You may have already tried it for yourself, or seen your children have a good go, and the craze for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is only going to get bigger. Now seems like a great time to invest in either your child’s or your family’s paddleboard.
There are plenty of different types of SUP boards available to you, however they come in two main types: racing/touring and all-rounders. The great thing about these boards is that they are suitable for most types of paddling. There are other types of paddleboards available for you to choose from, however these are more niche and style specific.
(Thanks to John Coley for the image, via Flickr)
This guide will help you how to choose a standup paddleboard for you and your family.
The different styles of SUP boards are:
Race, touring and downwind SUPs: These SUP boards have a pointed front end (nose or bow) and a very rounded displacement hull (much like a kayak). They come in a variety of sizes, but the most common are 12’6” or 14’ long. The pointed front end ensures that there is less effort needed to paddle longer distances.
All-rounders: These types of SUP boards are ideal for beginners in your family, and are traditionally shaped a little like a surfboard. These all-rounder SUPs are typically 10’ to 12’ long and approx. 29” to 36” wide. These make the perfect starter SUP boards and are best used on calm lakes and close to shore.
Hybrid SUPs: These are a little like having your own boat, and even offer storage compartments if you like to drift off to do some fishing. They can be used as a sit-on-top kayak or you can stand on them.
Surfing SUPs: This SUP is the next one up from all-rounders. If you have conquered the all-rounder it may be time for you, your older children or other families members to join the more proficient surfer crowd. These SUP boards are narrower than the all-rounders, but this shouldn’t be a problem especially if you have mastered the basic all-rounder SUP already.
Kids’ SUPs: As the title suggests, these specialised kid SUPs are great for younger or smaller children in your family. Depending on how you plan to use the SUP, there are a number of different board types for your child to use. The short, all-rounder, board is a lot easier to learn on and handle, they are also a lot easier to carry and maneuver than a SUP board made for adults. For those children who are not too sure about the whole paddleboard experience, there are a number of inflatable models for them to use. These are even easier to carry and have a padded cushion to absorb any falls on deck.
Boards for Mums: Most SUP boards are quite heavy and difficult to carry, so if lifting a heavy SUP board from the car isn’t your thing don’t worry. There are a number of ultra-light boards that may be right up your street. Some models even have a specialised narrow mid-section to help you reach both deck handles when you’re carrying the SUP board.