Stand Up Paddle Board Questions Answered

We answer all of your stand up paddle board questions in this article.


inflatable paddle boards

Stand up paddle boarding is a fun and exciting way to explore the water and get a great workout. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, choosing the right stand up paddle board (SUP) is crucial to your experience. With so many different shapes, sizes, and materials available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. In this article, we'll break down the key factors you should consider when choosing a SUP, and provide you with everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Skill Levels of Paddle Boarders

all around stand up paddle board

When going through a buyer's guide for stand up paddle boards, you will want to take your skill level into consideration. Beginner paddlers will want a beginner friendly paddle board. Entry level SUPs with great stability are typically what the beginner paddler is looking for. The same goes for heavier paddlers. Inflatable paddle boards have been a game changer because they offer many paddlers excellent stability and tend to be a great value as well. For an incredibly stable board look for one that is wider and longer rather than one that is made for smaller paddlers. They usually want a whole package that includes a kayak conversion kit and fiberglass paddle (or one with an aluminum shaft) with includes a kayak seat so that they can spend part of their time sitting on the paddle board. Most budget boards won't include these add-ons.

The perfect board for intermediate paddlers is usually a shorter board at an affordable price which they can use for the various SUP disciplines. Their go to board will usually be one that is more maneuverable than entry level SUPs. The might want to surf small waves or try paddle boarding down rushing rivers. They may replace the manual pump with an electric pump to save time and effort.

Experienced paddlers are typically looking for a premium board at a great price. It they are info solo backcountry trips on flat water (whether they are day trips or overnight trips) they will usually seek out a longer touring board with high storage capacity via four D rings in the nose and tail of the board for storing their SUP gear.

Size and Shape

recreational paddle boards

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a stand up paddle board is its size and shape. The size and shape of the board will affect its stability, maneuverability, and overall performance. When selecting a SUP, you should consider your weight, skill level, and the type of water you'll be paddling in.

Beginners should start with a wider, more stable board, which will be easier to balance on. As your skills improve, you can move to a more narrow and streamlined board, which will be faster and more responsive. For calm water, a longer board will provide more speed and tracking, while a shorter board will be more maneuverable in choppy water.

Types of Paddle Boards

inflatable paddle board as well as a beginner paddle board

There are several types of paddle boards and the various materials used in them affect their durability, weight, and overall performance. There are three main types of boards: foam, inflatable, and hard shell.

Foam boards are typically the least expensive option and are a great choice for beginners. They are durable and provide good stability, but are heavier and less responsive than other materials. Inflatable boards are a great choice for those with limited storage space, as they can be deflated and easily stored in a backpack. They are lightweight, semi-durable, and provide good stability, but are less responsive than hard shell boards. Hard shell boards are the most expensive option and provide the best performance. They are lightweight, fast, and highly responsive, but are less durable than foam or inflatable boards.


removable fins

The fins on a stand up paddle board affect its tracking and stability. Most boards have one large center fin and two smaller side fins, but some boards have a single fin or no fins at all.

For beginners, a larger center fin will provide better tracking and stability. As your skills improve, you can experiment with different fin configurations to achieve the desired level of speed and maneuverability.

Stand up Paddleboard Brands

sup boards

When it comes to choosing a stand up paddle board, the brand can make a big difference. Some brands are known for their quality and durability, while budget brands may offer a lower price point but sacrifice on performance.

One reputable brand that stands out for its premium quality boards is Glide. Glide offers a range of stand up paddle boards for every level of paddler, from beginner to advanced. Their boards are constructed with high-quality materials and are designed to provide excellent performance and durability.


stand up paddleboard

When purchasing a stand up paddle board, it's important to consider the accessories that come with it. Some boards come with a paddle, leash, and carrying bag, while budget brands may require you to purchase these items separately.

A SUP paddle is an essential accessory for stand up paddle boarding, and it's important to choose one that is the right length and weight for your height and skill level. A leash is also important for safety, as it keeps you connected to the board in the event of a fall. A carrying bag is a convenient accessory for transporting and storing your board.

When choosing a stand up paddle board, there are a variety of other factors to consider in addition to size, shape, materials, fins, brand, and accessories.

Weight Capacity of Inflatable Paddle Boards and Hard Boards

stand up paddle boards

Another important factor to consideris the weight capacity of the board. The weight capacity refers to the maximum amount of weight the board can support while maintaining its stability and performance.

It's important to choose a board with a weight capacity that exceeds your body weight and any gear or equipment you plan to bring on board. This will ensure that the board remains stable and performs well in the water.

Hard and Inflatable Board Volume

stand up paddle boarding

Paddle board volume is another key factor to consider when choosing a SUP. Board volume refers to the amount of space inside the board and is measured in liters.

Higher volume boards are generally more stable and easier to balance on, making them a great choice for beginners. Lower volume boards are typically faster and more maneuverable, but require more skill to balance on.

Hull Shape

touring board length

The hull shape of a stand up paddle board can also affect its performance in the water. There are two main types of hull shapes: planing and displacement.

Planing hulls are flat and wide, and are designed to ride on top of the water like a surfboard. They are typically more stable and easier to balance on, but are slower and less efficient than displacement hulls.

Displacement hulls are pointed and narrow, and are designed to cut through the water like a kayak or canoe. They are faster and more efficient than planing hulls, but require more skill to balance on.

Deck Pad

inflatable paddle board

The deck pad is the surface of the board that you stand on while paddling. It's important to choose a board with a comfortable and non-slip deck pad that provides good traction, even when wet.

Some deck pads are made of EVA foam, which is a soft and comfortable material that provides good grip. Others are made of cork or bamboo, which are more environmentally friendly materials that provide good grip and a unique look.

Board Shape

stand up paddle boards

In addition to the size and shape of the board, the overall shape can also affect its performance. There are three main board shapes: symmetrical, displacement, and surf.

Symmetrical boards have a uniform shape and are designed for all-around use. They are typically more stable and easier to balance on, making them a great choice for beginners.

Displacement boards are designed for speed and efficiency. They have a pointed nose and are narrower than symmetrical boards, making them faster and more efficient, but also more difficult to balance on. Most touring boards have a displacement hull.

Surf boards are designed for use in waves and have a curved shape that allows them to turn easily. They are typically shorter and wider than other types of boards, and require more skill to balance on.


inflatable stand up paddle board with adjustable paddle

Price is also an important factor to consider when choosing a stand up paddle board. Paddle boards can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the materials, construction, and features.

While it's important to invest in a high-quality board that will provide good performance and durability, it's also important to choose a board that fits within your budget. Consider your needs and skill level when choosing a board, and look for a board that offers good value for the price.


Choosing the right stand up paddle board is essential to your enjoyment and success on the water. By considering factors such as size, shape, materials, fins, brand, accessories, weight capacity, board volume, hull shape, deck pad, board shape, and price, you can choose a board that meets your needs and provides the performance and durability you need to enjoy this exciting sport.