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Stand Up Paddling ... all the ins and outs
Are you considering buying a SUP board or 'SUP' as it is popularly called? Are you looking for a Stand Up Paddle board or SUP paddle and you don't know where to start? We have summarized a number of recommendations and frequently asked questions for you in the article below. In this way we give you a handle that you can use to arrive at your best choice.
Stand up Paddelen is currently one of the fastest growing sports in Europe and the rest of the world. Given the creativity of the SUP people, there are many different types of stand up paddlers (we know this is not good Dutch ;-)). These range from nice paddling on your local puddle or sailing to sliding yourself off the wave into the surf. And then we have not yet mentioned the long-distance paddlers who, for example, the Eleven Cities SUPs (250km) in 5 days. Your SUP board choice depends on what you want to do with the board, the circumstances that you will encounter and of course your budget. By asking a few simple questions you quickly come to an answer that you can make your choice with.
Am I a beginner or advanced Stand Up Paddler?
The great thing about Stand Up Paddling is that it is easy to get on. With a little sense of balance you will soon get a long way. Let's assume for a moment that you are a beginner and you just want to paddle in nice relaxed circles. We then recommend a stable board so that you can become familiar with the sport. Our customers often choose inflatable SUP boards, because they are easy to store and easy to use. However, if you are a board fanatic who is familiar with, for example, windsurfing or wave surfing, then it is advisable to look for more performance in the board right away. It may demand a little more perseverance in the beginning, but if you have board balance then it is a piece of cake!
SUP board choice, where do I go (mainly) Stand Up Paddling?
We can divide the Stand Up Paddle Boards into 6 categories: All-round, Surf, Touring, Race, Inflatable and Wind Cross-over. We discuss the differences in boards below.
1. All-round Stand Up Paddle board
These SUP boards are the best in a family situation where everyone wants to be on the board. An all-round SUP board has normal dimensions, so it is manageable on both flat water and in the waves. It is not black and is not white, but middle of the road. There is a lot to offer in the all-round spectrum. These boards often have a flat nose and a flat tail. Most people opt for an inflatable sup when they go all-round.
2. Surf SUP
Are you more of the surf and would you like to surf with your SUP board, then choose a Surf paddle board. These boards have more rocker, making the board easier to handle in the waves. Better steering, faster curves and fewer nose-dives is the result. These boards only do a lot less well on the puddle.
In addition, the boards for SUP surfing are often shorter between 8 and 10 feet. The 500 kilometer coastline makes the Netherlands a true SUP surfers paradise! The short wave makes wave surfing often difficult, but with a wave surf SUP you quickly make more runs than with a wave surf board.
3. Touring SUP
Do you like to discover nature and are you planning to SUP a little longer distances then a SUP tour is suitable for you. Often provided with a tie down net under which you can tie your gear. From fishing tackle to a crate of beer or tent ... Tour boards can be compared in width to an all-round board, but have a sharper point for moving the water and also a straight tail to better release the water. This results in a slightly higher speed than with an all-round board. This construction also ensures that the board glides better through the water, so you have to make less effort to keep the board up to speed. Tourboards vary in length from 10 - 14 feet.
4. Race SUP
These are the Stand Up Paddle boards for men and women with experience and balance. The boards are narrow and long, so the hull speed is fairly high. They are not the easiest boards to stand on, but practice makes perfect. The feeling is magnificent when you glide through the water on a race SUP. The paddle strokes are immediately converted to speed and due to the construction the board stays on course, so you don't have to change sides with paddling. Race SUP boards vary in length from 10 - 14 feet.
5. Windsurf SUP
A windsurf SUP is available in polyester (hard) or as an inflatable sup. Most windsurf SUP boards are used as an entry level SUP and windsurf board, often also with a centerfin. As a windsurf board it is fun for everyone! Easy accessible with the wind in your sails cruising over the water. As a SUP board, they often have the characteristics of an all-round board. Multifunctional use and a frequently made purchase by families. Now with the new I-Rig System (inflatable windsurf sail) it is totally fun to get on the water.
6. Inflatable SUP
Ideal for people who have little storage space, want to take the SUP Board with them on a trip or, for example, want to use a SUP with the sailing or motor boat. The inflatable SUPs are easy to transport and store. They are made of super strong PVC and the boards can handle a pressure of 18psi. This results in a stiff board, which is practically no less than a polyester sup. The inflatable SUPs are supplied with a storage bag, with or without shoulder straps, a pump and repair kit. An inflatable Stand Up Paddle board is held together internally by all thin fibers. The positioning and the number of these fibers determines whether an inflatable SUP Board becomes stiffer.
Which SUP sizes should I keep?
Sup boards vary in length between 8 and 14 feet. The length influences maneuverability and speed. Longer boards with a low rocker are faster and more stable, but turn less easily. What really makes sense, Cruiff would say.
You can follow this rule if you have doubts about the length of the board. Hold around 10 feet when you are lighter than 80 kg, hold plus 10.6 feet when you are heavier than 80 kg and you mainly go on flat water. If you are lighter or more practiced in SUP, you can of course choose a shorter one. Are you going to surf surf SUP? Then we recommend a shorter board ...
The width of your SUP board is a determining factor for stability. The average width is approximately 76.2 cm. For wave surfing SUPs in the surf, boards of 86 cm are already offered for the beginner or heavier SUPer. If you are built lighter, then you can already manage 71 cm and 76 cm boards. These boards are more unstable, but are easier and sharper to steer.
What about the volume of my SUP, what should I keep?
The simplest way to determine the required liters for your board is to multiply your weight in kilograms by two. The number that comes out here is expressed in liters. So example if you weigh 80 kilos, you should be able to handle a 160-liter board. You can use this number as a reference when searching for a board. As you become more experienced you can adjust the volumes downwards, but keep in mind that a too low volume only works in the waves. On a lake or canal it is not convenient to be under water with your feet ...
Inflatable SUP Board constructions, what should I pay attention to and which is perfect for me?
The construction of the inflatable SUP Board that you choose has an impact on durability, weight, performance and price. This with the advantages and disadvantages for each of the constructions. If you want advice about which SUP you should go for, feel free to contact us. One thing you can be sure about when shopping at Eurofuncenter is that we only have SUPs in stock from brands we know and trust. Boards that paddle well and last a long time. So come and visit us to view and discuss the SUPs, or contact us. We are happy to help you further!
Every SUP manufacturer offers a wide range of boards with various constructions. How a SUP board is made and which materials are used has a major impact on how a board behaves in the water, how long it lasts and what it costs. There are advantages and disadvantages to each construction, so making a choice can sometimes be confusing. That is why we have made an explanation in which we discuss the most important forms of construction. You can choose from: Single Skin, Stringer and Laminated Double Layer.
SUP with Single Skin (dropstitch) construction method
We start with the Single Skin or Single Layer Technology. All construction methods start with the dropstitch; thousands of threads between the two (dropstitch) layers that, when filled with air, only allow the SUP to expand to a certain point before they tighten and form the rigid plank. Dropstitch fabric itself is not airtight, so then the dropstitch is covered with a liquid PVC layer that, once dry, creates an airtight seal. We call this the Single Skin.
The two most important benefits of the single skin SUPs are weight and price. The use of less material ensures a very light SUP. This construction can carry a slightly lower maximum weight than the stringer or laminated versions. In other words; these boards are less rigid and therefore better suited for people with a somewhat lower weight. The boards with this construction are of course of good quality, but a heavier person will experience less performance on such single skin SUPs.
Pros and cons:
+ LOW PRICE
- FLEX (not ideal for people with a higher body weight)
Which SUPs have this design:
Fanatic Pure Air
Fanatic Pure Air Touring
Fanatic Ripper Air
SUP with Stringer technology
The stringer technology has been developed as an extension of the single construction. The majority of the board is the same as the SUP with the single skin; dropstitch with a single coating of PVC. The difference is the addition of the stringer. The concept comes from traditional surfboard manufacturing, where a thin stringer runs from nose to tail through the center of the board to provide greater rigidity. With these inflatable SUPs, the stringer, which is a fairly wide PVC strip, is glued in the middle of the shelf.
The addition of the stringer has everything to do with increasing the stiffness of the SUP and reducing the flex when you stand on the board and paddle. The extra bit of material provides a sturdier platform, which in turn provides a better paddle experience. Because it is only a small addition of material, it does not add that much weight and the costs for these SUPs are still good. The cons? Well, although the stringer is a good addition, the world won't care. SUPs with this construction offer better rigidity for people with a higher weight. If you want to go for a certain rigid board, read further on at the “Laminated Double Layer construction”.
Pros and cons:
+ INCREASED STIFFNESS
+ A SHARP PRICE
- ANY FLEXIBILITY
SUP with Laminated Double Layer Technology
The laminated double layer or in Dutch 'laminated double layer construction' is the newest technology in the inflatable SUP production process. It is cutting edge and the best you can get. The production of the SUP starts with the dropstich of a single single skin and then a second PVC layer is laminated directly onto it.
The lamination process means that there are no longer any cosmetic wrinkles or bubbles on the surface of the SUP. And here is the really impressive story behind this construction ... these inflatable SUPs are 20-25% lighter and 25-30% stiffer than those with a glued double-layer construction. That can mean a weight saving of around 2 kg, which is a lot! These SUPs can therefore be a bit more expensive than the other constructions, but when you are looking for the best performance, we recommend that you choose a SUP board with this construction method.
Pros and cons:
+ KEEP FORM
- MAY BE MORE EXPENSIVE
Which terms are common in Stand Up Paddling
The easier a SUP board runs, the more you talk about maneuverability. A Rhine barge turns a little less easily than a speedboat. This is simply due to the length. So the longer your board is, the less agile it is and vice versa.
The wider the SUP board, the more stable. And the wider you can place your feet, the more stable you are on the board. All-round boards are therefore wider than race boards. This is because wider also means greater water displacement (and therefore resistance) and with a race board you want to have as little water displacement as possible. So a wider or narrower board influences the way the board glides through the water.
The glide of a board is determined by the shape of the board. If the board has a flat bottom, it will be more difficult to move the water than if the board cuts through the water with a sharp point. The shape of the board therefore determines the speed at which you glide through the water. In addition, there is such a thing as hull speed in ship technology (after all, it is a small boat). That is the maximum speed a vessel can achieve. In the SUP, this varies from 3 - 14 km per hour under normal circumstances depending on the type of board. But for example, with a downwinder with the wind and swell in the back, speeds of 20 km per hour are achieved.
How is your board! In the waves it is handy to have a manoeuvrable board, on a lake you want to change paddle side as little as possible and you look for less maneuverability. The degree of tracking is determined by the length of the board, the waterline and the hardness (read perpendicularity) of the rail (side of the board). The more hooked the rail, the better the board stays on course. If that is in combination with a good length, you can make 10 - 15 strokes per side.
Rocker indicates the curvature of your board. If you realize that a wave is a hollow shape, then you understand that you will not make it with a straight board. Surf boards and therefore also SUP boards have a rocker (banana shape) to play comfortably in the waves and keep your nose above the water.
A race board, on the other hand, has practically no rocker because you don't play golf with it. It has a flat bottom and a V-nose to be able to go straight ahead.
SUP paddle made of carbon or aluminum?
To paddle properly, you also need a paddle. These are available as one-part, two-part or three-part (adjustable) and then also in carbon or aluminum. If you are a starting SUP person then you will suffice with an aluminum paddle. The distances you will cover will probably not be far and you are more concerned with your balance than with the weight of your paddle. Certainly in family situations where the paddle must also be a sort of bullitproof, an aluminum paddle is the way to go. An aluminum paddle is a bit heavier than a carbon paddle (1.5 kg against 500 grams).
Are you advanced and are you surfing or the distances are getting longer then a carbon paddle is a good option. These paddles are lighter, have a good weight balance and the sophisticated flex give you more energy back from your paddle straw. The carbon paddles are more expensive to buy, but we know from experience that you will certainly enjoy it more!
Paddle leaf size
A paddle with a leaf that is too large works like a hill on bikes with a big resistance. The larger the paddle blade, the more resistance you will find in the water per stroke, which means you will have to deliver more power. It is important to find a balance in this. A medium-sized paddle will be large enough for most people. To make it more concrete:
- Ladies and kids: Medium leaf
- Men and tough sea trunks: L or XL leaf
- Distance paddlers often take a smaller blade to be able to use a higher paddle frequency without making much claim to the strength of that person.
Adjustable SUP paddle or fixed length?
If you enjoy traveling or you have little / no storage space, we recommend an adjustable paddle. This also applies to the families where variable lengths are needed. If you are advanced and you know what you want, a fixed length is the best choice.
Buying or renting a SUP board?
After reading the above information, are you still not convinced of which SUP board fits best with your body weight, wishes and experiences? Then come and visit our shop and let our experts advise you!
Try Stand Up Paddling? Come to Eurofuncenter in Zevenhuizen or Oostvoorne and start your SUP adventure with us on the lake! You can rent them here.