Paddle boards are becoming increasingly popular with beach and water sport enthusiasts. The popularity of these boards is on the rise because they provide an alternative to traditional surfing, kite boarding and windsurfing. These boards provide the same “surfer” experience that you would get from kite boarding or surfing, but with a much smaller and lighter board. Paddle boarding utilizes unique underwater physics that makes it unlike most other forms of surfing. Its streamlined shape and highly polished surface make it highly flexible and stable.
Stand up paddle boards, or stand up surfing, are very similar to windsurfing, except that it doesn’t incorporate the use of a sail. A typical stand-up board features a thin paddle made of a waterproof nylon material that allows for easy maneuverability. Unlike windsurfing or kite boarding, which requires a dry suit in order to be fully functional, stand up paddle boards are capable of withstanding water up to two and a half meters deep. The dry suit is also worn during the surf portion of the sport.
In addition to the dry suit, a stand up paddle board has several other accessories to help with wet weather performance. One of the most common accessories used with stand up paddle boarding (Sup) is a wet suit. Wet suits are made out of a lightweight, breathable, waterproof materials. Typically, they have mesh windows along the bottom of the suit to allow air to pass through and keep you cool. Many come with mesh pockets on the outside of the suit for storing gear and a waist belt made of soft fabric for easy access to your paddle.
Paddle boards (if purchased without a wet suit) can also be equipped with an inflatable stand up paddle board cushion. An inflatable stand up paddle board cushion will increase the stability and traction of the paddle board. These cushions are made from durable vinyl and can be found in two to three sizes. An inflatable stand up paddle board cushion is great for use in both indoor and outdoor boarding conditions. Cushions for stand up paddle boarding are usually covered with vinyl to make them durable and prevent wear and tear.
Paddle Sesh Stand up paddle boards (if purchased without a wet suit) also come equipped with a leash. This allows surfers to keep their boards in place while on the beach or in swimming areas. If you are planning on taking surfing classes, leash training is a good idea. It can also be helpful if you plan on surfing non-traditional beaches. leash training can also be useful in open water, as it allows you to go out surfing and see what the waves are like without being so dependent on others.
If you’re not going to be paddling on your board in open water or on a beach, but rather on a river or stream, a personal flotation device may be needed. There are flotation devices that attach to the board and allow for the paddler to float with no additional devices. A PFD is a flat surface with a bottom that is padded and has straps or a harness to tie the PFD to you. There are many styles and brands of personal flotation devices, including inflatable ones designed to fit either board, as well as ones designed to strap to your back, seat, or even your waist.
The above mentioned flotation devices are designed for stand up paddle boarding, but in order to paddle out without the aid of a personal flotation device, you will need to purchase a small personal flotation device. These flotation devices can be carried around in your surf bag or attached to your paddle board with bungee cords or Velcro. There are also flotation devices made specifically for surfing boards. These types of flotation devices are made from foam and are very buoyant, and have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard classifies stand-up paddle boards as a recreational item, which means they fall under the category of a toy and are not regulated by the federal government.
Stand-up paddleboards are usually wider than stand-up boards and have two fins. Stand-up boards are generally longer, but they can be as short as 4′ wide. The best way to choose the right board size is to first determine what you plan on doing with it, and then measure your height and weight to find the ideal board size. If you want to use it to surf, buy a board that is wider than your foot. If you plan on doing other sports, buy a board that is smaller than your average size to prevent the board from getting bent out of shape when you are using it to surf or to play basketball.