"Every paddler should have 3 boards in their quiver. The first board I would suggest is a small wave board for waist to overhead waves. A perfect size for that depends on your skill level, but anywhere from 7'4 to an 8'0 would work. The next board to have would be a 12'6 race board for those epic downwind runs or training days. The last board is an inflatable, because you can always have it with you and ready to go in a few minutes. You never know when you might have a perfect opportunity to go paddling and an inflatable rolls up into a backpack and is ready to go!
Choosing the right board for the right conditions can be easily overlooked, but can make the biggest difference. You always want to be prepared and learn the signs of the ocean. It doesn't matter if you are going surfing or long distance paddling. Checking the forecast is always important so you can have an idea before the day even starts what the conditions are going to be like. This also keeps you prepared for changes throughout the day as well. For example, here in Hawaii we have days where the surf can be head high in the morning and pick up to 30 feet by the end of the day.
The best part about our sport is that we can paddle anywhere, anytime and all we need is a body of water. While flatwater paddling is easiest to learn, ocean paddling can get very difficult depending on the conditions. For me, downwind paddling and surfing wind swells is the best feeling in the world. Board, paddle and fin combinations all play a role in both flatwater and the ocean. When I am paddling in flatwater, I like to have a 14 footer with a bigger fin and a longer paddle. When I am in the ocean, I prefer my 12'6 with a smaller fin and a shorter paddle.
As for travel I always pack my backpack last with healthy snacks and entertainment. When I have a long flight scheduled, I know I need good snacks to keep me energized. I always carry a protein pack as well, for when I get really hungry and don't want to eat airplane food. I also have a 40 oz. hydro flask to stay hydrated and refill it as much as possible. Far as entertainment I have my iPad loaded with movies and TV shows for those long flights and also a bunch of games to kill time. I also normally keep a kendama so I can practice hand-eye coordination when waiting in long lines or just passing time. If it's a red eye I bring a neck pillow and noise cancelling headphones."
-Connor Baxter in "Quiver Forever" Issue # 13
But what about the funnest board to ride? Check out Connor in the new Starboard SUP Go Foil video: