You are about to buy your first inflatable Stand Up Paddle (SUP). In general, you will orient yourself on an inflatable board. The first criterion can be the price. So how do you know which board is really right for you? Why are there such price differences? While they seem all the same…
A few pointers on the shape
- The length, width and thickness give you volume.
- At equal pressure a big board is more stable and a thicker board is more rigid.
- Length generates inertia
- It’s important to know that on an. Inflatable SUP the thickness is noted on the back of the front of the board.One only needs the volume in the middle of the board, in the spot where you’ll be standing the most.
- The outline is the shape of the board seen from above. If the back of the board is narrow, it will turn better when you go back. Conversely, a wider board behind will give have more room and will be more stable, but less manageable. For an adult of 75kg a 32 ‘wide, all-round board begins to be stable. The so-called entry-level boards are often narrow.
Stand Up Paddle size guide
Stand Up Paddle Technology and materials
There are several technologies, but basically there are “single skins” and “double skins”.
- The material of the single skin is less thick, so the board is lighter and less rigid. It also supports less pressure, which makes it even more flexible. Some brands compensate for this phenomenon by putting a stringer (second skin) on a part of the board. A single skin board is light and there are definitely arguments that pleads in his favour.
- The double skin type is heavier, more expensive, stiffer and stronger. It is a liner that is stuck on the base material. There is also the double-skin welded version that allows you to gain weight and increase the inflation pressure. Construction techniques vary from one brand to another and usually decide the price of the board.
Inflation valves and pumps
The inflation valve is an important element on a paddle board. Before buying your board, make sure you can change the valve if there is a problem and find the spare parts for your board. Obviously the more expensive boards have a more reliable valve system that is easily changed. The pump is delivered with the paddle. But beware, a pump of poor quality will not allow you to inflate your board! In addition, the tip of a pump is not the same from one valve to another. There is a large quantity of inflatable stand up paddle valves and not all are adaptable on any paddle.
The transport bag
A good size bag, which can easily accommodate your deflated board, is normally included with all paddles. If the bag is a little bigger, that’s a good thing! You can also put an electric pump (option to buy separately), Your leash, suit, paddle, waterproof bag, vest, etc. Some bags have wheels, which is obviously convenient for transportation. Check some SUP Transportation bags on the shop
It’s often an overlooked element, but it’s really important: it will transmit the energy to move forward! If the paddle of the SUP is too soft or the blade is not adapted to your size, you will not have fun rowing and you will quickly abandon this wonderful sport. For an inflatable paddle board, opt for a three-piece paddle that you can put in the bag. Some paddles sink, because they are too heavy and they have no plug inside the tube. Here too, a paddle that is a little more expensive will not sink and will be quite rigid.
Take a look at all different paddles for SUP on the shop
One of the most important criteria of the inflatable paddle board is of course the storage. Do not leave your inflated board in direct sunlight! It may explode because the air that is going to heat up is gaining volume (there are protective inflation valves that regulate the pressure automatically. A quality board can be stored inflated or deflated, so you can very well leave your board inflated throughout the season and it will just need a little pump before returning to the water.
Board security and Safety
This sport is practiced in open water, so there are rules to respect that vary from one country or region to another depending on the legislation. However, apart from any legislation, we really advise you to bring a leash (element derived from surfing, which connects your leg to the board with a cord). In case of fall or if the wind has risen, you will be connected to your board. The flotation vest is only useful if you have the right type of vest. Indeed, we can say that a life vest will support you in case of discomfort, but it must keep your head out of the water. Therefore an inflatable system (with a compressed air cartridge) is necessary, because the good old boat life vest is too bulky.
Stand Up Paddle Maintenance
After use in salt water, you should rinse your board and the rest of your equipment with fresh water. Avoid getting sand in the valve and the pump and try not to keep your wet paddle folded or rolled in the bag too long. If you store your wet board, the pad (EVA foam part) it will start to smell like dirty socks! Avoid products that attack adhesives and plastics.
Observe the inflation pressure carefully, indicated on the manual, in the bag or around the valve. In general, we speak in psi. Entry-level boards inflate between 10-12psi, mid-range 15 psi, and high-end can go up to 25-30 psi. 14.5 psi corresponds to 1 bar. There are electric pumps to plug into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter or standalone with an optional built-in battery pack.
SUP is a really relaxing and fun activity. Obviously you can do it as a serious sport, but it is also possible to do it recreationally with children on the board or to go for a picnic on a small inaccessible beach edge. If you know that you will practice with several people on the paddle, opt for a board wider and larger. Ditto for dogs, a wider board will give you more stability. However, be careful that your dog does not have very sharp claws because it can damage the board. The practice of paddle boarding, even in its relaxing form, will develop your musculature and you will discover beautiful new places. It’s an activity that thrills more people every day.
Night-time Stand Up Paddling
Learn about the legislation of each region and body of water. It is possible to do night paddle if the board is equipped with suitable lighting. But with this as well, check. Normally, a two-colour lamp (green and red) in the front and a white one in the back are required.