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How to choose a paddleboard


Now that standup paddleboarding has gained more popularity, many manufacturers have started offering a much broader range of boards from which to choose.
While this has resulted in higher performing boards, it also has made choosing the right board for you a little tricky.

To make it easier to understand various designs, you can seperate SUP boards into 3 basic types of paddleboards: All-Around, Surf, and Race/Distance

All-Around These "planing hull" boards are basically where it all started, these boards are basically “sized up” longboard surfboard style board with extra stability and buoyancy to accommodate a standup rider.
These boards are a good choice if you want one board that does everything pretty well. They are also a good choice for novices and also those interested in SUP yoga. These boards are great for cruising, are easy to surf, and some designs surf quite well.
For most, all-around boards are the best place to start and make excellent first boards.
Sizes range from 9’-12’ long 29”-32”wide.
nalu1010side
A good example of these types of boards is the Naish Nalu or Mana Series

Surf- These boards are generally shorter and wider and are built to be fast and maneuverable on a wave. With more maneuverability comes less stability. Surf style SUPs are designed to be just stable enough for its size so a rider can manage the board enough to get it successfully on a wave, yet be loose with less wetted surface like a short surfboard for generating speed and doing tight turns for modern wave surfing. These boards are generally slow for flat-water paddling and can be challenging to balance. They also tend to yaw when paddled, meaning they can be difficult to paddle straight.
Unless you have a strong surf background and are willing to endure some frustration, surf style SUPs are a poor choice for a first and only board.
Sizes range from: 7'-9'6" long 28"-31" wide
hokua90side
A good example of these types of boards is the Naish Hokua Series

Race/Distance These boards are built for one thing...SPEED and GLIDE. If you want to cover long distances quickly and care for little else, Race/Distance boards are for you.
With the SUP race scene growing rapidly, manufacturers have finely hewn designs to slice through the water at amazing speeds.
There are generally two sub-catagories of Race/Distance boards:

Flat water- These boards are designed to be narrow with flat or no rocker to knife though the water as effortlessly and efficiently as possible Often referred to as displacement hull boards, the nose is designed like a bow to open up the water for the rest of the board to flow through. in glassy water nothing can touch these boards for speed. Waves and chop are not much of a consideration for the design of these flat water boards so they are an excellent choice for coastal creeks and sounds, as well as inland waterways and lakes.
Sizes range from: 12'6"'-14' long 26"-30" wide
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Open ocean- Like flat water SUPs, these boards are designed for speed and distance as well, with the exception of factoring in design considerations for rough water, waves, and generally more challenging conditions. Open ocean race boards can have displacement hulls, planing hulls, or some combination thereof, with added stability. While they may not be as fast as a flat water board on butter flat water, they start to shine when water conditions are less than ideal where pure flat water boards will become unstable and unpractical. Some of the open ocean race boards are remarkably good for catching unbroken swells and small waves, which in turn makes them very suited for "downwinders" and coastal exploring.
Sizes range from: 12'6"'-17' long 27"-30" wide
javelin17side
A good example of these types of boards is the Naish Glide Series