Paddleboarding appeals to a variety of people. Whether you’re looking for a low-impact workout or you simply wish to relax and enjoy the outdoors, this is an activity that keeps you happy. But, like any type of sport or physical activity, you need the right gear to have a great time. Indeed, the right board can make all the difference when you’re out on the water.
If you’ve never bought a paddle board before, it can be an overwhelming task to choose the perfect one. There are different price options, materials and designs. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced paddler looking for an upgrade, this guide has you covered.
Types of Paddle Boards
When it comes to paddle boards, variety is the spice of life. Here are some of the main types:
Inflatable Paddle Boards: Perfect for portability and storage. Plus, they’re renowned for beginners.
Rigid (Hard) Paddle Boards: A traditional choice with solid performance.
All-Around Boards: Versatile boards suitable for various conditions.
Touring Boards: Designed for long-distance cruising and speed.
Surf-Specific Boards: Ideal for catching waves and agile manoeuvres.
Yoga and Fitness Boards: Stable platforms for on-water workouts.
Factors to Consider
Selecting a paddle board is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour. You’ll want to think about a few key factors in order to find the best one for you.
Skill Level: Are you a beginner or a seasoned pro?
Body Weight and Size: Your dimensions impact the board’s buoyancy.
Paddling Environment: Where will you mainly use your board? Lakes, rivers, oceans, or a mix?
Storage and Transportation: Consider your living space and how you’ll transport the board.
Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to invest.
Board Size and Volume
Paddle board size and volume play a significant role in stability and performance. Finding the right fit is essential:
- Larger boards offer more stability. This can make it easier to balance and is beneficial for beginners.
- Smaller boards provide better manoeuvrability, but you’ll have to get used to this.
Volume is key; match it to your weight and the intended use. Make sure that you always read the details on a board to ensure you’re getting the right match.
What your paddle board is made of matters. Common materials include:
Epoxy: Offers durability and rigidity. At the same time, it’s still lightweight, which can make it portable.
Fibreglass: This is a material that adds a lightweight touch.
PVC: Common in inflatables for portability. Once it’s inflated, this is a rigid material.
Each material has its advantages, so choose according to your preferences. Know that lighter materials will be easier to transport, but you always want to ensure durability. This is particularly true if you want to use a paddle board often and in different environments.
Additional Features and Accessories
To enhance your experience, consider features and accessories like:
Bungee Cords: Handy for storage.
D-Rings: Attach accessories like a kayak seat or a cooler.
Deck Padding: Provides comfort and grip.
Multiple Fin Setups: Affects stability and tracking.
Handle Options: Easier transport and lifting.
Note that some good paddle board brands will already have some of these features included in their designs. So, shop around and see what you can find. Think about your needs at the same time to avoid overspending on a design you won’t use.
Demo and Test Drive
Whenever possible, take boards for a spin. Rentals and stores are excellent for trying before buying. Keep these points in mind during your test drive:
- How easily does the board balance?
- How well does it track through the water?
- Is it comfortable for extended paddling?
Yes, you want a paddle board that’s functional. But, don’t forget that you should consider the design too and how it looks. After all, you want to be excited when you’re on your paddle board, and this is going to be your main accessory for the activity. So, select a cool design that reflects your personality.
Reviews and Recommendations
Don’t rely solely on your judgment. Seek out reviews and recommendations from experienced paddle boarders. Online communities, forums, and social media groups are excellent resources for insights and opinions. You can ensure other people rate the board you’re thinking about purchasing. Likewise, you can be alerted to negative features of certain designs, which can change your mind.
Setting a Budget
Paddle boards come in a range of prices. Set a budget that aligns with your needs and quality expectations. Remember, you’re investing in a great experience. You don’t want to go too low and need a new board sooner rather than later. At the same time, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality design.
Making Your Decision
Choosing the right paddle board is a personalised process. Prioritise your needs, preferences, and the type of experience you’re seeking. When in doubt, consult with experts and your fellow paddlers.
You’re now equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision when choosing your paddle board. Remember that the perfect board is the one that suits your unique needs and preferences, enhancing your paddle-boarding adventures.