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Standup paddling is one of the best sports you can do for your body and mind. Work on your balance, coordination, core muscles, and explore the seas from a standup paddleboard. Some paddlers become addicted to the sport because it’s so meditative.
In this guide, we’ll show you the best standup paddleboards–no matter if you’re a beginner or can master a SUP already. If you’re looking for an inflatable standup paddleboard, we also have a post that covers the best inflatable standup paddleboards of 2019.
Not only is the Pau Hana Oahu Woody standup paddleboard one of the most stylish SUPs on the market, it’s also one of the most versatile. This timeless style is perfect for nose-riding small waves and carving fat, friendly faces. Its five-fin set-up allows you to customize it as a thruster or stick to the classic single-fin. It also has a 5mm EVA deck pad for comfort and stability. Its base is made from epoxy fiberglass and coated with bamboo and wood veneer–giving you the nice look of a solid wooden board without the excess weight.
Weight: 29 lb Length: 10’0″ Width: 32″ Weight capacity: 263 lbs Pros: Stylish, versatile, good for both beginner and expert riders Cons: If dinged it can be challenging to get a good-matching repair
The Surftech Bark + PrAna Aleka is fast and hydrodynamic despite its length. The Tuflife V-tech construction made from epoxy and fiberglass, coated in bamboo veneer means that it’s solid yet lightweight. Best of all, this board is made with sustainability in mind — as surfing is a notoriously wasteful industry. Its part of the Ecoboard project, which verifies that methods and materials used to create the SUP are done so in a sustainable fashion. Its pointed nose helps cut through chop and the solid single-fin set up means that the board tracks efficiently.
Weight: 25 lbs Length: 11’2″ Width: 29″ Weight capacity: 185 lbs Pros: Stylish, fast, environmentally-conscious Cons: Not as beginner-friendly
Anyone remember Gidget? The Hobie Heritage nods to the advent of longboarding with its striped design. It has a solid, flat bottom that makes it stable even in choppy conditions. It’s made from an EPS core wrapped in fiberglass and bamboo for durability and strength. It has an expansive deckpad for a solid grip. Since this board is so stable, it’s a great choice for those wanting to tandem paddle or for beginners and families. As a plus, it comes complete with an adjustable paddle.
Weight: 30 lbs Length: 10’6″ Width: 31″ Weight capacity: 250 lbs Pros: Stable, suits all abilities, beginner friendly Cons: Its wide shape makes it slow to turn
The Pau Hana Malibu Classic is a timeless board in its shape and style. What we like best about it is its durability. The board is made with an EPS core with its rails reinforced with Kevlar. It is then coated in highly resistant epoxy and fiberglass. On top, you’ll paddle from a soft EVA deck pad. Since its rails can withstand some bumps, this makes it a great board for paddlers who want to the benefits of paddling around a rocky shoreline, have kids, or are simply a bit rough on their toys.
Weight: 31 lb Length: 10’6″ Width: 34″ Weight capacity: 250 lb Pros: Ultra-durable, stable, works for all abilities, great value Cons: Heavy
One of the best budget standup paddleboards, the Lifetime Horizon 100 has a lot of great features. First, the bungy storage area makes it perfect for packing along food or other sporting gear. It also comes with an adjustable paddle, and its carrying handle is strategically positioned. It also comes with a five-year limited warranty–so you can paddle with peace of mind. Because of its weight, this board works best if you’re not going to be transporting it long distances.
Weight: 44 lbs Length: 10’0″ Width: 34” Weight capacity: 230 lbs Pros: Durable, fade resistant, made from UV-resistant materials Cons: Very heavy
Call us biased, but we love the light blue color and simple design of the ISLE Versa standup paddleboard. A great thing about this board is that it also comes with an adjustable paddle, leash, and single fin. Made from epoxy, it’s also durable yet lightweight for its size. If you’re looking for an all-around board to paddle, surf, do yoga, and tandem paddle on, the ISLE Versa is a top contender.
Weight: 27 lbs Length: 10’5” Width: 32” Weight capacity: 245 lbs Pros: durable thanks to the Epoxy material, easily controllable, stable, glides through the water with ease, maneuverable, lightweight, has a comfort groove carry handle, and a stylish design. Cons: The light blue model risks scuffing easily
The PEAK Escape is a soft-top paddleboard ideal for beginner paddlers and kids. The soft foam padding helps cushion any falls and helps paddlers maintain traction on the deck. Being just a little over 23 pounds, it’s also very easy to carry. It’s stable, easy to maneuver, and tracks decently well considering its shape. Additional accessories include a smartphone waterproof case, leash, adjustable paddle, center fin, and a six-point bungee system for storing goods.
Weight: 23.5 lbs Length: 10’5” Width: 32” Weight capacity: 250 lbs Pros: Soft top makes it a comfortable ride, suitable for all types of water, lightweight, does not ding easily Cons: Not as agile as some of the other boards on the market
The BIC Sport Tough-Tec is one of the best standup paddleboards for beginners. It’s made from a solid EPS foam core and sealed in polyethylene skin for great durability. The entire deck is grip-safe, so you can paddle with two people, kids, or pets. Six attachment points are placed throughout the board to help with stowing extra gear securely. One of the best features is its buoyancy — those under 220 pounds can expect to stay above the water, making the board easier to paddle. The board also comes with a two-year manufacturer warranty.
The Driftsun Soft Top should be a top pick for paddlers just starting out. The cushioned top makes falling and testing your limits a safer experience. The board has a bungy stowage area up from that’s large enough to pack extra food and sporting equipment as you paddle. The board comes with an adjustable paddle, leash, and single fin. Since it is a soft-top, it’s much more durable than competing boards of similar size. Paddling is always that much more fun when you don’t have to worry about dings.
Weight: 29 lbs Length: 11’0″ Width: 31″ Weight capacity: 250 lb Pros: Great value, versatile, durable, comfortable Cons: Light color risks being scuffed
The PEAK Navigator is easily one of the best standup paddleboards for families. It’s so durable, it’s basically bomb-proof. Made from a solid EPS foam core, reinforced with glass, and molded with polycarbonate, you can drop this board without stressing that it will ding. The board itself has a spacious bungy storage area near the nose and comes with an adjustable paddle, leash, and single fin. It’s ideal for tandem paddling or hitting the water with your pooch.
HARD STANDUP PADDLEBOARD VS. INFLATABLE STANDUP PADDLEBOARD
A hard standup paddleboard is one made from solid materials — usually an EPS foam core. An inflatable standup paddleboard is inflated with air to make it rigid. Whether or not you should get a hard standup paddleboard versus an inflatable standup paddleboard depends on where you live, the conditions you’ll paddle in, and your transportation.
PROS OF HARD SUP
PROS OF I-SUP
Convenience: You don’t have to spend time pumping up a board before using it. It’s always good to go.
Easy to transport: If you have limited car space, you can deflate your I-SUP enough to fit into a large backpack.
Agility and speed: Hard SUPs tend to be easier to maneuver and more suited to waves.
Soft surface: Many hard SUPs are painful to land on. I-SUPs tend to be more cushioned.
No risk of puncture: You don’t have to worry about your board deflating if you bump into something sharp — though you may get a ding.
Durability: As a whole, I-SUPs are more durable than hard SUPs because of their materials.
Longevity: Because of their solid materials, hard SUPs tend to have a longer lifespan than I-SUPs.
Performance: Hard SUPs are higher performance when it comes to touring and racing.
Choosing the right paddleboard can be an interesting yet overwhelming task. But fear not, we’ll show you the features to look for before you purchase your SUP.
SHAPE OF THE BOARD
Your paddling experience and your weight are the two most important determinants when considering the board shape that’s best for you. Paddling boards that are thick, wide and long are highly suitable for beginners since they can carry more weight and are more stable. This is because of their increased weight capacity and volume.
When considering the type of the board hull, the main hull types are the displacement and planning types. Both types are ideal for experienced or beginner paddlers. Their shapes, however, suit different functions.
Planning hull boards have a flat, wide bottom. They are thus highly stable and maneuverable and suitable for yoga, surfing, and casual paddling.
Displacement hull boards have a sharp front end. This sharp nose displaces around the noses’ ends. By doing so, they improve efficiency and guarantee a smooth ride for long distance paddling. They are highly recommended for racing, camping, and for fitness purposes.
WEIGHT OF THE BOARD
Standup paddleboards are relatively heavy. However, manufacturers are now making boards that can be easily carried without requiring friends to come help out. Consider buying boards that weigh between 15 to 30 pounds. Boards within this range are easier to transport into you and out of your car.
If your board is too heavy, you can’t realistically expect to be using it often. If the standup paddleboard will be kept just steps away from the water or forever tied to a lake, the weight won’t matter much. However, if it’s a far walk from the parking lot to the beach or from your house to the water, you don’t want to tire your arms out before the day even begins.
LENGTH OF THE BOARD
How a board handles largely depends on its length. Short boards have high maneuverability yet are not as fast as longer boards. Their length is below 10” and is suitable for kids and experienced paddlers. Long boards have a size of 12” plus and are ideal for racing and long distance paddling. A good mid-range length that’s suitable for most paddlers is between 10-11′.
It’s also worth noting is that when deciding on the length of your standup paddleboard, consider the length of your vehicle, the walking distance from your car to the beach, and the storage space. The longer the length, the harder it will be to move around. Some cars won’t be able to carry a long board on their roof even with SUP roof racks.
When considering weight capacity, take into consideration the total load that will be on the standup paddleboard. This includes your weight plus food and drinks you may wish to carry along. If you plan to paddle with family and friends onboard, you’ll want a board that can handle a bit more of a load. If you overload your board, your board will sink into the water and make paddling inefficient (and uncomfortable). A board whose weight capacity is between 200 and 300 lbs is however ideal for most paddlers.
THE BENEFITS OF OWNING YOUR OWN STANDUP PADDLEBOARD
Exercise: Standup paddling works your arms, leg, core, and balance. It’s low-impact and very good for all major joints. Plus, just about anyone can do it. Social events: Since it’s such a fast-growing sport, you can standup paddle with friends, enter competitions, join races, and even do yoga on a standup paddleboard with friends! Easy to scale: Once you master standup paddling on flat water, you can move to smaller waves and finally, large waves. You can race, play around with different board shapes, and progress in so many ways once you have a standup paddleboard of your own. Potentially cheaper than renting: Depending how often you go, owning your own standup paddleboard could be cheaper in the long run than renting one all the time. Plus, you’ll always have on suited to you.
What do you love about paddleboarding?
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