By: Cody Forgy
1. Y.G.W.Y.P.F. – “You Get What You Pay For”
What you are paying for is design, materials, and labor.
· Design (the shape) The more skill, time, and effort that goes into this, the better the feel and performance.
· Materials (what it's made of) Most boards on the market are built with EPS foam wrapped in fiberglass and epoxy resin, but not all resin, glass, and foam are equal… but wait inter-webs guy! You forgot carbon, Kevlar, thermo composite technology, and drop stitched inflatables. We could talk for days on this subject. The best bet is go to your local sup shop or ding repair guy and ask questions.
· Skilled Labor (the guys building your board) If they are not trained and knowledgeable all the good design and quality materials are worthless. This part is basic, lower price usually means the builder spent less on materials, design, or skilled labor while constructing your board.
2. What kind of paddling are you doing?
Rec., Surf, Fishing, Yoga, White water, and Racing
Some boards can be used for multiple disciplines, but if you’re hardcore about any one of these you will probably want to go “purpose built.” Basically, you don't want a yoga board on race day, but you can use a rec. board for yoga, fishing, and even small surf.
3. Fit - What board fits you best?
Size & Skill
Most paddleboard models come in various sizes, and the manufacturer or your local paddleboard or surf shop can advise you to which one is appropriate for your build. As far as skill goes, you could go up or down in size. That being said…Don't get cocky. If you can't stay on your board, you’re not going to have fun or grow your skills.
4. Transportation - How are you getting your board to the water?
If you don't live next to the shore you’re not going to want to move it by hand. You will need a vehicle of some sort. You can move a board with almost anything: bicycle, car, truck, SUV, or The Griswold Family Truckster. If your vehicle doesn't have a roof rack, you can get one installed; or use soft racks. Keep your vehicles capability in mind when choosing a board. If a rack isn't possible you can always go the inflatable board route.
5. Storage - Where are you going to put your board when you get out of the water?
No SUP is indestructible. Heat, cold, and UV rays can damage your board.
Storing your board inside your house is your best bet, but if that's not an option then a storage shed or garage is the next best place. If it has to be outdoors, then invest in a high quality board bag.
Keep in mind board size is a huge factor, and that is why some people are moving towards inflatables. They take up a lot less room for storing and can fit in your trunk most times.