Updated: Jul 29
Selecting the perfect iSUP can be a daunting task, especially with all the marketing lingo floating around. Though you can easily browse the internet or go with a friend's suggestion, it's crucial to ensure that the board is the right fit for you. While iSUPs aren't mere beach toys, having the right board can be a source of immense pleasure, motivation, and life-altering experiences.
There's no one-size-fits-all iSUP, as your requirement may differ from others based on where and how you plan to use it.
Think about this... if I buy a mountain bike will I be using it for sprint road races? Or if I buy a carbon road bike, will I be tearing down off road trails? Where do I paddle? Are you on inland rivers, lochs or the sea's waves? Are you purchasing for yourself or the entire family? Is your body height or weight on the lighter or heavier side? These factors need considered when choosing the perfect board that caters to your needs.
Before making any purchase, it's crucial to understand not only what you're looking for but why you're looking for it. This comprehensive guide will help you select the ideal iSUP. There is a huge range of boards on the market and it can be overwhelming in even knowing where to start. There is also a huge variation in how boards are constructed so this video will help you to understand that. At Glasgow Paddleboarders Co. we only retail boards that we use in the school and that we trust for stiffness with high quality side rails which prevent the board from bending in the middle. Check out this video.
Thickness of board
First of all it's important to understand the thickness of the board. In general there are 3 thicknesses.
4", 4.75" and 6".
The 4.75" thickness is often spoken about as 5". Keeps it simple.
Most people on the market would find a 4" thick board too flexible, but these boards can be suitable for children. For all-around boards up to 100kg, a 5" thick board is ideal, while those up to 80kg can use it for touring. Any heavier riders over 90kg, then 6" is recommended for all-around boards and touring boards 11'6" or more in length.
Choosing the right SUP size is crucial, as one size does not fit all. However, the 10’6 x 32” x 5” comes close to perfect. It's why lots of SUP school use that size. For individuals over 100kg, a large touring shape board or all round 10’8 / 11’ x 34” x 6” would be more suitable.
On the flip side, if you are shorter at 5'4" and your board is the main issue, a more narrow board between 30 to 31 inches and still 5 inches thick would suit you better. This way, your board can be customized for your size. To simplify, there are small, medium, and large all-around boards, with the medium option being the preferred choice for families.
Width of board
I want a stable board so I'll just go as wide as possible. Many people believe that wider boards are more stable, but this is a misconception. The stability of a board depends on factors such as the rider's weight, sea-state, weather conditions, and experience. In choppy water, a lighter rider on a wide board can experience a lot of rocking, making it more difficult to control.
Additionally, if the board is too wide, it can impact the rider's paddle stroke. A vertical paddle stroke is most effective, but it becomes more challenging to achieve on a wide board, particularly for shorter riders who may experience shoulder strain. Thicker boards are by default harder to get back on too. So ultimately safety becomes a concern.
Length of board
This is generally a bit more simple. The longer is, the faster it goes. The shorter it is, the easier it will turn. 12'6 or 14' are common sizes for touring or racing. 10'6 and 10'8 are common all round sizes but often 11' ranges are included in this. Normally 11' board have a point so glide better than true all rounders. Anything less than 10' is going to turn super well. Most kids boards a 9'-9'6 with some going longer as a touring option so they can keep up with you on a longer paddle day. Some of the surf options hit as
Short as 7'.
Glued Double Layer
Single skin is the cheapest way to make a board. It also has the most flex.
Stinger is a single skinned board with layers glued on to help make it thicker.
Laminated boards is when two skins are essentially
melted together to make a stiffer construction. There are lots of names for this MSL, military grade, heat bonded etc...
Glued double layer is an older method of making boards. It generally makes the boards heavier. Some direct sales brands still use this for specific things, e.g. river boards for white water. Having a heavier board does have benefits in certain conditions.
If you've made it this far... fair play to you. Gladiator and Shark are doing some awesome work at providing something for everyone. Anomy bring that bling and loudness. SIC have a fantastic inflatable range with Starboard and Red also pulling a premium price on high quality kit. AVOID BIG DISCOUNTS. Companies only do that because their boards were never worth the original price or because they need to shift stock because their products haven't sold well. Think about why that might be...
Here is £10 off any paddleboard purchase on our website. ✌️ "blog10"
Any questions please get in touch. 07738850611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org