TLDR: When choosing a stand up paddleboard, you’ll want to think about how you need to use it, as this will determine which type of SUP best meets your needs. Next, you’ll want to do research on the different types of paddleboards available, what they’re made of, and what kinds of product features and specifications they offer. Once you’re aware of what you need vs. what’s available, it’s time to take the plunge and purchase a paddleboard!

How to Find the Best Stand Up Paddleboard for Your Needs

Sup, fam?! — no, not that kind of “sup” – we’re talkin’ about stand up paddleboards…

If you find yourself here, you’re probably already well aware of what a SUP is (still, we couldn’t resist a bit of corny “Dad humor”...)

The question is, how do you find the right SUP? With so many options on the market in varying price ranges, hull shapes, and both inflatable and traditional construction, there’s so much to consider.

Let’s break it all down together so you can make an informed, personalized decision.

Ready? Let’s explore the wide (and sometimes narrow) world of SUP dimensions, materials, performance, and more…

The Other End of the Paddle: How You Plan to Use Your SUP

There are many types of paddleboards available, from heavy-duty PVC inflatable stand up paddleboards to traditional epoxy-covered foam & fiberglass to expensive carbon fiber paddleboards. And there’s even more variation to consider when you start to go down the rabbit hole of paddle board shapes and use cases.

So rather than diving right into the specs and features of a paddleboard and getting overwhelmed (it’s easy to!) start with a question: “How will I use my paddleboard?”

If you don’t know, then we advise you to think more on this question! Here are some potential types of paddling you may be considering and the associated paddleboard type best suited for each:

  • Pond & Lake Paddleboarding: Flatwater paddling on your local lake or pond on a still day is the type of paddling most vacationers and beginners will be used to.
  • Ocean & Rapids Paddleboarding: Ocean paddleboarding or paddleboarding over river rapids is intense, vigorous, and requires not only a high degree of paddling experience and skill, but also a purpose-built paddleboard designed to withstand wind, waves, and even rocks.
  • Touring: Touring boards are designed to travel long distances and cut through the water seamlessly for hours on end. They’re usually longer and narrower than most other boards. Touring boards are often, but not always, made of epoxy (not inflatable).
  • Racing: Similar to touring boards, racing boards are generally longer, narrower, and lighter than their other paddleboard counterparts.

What to Look for In a Stand Up Paddle Board

Choosing a long, narrow traditional paddleboard is good for certain use cases (like racing). Choosing a wider inflatable paddleboard is better for others (i.e. touring when portability and storage are concerns). Therefore, consider the following paddleboard attributes in context of your needs, not the other way around.

  • SUP Length, Width, & Thickness: When it comes to choosing a stand-up paddleboard the length, width, and thickness of the board itself have a big effect on its performance and suitability for different types of paddling. Most paddleboards are between 8-14 feet long, 25 inches to 35 inches wide, and 4-6 inches thick.
  • SUP Construction, Durability, & Fin Type: “Traditional” SUPs are generally made of epoxy-covered foam and fiberglass. Racing SUPs may be made from carbon fiber. Then, there are inflatable SUPs, which are usually made from high-strength PVC. Some paddleboards have one fin, others have three. Usually, paddleboards have either a “general purpose” fin (The Chasm Lite has this type), or a touring fin, which has straight instead of curved sides.
  • SUP Portability & Transportation: Inflatable paddleboards have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their easy portability and storage capabilities. From apartment dwellers to bikepaddlers, inflatable SUPs open up the sport of paddleboarding to a wider audience.
  • SUP Actual Weight & Weight Capacity: The weight of a paddleboard can make transporting it easier. Weight capacity on the other hand, is important to keep in mind when shopping for your next SUP.

Kokopelli’s Chasm Lite SUP is one of the world’s lightest, most portable SUPs.

At 30 inches wide, 10 feet long, and 6 inches thick, making it a great general-purpose paddleboard for paddlers of all levels — including beginners.

It’s also just 12.9 pounds — or under 20 pounds with all included accessories. This makes it a fantastic choice for bikepaddlers and those who need a paddleboard they can easily store and carry with them on-the-go.

Find your perfect SUP on now!

September 22, 2023 — Adrianna Simpson