There are so many articles around on different SUP topics this one is not intended to give you answers but to give you food for thought on what to look for when shopping for a SUP according to your personal needs.
At first, when I chose to talk to you about finding your perfect board, I thought it would be an interesting project, not easy but challenging, then I had an offer to sell mine, I am back to square one, we are in the same boat, dear reader, so I started to read and shop again.
To my total dismay the offer has exploded out there! Honestly, it is probably easier to find true love on Tinder than a SUP that will fit all my requirements and wet wishes ?.
So, I will tell you about what I think you should pay attention to if you are also looking for your
SOUL SUP MATE.
Does size truly matters, I like to believe so with the wide range of sizes offered, does a couple of inches in length, width or thickness will dramatically affect my stability, performance and fun? Volume seems to be the key, if you are a recreational SUP afficionado like me, the rule of thumb generally used is your weight in KG x 2.5 = SUP volume you should aim for. A little tip: your weight includes your clothing (i.e., wetsuit), your gear, your kids, your dog, your fishing equipment and more. Everything that will add weight to your board should be considered. So far, unless a carry an aircraft carrier’s anchor, I have not found one that could not handle all the weight I plan to bring along!
The shape is another major element, it will be different whether you use your board for surfing, yoga, racing, touring or just paddling around. What if I want to do all this, try everything? Also think about the environment you will paddle in such as lakes, rivers, ocean, calm, flat, choppy waters, etc. There are boards for everything.
The fins: fixed, removable, rigid, long, flexible, one, three, more, it will depend on the use you are looking for…starting to get confused? Me too!
If you have a practical mind you will look at the accessories: on the SUP like d-rings, straps, Velcro, handles and coming with it like the bag (shoulder straps, wheels, zippers), the pump (single/double chamber, electric), the paddle (aluminum/carbon, 3 parts) the possibilities are infinite, it’SUP to you and to me!
I talked about the construction in part one: Rigid, inflatable, quality of the material. I have that one crossed off; I am on the isup team, but all inflatables do not come equal.
Price: the range available is huge and pricey does not always mean better. Do look at the warranty and customer service, it saved me when I had a manufacturing problem last year.
The Brand: you might like a famous brand, a name, a color, a certain design, etc. The heart has its reasons…mine does.
Availability: because of the growing popularity many companies only sell on pre-orders, check when you can get your board, it might shorten your season!
Buying local as much as possible is important to me but local to me might not be local to you.
Starting to share my puzzling…. Well, you should because if you are like me, you want it all, big, long, lakes, ocean, stability, speed, …! Bottom line the objective is to have fun with the right equipment, and only you know your own definition of fun!
My plan and suggestion are simple, get out there, see the dealers in your area, ask questions, shop around, talk to SUP owners, join discussion groups, that is what I will keep doing.
And please respect your skill level and always stay safe.
Have fun and make every ride count!