Stand up paddleboarding is the fastest growing water sport in the world. It’s a user friendly activity that people of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy and you don’t need a nearby ocean to partake. Whether you’re on a lake, river, or the ocean, stand up paddleboarding is a great sport for all to enjoy.

Paddleboarding has been around since the inception of surfing in Hawaii. Surf instructors often stood up on their boards in order to keep a better watch over their classes and the paddles that the sport has adopted were based on the design for outrigger canoeing. The sport has come a long way since those days and now there are all kinds of available boards from inflatable to hard construction, from touring to racing. Sunplay carries a board that will work for you.

If you’re a beginning stand up paddleboarder, you will traditionally purchase a board based on your height and weight. This dictates how much water will be displaced when you step on the board. You may need a wider, longer, or thicker board in order to compensate for your body time. If you don’t hit the right ratio, you’ll create drag in the water and it will become difficult to balance, especially if you’re a beginner.

Paddleboard Width

The width of the board is the most important measurement for a beginning SUPer. There are a variety of boards that make sure people of all body sizes can enjoy the sport. Boards typically come in widths anywhere from 28”-36” wide. Width is all about stability in the water. The wider and thicker the board, the more it helps displace the paddler’s weight. A wider board is also beneficial if you’re doing a lot of open water paddling—waves and wind can be hard to handle on an inexperienced paddle on a slimmer race board.

Wide boards are best for people who have poor flexibility, someone with an above average-sized body, or anyone with hip or leg weakness from a current or previous injury (stand up paddleboarding can be excellent physical therapy). A good rule of thumb is to start with a wider board until you become comfortable with the SUP. The more advanced you are with board sports and the more relaxed you are in the water, the more narrow (and faster) of a board you will be comfortable with.

Paddleboard Length

If you are a beginner, you should start with a board that is at least 9’6” to achieve stability. Combined with a good width, this will make your rides easy and comfortable. Board length is not one-size-fits-all. The bigger the board, the larger and heavier that SUP will be, making it more problematic to transport, load into and out of vehicles, and cumbersome when trying to put in the water. Make sure you get one you are comfortable handling so you’re more likely to use the board on a regular basis.

A good general rule of thumb on board length is that a 10’-12’ board is a nice option for beginners who are looking to flat water paddle. 12’6”-14’ boards are better for racing or touring. These boards are faster in the water than the short boards, especially if you plan on paddling long distances. If you go much shorter than 10 feet, you should be comfortable on a board, like an experienced surfer who knows how to handle a board in the wind and waves.

At Sunplay, we carry trusted SUP brands like Naish, Bic, and Solstice. We have traditional hard construction models in addition to inflatables which are easy to transport and store.