How to choose the right Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

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Choosing the right stand up paddleboard (SUP) can be overwhelming considering there are so many types of boards these days!  And lets face it, paddleboards are not cheap, so choosing the right board for your needs is important.  The first thing you will need to figure out is what you would like to do with your board. Are you getting a board for touring, racing, surfing, or fitness?  A paddleboard is an investment, so we are here to help you make the right decision!


Most people that are getting into paddleboarding usually start with a good all around model, or touring board.  These boards are fun and built for stability, and can also be used for yoga. They are great for cruising the waters at a slower speed, and usually make a great choice when first entering the sport of paddle boarding.  All-around boards usually have a round nose and a wider body, making them easier to balance on..  An all around board may be  a great choice if you are buying one that the whole family can use.  However, if you know that there is an activity, such as surfing or racing, that you will be enjoying the most, it is advisable to go with that style of board because the all-arounders will not be as good as a purpose-designed specialty board.

Ian Balding Buxton Board

Ian Balding on the Buxton Model touring the mangroves of the DR



Racing boards have become a huge market for stand up paddling. There seems to be competitions popping up in every city and country around the world.  If you are into competition or you just want to go fast, than we recommend buying a race board. Stand up paddle boards for racing have a very distinct shape when compared to all-around boards.  The nose is very pointy, and the body is narrower, which causes less stability. The piercing bow and displacement hull is what enables the race board to go quicker than a board that pushes more water. These boards are designed to cut through choppy water and provide a smooth glide.  Typically race boards are 12’6′ and 14′ in sizing, however some racers choose unlimited editions as well.  Of course the longer the board the faster the ride!  Race boards are more advanced and they take some time to get used to. However, if speed and fitness are your main goals than a race board will be the right choice.

Ian Balding Epic Race Board

The Epic Race Model: Made to go fast!



Surf Sup’s are becoming more popular, and these days more and more people are enjoying the sport of paddle surfing. If you are someone who likes to surf, then you will want to give these boards a try.  Stand up surfboards that are good for surfing range in size from around 7′ to 11’6″.  The shorter the board, the more advanced they become.  The smaller boards are good for more advanced riders who are performing more aggressive turns and quick maneuvers.  Keep in mind, the tail shape will also make a big impact. Surf SUP’s come in all shapes and sizes, similar to regular surfboards but bigger.   Because rocker, stability, and maneuverability are key components to the performance of surf sups, its a good idea to talk specific details with an expert shaper who knows the ins and outs of shapes and designs.

Ian Balding Surf Sup

The Ben Bourgeois surf sup catching the waves in the caribbean


We hope the information will help you make an educated decision on a board purchase!  The team at Ian Balding Paddle and Surf can help you customize a board that will be just right for your height, body weight, and skill level. We feel a custom board is the way to go when investing in a paddleboard. If you’re going to spend the money, why not get something that’s built specifically for you?  Give us a call or contact us to get your board started!

Ian Balding shaping

Ian Balding shaping a custom board

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