A Beginner's Guide to SUP

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A Beginner's Guide to SUP

SUP boards are incredibly adaptable in their uses and can offer endless amounts of fun through different water activities.

Here at F-ONE, we have created this guide for those who are entirely new to the sport, but curious to give it a go!

We explain the uses of SUPs, how SUP boards can differ in design as well as the types of things you should consider if you would like to purchase one.

Are There Different Types of SUP Boarding?

Yes, there are! SUP can be used to complete a huge variety of activities.

Some activities may require slightly different equipment, including the SUP board itself, but this tends to apply to more advanced and specialised paddleboarders. The great thing about SUPs, especially inflatable ones, is that they are highly adaptable and you can interchange them with different activities.

Below we look at a few different examples of SUPs and provide a general overview of each to familiarise you!

A woman on a SUP in the sea

The Basic All-Rounder SUP

This is the most popular SUP design. The all-round SUP board is the ideal choice for beginners, as they are specially designed to give both stability and buoyancy. They are adaptable in most conditions, offering a solid foundation in still and rocky waters.

Touring SUP

These SUPs are created to smoothly drift through the water with ease over a long period. They are mainly geared towards paddlers who want to venture on an extended exploration over several hours. They are still designed with a wide frame and are suitable for beginners also.

A paddleboarder catching a wave

Surfing SUP

One close to our hearts, surfing SUPs are, as you can imagine, designed especially to catch waves. For this reason, they are usually geared more towards those who feel confident and are experienced with paddling.

Surfing SUPs tend to offer slightly less stability, so may not be the perfect choice for those who are just starting out. Their slightly more slender design makes it easier to manoeuvre on the waves through carving and turning.

Yoga SUP

Specifically designed to withstand yoga positions, these SUPs tend to be wider on the deck of the board to allow enough space to practise yoga. Therefore, they tend to not glide with as much ease as the other SUPs as they are created to be used on still water mainly.

Fishing SUP

Fishing SUPs are produced with all the extra space and locations for any gadgets you would like to add for when you are fishing. They are an alternative fishing watercraft instead of boats or kayaks and offer lots of volume to keep whatever is on board water-free.

Racing SUP

These boards can be slightly tricky for beginners to use initially. They are designed for speed and generally need the expertise of more advanced paddleboarders who are experienced in racing.

The racing SUP’s power comes from its long and slightly more full design which enables them to move at higher speeds when paddled.

A woman doing yoga on a SUP

When Should You Use an Inflatable SUP?

You may have heard about inflatable SUP boards. There are many advantages to using one compared to epoxy boards, especially if you are a beginner. Below we explain some aspects to consider when choosing a SUP board if you have never purchased one before.

How Often Will You Use and Transport the SUP?

This first question is to determine how often you will be transporting your SUP and if you have the means to do so. For example, if you have a small car, an epoxy paddleboard will be hard to travel with and require a lot of effort to move. However, an inflatable SUP will require nearly no effort to move around and can be easily packed up and put in the vehicle, or even a backpack in some cases!

Where Will You Be Storing the SUP?

Similar to the travel situation, if you live in a place that has little or no room for a big epoxy board, an inflatable paddleboard would be the natural choice purely due to the limit on space.

A paddleboarder in the orange sunset

Are Inflatable SUPs Good for Beginners?

Inflatable SUPs are ideal for beginners because they can be used in most water conditions, making them a perfect all-round board. They can be packed and stored effortlessly and make the whole experience that little bit more enjoyable.

What Size Should Your First SUP Be?

This depends entirely on you and your height and build. In general, the rule is that the broader and more volume a board has the sturdier it will be. As a beginner, this is what you will be looking for in a SUP. As you advance, you may look into smaller boards, but this is entirely on personal preference.

What Paddle Do You Need?

Choosing a paddle will depend on the length required which again will depend on your height. An appropriate paddle will be around six to 12 inches bigger than yourself. However, the paddle may also depend on the activity you will be completing. For example, if you are going to surf with the SUP, the paddle tends to be shorter, whereas gliding on calm waters over a long distance will require a longer one.

A paddleboarder paddling in the sea

How to Paddle a SUP

Like most new sports, it is thoroughly recommended to start with a lesson. Not only will it introduce you to the equipment, but it will also cover water safety and most importantly, tips on teaching how to paddle and manoeuvre the SUP.

For more information on paddling technique as a beginner, take a look at our top tips.


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Do you have any more questions on SUPs that we haven’t answered? Why not ask us on our social media channels? We would love to hear from you!

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