How to Choose a Stand Up Paddleboard for the Surf

In the previous post, titled “How to Choose the Right SUP Paddle Board”, we discussed one of the more versatile boards, the SUP that can do it all, in the surf or on flatwater, the Laird Hamilton 12 foot board. While it provides a good SUP surf experience, it is not a board specifically designed for the ocean.

For starters, it might be just a bit too long and wide to give you the best experience across all kinds of surf. The kind of surf does play a little bit into the equation when choosing  SUP for the surf. Ironically, most of us encounter our first SUP experience in a place where you probably will find some surf. While the concept of renting before you buy is a good idea, renting a couple of different boards over the course of a couple of outings is by far the right thing to do.

You will probably not find this at the surf’s edge. Here you will find tourist boards, durable, relatively stable, and more of a family board than anything you’d want to keep. Instead, look to a board shop. They might be located a couple of blocks or more away from the surf’s edge but they will have multiple boards to try out, some with rent to own deals. If they don’t advertise it, it’s worth asking for.

So here’s a quick primer on some different boards specifically designed for the surf.

Let’s start with the fish tale. Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 12.36.05 PMScreen Shot 2014-02-07 at 12.24.13 PMThis has the aggressive look of those flying metal V guitars. The tail fins have the same sort of design, giving you the impression that this board will shred the surf. It’s fast and it turns really well. But standing on it might be a bit more of a challenge than you’d think you’d want.

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Naish Mana 10′ GT Surf SUP

The next board you should try out is a narrower, big wave style board. It’s a little narrower with a hard line rocker. The rocker refers to the curvature under the board as it runs from the nose to the tail. This type of construction is better for surfing that flatwater use.

If you’ve ever done any long board surfing, you’ll want to give a longboard paddle board a ride in the surf. You will find yourself moving around a lot on a board like this and with good reason; the paddle part of this experience lets you get deeper into the surf which should equal a longer ride.

But can you hit the SUP surfing sweet spot with a single board? Yes you can and the Naish Mana 10’ GT Surf SUP is that board. The length is just right for almost every skill, size and age level without giving it that bought-for-the-family feel. It is just the right width at 32 inches to give you a good controlled ride in various kinds of surf without too much moving around. It has a two and one fin system as well. And its upper end weight range is a hefty, big Kahuna 230 lbs. The only downside is so small, it might not even be worth mentioning; the Naish Mana works best in small surf. Like I said, not a big deal. Chances are, this will be the kind of surf you are most likely to encounter on most trips anyway.

This particular board, as if all those aforementioned plusses weren’t enough, also comes with an ergonomic handle specific to Naish, an eco carry bag, and an EVA deckpad.

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