How Do You Choose the Right SUP Board?

Your Size Matters When It Comes to Choosing the Right SUP Board

There is nothing average about the Pau Hana Mini Sport 10’10” SUP Paddleboard. And I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Pau Hana

Pau Hana Mini Sport 10’10” SUP Board

What I wanted to discuss is why this paddleboard might work for most people and not for others. It has everything to do with size.

Early on in the history of paddleboarding, designers knew that there would not be a one board fits all type of board for several reasons. These first boards were essentially repurposed surf boards and to increase performance and speed, were getting shorter. To simply throw a paddler on one of these boards would not have advanced the sport to where it is today. The dynamics of how those boards react would be key.

Unlike surf boards, which are basically limited to the coastal areas, paddleboarders soon realized that they were not restricted to a beach zone. Any where there was water, you could put your paddle board in. Just like any bicycle is basically the same, the way we use them would need to change the design to support the purpose.

So paddleboards evolved. The became more specific to the type of water you might encounter (flat water, rough water, and surf) or even how long you might be on the board in a given outing (touring or racing) to the activity you might enjoy (fishing or yoga). This was going to be the all-purpose water enjoyment toy. But so many choices.

In this piece, and there will be additional to follow on this topic, is focused more on your size rather than the differences in boards. Not all of us are average, whatever than is. Not all boards are right for everyone either. You might be able to have fun, move forward, and even enjoy yourself on the water on any size board. You could also enter the Tour de France on tube tires, but you would be somewhat handicapped. Same goes with paddleboards.

Here are some telltale signs you might have the less-than-perfect board for your size. First thing is your ability to lift it. Not that boards are necessarily heavy but if the board is difficult for you to load onto your vehicle, remove and prep for the water, the board might be too big. The next thing is the tail. If this is dragging in the water, creating a wake behind the board, chances are the board isn’t long enough to accommodate you. Turbulence impacts performance. Also, consider that turbulence when the wind kicks up. If the board is too short, the stability is impacted.

While there is no firm guideline on which weight/board type is best for each SUPer, think of 165 to 180 lbs. as the middle ground for weight for either sex. This weight range can ride almost any board. Ideally, the board you should be looking at should be between 10’ 8” and 11’ long, at least 28 inches wide with a board thickness of 4” to 4 ½”. Lower body weights should look for boards on the shorter end of this spectrum while heavier SUPers should incline towards a longer board, often up to 12 feet in length.

Now the Pau Hana Mini Sport 10’10” SUP Paddleboard that I mentioned earlier qualifies nicely as your average board for the average sized rider. It is the right length and width to accommodate most averaged size SUPers. It’s lightweight so smaller body frames can move it easily. It has an really quick displacement hull so speed is a given with this outfit.

But what makes it really different is the thickness. Here is where this board achieves its stability. It is 6 inches thick, giving the slightly beefier-than-average paddleboarders, one who might top out at 325 lbs, the perfect, not-so-average board.

So if you are looking for a board and tend to be toward the upper range of the weight scale, more than just length matters. Boards like the Mini Sport can create the perfect equation: Perfect length, more-than-adequate width, and of course, just the right thickness

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