fast you can go.


shop inflatable paddle boards


Types of paddleboards

All Glide PaddleBoards have various dimensions, designs, and uses. Though not every use means that's all it's good for, but that's a conversation for another day. There are paddleboards that cover all sorts of SUP sport extensions such as SUP Yoga, Whitewater, Fishing, Touring, Racing boards, Lesuire, Surfing, and some that are always ready for a little bit of all of it.

Each Glide SUP has convenient carry handles on the paddleboards that are placed on the top and bottom of the board, as well as the middle of the board right over the standing area. They have D Rings all over to attach things like utility straps, anchors, kayak seats, carrying straps, paddle holders, etc.

In other companies, you may have to pay for accessories separately, but we don't think that's right here at Glide. Everything you need to get on the water is included in your inflatable paddle board purchase.


flatwater sup


Which type of SUP is more stable?

If your focus is mostly on stability then it's best to look at a few different factors of the construction and dimensions that will tell you everything you need to know about the board's ability. The average American woman (according to Google) at 20 years old and up weighs 170.6 pounds and stands at roughly 5'4". For this statistic, I would genuinely say they could choose any SUP they wanted, and just advise to get one that will best fit their paddle board activity of choice.

The average American man (according to Google) at 20 years old and up weighs 198 pounds and stands 5'9". For this, I would recommend a longer board, assuming he is a beginner paddler, that's around 33"-36" wide so he can feel the most comfortable as he develops his skills at paddle boarding.


stand up paddle board


What makes a good paddleboard?

For any gender, man, woman, or other, I hope you're ready for this truth bomb. If you buy a cheap stand up paddle board from Amazon or Costco or wherever, it will not serve you for long. A single-layer inflatable paddle board will not last, and if you weigh more than the average US citizen then it won't comfortably hold your weight and will likely taco which isn't worth the few hundred dollars you're saving. Not to mention what that waste of a short-lived stand up paddle board does to our environment.

Glide PaddleBoards are made with 3 layers, had drop-stitch woven materials, and will outlast your great-grandchildren. If you are interested in learning more about Why Glide Inflatables Are The Best Inflatable SUPs then make sure to check it out.


SUP for calm waters


Can you paddle board in shallow water?

While you explore, there are times when you come across shallow water.

While exploring on calm water, rivers, or really any body of water, it's inevitable that you'll come across shallow water. The Glide standard fin setup is a little bolt companioned with a 9" dolphin fin in a US style fin box.

Going over shallow waters of loose rocks or sand shouldn't damage your fin, however, if you hit a large or very sharp rock at a higher speed than normal there's a chance it's broken and did minor damage to your fin box.

In flatwater you shouldn't have a problem. Just stay aware of what's below you and conscious of where your fin is.


O2 retro all around paddle board


Can you SUP in choppy water?

Depending on where you're paddle boarding you're guaranteed to get some wind and choppy waters. Though most commonly on lakes it will get winder nearing the afternoon to evening time, but there's nothing to be afraid of! Paddling through choppy waters can make it more difficult, but is a great boost for your fitness to get a good workout in.

If you are on a pointed nose board you'll find it easier to fight against the choppy waters whereas a round-nosed would take a bit more effort. The best way to prepare for this is to check the weather for where you're paddle boarding before going out there.

A general rule of thumb is if the winds are 9 mph or higher just go different day.


inflatable paddle boards for sale


Where can I paddleboard?

The best part of owning an inflatable sup is that you can take it literally anywhere. It can be in the back of your car, your carry-on on an airplane, on your back on a hike to a secluded SUP spot on tranquil waters.

Although weather conditions can affect your paddling trips, SUPs can be pretty much used anywhere. Lakes, Oceans, Bays, Rivers, etc. An all around board performs well on all bodies of water. We have created lists of our best recommendations of Places to SUP that will help get you started.

It is important for us to mention that there are private property, laws against non-motorized boats, and other local rules. Some states need you to have your board registered to not be fined.

While you're at it, make sure to check out our Ultimate Guide on Finding Places to Paddle Board Near You.


inflatable paddle boards


Health Benefits of Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is the fastest-growing outdoor water sport in the world. Anecdotally speaking, the fitness and injury rehabilitation benefits of SUP appear to be stellar. Up until recently though there was scant scientific evidence to back up any such assertion relating to these benefits.

A recent study on a group of individuals was conducted to ascertain the potential of SUP on various health categories. This article offers a high-level review of the results of this study.

One of the major attractions of SUP is that it offers a thorough full-body workout. Isometric contractions of the glutes, leg muscles (hamstrings, quads, Achilles), and entire core and trunk region are required to counter the force from the pull phase of each paddle stroke. In other words, the inherent act of balancing on the SUP board is a key component to the workout one receives while paddleboarding.

In addition to these anaerobic benefits, SUP also provides a somewhat deceptive aerobic workout as well. We say ‘deceptive’ because many paddleboarders make note of the fact that they oftentimes return from a workout surprised by how tired they feel afterward.

Time flies when you’re having fun.



There are many things we love about flat water paddle boarding and it's truly one of our favorites here at Glide because of the variety of activities that can be enjoyed with friends or on your own.

Order your very own inflatable paddle board to enjoy the waters as soon as possible! Contact info@glidesup.com or call 888-927-9405 if you have any questions.


Related Topics

SUP Tips for Beginners

Everything You Need to Know About All Around Paddle Boards

Health Benefits of Paddle Boarding

How Inflatable Paddle Board Technology Changed The SUP Industry

Your Comprehensive Guide to Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth It?