First Things First...
The Basics SUP FAQ
Is stand up paddle boarding (SUP) something I can do?
One of the most common questions. Most people can—and they love it! It is relatively easy to learn...most pick up the basics the first day of learning. Still a bit of a secret...all ages and skills levels can participate. Read the introduction on the home page, then decide if stand up paddle boarding is for you.
How and where do I begin?
If you’re on this Website, you’re halfway there. Start at our home page, where you’ll find links to everything you need to know about equipment, riding styles, and how to find demos and instruction. Check out the links to videos for inspiration and instruction. We’ve worked hard to compile the information you need in an informative, easy-to-navigate one-stop-shop.
How long will SUP take to learn?
It’s not uncommon for first-time paddlers to stand up and paddle within 20 minutes. The ease of learning this sport attracts a wide range of ages from the very young (kids) to the very mature (seniors), and a wide range of skills from novice to seasoned athlete. SUP FAQ
How important is it to try before you buy?
As with any investment, you want to be sure SUP is for you. Find a dealer who offers demos, and try out different boards. Or try a friend’s board. If a rental comes with some instruction, that’s a bonus. A well-informed salesperson can help, but it’s going to be you on the board! Before you buy, research reviews and other information on the Web. SUP FA
Where Can I Paddle?
Rivers, lakes, oceans, creeks and ponds—wherever there is water deeper than your longest fin. SUP FA
What are the benefits of stand up paddle boarding?
The benefits are enormous!
Stand up paddle boards - SUP FAQ
How do I find the best stand up paddle board for my needs?
Begin by considering how you want to use your board, and be sure to ask lots of questions when you're at the SUP shop. Check out "Choosing the right stand up paddle board for you". This section explains board shapes, styles, quality, construction, etc., as well as hard boards versus inflatable boards and board sizes relative to your weight—an important factor in choosing a board.
Why is a person’s weight a factor?
You want a board that keeps you on top of the water for optimum paddling efficiency. If two people try the same board, and one weighs 200lbs and the other 150lbs, the heavier person will cause the board to sit lower in the water. This causes greater resistance, and therefore requires more effort while paddling. Link to weight chart.
Hard board or inflatable?
This one’s a personal choice. Inflatables are typically more durable, more stable and take up less storage space, but they’re also less rigid (some manufacturers are working to improve this). Hard boards may be more convenient, more aesthetically pleasing and possess a wider range of capabilities.
What is the cost?
Boards run from about $600 - for the casual beginner paddler to $5000 dollars (and maybe more for custom build) for the high end boards specially designed for racing and the like. If you are looking for a good board built to last with proper maintenance and care consider the $1000 to $2000 range.
Is it true that a good paddle is more important than a good board?
You can avoid stress, fatigue and injury by choosing the right paddle for your needs. If you’re casually cruising, the choice of paddle may be more about cost, but if you’re travelling distance, a lighter carbon fibre paddle allows you to paddle longer by minimizing fatigue. A good paddle makes the experience better. SUP FA
Why choose an aluminum paddle over wood or carbon fibre?
Aluminum paddles are heavier than carbon fibre paddles but possess some practical attributes. An aluminum paddle will take a beating (great in the case of multiple users) and is more economical if you are just starting out. It also becomes a good spare paddle for kids and guests, especially if it is adjustable.
What about wood paddles?
These paddles are usually beautiful to look at. They can be solid or paired with carbon fibre. In general they are lighter than aluminum. Unless the maker is promising something extraordinary about a wooden paddle there really is no special reason to buy other than preference.
How do I know what fin or fin set combination to buy?
Basically, for flat water paddling you will need one centre fin. For paddle surfing look at 3, 4 and 5 fin set boards. For racing usually one fin specially shaped for speed and turning. For more on fins.
Should I wear a PFD?
Most countries and/or regions will have regulations with regard to personal flotation devices (SUP PFDs), intended to keep people safe. For children, don't think twice: make sure kids wear a PFD. If you are not a swimmer, or if you’re paddling in dangerous water, use a PFD. Know local regulations to keep safe and to avoid fines, and always err on the side of caution: when in doubt, wear a PFD. More on SUP safety.
What should I wear? SUP FAQ
Wear what is most comfortable! Clothing that allows movement is best. Once you’ve got the hang of stand up paddling, you won't be falling into the water unless you’re pushing yourself to learn something new.
Of course there is clothing designed for water sports, but it’s not necessary unless you’re taking on some challenging water or paddling in severe weather conditions (downwinders). You might just wear shorts and a t-shirt or rash guard on a sunny day or long pants and a jacket on a cooler day.
Be prepared. Many get hooked their first time out. I encourage you to read beyond SUP FAQ. There is plenty of information to explore on this site.
Home – where it all started
SUP FAQ - for the quick answers