Paddling 101: SUP Edition

Exploring the lake is part of what makes summer so great. As a kid, I used to hop in a kayak and go off for the day to try and find a new nook in my lake that I’d never been to before. It was a blast traveling up in runoff streams just to appease my adventurous spirit. As an adult, I find more enjoyment in paddling a SUP board than sitting down in a kayak. Stand up paddle boards offer a new perspective on the lake. You can gaze down into the water in shallow sections of the lake for a better vantage point. This type of paddling offers a whole body work out too as opposed to recreational kayaking or canoeing, which is predominantly upper body focused. All in all, paddle boards are a great investment and a ton of fun. So let’s dive into some paddleboarding 101.

Surf Shapes vs. Touring Boards

There are two main types of paddle boards. There are rounded tip, “surf shaped” boards, and touring boards. Surf shaped boards originated as a means of travel between islands in the form of paddle board surfing. The wide shapes channeled water well beneath the boards and allowed the rider to build up speed with the current and waves. These kinds of boards are more traditional. There are not limited to ocean surfing. You can absolutely use them on a lake! Many users say that they are more stable than touring boards. For a beginner paddler, I agree that’s true. With the wider platform, you have greater stability.

Touring boards have a displacement hull. They look like a kayak in the front (meaning they come to a point). They track straighter in the water. This enables the rider to maximize their paddle strokes on each side of the board. Touring boards are a great option of paddle board for a lake front paddler. You’ll carry greater speed across the water. Overall, for exploring lakes in calm water, a touring board is really the way to go!

Inflatable vs. Hardshell

Inflatable paddle boards are a great alternative to hardshell boards. When inflated properly, and to the right PSI, these boards will feel just an epoxy construction. Inflatable boards are often lighter in weight and easier to carry when on land. The biggest advantage comes down to storage and transportation. These boards deflate and fold up to fit into a large duffle or backpack. Don’t be concerned about durability. Inflatable paddleboards are made with a technology called “dropstitching”. The boards are extremely stiff. They do not perform like a traditional float. They are solid structurally.

Hardshell boards are traditional. If you’ve got a roof rack or the storage space for them, send it! Hardshell boards glide just a little better in the water. You’ll never have to inflate them up to pressure. These are what people are more used to when they think of paddle boards. To be honest, I’ve ridden on both. And I enjoy both! Either way, inflatable or hardshell, you really can’t go wrong. That’s paddling 101 in a nutshell!

What are some options for Paddle Boards?

We have a great selection of paddle boards at Sun Sports+. We carry SUP ATX, Pua Hana, Michael Dosley, Aquaglide, Connelly, and Surftech!

The Lido SUP

First up is the Lido. The Lido is a great paddle board. With an EPS foam core, high-quality fiberglass, epoxy resin, reinforced rails, and molded Utility Armor shell makes the Lido extremely durable SUP for rental facilities, beginners and families.

A surf shaped paddle board often feels more stable for riders. This board has a beautiful wood grain top sheet with teal padding for your feet.

The Lido SUP 10’06”

Voyager Touring SUP

Secondly we have the voyager touring SUP. The Voyager is designed for someone who wants to paddle flat water or mild open ocean conditions. It has all the features of a race board but has been toned down making it more stable and user friendly. It is equipped with 14 leash plugs on the nose and tail to tie down all your gear. The Displacement hull make this board cut through the water efficiently, making long paddles much easier than a standard surfboard shape cruiser. Fin System: Single Fin

A touring board like the one pictured above features a displacement shell for straighter forward water movement.

Micheal Dolsey 12’6 Touring SUP

We understand that a paddle board purchase is a big deal! We are here to help you along the process. Call us at 207-693-3867 for all information on Paddling 101. Email us at Shop online or in store. We are open 7 days a week. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram! Check out our YouTube page for water sports content and tips of the trade.