What is the right size paddleboard for a first time buyer?
First of all, welcome to the SUP world! The choice is quite overwhelming isn’t it?
There are a few key things you should think about before your first purchase. Size is definitely one of them, so let’s see if we can help you.
There isn’t a one size fits all answer but hopefully what follows will set you up with the knowledge and confidence to purchase your very own iRocker iSUP!
How Wide Should My Paddleboard Be?
You can focus on what you want now which is most likely something that is stable or you can think for the future about getting something that you’ll be able to grow your expertise with.
The boards we can use as an example here are our iRocker Cruiser (33” wide) and iRocker All-Arounds(32” wide). The Cruiser is wider in both standing area and tail therefore more stable while the All-Arounds though also quite stable offer a little more maneuverability. As you learn to do some fancy tricks like back foot pivot turns, you’ll enjoy practicing them more on a responsive board like the All-arounds compared to the Cruiser.
Now, if you aren’t phased about getting tricky and look forward to those calming sunset paddles cruising down the river, entirely at peace and feeling super stable then a wider board like the Cruiser will suit you perfectly.
The other scenario where you may appreciate more width is if you plan on taking kids/dogs/fishing gear or want to try out SUP Yoga/exercises. If this is you, then you may appreciate the extra rigidness and stability you find in our Blackfin range. The Model X and XL are especially great for kids with the extra handles on the nose area for them to hang onto.
How Long Should My Paddleboard Be?
This will be a little more dependent on your height. Taller riders have a higher centre of gravity so will feel more “tippy toppy” on a shorter board even if they may weigh a similar weight to someone half their size. A 6’ person would feel better on one of our 11’ All-Arounds where as someone 5’-6’ will find 10’ easier to maneuver. If you are somewhere between 5’5” and 6’, you also will paddle a 11’ All-Around quite easily and can be a good option if you plan on taking your kids/dogs/gear.
How Thick Should My Paddleboard Be?
Depending on the materials and use of your board, this will vary. As a beginner stability is your friend! The more rigid the board, the more stable, so you want to feel out how rigid the board is. As a first time board, you won’t have the experience to know the difference between boards and how that feels.
Something that plays into stability is the thickness of the board but this also depends on materials. A single or dual layer board needs to be at least 6” thick for it to feel rigid, though keep in mind single/dual layer boards tend to flex and therefore are not good buys. Anything from triple layer PVC and upwards can be between 4.5” and 6” but keep in mind anything less than 6” will not feel as stable. We are always looking for new ones to provide that extra rigidness without sacrificing performance, like how our premium Blackfins have a carbon fibre rail that helps stiffen the boards rails to closer resemble a hardboard.