SUP FAQ: Top 5 Most Asked SUP Questions Answered!

In Equipment, Newsletter, Spotlight by Daniel

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Top 5 Answers to the SUP FAQ!

When it comes to diving into a new hobby...

As a beginner...

You tend to have a ton of questions.

We get it. We were once in your shoes. (Or should we say wetsuit booties haha oh man, we're funny)

When were first starting in SUP back in the day we had a ton of questions to ask...

And unlucky for us, there was hardly any information available on the internets or in our community.

As a consequence, we had to learn the hard way...

Through trial and error.

But lucky for you...

We are here to report back all that we've learned and stuff it onto a website for you to use, interact with, and learn...

All there is to know about SUP.

And we've enjoyed guiding you along the way.

But as we've grown and interacted with more beginners into the sport...

A few key questions keep popping up.

Instead of answering all of you individually, we've decided to great this very short guide on the Top 5 Most Asked SUP Questions...

So that you can have your questions answered...

And point other beginners to the guide so they can have theirs answered too.

In an effort to keep this email short, we will be mentioning only the basics. If we believe you would be better served with more detailed information, we'll include a link to a post where we discuss the topic in depth.

With that said, let's start at numero uno...

SUP FAQ #1 - What's the difference between a hardboard and inflatable board? And which one is good for me?

The basic difference in simple - an inflatable board is one that needs to be pumped with air before each use and a hardboard is one that has a foam center and is glassed with materials to make it rigid enough to paddle on the water.

The best board for you depends on your skill level and the day-to-day use you have planned for your board.

For a complete breakdown on the differences between the two check out our article entitled, "The Great Debate: Inflatable vs. Hardboard."

Here is the too long, didn't read version:

Purchase a hardboard if you want one that is super responsive on the water, is made for high performance activities like surfing and racing, can take on the wind with ease, you have the means to transport it to and from the launch spot, have enough room to store it, and don't have the patience to inflate your board anytime you wish to go.

Grab an inflatable board if you are a true beginner, plan on river paddling or messing around in the waves to learn how to surf, don't have a place for storage or transport, want to easily take it with you on trips (locally and internationally), are prone to falling or accidents, and want something ultra-durable.

SUP FAQ #2 - Is there any maintenance when it comes to my SUP?

Purchasing a SUP is for most people, a major investment - both time and money. Since you likely want to keep your board in the best working order as can be, the short answer to this question is yes.

Here is a quick rundown of what you can do today to ensure your board stays in great shape for the long haul.

  • Keep your SUP board out of direct sunlight

When you're on the water, no need to worry. Your board is in motion and being cooled by the water. But when you make it back to dry land and want to take a break, always make sure your board is not sitting under direct sunlight. This can cause the board to heat and expand and that can cause major problems.

For hardboards it will result in the glue melting and the fiberglass (or carbon fiber) separating from the foam core. You're likely to get major air bubbles in your board that will be difficult to fix. Either major sections of your board will have to be cut out and replaced or you will have to get a new board.

When it comes to inflatables, the air inside your board will expand, put pressure on the seams, and can cause it to burst or at the very least loosen. Which, in the long run, can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the board.

  • Watch out for other sources of heat damage

We're talking hot rooms, board bags, etc. Always make sure your board is either in a cool place if you are storing it for extended periods of time, or at least inside a temperature controlled room.

  • Always rinse your SUP board after use

Whether you are paddling in saltwater or freshwater, rinse your board after each use. Salt water can eat at your board (especially the decked) and freshwater areas like lakes and rivers are full of microbes that can grow on the foam areas of your board - think mold, mildew, etc.

To avoid any of these problems, just a quick rinse with the hose will work!

SUP FAQ #3 - What is the best beginner SUP board?

This question can be difficult to answer because you first have to take into account your heigh, weight, and athletic ability.

But to break it down into simpler terms - the wider and thicker a board is the easier it will be to stand and paddle right away. And that makes for a pleasurable experience for your first time out.

In addition, the longer a board is (11' or higher) the more tracking it will have (meaning the straighter it will paddle on each individual paddle stroke) and the longer glide it will have as well.

If you are a true beginner, we always recommend taking a few lessons with a qualified instructor. They will be able to put you on the correct board for your size and ability. And from there you will be better qualified to choose your first board to purchase.

Just remember this: the bigger a board is, the easier it will be to stand up right away and paddle.

SUP FAQ #4 - What are SUP boards made of?

The answer to this question depends on the type of board.

Hardboards are typically constructed on a foam core similar to that of styrofoam. Once the shape has been made they are glassed with fiberglass and epoxy resin, then they are painted, and a foam deck-pad is glued to the surface for traction.

Higher-end models can also be glassed with the ultra-light, ultra-durable carbon fiber.

Inflatable boards are created by "drop stitching" 2 layers of polyester fabric together with thousands of polyester threads. From there, an air-tight coating is placed on the outside surfaces of both sides of the material. And the SUP sidewall is bulked up using an extra layer of polyester fabric.

Of course, this can vary based on the quality of the product. Always make sure you are purchasing a board that is well-made and not one that is very thin or cheap to the touch. These boards typically do not last past a season or two.

SUP FAQ #5 - Why are some SUP boards way more expensive than others?

If you have been researching boards for your first purchase, you may have noticed by now the prices range from $299 up to $999+. From an outsider's perspective this might seem a little insane.

How can there be that much of a difference between the boards?

Well, there is. And it all comes down to quality. In SUP the axiom of "you get what you pay for" is very true.

The more expensive a SUP board is the better the quality materials. In addition, the more expensive boards are likely to be tried and tested by paddlers who take the sport seriously.

Yes, you can grab a cheaper alternative board from a chain-store today but it likely won't last longer than a season or two. The cheaper the price, the cheaper the materials. And the shorter its lifespan will be.

The price difference between boards is based solely on quality. When it comes to ultra-cheap boards, buyer always better beware!


There you have it - the answers to the five most-asked questions we receive when it comes to SUP.

We hope this cleared a few things up for you. If not, hit us with a reply message and we will gladly give you any additional information you may need.

Because we're paddlers too! And we love to see new faces in our sport.

But beyond even that, we want you to have the best experience you can have on the water.

To do that, a little guidance goes a long way!

About the Author


Daniel is a travelling author with a passion for exploring new waterways and sharing his experiences with the world.

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