A Guide to Buying a SUP
Now that you tried stand up paddle boarding for yourself by taking a lesson, renting a SUP from your local surf shop, or using a friend’s stuff it’s time to consider your own purchase. The equipment is pricey and buying a SUP should be done carefully. SUP package prices are not cheap and range from a low of $800 to greater than $2000. The two main pieces of SUP equipment are the board and a paddle. There are three basic things to think about when buying SUP gear; 1) the rider’s weight and height, 2) how experienced is the rider, and 3) in what conditions will the board be used.
These general guidelines for the rider’s size can be used when buying a SUP. In general, longer wider boards can help the novice learn faster and have better success when first starting out in the sport. Buying a smaller, narrower boards makes it more difficult to learn. People weighing less than 150 pounds can typically use a board around 10 to 10 1/2 feet having a width of about 27 inches. These SUP board sizes are a good choice for many lighter riders, particularly women. If your weight is in the 150 to 200 pound range, consider buying a board that is 11 to 12 feet and at least 31 inches wide. Riders, weighing 200 to 250 pounds should look for boards longer than 12 feet and 31 inches in width. Buying a board greater than 12 1/2 feet and 31 inches wide is a good choice for people weighing more than 250 pounds. Now on to buying a paddle for your SUP.
The basic rule for buying a paddle is it should be no more than 8 to 10 inches the rider’s height. There are a few paddle types such as fiberglass and carbon fiber. Typically, fiberglass paddles cost $200 to $260. Expect to pay $300 to $400 for a carbon fiber paddle. If your on a tight budget buying an aluminum shaft paddle with a plastic blade is a good choice for under $200. Since there are a lot of board designs and paddles on the market do your homework first before buying and ask questions when making your decisions. Some SUP manufactures include Yolo, Surftech, Jerry Lopez, C4, etc. with many stock and custom options. Most offer package deals for the board and paddle purchase.
If you’re just starting out in the sport, buying a wider board will be more stable and help you learn faster. You will spend more time out of the water on the top of the board and have better success. Unless your a natural athlete or have previous surfing experience it’s good to get an lesson from your local surf shop or a buddy who already knows the techniques for standing on and paddling the board before buying anything. After you become a better SUP surfer you can consider buying a smaller size board. The paddle length however will generally not change unless you are growing taller to warrant a longer paddle.
There is typically two different places a SUP will be ridden. One, which is the most common especially for beginners, is on flat water such as lakes, slow moving streams, and bays or flat oceans. The other is in on ocean waves in the surf line-up or down fast rivers or stream swith some mild rapids. The style of board will depend on where the rider will be using the SUP. Just make sure to understand the shape and size of the board given the conditions where it will be used. Most surf shops will have the different type of boards for the various places they can be used.
Hopefully, this information gives you a better idea about buying your first SUP board and paddle. Use these guidelines as exactly that – guidelines. Doing solid research on the internet will make your buying experience more rewarding. If you have some knowledge about SUPs it will be easier to ask the importnat questions when talking with people about your purchase. So, get out on a SUP and learn the basics before you spend your hard earned cash on that new or used board and paddle.