Are you among the 3.5 million Americans who enjoy paddleboarding each year? As per reports by the Outdoor Industry Association, stand up paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports in America. Before you rush out to buy your very first paddleboard, there are a few crucial things you need to know. This guide will walk you through five important things you need to understand before investing in a paddleboard.

Understanding Types of Paddle Boards

Firstly, it is essential that you understand the different types of paddleboards available in the market. Not all paddleboards are created equal and the type of board you choose should depend on how you plan to use it. Here are some of the most common types:

Inflatable SUP Boards

Inflatable SUPs are great for beginners and those with limited storage space. They can be deflated and rolled up for easy transport and storage. While a bit less stable than hard boards, they are also less likely to cause injuries if you fall onto them.

Solid SUP Boards

Solid SUP boards provide more speed and stability compared to inflatable ones. They are perfect for experienced paddleboarders or those who plan to use their boards for racing or long-distance paddling.

All-around SUP Boards

All-around SUP boards are versatile and suitable for different types of water conditions. They are great for those who want to try various types of paddleboarding activities, such as surfing, yoga, or fishing.

By understanding all the different types of paddleboards, you can make an informed decision about which type is right for you.

Choosing The Right Size Paddle Board

The second thing that you need to consider is the size of the paddleboard. The size of the board can greatly affect your paddling experience. The right size for you depends on your weight, height, and experience level.


Paddleboards come in various lengths. Short boards (less than 10 feet) are more maneuverable, making them ideal for surfing and kids. Medium boards (10-12 feet) are great for all-around use and long boards (more than 12 feet) are perfect for fast paddling or for carrying extra cargo.


The width of the paddleboard affects its stability. Boards that are wider (31 inches or more) provide more stability but may be harder to paddle because they create more resistance in the water. Narrow boards (less than 30 inches) are faster and easier to paddle, but they are less stable.


The thickness of the board affects its volume and capacity to carry weight. Boards that are thicker can support more weight but may also be more difficult to control. Therefore, it is important to choose a board thickness that matches your weight and skill level.

Consider Your Paddling Environment

It is equally important to consider where you will be using your paddleboard. The environment in which you will be paddling can determine the type and size of paddleboard that you need.


If you plan to paddle on flat, calm waters such as lakes, an all-around or touring board would be a good choice because these types of boards provide good stability and ease of use.


If you plan to paddle in the ocean or sea, where the water conditions can be unpredictable, you might want to consider a more stable, wider board. Surf SUPs are also a good option for ocean paddling.


River paddling can be more challenging due to the moving water and potential obstacles. In this case, a shorter board with good maneuverability would be a good fit.

Knowing The Materials Used

The construction materials of a paddleboard can affect its performance, durability, and price. The most common materials used in paddleboard construction are:

EPS Foam

Many paddleboards have a core made from Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam. This is then covered with layers of fiberglass and epoxy resin to improve durability.

Inflatable PVC

Inflatable paddleboards are typically made from a drop-stitch PVC construction. They are durable and can withstand bumps and impacts without getting damaged.


Some lower-cost boards are made from molded plastics. These boards are very durable but also heavier, which may make them more difficult to transport.

Paddle Board Accessories

The fifth factor that you need to consider when buying a paddleboard is the accessories that come with it. Some boards come with essential accessories such as a paddle, leash, fin system, and carry bag, while others do not.

A paddle is essential for propelling your board through the water. Make sure to choose a paddle that suits your height and paddling style.

A leash keeps you connected to your board if you fall off. It may be especially important if you are paddling in deeper water where you cannot easily reach the bottom.

Different fin systems can affect the stability and maneuverability of your board. A single large fin is great for straight tracking on flat water, while multiple smaller fins can improve control in surf conditions.

In conclusion, before you invest in your very first paddleboard, it is crucial to understand the different types of boards available, the right size for your needs, the ideal board for your paddling environment, the materials used in construction, and the accessories that might come along with it. By considering all these factors, you can choose a board that will provide the best paddling experience for you.