What’s Up with SUPs? (Standup Paddleboards)

Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun way to get out on the water for any age and ability. Origination of stand-up paddleboarding is a spin-off of surfing in Hawaii. The stand-up paddleboard resembles a surfboard, but riders stand upright on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water; and since you stand on your board, you’re able to view your surroundings and underwater as you tour!

With many different types of SUPs on the market, choosing the right one for you can be daunting. As experts in SUPs, there are a few things we’d like you to consider before you purchase.

There are four distinct styles of SUPs on the market:

  1. Surf – Typically shorter with a narrow bow. These are great for surfing waves but are slow in flat water environments. Consider the 9’2” TOUGH-TEC.
  2. Touring – Excel in both flat and choppy waters and are ideal for carrying gear. We suggest the  12’ ACE-TEC Cross Fish!
  3. Race – Narrow and long, these boards are fast through water but are much less stable. Looking for speed? Check out the 11’ TOUGH-TEC.
  4. All-Around – Bestselling and great for all rider levels. These SUPs provide balance, performance, stability, and versatility. We have a couple boards in mind for you! Check out our ranges in TOUGH-TEC on our site. Be sure to follow the suggestions below to pick the best!

First and foremost, consider your water and your rider. Who will be using your SUPs and in what kind of environment? Will they be children in flatwater; adults touring a river; or a range of users at your lake waterfront?

SUP Sizing

There are a large variety of sizes to choose from, so how do you know what’s right for you or your market? Let’s consider the following:

  • Volume – Expressed in liters on the SUP specifications, this indicates the board’s ability to float with weight on it. The higher the volume, the more weight the board can support.
  • Weight Capacity – In the specs of each board, you may notice a weight capacity or limit expressed in pounds. Consider the body weight of the rider as well as any gear, food, or drinking water that may be stored on the SUP during a ride.
  • Board Width – Affects the overall volume and weight capacity the board can carry. As a rule of thumb, choose a wider board for all-around use and skill level, and a narrow board for speed, efficiency, and higher skill levels.
  • Board Length
    • Short Boards – Under 10 feet in length, these boards are ideal for surfing, or small riders. Children-specific boards are typically 8 feet and shorter.
    • Medium Boards – Between 10 and 12 feet, the boards are ideal for all-around use and even yoga/fitness!
    • Long Boards – At 12 feet or longer, these boards are best for racing and long-distance tours.

SUP Hull Types

There are two types of hulls on SUPs that affect how the board moves through water and how manageable the board is for the rider.

  • Planing Hull – A wide, rounded bow. A planing hull is great for general recreation and leisure paddling, fitness, and maneuverability.
  • Displacement Hull – A pointed bow. The displacement hull moves quickly through water and is great for efficiency and speed. These types of boards are ideal for fitness, long tours, and racing.


SUP Accessories

So you’ve got the board, now what? SUP accessories are crucial to a fun and successful paddleboarding experience. Be sure you’re equipped!

  • Paddles – The correct paddle length will reach up to your wrist when you stand the paddle in front of you and raise your arm above your head. Check out our article about choosing the correct paddles here!
  • Leashes – The leash tethers the SUP to the rider’s ankle, keeping the board within reachable proximity during dismount, intentionally or unintentionally! There are leashes designed specifically for surf, flatwater, and rivers. Be sure to choose a leash for your intended water type.
  • Racks­ – Storage in important. Consider the CRS SUP Rack to store many SUPs for utility, extending the life of your SUPs through proper storage, and as a nice display on your waterfront!
  • Life Vests – We always suggest each user wear a US Coast Guard Approved life vest. Safety whistles and lights are required if paddling after sunset but are recommended each time a rider uses a SUP. Check out CRS life vest options here!

Call one of our Recreation Specialists today to learn more about what options we offer and how you can use your new SUP!