Now we’re into June we have really started to see a lot of customers come into Deep Cove Outdoors (our retail store) and ask about stand up paddleboards. Common questions include: Which kind of stand up paddleboard would be great for the family? What’s the deal with the inflatable stand up paddleboards? And our favourite – if I buy this one for my husband/wife and he/she doesn’t like it, can I exchange it?? With all these questions we thought a post going back to basics might be helpful, so here you go, Paddleboard 101.
All-Around Boards are most popular for recreational paddling on flat water such as lakes or sheltered ocean, and can handle small waves. They are great for beginners and for improving paddling techniques. The round nose and flat base give great stability, but mean they are harder to turn. The size of the board you choose will ultimately be based on your weight and experience on the water.
Performance Boards are great for paddling for fitness or if you want to try your hand at racing. If you’ve been paddling for a while and want to develop your skills further, then these boards can offer challenges that flat water boards cannot. The nose displaces water, cutting through flat conditions and waves with ease, resulting in more speed. You also use less effort to travel through the water, meaning you can go further for longer.
Inflatables come in all shapes and sizes for every type of paddler. A happy medium between stiffness and lightness has been reached by using strong cross-stitching between the upper and lower base of the inflatable boards. The more of these stitches used, the stiffer the board will be and will perform more like a traditional board. Inflated to either 15 or 18 psi, the developments in technology mean that these boards feel much the same as a stiff board, but are certainly easier for storing and transporting.
Touring Boards are designed to get you out on the water for longer or further trips. Usually designed with a high volume and bungy cords to carry your gear too, they can even be used for multi-day trips. They offer a combination of stability which comes from the flat base, but also the performance coming from the displacement hull. Fantastic for all the family, these have been some of our most popular boards.
Surf Paddleboards are usually shorter than most other boards, which enables them to turn quickly on the waves. They are also usually fairly wide, which also helps to catch waves and maintain stability atop them. Designs vary across companies, and there are often different constructions available too. The main thing to consider when buying is your experience level – a board that is too easy for you will be boring after a short while, while too much of a stretch will mean you don’t ever reach that ‘zen’ feeling of catching the wave.
We’ve said it before and will say it again – when buying a board, buy the one that will work for what you intend to do with it 95% of the time, and rent for the other 5%. For example, you will be much happier with a great touring board for kayaking longer distances in Deep Cove for 11 months of the year and renting a surf board in Tofino rather than compromising with a board that can do both, but is not great at either.
[And to answer the earlier question…if your husband/wife doesn’t like the board we can totally exchange it!]