Buying guide the right inflatable SUP board
Below we go into several properties that should be considered when choosing a suitable SUP board.
- The payload indicates the maximum weight the board can carry. This key figure is one of the most important and determines which iSUPs are suitable for you at all. It is important to calculate the total weight. In addition to the body weight, there are also SUP accessories (paddles, leash, drybag, etc.), possibly wet clothes, the drinking bottle and other provisions.
- Special boards are designed for driving with several people or SUP with a dog. Especially with these uses, a sufficiently large load must be ensured. This must also be taken into account with SUP boards for children. The small boards are well suited for young adolescents, but can get too small when the children grow up.
- The weight of the board can mean different things. A heavy board could be built from heavier, more robust materials, which in itself would be positive. However, this also means that transporting the SUP board would be more difficult.
- The additional weight of the backpack with the board makes long walks particularly difficult. However, the trend in the current models is towards building ever lighter boards that still offer a high degree of robustness.
- Nowadays, an above-average weight is no longer a sign of a robust board, which is particularly good due to the additional material used. Quite the opposite: The really good SUP manufacturers are constantly researching new manufacturing processes that ensure more and more stability and at the same time reduce weight.
- For a long time, the focus was on the thickness when it came to the quality of SUP boards. The background is that the first iSUPS were only 4 inches (10 cm) thick. The problem was that due to this small thickness, the first inflatable boards often arched in the middle.
- It was only around 2014 that 6 inch (15 cm) thick SUP boards appeared in large quantities. Nowadays, these types of boards are ubiquitous and there are hardly any manufacturers left to stick to the 10 cm thick models.
- More air fits into the thicker iSUPs, which has two advantages: Firstly, this provides more buoyancy and thus a higher load capacity. On the other hand, these boards are much more robust, which ensures a more stable stand.
- A small plus is that the thicker inflatable SUP boards are more difficult to wash over with water and the feet tend to stay dry. If you want to buy an inflatable SUP board today, you should pay attention to a thickness of 15 cm. We strongly advise against narrow boards with a thickness of only 10 cm. Also in a SUP board test, 15 cm thick boards mostly outperform the others.
Length and width
The length and width are two points that must always be considered together. Driving characteristics can only be derived from this in combination. There is not only one type of stand up paddling board. The boards are divided into different board classes, each of which shines in different areas of application.
The most popular types of SUP boards are:
- All-rounder: Typical entry-level boards that are suitable for various areas of application.
Touring: Longer boards with a good straight line, which are ideal for tours.
- Race: Very long, narrow boards, which are uncompromisingly designed for maximum speeds.
- Fishing: Broad SUP boards for fishing, which offer plenty of space for fishing equipment and are often equipped with fishing rod holders.
- Yoga: Wide boards without a central handle with a particularly large deck pad.
- Wave: Very short, relatively wide boards that are very agile.
- Whitewater: Wide boards that are extremely robust to withstand collisions. Additional handles allow the board to be held on particularly demanding passages.
Children: Smaller all-round boards.
The width determines how safe the board is in the water. Already a few centimeters have a difference. A good orientation when it comes to evaluating length and width is the typical all-rounder. On average, all-round boards measure 320 cm in length and 80 cm in width.
A board that is only 75 cm wide is noticeably more shaky in the water than a SUP that measures 80 cm in width. The same applies to yoga boards, which are often 83 cm or even wider and therefore offer a high degree of stability.
SUP boards for beginners usually measure 78 cm or more in width. Touring and Race SUP boards are narrower, at least relative to their length, which means that the boards are a bit more unstable in the water. The principle of running stability applies here (just like when riding a bicycle). Initial