Paddleboarding Buyers Guide – Outdoor Trends

people paddleboarding during golden hour

Paddleboarding is one of the most versatile outdoor activities for both calm and gentle paddlers and thrill-seekers. People also use paddleboards to explore different coastlines, take tours, have fun at the beat, or race in the water with friends and family. Due to their different purposes, paddleboards come in various shapes, types, and sizes. Their updated versions have become lighter, user-friendly, durable, and inexpensive so everyone can enjoy paddling.

We have prepared a detailed buyers guide to help you find a paddleboard that suits your experience level and needs.

Major Categories of Paddle Boards

Solid Boards

Solid boards are more performance-oriented boards and suited for professional paddleboarding. Due to their solid construction, they are on the pricier side. They come in different shapes depending on the user’s discipline and come with effective rails.

Inflatable Boards

Inflatable boards are the most convenient and affordable type of paddleboards, and they are selling like hot cakes. You can easily deflate your paddleboard, carry it with you on outdoor excursions, and store it anywhere in a bag or car.

Inflatable paddleboards eliminate the need for roof racks or bigger garage space for storage, which is why most people prefer them over solid boards. Most people doubt its rigidness or reliability on the water, but they are pretty solid once inflated. The board expands when the air fills the chambers, and the top and bottom pull against each other through numerous individual strands stitched inside. This weave (also known as drop stitching) offers strength and stiffness to the paddleboard while keeping it lightweight.

A man and woman carrying paddleboards

Single and Double Lined Inflatable Boards

You’ll find different inflatable boards from different brands. The expensive paddleboards are double-lined, making them stronger and heavier than single-lined boards.

Double-lined boards have two layers and require more energy to move forward. If you’re getting single-lined boards, ensure they are pumped with manufacturers’ recommended pressure to stay firm. Moreover, single-lined inflatable boards are more fragile, so you might not be able to enjoy them for a long time, or they slip easily. If you need a surfboard for beginners, make sure you get the double-lined ones to stay safe.

Types of Paddle Boards

All Around Boards – Perfect for Beginners

All-around boards are wide and thick and offer ample stability to the users. Their stability and user-friendliness make them suitable for all levels of paddleboarding. All-around boards are usually 4″–6″ thick and 32″– 35″ wide; the more width and thickness a board has, the more stable it will be.

The purpose of these boards is to allow beginners to get on the water and enjoy being afloat with ease. They let you paddle around different venues, even if you’re just getting into this activity. You can also get one with a windsurf rig which enables you to use the wind to power the paddleboarding.

Surf Boards – For Surfing Enthusiasts

Surf stand-up boards are shorter and curvier than other paddle boards and have a narrow tail and nose. They are great for those who love spending their pastime surfing on the beach waves. Their narrow shapes make them easier to maneuver on a wave. However, they are often less stable, might not track straight on flat water, and are slower.

Read more: Best All-Rounder Surfboards to Buy in 2022

Race Boards – Offers Speed with Stability

Race paddle boards are designed uniquely to offer high speed while maintaining stability and comfort. They are 12’6 or 14′ long, 27–28″ wide, and have a pointed nose that helps enhance their speed and performance.

A man paddle boarding with his dog

Touring Boards – Best for Flatwater

Touring boards are the most commonly used paddle boards, optimized for the open ocean, flatwater paddling, and downwind paddling. These boards are longer than other types and have a pointer nose that helps the board smoothly slice through the water, keep it in a straight line and increase glide.

You can also get a wide touring board for beginner friendliness. As its length and narrowness increase, it becomes more efficient at slicing through the water; however, its stability decreases.

Crossover Boards – Multipurpose Paddleboards

These paddleboards are similar to all-around boards but come with added features that make them multi-functional. You’ll find a wide variety in their size, shape, and construction to suit your activities. For example, smaller crossover boards can also serve as surfboards, while pointier and streamlined shapes allow you to go long distances. If you’re looking for a paddleboard that serves multiple purposes, get these.

Read More: Best River Fishing Kayaks for 2022

What Paddle You Should Get for Your Board

You need to consider four things to get a suitable paddle for your board:

1. Handle

Paddle handles can have an ergonomic design to fit your palm or have a traditional straight “T bar” shape. Make sure you get an ergonomic handle design because it offers more comfort.

A woman is paddleboarding in the sea

2. Blade

Paddle blades come in different sizes depending on the kind of water you want to paddle on. A larger size will offer more power and cut through more water when you stroke; however, if you’re just starting out, the large size may offer discomfort and shoulder pain over time. These are more suited for racing and high-speed paddlers.

If you’re a beginner, get medium or small-sized blades as they do the job without requiring more power.

3. Shaft

Shafts are the most crucial part of any paddle, and they are made of different materials such as carbon, glass fiber, aluminum, and Kevlar. Their material makes the whole difference in terms of performance. For example, the carbon or Kevlar shaft is strong and lightweight, offering better power transfer, whereas aluminum and glass fiber paddles are heavy and rigid and only offer basic performance.

4. Height

It’s important to have the correct height of your paddles to maximize your performance and experience.

Surf paddles: 6–8″ above paddlers height

Racing paddles: 10–12″ above paddlers height

Touring/Flatwater/All-around paddles: 8–10″ above paddlers height

If you want more help with your paddleboarding, you can check more paddle-related blogs on our website. Besides that, we have also reviewed and rated many trending products like best hardtail mountain bikes reviewed and rated, top reviewed camera drones on Amazon, best off road all terrain electric skateboards of 2022, best self balancing scooter for beginners, etc. Check them out to stay updated with all the outdoor trends.

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