As the sport of paddleboarding is steadily becoming more popular, there has been an increase in the different types of boards available on the market. How can a person choose which SUP board is the right one for them? Here are some tips to choosing the perfect SUP board for your body and skill level.
SUP boards come in several sizes and material. There are SUP boards made specifically for flatwater, surf, or combination-type water. Depending on the bodies of water where you’ll be doing most of your paddleboarding, you need to choose a board that suits the water you’ll be in. If you’re going to be on water with a lot of waves, you might want a shorter paddleboard that will maneuver well on the waves. If you and some other family members or pets want to paddleboard at the same time, you might want to get a wider board which provides better stability. If you like exploring on calm waters and want to have some stuff on the board with you like food or other material, you can choose a longer board that can hold all your stuff. For speed and for exercise, narrower and longer boards designed for faster movement on the water is perfect. For yoga enthusiasts, stability in a board would be the most important so having a wider board with a good deck pad cover would be best.
When you rent or buy a board, the seller or renter should have a chart available for determining the size of the board according to different weight categories. If you have short arms or are short yourself, it will be easier to maneuver a board that is not too wide. If you’re about 23 kg to 68 kg, a board that’s somewhere around a little less than 3 meters or 3 meters in length is fine. If you’re heavier and taller, you’ll find a longer and wider board might be better for stability. Boards can be as long as 3.8 meters and more.
For beginners, stability is important. The longer and wider the board is, the easier it will be for the beginner to stand up and paddle. Just as long as it’s not too wide that it’s difficult for the participant to maneuver, the long and wide boards are great. It’s important to follow the weight chart provided for the perfect ratio of board to body weight for different designs of SUP boards.
Intermediate and advanced SUP boarders and paddlers can experiment with smaller and slimmer sizes for better maneuverability and speed.
If you’d like to explore the waterways in Brisbane, an SUP board is great, but it will be limited to certain areas for safety reasons so that SUP participants don’t interfere with waterway traffic. To explore the main Brisbane waterways fully, doing so by boat or by amphibious vehicles is better. You can check out www.quackrduck.net.au for a guided tour of the waterways that most don’t have access to. It’s safe and you can leave your SUP board for waters that are designated for surfers and SUP participants.
Paddle – It should be big enough so that with your outstretched arm to the sky, the handle fits in the middle of your hand when the paddle is placed upright beside you.
SUP Board – Choose the medium-sized boards perfect for all-around activities.
Before going on the water with the board and paddle, it’s a good idea to first practice paddling strokes on land with an experienced guide. The first position for paddling is on the knees. You get on the board and on your knees, you should be at the middle of the board. Where the knees are placed should be where the feet will be when standing up on the board. If you are ahead too much, you will have a hard time controlling the board. If you are back too much on the board, you will be constantly turning.
Where the instructors tell you the blade should be facing, listen to them and place the paddle blade correctly. Both hands should be on the paddle at a distance comfortable for you, maybe having a little more than hand to elbow length in between your hands. The top hand should be underhanded on the handle and the bottom hand should be overhand on the paddle for the best grip.
To move forward, the paddle should be vertical and paddled parallel to the board cutting into the water ahead and pushing it back. To reverse, the paddle should cut into the water behind and pushed forward. To stop, the paddle should be held vertical with the paddle head at a 90-degree angle to the board. If you want to turn right, make a sweeping motion with the paddle on the left of the board by the pushing the paddle from the very top of the board with a wide sweep to the very back of the board. To turn left, do the opposite sweep with the paddle in the water from the back to the front of the board. For a bigger turn, place your right hand at the top of the handle and your left hand at the middle of the handle pole.
You can switch paddling sides by moving your hands so that if you’re switching to your right side, your right hand should be at the lower position and your left hand at the top position. You should get comfortable with these different moves and try them on the water while on your knees. This helps you get used to balancing and moving on the board.
To stand up, you should paddle ahead slowly to get the board moving a little bit. You then bend forward and put the paddle across the board while still holding it with both hands. Slowly get up and move your feet to where your knees were one at a time. Once your feet are planted firmly on the board, you can then get up from your bent position slowly with the paddle still in your hands. Once standing up, keep your knees loose and a little bit bent for balance especially when dealing with some water movement from other boats and the wind. When paddling standing up on the right-hand side, your left hand should be holding the top of the handle and the right hand placed at the center of the shaft of the paddle. Follow those steps, and you’ll be a pro at SUP in no time. Once you’ve mastered the beginner steps and fall in love with the sport, you might want to get a board more suited to your needs and style. When you’re ready, Kona Boards will be there to help you find the perfect board. You can visit their site and have a look at different styles of SUP boards and accessories.