After you have rented a board from us a couple of times, you will want to start thinking about having a board of your own. There are a few considerations to explore before you purchase a stand-up paddleboard.

Playing around on the lake with the family? Your primary consideration is stability and maneuverability.

Cruising around with friends on some longer trips? You might want to add a more efficient hull to your SUP choice.

Touring or racing speed ninja? Long distances and top speed are more important than stability and maneuverability. You want a board that handles well and cuts down on fatigue.

Here are some basic considerations to help you in choosing the right stand up paddleboard:

Where will you go?

1. Board Material

2. Hull Type

3. Width

4. Length

5. Volume

Board Material

Board material is important as it will determine the weight and durability of your SUP.

EPS foam: A foam core wrapped with fiberglass and epoxy is the most common board type.

Carbon fiber and plastic are also used for board exteriors. Carbon fiber will make for a lighter board. Plastic boards will be heavier. Plastic boards are durable and withstand bumps and scrapes better than fiberglass or carbon.

Hollow core: Some mid-range plastic boards have hollow cores due to the manufacturing process. Other high-end boards have hollow cores to save weight and increase performance.

Polyurethane foam: Heavier than EPS foam, polyurethane is used on entry-level boards.

Inflatables: Inflatable SUPs feature PVC exteriors with drop-stitch construction that create an air core. They are generally wrapped in a strong fabric (similar to good quality luggage) that resists tears and cuts. Inflatable boards are very durable, light to carry and easy to store.

An inflatable SUP from Boardworks can be great on a river!

SUP Hull Types

The hull, or body, of a paddleboard plays a major role in determining how the paddle board performs in the water. SUPs have one of two hull types: planing or displacement.

Planing Hull v. Displacement Hull

A planing hull pushes the water under the board and is more versatile for recreational paddling and surfing. It rises out of the water, reducing the wetted area and increasing speed.  In waves, they are the best for surfing and playing.

A planing hull is flat and wide, similar to a surfboard. It is designed to ride on top of the water and performs great in ocean waves. Many beginner paddleboarders start on boards with planing hulls because they tend to be stable and more versatile for recreational paddling and surfing.

Without waves, a displacement hull is a faster design. It is the best design for longer distances and racing.  You’ll find the tail of the board might also look like the front – it is designed to bring the water “back together” to reduce drag, and further increase efficiency. Other boards have a squared off tail to prevent the board from turning in windy conditions.

A displacement hull is best for paddling long distances and racing. In order to push the least amount of water possible, SUPs with displacement hulls are usually longer and narrower than SUPs with planing hulls. This makes them faster, but they can also be more likely to tip.

SUP Volume and Weight Capacity

A SUP board must work for your size. If the board doesn’t displace the correct amount of water for your weight, you might not be supported. Board volume and weight capacity are two important factors to consider.

Racing boards will be narrower and more efficient in the water.

Board Width

Board width will generally determine stability.  SUPs are made in a variety of widths  to accommodate a variety of body types and board function.

Afraid of standing up? A wider board will help! Wide boards are more stable. This makes them easier to stand on and maintain balance. The wider the board, the slower it will move through the water. Wide boards are best for beginners, recreational users and those with balance issues. Wide boards are also used for SUP yoga.

Narrow boards are faster than wide boards, however, they can be less stable. You will see narrower boards that are used for racing or longer distance touring. Narrower boards are often longer as well. 

So, if you like to go fast, consider a touring/race board for your next SUP purchase.

Board Length

When choosing the length of a paddleboard, think about where you want to go. Riding waves in the ocean and racing on a calm lake are very different styles of paddleboarding and require different length boards for the best performance. Like to surf? Choose a shorter, tri-fin board for maneuvering waves and wakes.


A paddleboard’s volume, generally shown in liters, will provide us with an indication of the board’s ability to float with weight on it. The higher the volume, the more weight the board can support. 

For beginners, we recommend body weight in kg= liters x 2 (approximately) or about 160 liters volume for my weight of 80 kg.  This means that when I stand on the board, it will be pushed about half way under water to displace enough water to float my body weight plus equipment weight.

Call us at The Outside World for more information on standup paddleboards, SUP classes and SUP rentals.

471 Quill Dr., Dawsonville


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