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Manufacturing Team

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Lloyd Phillips
Lloyd Phillips

How To Buy A Stand Up Paddle Board PATCHED

Determine your stand up paddle board size based on your weight and paddle boarding experience. Think of your ideal board size in terms of volume. The wider, longer, and thicker the board, the more volume and weight capacity it will have. The more volume the board has, the more stable it will be on the water.

how to buy a stand up paddle board

Beginner paddlers will usually want a wider board with more volume as well as thickness because of the additional stability this offers. As your skill, balance, and strength improve, you can downsize to a board with less volume. By then, your older board will be great for friends and family to use!

Regardless of the type of climate where you live, it is highly recommended that you keep your stand up paddle board indoors when not in use. For all boards, the key is to keep your SUP in a cool dark location where it is safe and protected. Here are some tips for storing your paddle board.

With plenty of stand up paddle board companies to choose from, it can seem overwhelming to find the perfect one. The key is to look beyond the marketing and pull back the layers to see exactly what each company offers. The major things to consider when choosing a company are the makeup of the board, the price of the board(s), the guarantee, and the customer service.

At ISLE, our only job is to make sure you find that perfect stand up paddle board and our outstanding track record since 2004 demonstrates just how committed we are! Please feel free to call or email us regarding any questions or guidance you need.

The hull, or body, of a paddle board plays a major role in determining how the board performs in the water. Most SUPs have either a planing hull or a displacement hull. There are a handful with a hybrid design that combine the best attributes of each design.

A planing hull is flat and wide, similar to a surfboard. It is designed to ride on top of the water and be very maneuverable. Boards with planing hulls are a good choice for leisure paddling, surfing, SUP yoga and whitewater.

SUPs with displacement hulls have a pointed nose or bow (front end) similar to that of a kayak or canoe. The hull slices through water, pushing the water around the nose to the sides of the SUP to improve efficiency and create a fast, smooth ride. The efficiency of a displacement hull requires less effort than a planing hull to paddle, allowing you to go longer distances at faster speeds. They also track nice and straight but are generally a bit less maneuverable than planing hulls.

Volume and weight capacity are determined by the length, width and thickness of the board. SUP manufacturers combine these three dimensions in different ways to achieve different performance characteristics (see the SUP Length, SUP Width and SUP Thickness sections of this article to learn more).

The length of a board plays a major role in determining how the board handles. In general, longer boards are faster than shorter boards, but shorter boards are more maneuverable. Keep in mind your intended use when deciding what length SUP to buy:

Fins for inflatable SUPs: Inflatable SUPs can have any of the fin configurations already listed. What sets them apart is that they feature either flexible rubber fins attached to the board or detachable semi-rigid fins.

As we enter 2023, inflatable paddle board buyers are faced with an overwhelming number of confusing choices. The market is flooded with cheap paddle boards, with new brands springing up seemingly overnight to take advantage of the popularity of what is the fastest-growing water sport.

For guidance on how to approach the task of shopping for an inflatable paddle board, we also recommend that you read about our step-by-step guide to the buying process in The Best Inflatable Paddle Board - Reality vs the Internet

If you are just getting into paddleboarding, you will likely want to look for an all-around inflatable SUP that will do many things well and let you explore different venues and types of paddling.

If you are purchasing for a specific type of paddleboarding, there are specific boards tailored to specific uses. You can choose from boards designed for SUP surfing, boards ideal for SUP Yoga, whitewater SUP boards, boards for SUP touring, or even a racing SUP. You may be looking for a SUP board for your kids, or a SUP board for specialized use, such as fishing, windsurfing, or group paddling. Knowing the category of board you are looking for is the first step to narrowing down your choices.

There are dozens of other brands on the market, but the majority of them are cranking out mediocre boards that do not have any real distinguishing features or advantages. Many boards that are marketed with a lot of hype and fanfare are made with flimsy constructions, despite marketing claims to the contrary.

A well maintained used board that meets all your criteria can be an attractive option to some cheaper single layer inflatable SUP boards sold at Costco or on Amazon, though unless you know the buyer personally, a used board can be a case of inheriting someone else's problems. Another thing to note is that warranties are often not transferable so it is another area to apply due diligence.

You can find great deals on high-end boards if you buy them on clearance at the end of the season or after a model change in our SUP Deals and Clearance section. High end brands usually implement incremental changes so a previous seasons model will still be a great investment.

Open box boards are another opportunity to purchase a quality SUP at a significant discount though availability can be sparse. We will often sell boards that have been used for display for event or that we have used for on water testing, though demand can be very high for some models.

These generalizations can help you narrow down your choices so you can focus on the detailed specifications of the boards that meet your basic criteria. For more details on board sizing, check out our article What Size SUP Board is Right For You?

There are vast differences in the materials and construction methods used in inflatable paddle boards. It is important to understand some basic aspects of the construction of any board you are considering.

Note that "fusion construction" has been thrown around a lot of late, and be aware that there are different types of material claimed to be 'fusion' material. The brands we carry all use the highest grade fusion materials but the same cannot be said for many cut-price boards who are generally just using a single layer construction under the guise of 'fusion' material.

Deck pads vary greatly in material thickness and density and are made with a variety of textures that affect how much grip the deck will have and how it feels underfoot. Higher end boards may have a kick tail with a raised back edge and an arch bar for locating your back foot while doing maneuvers in surfer stance. Be sure to consider deck pad features when comparing boards.

The configuration that seems most time-tested and effective is a single crisscross bungee system near the nose of the board, a centered D-ring at the nose for towing, and another centered D-ring at the tail for attaching a leash.

Beyond that, we urge you to question the usefulness of extra accessories and attachments and consider whether they will help you more than they will get in the way while you are paddling or transporting the board.

You can ride the board with only a tall center fin when speed is a priority. You can use a large center fin and two smaller side fins when you want additional lateral stability, for example in currents or windy conditions.

A fully configurable fin system that can accept a variety of center and side fins in different sizes and shapes adds significantly to the manufacturing cost of board, so they are relatively hard to find, but well worth it if you want the performance and flexibility that they add to your setup. An example of a well-executed configurable fin system is the Earth River SUP Lake - River - Coast configuration.

Paddlers who value simplicity and carefree use of their equipment will be best served by a permanent tri-fin system, which has three equally sized unbreakable fins that are permanently attached to the board.

After the board itself, the paddle is the accessory that will have the greatest impact on your comfort and effectiveness while paddling. For this reason, we recommend that you put almost as much thought into choosing a paddle as you do for the board itself. The main things you need to consider when choosing a paddle are

Because of the importance of a good paddle to your overall paddling experience, we have written a detailed article on how to choose a SUP paddle, which you should read in its entirety before settling on a SUP board package to buy.

Another type of pump has two cylinders instead of one, so it can move a lot of air at the outset, but one of the cylinders needs to be disabled when the pressure in the board increases and pumping becomes difficult.

A not very glamorous, but truly essential component of your SUP kit is a personal flotation device (PFD), which is important for your personal safety and required by law on many lakes and waterways where you may want to paddle.

There are two main types of PFD: A lifejacket or inflatable belt pack. A lifejacket is the safer option, but many paddlers want the feeling of being out on the water unconstrained by anything worn on their torso.

There are situations where an inherently buoyant lifejacket is the only option, such as whitewater paddling, and a lifejacket is really the only safe choice for kids, beginners, and paddlers who are not strong swimmers. A belt pack can be a valid choice for adults with good swimming skills while paddling on flat water, and is in fact the most popular type of PFD that we sell.

As a matter of both convenience and safety, you do not want to get separated from your board when you fall off. A leash is an essential part of your SUP gear kit, as it tethers you to the board so you can simply pull the board back toward you in the water and climb back on. Leashes are not very complicated, but there are differences you need to know about when selecting one. 041b061a72


Moments from the production line.


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