Purchasing a board you have no experience with can be a bit daunting. The tradition in surfing is to rely on the reputation of the shaper and to get very good advice during the sales process. Buying a board on price alone is not the best choice. In many cases, purchasing a stand up paddle board on price alone may leave you with a board all wrong for you and your experience of the sport will be off to a bad start. And, if you're near the beginner end of the spectrum, you really won't know if the SUP board is good or not when you paddle -- you don't have the experience and skills to judge the board.
So how do you decide which Stand Up Paddle Surfboard to buy? Here are some ideas:
- Buy boards shaped by reknowned shapers like Gerry Lopez, Ron House, Donald Takayama, etc. If you buy a "generic" board, do so only on the advice of an experienced salesperson.
- Identify the conditions in which you will most use the board and discuss them with the sales person. For example - flatwater, surf, river running, racing flatwater, combination boards, etc. Randall wrote about board size, read more.
- Be clear about your expectations. Don't buy a gloss board if you're going to let the kids and dog play on it and you tend to freak out when you see a mess of scratches.
- Don't buy a board for specific conditions that you'll rarely be in just because it's cool. Shorter SUP boards are designed for the short amount of time they are powered on a wave. They are inherently unstable in flat water.
- For women, Randall wrote a list of ideas on women friendly SUP boards.
- Read more of our gear blog suggestions at About Gear.
- On our StandupPaddleFlatwater.com website we have lists of boards divided by size and gloss/soft-top categories.
If you live in Bend, Oregon, the Deschutes river a great place to SUP paddle! Get a great workout going upriver or plan a shuttle with your friends and take your time floating the gorgeous and serene sections of the Deschutes River 15 miles south of Bend, Oregon. Contact Randall at 541-389-4547 to buy a waterproof Paddle Trail Alliance Map of the Deschutes River. It's only $15.00 and full of great info about the put-in and take-out river spots, any portages around hazards like log jams and waterfalls.
If you're wondering why Randall is standing by his van with bison in the background, read more.