(This is my second board, I got it recently. A birthday gift)
In this article, Sasha Talbina tells his way of finding the suitable paddle board. Tips, feelings, everything you would love to know!
Greetings，paddle boarding newbies! My name is Sasha Talbina, and I wonder how each of you become acquaint to this soothing while exciting water sports? It must be a meaningful event in your life.
As someone who grew up by the sea, I've witnessed dozens of people spending their time in seaside, but my health condition didn't allow me to join most of their activities. When I finally got better, I immediately joined my local paddle boarding community. That’s when I finally connected to the vast blue ocean.
Now it's the 2nd year since I got my first board, and I want to write down my board selection tips before forgetting it, hope this will help you clear your doubts and save money. And I want to thank everyone that introduced me to my precious little board.
Try out before buying
There may be paddle board rental centers in sightseeing spots, most of them offer coaching service, too. There you can get first-hand experience of this activity. You also get to know different kinds of boards and how they perform in water.
The coach can be a important guide during your sup journey. It's often useful for newbies talking to a professional face to face and learn about basic skills and board selection criteria.
Once you have a basic picture in mind, you can start planning for purchase.
Board price varies a lot, high end products can go up to thousands of dollars while the cheapest costs around 300 dollars. Some brands even offer tailored services, price may also add up. Personally, I have no resentment towards my first board, which cost not much, although I do think it's not as fabulous and the design is too simple.
Hard boards are usually more expensive than inflatable boards and have better performance on water. Some people think it's cheap to use inflatable boards (AKA isup), but there are more trade-offs between these two. For example, transportation & storage is a big issue for hard boards. Light campers & adventurers would prefer isup due to transportation issues. Little carts made by certain sports companies can help transporting hard boards on smooth roads, but in woods and mountains one has to rely on his/her own, which forbids hard boards from many serene lakes. Not to mention hard boards take up much more space and can be a nightmare for small house and small car owners and those traveling by air. I assure you, inflatable board is just as wonderful and as satisfying for ordinary users.
Check Youtube, Amazon, Facebook
There are many unsponsored unboxing videos on Youtube. You can search for specific brands / models. In one video I watched, first time in water and the paddle is already broken. Couldn’t stop laughing.
Amazon comment section is also a good way to judge the board. Dissatisfied customers tend to express they disappointment more likely and attach more photos as proof.
Facebook group is also a very important platform for paddlers to communicate. When I first started and didn't know where to go, I received a lot of useful advice from interest groups. Just not be fooled by marketers who sneakily promote their products.
Transportation & Storage
Most of my considerations have been detailed in the budget section above. I'll write some more to make sections look balanced.
There's some distance between the car park and the beach in my town. I don't like to drag my board along the beach, not to mention the fact that I'm not strong enough to hold a 3-meter long board walking around. I can pack my inflatable in a back pack and inflate/ deflate it near the shore. I FEEL WONDERFUL.
Function & purpose
Although hard boards are less convenient, it does perform better than inflatable boards. It provides more stability and can be tailored to serve more purposes. For example, fishing enthusiasts would love hard boards because they can install fishing equippment on these boards. It's also easier to set up a camera on hard boards.
And there are many shapes. The name suggests its function, but how you actually feel on each of them may vary.
(I found this useful chart in Pinterest, which covers almost everything about board size & type , it’s pretty neat)
Location also plays a part. Winds, weather, waves, research them when you are planning for a route and schedule, so that you may determine the most suitable board for your use.
Waves and winds are usually stronger in oceans, so you may want to pick a broader, rounder board, while a sharper front help you direct, navigate and turn around. For beginners, balance is usually the first thing to considerate.
Rivers, canals and lakes are more tranquil and flatter, so it's easier to hold your balance. However, it can be busier and more crowded. With yachts, boats, kayaks, your fellow paddlers and wild ducks coming and going, water traffic maybe as terrible as downtown traffic. We paddlers must be agile and maneuverable, so a sharper head can come in handy.
For family trip with seniors, children and pets, broader board is the best choice, for it gives bigger space to move around. I know several people in my local sub community who often go paddling with their kids and dogs. They all use inflatable boards because these boards are easier to carry. Plus kids really enjoy pumping and inflating, I'm not sure why.
It’s best to consult Facebook groups, if you still have no idea after your research.
Body size & volume
You can find a volume calculator in many website. It may help you determine the right board size. You need to find one board that's enough to hold you and float upon water. Your height also affects the paddle length you’re using (don't worry, most of paddles are adjustable these days).
That's basically all. Do join local / online community during your exploration of this activity. Hope my experience help.
(p.s. You can actually find some products at this link below: https://mysudoo.co.uk/collections/boards-in-stock
It's cheap, suitable for beginners and customer service is responsive. They can ship to UK, Germany and Ireland. )