Stand up paddleboards have become a popular alternative to more strenuous (and dangerous) water sports like surfing and water skiing. And they provide an excellent means of enjoying your local waterways, sneaking in a fun form of exercise, and getting social with friends. That said, paddleboards are not exactly inexpensive. And if you want to practice this leisure activity, you really can’t avoid purchasing the proper equipment. But there’s more to it than just a board and a paddle. So if you’re a little worried about dropping several hundred dollars and ending up with the wrong gear, here are a few tips to help ensure you get the stand-up paddleboard that’s just right for you.
Paddleboards are generally wider and longer than surfboards, even though they look similar, and the reason for this is that the average paddleboarder is seeking a relatively stable surface to stand on, rather than a vehicle fit for handling the rapid turns and nimble maneuvers involved in surfing. That said, there are some differences amongst boards that could be important, especially if you’re a beginner. And the first thing you should decide is the hull type you prefer.
Often, beginners will do better with a planing hull, which is wide, flat, and provides the greatest stability. If you want to try paddleboarding more for recreation than for sport, or you’re interested in paddleboard yoga, a planning hull is your best bet. If you are more experienced and you want to increase efficiency and move a little faster in the water, a displacement hull (which is narrower and pointed on the front end) may be more your speed.
You also want to consider materials. In the beginning, you might be confused about whether you should opt for a foam core encased in fiberglass, a hollow-core plastic board, or polyurethane foam. The last is often a good choice for beginners because it is a bit heavier (and more stable) than other options, and it tends to be more affordable. Some can be had for as little as a couple hundred dollars. As an alternative, you can now find inflatable paddleboards, as well. This option is great if you have limited storage space and you want gear that is easy to transport when you travel.
When you purchase a paddleboard you also need to think about displacement. Your board has to be long enough, wide enough, and sturdy enough to support your body in the water or you’ll sink. On the other hand, a board that’s too big for you could be hard to handle. Luckily, boards often come with specs that include rider weight capacity to make it easy for you. Eventually, you’ll be experienced enough to know if you want a lighter or heavier board, but in the beginning it’s probably best to adhere to manufacturer specs.
Finally, you need to think about extras like fins (to improve handling and stability), a leash (to attach your board to your leg), and the type of paddle you prefer. You might also need a rack on your car for transportation, and if you want to practice safety first, it’s probably best to wear a life vest when you go paddleboarding (in some cases the U.S. Coast Guard actually requires this). So before you click the order button at Coastal Wholesales, do some research to figure out which products are right for you. This will help to ensure that you have a great time every time you go paddleboarding.