Stand up paddleboarding has recently received a lot of limelight. Over the past few years, more and more people have turned to the sport as a new approach to enjoying the sea differently.
Stand up paddleboarding offers a modern way to get out on the water while receiving a full-body workout; as well as this, it provides a great view of what lies under the water and along the horizon.
The sport itself is great way to leave the stresses of the day behind and relax. It's an incredibly easy sport to learn that all ages and fitness levels can enjoy!
What is Paddleboarding and SUP Boarding?
Paddleboarding is a form of gliding along a surface of water, usually a lake, river or body of inland water, while kneeling, lying or standing, which is why it can be referred to as stand up paddleboarding (SUP).
The sport has stemmed from surfing; unlike the traditional techniques of surfing where surfers will wait in a line up until a wave arrives, a SUP boarder will stand and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water.
What Equipment Do You Need For Paddleboarding?
Before you get out on the ocean, you need to make sure you've got the right kit!
For starters, you'll need a paddleboard; this will depend on where the SUP board will be used, who will be using it and how experienced they are. Purchasing the right board for the user is a key component to enjoying your SUP boarding experience.
You should consider:
- The hull type – most SUPs have a planning or displacement hull, but there are some hybrids too. Both can be used and enjoyed by beginners. Planing hulls are ideal for leisurely paddling, SUP yoga and white water. Displacement hulls are ideal for fitness paddling, SUP touring and racing.
- Solid or inflatable SUP – solid SUPs are available in more shapes and sizes. They also provide more stability and offer faster paddling. Inflatable SUPs are compact, more comfortable for yoga poses and can handle bumps against rocks and logs.
- Length – Short SUPs (under 10ft) are great for kids and surfing. Specially made SUP boards for kids are available at a length of around 8ft. Medium SUPs (10-12ft) are ideal for all-around use and SUP yoga. Long (12.6-14ft) work well for fast paddling and long-distance touring.
- Width – The wider the board, the more stable it will perform, although it will be more difficult to paddle and much slower.
- Thickness – The thickness will impact the weight it can support.
- Fins – Fins engage your boards tracking and stability. Most fins are removable so that you can change them depending on the occasion.
The correct length paddle will depend on what type of paddling you intend to do. If you would prefer to have the ability to change between paddling styles and types, you have the option to either purchase two paddles or an adjustable one.
Paddle types include:
- Surf SUP paddles
- Flatwater SUP paddles
- Racing SUP paddles
Personal Floatation Device
Because SUP boards are classed as a floatation device, they require the user to wear a PFD.
Your PFD can be a buoyancy aid or a lifejacket. It's best to choose one that still allows a good range of movement so you can continue to paddle freely. A PFD will help to keep you afloat and offer you some time to recover from your fall.
A SUP leash shouldn't be considered an optional extra; it's one of the more important pieces of safety equipment as they can potentially save your life. The leash will help tether your SUP and maintain close proximity if you fall into the water.
Alongside this, you will need to ensure that you have the correct leash for the environment that you will be SUP boarding in.
There are a number of SUP leashes available, including:
- Quick release waist belts
Rescue whistles are essential when you're out on the water as they can warn and communicate to others, such as boaters. For example, if a boater is unaware that you're in the area, you can alert them and assure your own safety.
Fins will add tracking and stability to your paddleboard. There are two major differences between fin sizes, these include:
- Larger fins with longer front edges and wider bases will track much straighter and offer more stability than smaller sizes.
- Smaller fin will increase the board's manoeuvrability.
Clothing and Footwear
As with any other sport, it's essential to invest in the correct type of clothing; you should consider every weather and condition that you could encounter.
A well-fitted wetsuit is advised, as it allows for free movement will acting like a second skin to keep you warm. For more information on how to size your wetsuit, you can refer to our wetsuit sizing guide.
Recommended SUP boarding clothes during warm weather include:
- Rash vest
- Board shorts or swimsuit
- Water shoes or neoprene boots
Recommended cold weather SUP boarding clothes include:
- Neoprene top, shorts or wetsuit
- Paddling gloves
- Wool or synthetic cap
- Wool or synthetic socks or wetsuit boots
What Are The Best SUP Accessories?
Your SUP accessories will again depend on where the SUP board will be used, who will use it, and how experienced they are. Purchasing the right board for the user is a key component to enjoying your SUP boarding experience
You may need to purchase bungee straps, tie-downs, attachment points or mounts. You may also need other gear that can consist of bags, clothing coolers and more.
Popular SUP boarding accessories include:
- Deck bag or dry bags
- Camera mount
- Weather or VHF radio
- Fishing gear
- SUP carry strap
- SUP transport cart
- Compass, maps and charts
We hope this article has provided you with an insight into what gear you will need when SUP boarding. For more advice and information, you can contact a member of our team or browse through our blog!