How to Choose a Sup: Flat Water Cruising

So you have seen everyone doing it. They are gliding along the water on a beautiful day. They lost 20 pounds and have a glowing golden tan. They seem more confident and happier. You know you need something new but can’t seem to get started. So what are you waiting for? The good life is passing you by. You just need to figure out what type of board to get. I’ll help.

The first factor to consider when choosing a board is what you will be doing with said board. If you are an experienced surfer, you may want to do some SUP surfing. Do you just want to cruise around in calm flat water? Then you should get a cruising board because your goal is recreation and fun. Do you want to get a good cardio or interval workout? If so, you need a racing board. For the purposes of this blog post, we are going to talk about cruising boards. If you want to surf or race, I cover that in a later article.

So the primary factor to consider when choosing one’s first board is volume. The second is weight. As a basic rule, a beginner should start with a board with volume (liters) equal or greater than that person’s weight (pounds). Thus, a 200 pound person going to want a board with at least 200 liters. A new paddler can get a board that has more volume than stated above. Try to avoid having less than the above formula.

Second, consider the width. Width is the second most important value in a board’s stabilization after volume. Try to find a board that is at least 30 inches wide. Many racing boards average in width in the mid 20’s. Racing boards have a high volume but lack in stability, which is not appropriate for beginners. Also check the roundness of the rails. Round rails mean instability but also offer less disturbance on choppier days.

Thirdly, I recommend trying different boards. Rent one from a stand up paddle board shop, not a rental place. The rental places use models that are intended for renting, which most likely will not be ideal for your needs.

Too often I see new paddlers get boards that are great at first, only to feel the board is too big by their second use. You may also decide to go more toward the racing route if the cruiser feels slow.

So I hope this has been good to help you get started. I appreciate comments below if you have any questions or feedback.

Video and Article by Joseph Abraham, Techie Design