We often receive the same questions from new customers as they begin searching for the right stand up paddleboard. These questions are so great, that we felt the need to share them with you, providing you with answers right from the beginning.
1. Where do I start?
It’s ok to feel overwhelmed when you start looking at options. A lot of the language used on stand up paddleboard retailer and manufacturers websites can be very technical, and that’s why we’re here.
When you come to us for help, we will always turn the questions back around to learn more about you and what you’re looking for. Having this information ready will help speed up the process:
- How many people will be using the board? (i.e. just yourself, kids/teenagers, entire family, etc.)
- What is the weight range of potential users?
- Where will you be using the board? (i.e. lake, open ocean, surf, rivers, white water/rapids, etc.)
- What is your budget?
- Are you looking to travel with your board?
From there we will gladly point you to the best option for your specific needs.
A couple general rules:
If a board is intended for family use, or you will have a lot of friends using it, consider a more durable option. That way you won’t be worried about anyone damaging it!
If you’re looking to travel with your board, take a look at inflatable options. They travel easily, without fear of damage, and most come with a carrying bag (or have a bag option)!
2. Will my board be too big for the kids?
This question is a little tricky. Very likely your board will technically be too big for your kids. However, that is a mere technicality and we have yet to encounter a kid who hasn’t loved paddleboarding on a full-sized board.
We are occasionally asked why we don’t carry child-sized boards, and the answer is very simple. Any board that we carry is expected to last for years. Children simply outgrow the equipment too fast. Also, most often, mom and dad want to be able to get on as well!
If you’re anxious about your child paddling by themselves, we suggest making it a family activity- go out paddling together!
3. What size board do I need?
When it comes to picking board size, the most important thing to look at is the volume of the board in relation to the maximum weight you need the board to carry.
You are looking to establish neutral buoyancy. Essentially what that means is, those two numbers (volume and maximum weight) should be about the same. For example, a board with 160 L of volume, will carry approximately 160 lbs.
Make sure you remember to take into account ‘tag-alongs’ when establishing your maximum weight. This includes kids (remember how fast they grow!), dogs, equipment (want to bring a picnic lunch, or a cooler?).
Another important note about board sizing. Always buy a board for the maximum weight because if a board is too small it will begin to submerge itself (think of when kids jump on a boogie board in the pool, or try and stand on a pool noodle). Meanwhile, if a person is lighter than the board’s weight capacity, it will just feel extra stable for them!
4. Do I need a leash?
Simply put, a leash is never a bad idea. In flat water on calm lakes it is a great safety feature, ensuring that if anything happens you’re still connected to your board. In surf, open ocean, or rough conditions it is a must to ensure your safety on the water.
While on the topic of safety, it is very important (and required by coast guards throughout North America) that you carry a life jacket on your stand up paddleboard.
5. Do your paddles float?
They do as long as you maintain them, however they do not float indefinitely. Some basic maintenance is key to ensuring that your paddle continues to float.
- letting excess water drain out after ever use
- rinsing out the paddle shaft regularly to prevent salt/sand build-up
- do not drive your paddle into the sand or rock at the bottom of lakes or at beaches
Most importantly, do not leave your paddle floating in the water for more than a couple minutes, it can take on water gradually and begin to sink.
Hint: if you’re going to be swimming around your board, consider putting your leash cuff around your paddle so it can’t float away (or risk sinking). Alternatively, use the bungee tie-downs on your board to secure it in place while you enjoy the water!