Procedures of SUP
1. Immerse your blade fully in the water before you pull
2. Always assume the ready position - knees bent
3. Use core muscles whenever you’re paddling - for every stroke
I first tried a stand up paddle board on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We had stayed at Villa del Arco, and had a beautiful view of the sunset just beyond the El Arco rock formation. The resort had supplied stand up paddle boards to guests and we decided to give them a try. Paddling out we cleared the break of the waves moving inland and it was smooth riding from there on out, unless a boat or jet ski sped by. The area within our view at the edge of land was called just that, Lands End, could we make it to Lands End, we did. We landed on Lovers Beach, stashed our SUPs then climbed the rocks to view the Pacific Ocean and what is called Divorce Beach. You don’t swim on this side, the waves could crash you to your death. Working our way back to the inlet we swam on the side of Lover’s beach before we boarded our SUPS and headed back to the resort. That was my first excursion on a stand up paddle board. The second adventure was closer to home after we found a place near Canyon Lake where we could rent SUPs. The lake experience had a few tough spots of turbulence, but overall was a calm ride. Once you have tried a SUP a few times and are ready to buy there are a few conditions to consider.
Decide your ambitions with your SUP, if you want a relaxing hobby on the calm waters of a lake or if you want to catch some waves in the ocean.
There is also the phenomenon of Yoga on a SUP, or fast-paced racing to get a good work out.
For all of these different ambitions there is the perfect board that will enhance each experience.
You’ll need to consider the hull type, there are two choices: planning and displacement. The hull, or the body of the paddle board, will factor just how your board will perform for the type of SUPing you chose to do.
For beginners there are choices for each one.
A planning hull is flat and wide, making this the right choice for leisure paddling, surfing, SUP yoga and whitewater riding. A surf board has this same type of hull, designed to ride on top of the water and is easy to maneuver.
The most distinguishable difference in the displacement hull is the pointed nose. This makes it a good choice for fitness paddling and speed for SUP touring and racing. The pointed hull which is more like a kayak or a canoe is built for cutting through water reducing resistance of the water creating a smooth and fast ride. This hard edge does make it harder to maneuver though if your path is not a straight track.
Now that you’ve decided what type of recreation you’ll be engaged in with your SUP there are a few more choices to consider that will help with storage and transporting. Consider a solid or inflatable SUP.
Solid SUPs provide the best performance on the water. They travel faster, smoother and with less effort than an inflatable. If racing or just getting there fast is your intention, a solid SUP is the choice for you. They are available in a larger array of sizes and can have finely tuned shapes designed specifically to your needs. Solid boards are more rigid which makes them feel more stable. Yet, they do take up a lot of space to store, so make sure you have ample room to make a home for your new hobby investment. Secondly, a vehicle that can transport your SUP.
Inflatable SUPs once inflated 12-15 pounds per square inch should feel very rigid and stable once fully inflated. These are best if you are limited on space with both living arrangements and vehicle transportation. Which makes them great to pack for a road trip, or if you’ll be hiking to that private lake in the mountains or the whitewater journey you have on your bucket list. The inflatable SUP can handle bumps against rocks with more give than a solid board. And lastly, my intention for a SUP, is yoga. The softer shell is more comfortable for doing yoga poses and a little padding is good for old joints.
Going back to maneuverability, the shorter the board the easier it is to get around. The length of a board determines how the board handles and the longer the board the faster it will go.
· 8’ – 10’ boards are good for surfing and kids. They are found with a planning hull, flat and wide, making them easy to maneuver.
· 10’ – 12’ boards are good for all-around use and for SUP yoga. Mostly they are found with a planning hull for all-around use.
· 12.6” – 14’ boards are good for fast paddling and long-distance touring. They are found with the displacement hull to go long and far.
In choosing the length you must also think about the volume and capacity. The volume will determine its weight capacity, and finally dimensions and thickness.
The length of your board will determine how well your board handles. The longer the board the faster you will go, but it will be more difficult to maneuver. A longer board can increase the volume and capacity, and make it feel more stable, but you must consider the ease of transportation.
As a longer length of your board will make it more stable, so too will the width. So if your looking for a leisurely float think long and wide. A board that will be able to handle extra cargo, like a picnic or cooler, is 31” wide or more. Keep in mind the type of paddling you do and choose the length, width and thickness accordingly.
Let’s consider how a boat floats. It floats because its density is less than the density of water. When you add weight, its density + the weight added, must remain below the density of the water. Archimedes discovered that displaced water weighs the same as the object displacing it and it creates an upward force on the object. This is the buoyancy of the object. The strength of this upward force of the water is equal to the weight of the water that is displaced. The density and the amount of water it displaces is the factor in whether an object sinks or floats.
To calculate how much weight your board can carry depends on your level of experience.
Body weight in (kg) = body weight (lbs) / 2.2
1 Liter of water weighs 1 Kg, ergo 1 Liter of volume creates 1 kg of lift
Beginner: Body weight (kg) X 2.75 = Approx. volume (L)
Intermediate: Body weight (kg) X 2 = Approx. volume (L)
Advanced: Body weight (kg) X 1.5 = Approx. volume (L)
Expert: Body weight (kg) X (1.1 to 1.3) = Approx. volume (L)
For example someone who weighs 140 lbs./2.2 = 63.6 kg. If they are a beginner, you would take their body weight in kg.=63.6 X 2.75 = 175 L volume.
The higher the volume of a board, the more weight it can occupy. Remember to think about the weight of your cargo also.
The thickness of your board will determine its volume, the thicker the board the more volume it has and thus can support more weight.
You must consider your weight, the type of paddling you want to do and the size of the board to get the most out of your board.
I’ll talk about add-ons and extras in my next SUP post.