How to Choose Stand Up Paddle Board (Ultimate Guide on SUP)

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is the fastest-growing sport in the world. And the reason for this growing popularity is that it offers something for everyone. You can go for a fast-paced paddle to get a workout, choose a stand-up paddle yoga, or catch the waves in the ocean on a relaxing paddle. Regardless of your paddleboarding style, if you want to make the most of the sport, it is vital to know how to choose stand up paddle board based on many factors.

Start by considering its use – how will it fit your body, and how do you want to handle it in the water. You will need to understand the right shape of the board, its volume, capacity, length, width, and thickness. You will also need to decide whether you need a solid or inflatable board.

This selection will depend on how you plan to carry the paddle board and the amount of storage space available with you. After all these decisions, you will evaluate the board’s fins, and if you require any extras or accessories.

Read through this guide to understand what you need to keep in mind for choosing a stand up paddle board.

How to Choose Stand Up Paddle Board?

We did the research for you. There are a few things you might want to consider while making the choice for your stand up paddle board. Let us explain several ways to decide on how to choose stand up paddle board for you.

Choose Stand Up Paddle Board Based on Board Types

To begin, you must understand the different types of paddle boards. There will always be a crossover since people use paddle boards in multiple ways – touring, racing, recreational, surfing. There are six most common types of paddle boards you’ll find in the market.

All-Around SUPs

This type is the ideal choice for beginners and first-time paddlers. They are versatile and suitable for use in all conditions, be it choppy or flat water. All-around SUP is the most common shape for paddle boards and is family-friendly.

Surfing SUPs

If you are an intermediate or advanced paddler, the surfing SUP is just for you. It is less stable on the water, increasing the chances of paddlers to fall off and enjoy more action paddle boarding. On the surfing SUP, you can easily maneuver on the waves and cut through to move forward. The surfboards are oversized with a paddle.

Touring SUPs

Paddlers interested in high-intensity workouts can select touring stand up paddle boards. These are made for long distances in flat water, such as lakes, bays, and the open ocean. Besides, they are designed for gliding with maximum efficiency. Beginners can also choose touring SUPs as they are wide and stable.

Racing SUPs

Racing SUPs are not suitable for beginners as handling the same in water becomes challenging. They are the right choice for recreational racers and the elite. They are constructed for open ocean competitions, downwinders, and flatwater races. Their extra length and width help to achieve long glide efficiency and fast sprint speed.

Fishing SUPs

This type of stand up paddle board is for those who enjoy fishing but don’t have the budget to purchase a kayak or boat. The boards have the most volume, letting you and your gear remain high. This design ensures that the gear remains dry and does not get into the water.

In certain fishing SUPs, there are pre-installed mounts that allow you to personalize your fishing experience. You can add fish finders, rod holders, and all the other things you require for your expedition.

Yoga SUPs

The shape of the paddle board is suitable for flatwater paddling, yoga, or any other fitness activity. It is designed to remain stable in calm water with an expansive deck pad, giving you sufficient room to perform any form of exercise.

Choose Stand Up Paddle Board Based on Board Sizes

Choosing the best stand up paddle boards among many is a tough task unless you have proper guidance. The right size for a paddle board depends on the paddler’s weight and experience.

Consider the size as per volume. A wide, long, and thick board indicate more volume and weight capacity. Moreover, a board with a high volume will remain more stable in the water.

For beginners, a paddle board with more thickness and volume is suggested. As you learn the sport and develop the skills to balance, you can start using a smaller board with less volume.

  • The most common size for SUP boards is 10 to 11 feet in length and 32 to 34 inches in width. If you are particularly looking for stability, you’ll need a board that is around 33 to 34 inches wide. Choosing a board that is wider than this size is not advisable since the board will become sluggish and less fun to paddle.
  • The right size of the SUP board for maneuverability and portability is 9 feet 6 inches. This size of the board allows for enhanced stability and adds a lot of fun to your experience. However, remember that this size is not suitable for paddlers weighing more than 150 lb. You must also ensure that the width is appropriate for the length, which means that the width should not exceed 32 inches. If it does, it will be slow to paddle.
  • Paddlers who prioritize straight tracking and speed should choose a touring or race board measuring 12 feet 6 inches in length and 32 inches in width. Race boards can be narrower, around 26 to 28 inches. A narrower width makes them very fast but less stable. The most appropriate width for a 12’6 board suitable for racing and touring is 30 inches.
  • For specific cases, SUP boards are available in specialized shapes. This includes boards that are 36 inches in width and are used for running rapids. Boards having a length of fewer than 9 feet are typically suited for ocean or river surfing.

Choose Stand Up Paddle Board Based on Board Thickness

Board thickness is another important aspect to consider when purchasing a stand up paddle board. The suggested thickness for inflatable SUP boards is 5 inches. These boards are ideal for all-around paddling, particularly for beginners who are developing their skills.

However, for heavier paddlers, those who weigh more than 225 lbs, a 6-inch thick board will be appropriate.

Based on Board Hull

As you determine the size of the SUP suitable for you, it is vital to consider the design of the board’s hull. The hull or body plays an important role in affecting the performance of the board in the water. Given below are the two types of board hulls commonly used by paddlers:

Planing Hull

A board with planing hulls is wide and flat, like a surfboard. It is the right choice for surfing, leisure paddling, whitewater, and SUP yoga. Easily maneuverable, the board stably rides on top of the water.

Displacement Hull

The shape of a board with displacement hulls is pointed at the front, like a canoe or kayak. This design helps you to slice through the water, pushing the waves to the sides, and enjoy a fast, thrilling, and smooth ride. A displacement hull is suitable for SUP touring, racing, and fitness paddling.

Choose Stand Up Paddle Board Based on Board Material

Paddle boards are distinguished into inflatable and solid boards. Solid boards can further be classified into the materials they are made from, including Epoxy Fiberglass, Soft Top, and Thermoplastic.

Epoxy Fiberglass

This is the traditional paddle board with an EPS foam core and multiple layers of epoxy resin and fiberglass covering. It is stable, durable, highly rigid, and lightweight.

Epoxy Fiberglass boards are a suited match for paddlers who are passionate about paddling or recreational paddlers. Paddlers interested in racing, SUP surfing, long-distance journeys, and expeditions should choose this material.

Soft Top

These boards are similar to epoxy fiber glass boards with the only difference that their top is layered with a spongy and soft material. This layer shows lesser scuffs or dings.

Soft top boards are a perfect match for those who have sufficient storage space in the house and are on a tight budget.


These SUP boards have either a hollow core or a foam core with a hard thermoplastic molded shell around. They are less-performance oriented and relatively heavier, but they are highly durable. Thermoplastic boards are not easy to scratch or ding.


Inflatable SUPs are made using heavy-duty commercial-grade PVC material. They use drop-stitch construction to create an air core. After you inflate the board, it remains as rigid as a basketball.

As you set out to purchase the right stand up paddle board, it is vital to know which brands are popular and the best. Here’s a list of the top 5 paddle board brands available in the market:

iRocker SUP

iRocker is one of the most influential brands in the history of surfing. It manufactures original, innovative, and high-quality boards. It is a trustworthy SUP brand for both beginners and advanced paddlers. We’ve written a detailed iRocker review for you to explore more features, benefits, discounts, and surfboard products.

You can grab latest iRocker discount codes and get amazing offers on your next purchase.

Cruiser SUP

Cruiser SUP manufactures products with high-quality materials, skilled workmanship, and leading manufacturing partners worldwide. The brand specializes in epoxy paddle boards, durable paddle boards, non-inflatable paddle boards, lightweight paddle boards, and much more. The premium quality paddle boards are backed by a two-year warranty. Use our cruiser sup discount codes and get amazing discounts.


Atoll Board Company is recognized as one of the top-rated inflatable stand up paddle boards companies on the market. It offers inflatable stand up paddle boards, accessories, and apparel. The Atoll iSUP is a suitable all-around sized board for children as well as adults. It measures 11 feet in length and has been evolving since its origin in 2014. The inflatable paddle board gives every water enthusiast the chance to enjoy a multitude of activities. Use our atoll discount codes and get exciting offers!

Stand on Liquid

Stand on Liquid has established a name in the paddle board industry. The company provides products in multiple sizes to fit everyone’s requirements. The USP of this brand lies in its specialized technology that refines SUP boards for the surfing requirements of different paddlers. If you plan to buy your stand up paddle board from Stand on Liquid, the two most popular models to choose from are Namaste 10′ Inflatable Yoga Paddle Board and Stand on Liquid Good Vibes Superlite. Both these boards are light, maneuverable, and affordable.

Boardworks Surf

A renowned soft-top surfboard brand, Boardworks Surf produces high-quality products at affordable prices. Its range also has beach accessories for beginners as well as experienced athletes.


Connelly offers unique, well-designed, and powerful surfboards. What is impressive is their attention to detail to every product, something that you wouldn’t easily find in the market. Their range is vast and regardless of whether you need a SUP board for your seven-year-old or something competitive, you will not be disappointed.

Bay Sports

Bay Sports delivers top-level surfboards. Its patented sandwich blank conduction helps it stand out against the competition since the paddle boards have a lighter yet sturdier design.

Final Words

The right board enables an experienced paddler to handle calm and choppy water. The SUP accessories and extras are also essential to make paddle boarding more enjoyable. These include a paddle, proper clothing, a leash, a personal flotation device, a car rack, and more.

With all the information required on how to choose stand up paddle board available, it is time for you to get out on the water. Many stores sell paddleboards, making it convenient to find the right choice for you.

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