Which paddleboard should I get?! I hear this all too often from first time SUP buyers. With all the different paddle board shapes, sizes, volumes, and construction ("Layup schedule") it can be super confusing. I normally break this decision making process down into three categories, and this might help you decide which is the best board for you!
First, as a "Newbie" to paddleboarding you have to take your height and weight into account when choosing your first SUP (Stand up Paddle Board). The larger the person, generally, the larger the board you want to start out with. For example, a 185 lb. man who is 6' would go with a 10'-11' board. I would also suggest his first board be at least 31" wide. And say a 135 lb. woman who is 5'5" I would suggest a 9'5"- 10' SUP. Same deal with the width for her board. When you are talking about paddle boards in the 9'5" - 11'5" range, the wider the board makes a big difference in stability, more so than length or thickness (Over all Volume). So I would suggest your first board be in the 31" - 33" width at it's widest point, you will be happy you did and your learning curve on your new SUP will be much quicker!
Secondly, you have to consider the shape or outline of the board. Generally speaking wider rounder shapes (Think big longboard surfboard shapes) will be more stable and easier to master. Our 10' & 11' Cardiff SUP Boards are perfect as a first time paddle board. Boards with round and full noses with larger tail widths, along with having at least 30" in width will make for a nice stable platform, like our Cardiff Series Boards mentioned. Short board shape (Think pointy nose and thinner profile) with lower overall volume will offer more performance, speed, and surfability in your SUP but will be less stable. If you're looking to give yourself a bit more of a challenge with the upside of increased performance then boards like our 10' & 11'2" Sessions SUPs will be the ticket!
Last thing to consider in your first paddleboard is construction. If you're looking to get a board that has the lightest weight (Ease of carrying / transporting) then you'll most likely be looking at a Fiberglass / Epoxy SUP. The upside to this type of construction is lightweight and increase performance due to sleeker shapes and rigidity. These are the traditional type of paddle boards which shares similar methods used in making fiberglass surfboards. Our Cardiff & Sessions line of paddleboards are built using these traditional methods. We go over and above in our construction adding materials such as natural bamboo, carbon fiber, high quality fiberglass and divinycell so ours our light and strong. These types of SUP boards offer a lot, and are considered the best performing models, but you must take care of these boards like you would a traditional surfboard. Be mindful of dinging and banging your board into hard surfaces, and always store your epoxy SUP out of direct sunlight and exposure to prolonged extreme heat! If you need something a bit more durable and up to taking lots of abuse then you need to consider thermo-mold plastic shell paddleboards. Our Adventure Series Boards come into play here. These boards can take all the abuse you can dish out as a new paddler! Paddle strikes, bumping into hard objects, oyster beds, and rocks can be handled better by a paddle board with a hard plastic outer shell.
Most import factor is to have fun and get out on the water!
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