PADDLERsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 01 - Paddling Basics:
Flat Water SUP Boards
These flat water boards are the best option for beginners. They’re an all-around type of board that provide rookies with a nice, wide, balanced stance. They’re larger (both in length and width) and the bottom of the board is flat (for increased stability). These design features suit the board for calm waterway exploration. The size of board you will need will be based on your body weight and your experience on the water. Ask a pro if you aren’t sure!
Even though this is the ‘beginner’ style board, you’ll still get a great core workout from having to maintain your balance while paddling!
Surf SUP Boards
Like traditional surfboards, Surf SUP boards are shorter than Flat Water SUP boards and have tapered ends. These different characteristics allow Surf SUP boards to be more agile and responsive when riding on waves.
Although surfing on a SUP with a helpful steering paddle may seem like it is easier to learn than traditional surfing, Surf SUP boarding is no beginner sport. You should get to know your board on flat water first. Once your skills and confidence develop, you can try surfing with a SUP board!
Remember: The shorter the board, the higher the skill level needed to balance it.
Inflatable SUP Boards
The desire to travel with SUP boards has led to the development of an inflatable SUP board system. They’re really convenient—in fact, a fully functional SUP board and air pump can be inside your backpack in just a couple of minutes! Many beginners start with the inflatable board and then graduate to the hard board styles. Inflatable boards are definitely most popular for their transportability but paddlers also love their durability—you aren’t going to pop one of these babies! Once fully inflated, the board will feel as rigid as the hard SUP board styles.