Choosing your perfect (SUP) match
You tried it. You love it. And now you want one! Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. What matters most is finding the perfect SUP for you. This is the beginning of something beautiful, so you want to get it right.
First, what’s your goal? If it’s fun and fitness, a few waves at the beach and some leisurely flat-water adventures, you’ll be looking for stability and maneuverability.
If you want to race or take SUP safaris, you’ll want something built for speed and efficiency.
Remember this rule from Travis Grant, one of the world’s top SUP champions: “Get a good board, get a good paddle and make it work for you”. Simple. It doesn’t have to be top of the range, just get the best quality you can afford.
Just starting out? Choose a long, wide, buoyant board without too much rocker (the curved underside that helps boards ride waves). A few inches doesn’t sound much when you’re talking about such a big board, but a width of 30” feels much more stable than a 28” board. Take a look at the Starboard Blend, and the Naish Nalu – great choices for beginning boards.
Surfing and touring? You’ll want something a bit shorter with less volume than a beginner board, but with a fuller shape than a wave board to keep you moving on flat water. Check out the Coreban Pure series for boards that tick all the boxes.
Pure wave riding? Surf SUPs are similar to their short-board cousins, with more rocker to drive and turn the board through the waves. They have narrower tails, different tail shapes and the fins are critical, from thruster to stabilizer set ups. Robbie Naish’s boards set the standard, with the Hokua series at the cutting edge of performance.
Competitive racing? Race boards now borrow as much from sailing as surfing with displacement hulls the latest innovation. These boards can be staggeringly quick, and are longer and narrower. Check out the Coreban Alpha Race series that literally cuts through the water.
A SUP safari? Touring SUPs are efficient cruising machines that maintain their speed with less effort from the paddler. Fixings for storage systems mean you can go AWOL for days. The Starboard K15 is a great example, with a recessed standing area and scuppers to keep your feet (and sandwiches) dry.