Everything you need to know about buying an inflatable SUP: with Kona Boards
When it comes to buying an SUP there are a number of things you need to consider and making mistakes could mean the difference between a bad, good or a great paddling experience. Here are a few common mistakes people make when buying an SUP:
Too many people buy boards that are too small for them. If you’re confused about the optimum board size for you, a bigger board is better than a board that is too small for your weight. A board that is too small for a rider will lie low in the water and have poor glide and stability.
Many boards on the market have a shape that allows all round use of the board. All round boards can be a great option for families wanting share a board, but if you’re after high performance in a range of activities, you’re better off with a specific shape that is tailored for that activity. For example, if you want a board for exploring/ exercising where glide and course stability is important, you should choose a longer slimmer board. In contrast, if you intend to use your board for Yoga, then you need a wider more stable board that has a pad covering most of the deck. It will also need good tie in points so you can drop a weight or moor it to a yoga hub, etc.
Although it is possible to produce boards at a very low cost and then sell them cheaply, it means there are corners cut and your board might not last as long, have poor performance, and generally won’t look as good. This is especially important when you buy an inflatable SUP. A cheaper board is not generally designed for high pressure resulting in a softer, less rigid board with poor paddling performance. With low quality manufacturing you also risk cracks in the seam from heat expansion of the air inside when it is in the sun.
- Hard or Soft
Inflatable boards have developed so much in the last few years and have many advantages over a hard board. We recommend you choose an inflatable, UNLESS:
- You want a fancy looking bamboo/wood board
- You want to use it for surfing
- You want to be among the top contenders in a SUP race
After you have the right board, you need the right paddle. Consider how you intend to use the board. If you’re planning exploring/ exercising it’s worth investing in a full carbon paddle. It will be the lightest and stiffest paddle, giving you maximum performance. If you intend for the whole family to play on the board, a more durable paddle with plastic mould blade is more suitable. You may even consider a rubber edge on the blade to prevent damage to your board and a softer impact if kids are playing with the paddle. Middle of the range are the glass fibre and hybrid, with a mix of glass fibre/ carbon. These are lighter and stiffer than plastic paddles and are lower in price than full carbon models.
If you have an inflatable board, make sure to buy a paddle in 3-pieces so it fits into your backpack together with the board. If you have a hard board chose a 2-piece paddle.