ISUP SIZE, THICKNESS AND WIDTH – WHY IT MATTERS

I have to credit this blog to Gary at Sup Inflatables, he’s helped me understand iSUPS much better (I still have a long way to go) and he is your man if you have any further questions about what makes a decent iSUP! This article is about ALL ROUND boards only, not touring and race boards.

SUP SIZE. Yes, size DOES matter.
All round board – The all round paddle board is for people who want a fun and stable paddle board. The sizes range from 9’8 for the shorter rider to 10’8 for the heavier rider.

10’6 boards tend to be the perfect size for an all round board, especially if you are sharing it with the family, it’s the sweet spot of sizing! However, if it’s your own board and you are a lighter or heavier paddler, you might want something smaller or longer:

What to paddle if you are under 5’6:
If you’re under 5’6 you may be tempted with a 9’8-10’4. Keep the board to 31” wide and this will allow you to keep your paddle straight down, preventing over reach and keeping you stable.
👉🏼 Don’t be tempted to go for a wider board, the width in a board can actually cause instability in anything other than flat water as you have a lot more board to control and your paddle will be at an angle which is extremely tiring as your paddle stroke will cause the board to weave and zig zag.

What to paddle if you are over 100kg:
Look out for a 10’8 board if you are over 100kg (although a DECENT 10’6 board will still hold your weight if you are under 120kg).
👉🏼 If you have a 10’8 board and you are under 100kg, it’s probably too big for you and not giving you the best ride – consider going smaller.

SUP THICKNESS
Now usually I would say a 4″ board is not thick enough unless it’s a kids board BUT RED have just launched their new range with some of them 4″, not sure how they have done this! SO, unless it’s a RED board stay away from 4″ thick boards – wont be stiff enough and it will flex in the middle making balancing hard.

👉🏼 4.75” thick is ideal for all-round boards, performance all round boards and touring boards for lighter riders .

👉🏼 6” thick is best used in all round boards for the heavier rider and touring boards with pointy noses (more volume essentially).

The reason the thickness matters is because if your under 100kg then the combination of a 32” all round board with its shorter length, round noes and tail, 6” thickness is just way to much volume and your find the board sitting on the water bobbing like a cork, a board that is harder to control in choppy or windy condition and its also harder to get back on should you fall off. So that is why the SUP specific 4.75” drop-stitch is a major plus when looking at all round family boards.

SUP WIDTH
A lot of people say the wider the board the more stable it is, this is a definitely a huge misconception, if you put a lighter rider on a wide board and its not flat water, the choppy water will make the board rock around a lot and being light its much harder to control, a light person will be again be bobbing like a cork in the sea and when paddling into a head wind the nose of the board gives greater resistance.

The second part of having a board too wide is that it affects your paddle stroke, the most effective paddle stroke is a vertical one and if you are shorter on a wide board, this is much harder to achieve, affecting how easily you go forward and giving you higher chance of shoulder strain.

So as a summary, if you are looking for an all round board this is what to look for:
⚡️ If you’re a family looking to share a board, I would get a 10’6 x 4.75′ board.
⚡️ If you are under 5ft 6 I would look at a board between 9’7 – 10’4 x 4.75″ and keep to no more than 31″ wide
⚡️ If you’re over 100kg I would look for a 10’8 x 6″

LOOK OUT FOR JARGON AND THE OVERALL PACKAGE – DON’T BE FOOLED!

  • Military grade PVC – FYI, it’s nonsense
  • Fin Box – Is it a standard US fin box that can be replaced easily if it breaks?
  • What is the paddle made of? (read my blog on paddles here)
  • What is the bag like? Wheels are a LIFE SAVER!
  • Kayak seat, well its a SUP – why do you need a seat? It’s a sales gimmick, you won’t use it (trust me on this, my Dad got one thinking Mum would use it as a kayak when he wasn’t using it and it’s still in the shed with cobwebs on it)

Hope this helps and if you have any further questions, give the guys at supinflatables.co.uk a shout and they can talk through all the tech and jargon! Their number is: 07545 882606.

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