SUP buying guide: Get the right stand up paddle board for you

Aug 10, 2016 BY Paul McWilliams

Are you getting into SUP – the world’s fastest growing water sport? To get the right stand up paddle board for you there are many factors to consider, so read this SUP buying guide to help you make the right purchase.

SUP buying guide Get the right stand up paddle board for you image courtesy of

SUP buying guide: Types of board

The first decision to make is what type of board will suit you. There are three main types of SUP board; all round, surf and flatwater/race.

All round SUP boards are thicker and wider. They’re very stable and allow you to tackle all elements of SUP with one board. Some even come with a windsurf rig mounting.

Surf SUP boards and shorter, narrower and have more curve. The narrow nature means you can handle them better on waves but they are slower than larger boards and trickier to balance – better for more established riders.

SUP buying guide Get the right stand up paddle board for you image courtesy of

Flatwater boards are long and narrow, with a pointed nose for gliding quickly in a straight line. They are less stable than all-round boards making them less useful in variable conditions.

Solid or inflatable?

Solid boards are made from lightweight rigid materials like foam, plastic and fibreglass. There’s no preparation time, you can get straight out on the water. They’re also very reliable and stronger than inflatable SUP’s meaning it should last longer.

Inflatable SUPs are usually made using layered PVC and woven fibres. Once inflated, this makes them surprisingly rigid and much lighter than solid boards. They’re great for easy storing and travelling. They are also more affordable than solid boards.

SUP buying guide Get the right stand up paddle board for you image courtesy of

SUP boards can get pretty big, so for ease of transport an inflatable board is a great option. Check out the range of versatile inflatable SUP boards at the Their JP range of SUPs comes with a free paddle, making them even better value.

The right stand up paddle board for you

Once you’ve made your choice about style and whether to go solid of inflatable, you need to think about the size. This is a key part of this SUP buying guide and ultimately getting the right stand up paddle board for you.

Depending on what style of board you choose, your weight determines the ideal length and overall volume of the board. The more you weigh, the larger volume required for ideal float so the longer your ideal board length would be.

UK river SUP flickr image by Northwest Rafting Company

In order to work out volume, beginners should multiply their weight in kilos by two to work out litres needed. Intermediates multiply by 1.7 and advanced riders 1.3.

For an all round board, if you weigh between 56 and 68 kilos you’d be looking at a board length of roughly nine to ten and a half feet. For a surf SUP board you’d ideally be looking for no longer than nine feet. And for flatwater or race boards it would be over ten and a half feet.

SUP buying guide: Accessories

Once you have determined which board you need, you also have to consider an appropriate paddle. Just like boards, these can vary according to what kind of riding you’re doing – with surf, all round and race paddles available. Also bear in mind shaft material and blade size and shape.

SUP buying guide Get the right stand up paddle board for you image courtesy of

A leash will also be required, keeping you attached to the board when you fall off. The two main types of leash are the coil and standard. You should also invest in a buoyancy aid and wetsuit.

To get the right stand up paddle board for you, follow this SUP buying guide, and ask for advice if unsure. Ideally to try out the different styles and designs first to help you figure out what kind of SUP board you prefer. Whatever your style you can look forward to hundreds of hours of fun out on the water.

We hope you found this SUP buying guide useful. To get the right stand up paddle board for you visit, you even get a free paddle with every JP inflatable purchase.


Beginner, Flat Water

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