What kind of SUP should I choose?

What SUP should you choose? 

If you are in the market for a stand up paddle board (SUP), but glaze over when you start looking at all of the different options out there, then fear not my friend, we’ve got you covered!

We’re going to break down the different types of SUP available and what board best suits YOU and your specific needs. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of SUP brands out there that range in size, shape and price, so it can be confusing to some people that may not know which one to get. There are 4 main styles of boards available- surf, allround, touring and race, all of which can be available in either a solid or inflatable version.


If you are more of a beach bum and catching a few waves is more your idea of fun, then this may be the board you are looking for. This board is typically shorter (under 10ft. in length)  than the other styles of paddle boards with more of a narrow shape, allowing you to easily maneuver from side to side. The positives about a stand up surf is that you are already standing and have a paddle to help pick up speed to ride that wave.  To boot, you can also get out to that killer break you can see off the coast with relative ease using the paddle for assistance. The negative with this board is that they are slower and not as stable as the other style of boards if you are looking to go for a long distance paddle. This board could be a good one for kids and the surfer enthusiast.


The name says it all. This is a great all-around board designed for anyone and especially for those at a beginner/intermediate level. It is longer than a surf style board, but shorter than a flatwater/race board (ranges between 10-12 ft. in length). It is thicker and wider than the other styles of SUP, allowing more stability and movement on the board. If you are breaking into the SUP world, then this may be your choice of board. It is a versatile board, great for lake, river and ocean touring, practicing yoga, or inviting your furry pal to tag along. If you are into windsurfing, some allround boards offer a mast foot fitting on the deck of the board that you can insert your mast and sail to.


This type of SUP is purposefully designed for those long distance paddle adventures in mind. They are longer (usually averaging 12'6 ft. in length) than surf and allround boards. The length and narrow nose design of this board allows you to cut through any chop or small surf, all while helping to maintain speed and stability. This style of board is slightly narrower in width, requiring a bit more stability than the allround board. This board would be suitable for any level of experience.


Need for more speed? This one would be the ticket. This board is the longest out of all of the other boards (12-14 ft. in length) with a pointed nose to give you more speed when paddling long, straight distances. Race boards are designed to be narrower, making them the fastest out of all other boards. This type of board would be recommended more for intermediate/experienced paddlers due to the narrowness and reduced stability on the board.  

But wait, there’s more! Let’s not forget, you can choose between solid or inflatable boards. 


Solid boards can be made up of several different things. A carbon fiber board is known for its durability, stiffness and is lightweight in comparison to other solid boards, but comes with a steeper price tag. Another solid style board has an EPS foam interior, wrapped in fiberglass and epoxy. This style is reasonably lightweight and durable. The most inexpensive solid boards are made up of plastic, but typically lack durability and can be quite heavy. The pro’s about a solid board is that they are fast, very stable because of their weight and stiffness, and require no effort to get it ready for your water adventure. The cons about a solid board is that it requires space to transport and store it, and is heavier in comparison to an inflatable board. Another con would be that they can often get banged up if you hit a rock, or snag something under water which can ultimately damage your board. 

Inflatable boards have become increasingly popular over the last few years and for good reason. They are made up of durable PVC material which can stand up to pretty much any bump or ding. Not only are inflatable boards extremely durable, they are lightweight as well. Inflatable boards are also more comfortable to stand or kneel on for long periods of time in comparison to a solid board. The best part about an inflatable board is that you can take it anywhere! It does not consume a lot of space when storing or packing it. Even better, you can go for a hike and explore hidden bodies of water with your inflatable SUP packed with everything you need in it’s very own carrying bag . Yes, it does involve you to manually blow it up, but it shouldnt take very long.  Take a look at Seacow Outdoors selection that provides you with premium quality gear, equipped with everything that you need for your inflatable SUP adventures!
March 23, 2021 — Allison Shea