Buying a SUP
It’s difficult these days to see the forest for the trees; the range of SUPs is huge. When buying a SUP you come up against a number of question marks.
What sort of SUP is the first one. There are different kind of SUP boards: a waveSUP, raceSUP, allroundSUP, touringSUP, inflatableSUP, windsurfSUP etc.
- A hard or inflatable SUP?: First consider how you can store and transport your SUP. A hard SUP always has better performance than an inflatable. If you have a shortage of space then of course an inflatable is a good alternative and it paddles really well. Also in combination with a caravan or boat an inflatable SUP can be the better option. Don't forget to pump up your inflatable SUP really well, it is advised between 14 and 18 psi. Racers will even probably prefer to inflate up to 21 psi.
- Which brand?: Telstarsurf is the SUP specialist and has all the big brands in stock on in the webshop and the physical store. Naish SUP, Starboard SUP and Fanatic SUP are the best known biggest brands at the moment. In addition to these brands we also offer SUPs from JP, Vandal, Red Paddle, Lokahi and Tabou, whose quality isn't to be questioned in comparison to the other brands.
- Which volume and size SUP?: In part the volume of your SUP has to do with your weight, and in addition of course your experience plays a large role considering this. This is not relevant with race and touring SUPs. With allrounders we advise especially not to go too small because it compromises stability and glide. If you want to use your SUP board in the waves, then other factors have to be considered. A smaller SUP is obviously more maneuverable than a larger one, though has the disadvantages that it's harder to paddle through the waves, more difficult while you're waiting on the right wave and the start up on the wave is a bit more unstable.
- Which material?: Very simple! The lighter and more rigid your SUP is, the better is your performance. Less is more, even a difference of 500g makes a world of difference during use. On the other side a SUP board which is a bit heavier is normally a bit stronger as well.
Stand Up Paddle boards are available in varying models and sizes. Below you have a description of all the different kind of SUPs.
WaveSUP or SurfSUP. These are the same names for the same sort SUP boards. With a wave SUP you can go hard in the waves. In general, these boards are really easy to recognize. SurfSUPs are shorter and broader. The maximum width of the board is relatively far forward, and the board turns easy into the bend. Thanks to the relatively smaller backside, there is a stabilizing effect.
Wave SUPs have considerable scoop rocker (curvature), by which they also have extra maneuverability. The amount of scoop lets you move easily through the waves with the SUP. The big advantage of extreme maneuverability speaks for itself; a disadvantage is that the SUP is harder to paddle straight ahead. The right mix for every individual needs to be determined, in terms of the combination of maneuverability, stability, volume and glide. Your experience, the sort of waves, weight and your specific wishes also have a lot of influence on your ultimate choice.
The allround SUPs have a mix of characteristics of the wave SUPs and touring SUPs. The extra length of these SUPs in combination with a flatter scoop rockerline provide a better glide. The SUP therefore has a better speed and it glides straight ahead more easily.
In contrast to a touring SUP, an allrounder has a rounded outline. This lends to good manouverablility in the board. With an allround SUP, not only can you go out on flat water but also in small waves. There are many sorts of allround SUPs; some have for example many characteristics of a wave SUP, and others are more like a touring SUP.
These Stand Up Paddle boards are a mix of allrounder and race SUPs. Generally touring SUPs have a considerable length (>11"/3.35m), which lends to a good glide. In combination with a limited width and a tapered nose, the glide is better still, where you can get good distance on flat water with ease. A touring SUP isn't optimal in waves. It doesn't mean that yoú can't use one in the ocean as the qualities of these SUPs are perfect for ultimate down-winders.
You can only win a race on these Stand Up Paddle Boards. A race SUP is long, narrow and super tight. The glide of a race SUP is perfect and you can paddle perfectly on one side of the SUP for long periods, therefore time loss with crossing over the paddle isn't necessary. Race boards are especially popular in sizes 12.6" and 14.0". These are more or less a specific size class that is used in many competitions. The fastest class is the 14.0", but this isn't the greatest. Most competitions are held with a 12.6".
Aside from the varying lengths, you can also get a race SUP in various widths. A narrow race SUP is naturally faster than a broad SUP. Keep in mind that a disadvantage can be found in raw conditions or during long distance competitions.
In the last couple of years Inflatable SUPs have become extremely popular. Through better construction, the characteristics have been drastically improved and you can go hard with an inflatable. Take note; as compared to a hard SUP you always make a concession! When choosing an inflatable, you must pay attention to the quality as a cheap inflatable that's also good doesn't exist.
Internally an inflatable SUP is complex. Thousands of threads hold the underside and topside together, creating the right construction. Thanks to this construction, it's possible to inflate it too hard. It is advised to inflate it to at least 14 psi so that you're sure of its capabilities. Inflatable SUPs are available in allround, touring, race and wave types.
With a windSUP (also known as windsurfSUP), not only can you paddle but also windsurf. For many users, a windSUP as compared to a real windsurf board is just ideal because of its length. These days in our surfshop you see more and more shorter, broader windsurf boards. These sorts of boards are great at the moment when you plane on sufficient wind. In 'non-planing' situations a short, broad windsurf board is a big disadvantage. A broad board is slower than a long and narrow windSUP when it has to glide through the water. Gliding through the water is often the case with beginner windsurfers or with family use. The long and narrower windSUP is a master in 'non-planing' conditions. The combination of SUP’ing and windsurfing in light wind conditions (up to +/- wind strength 4) is ideal.
WindsurfSUPs are available with a sword or a center fin. Both options have the same effect. The windSUP is also available in an inflatable version. These are great in light wind conditions.
Leash for wave SUPs
You need a SUP leash especially in the waves. When you lose your wave SUP the waves are really going to work against you. In comparison to a surfboard, a SUP is heavier and larger, so that in a wipeout there is a lot more pressure on the leash. For SUP you therefore need a leash made of thicker poly-urethane.
During a wipeout you'll get a good jerk on your ankle from the wave pressure via your SUP. A longer SUP leash will dampen the pressure much better than a short SUP leash.
Generally you would set the length of your leash to the same length as your SUP, though a shorter leash can be considered because of the advantage of being able to grab your SUP quicker after a wipeout. The more experienced surfers prefer to go for a shorter leash and by doing so take more of a risk of getting hit by the SUP.
Tip: Keep your arm directly in front of your face during a fall from your SUP.
Leash for flatwater SUPs
Using a leash is always sensible, also when using a flat water SUP. For an allround SUP use a 10.0" leash. For a race SUP you can use a longer one.
Coiled or uncoiled leash?
Theoretically, an SUP leash that drags through the water slows you down or at least doesn't promote your speed. A coiled leash has this problem much less than a normal SUP leash.
Where to wear your SUP leash?
You have the choice to wear it on your knee or your ankle. Mostly SUP’ers wear them on their ankle despite the disadvantages. The pressure of a wave can be great and the jerk on your ankle can be so strong that the SUP leash gets pulled off over your foot.
Wearing the leash just under the knee is a great alternative. When surfing wear it on your back leg so that it stays out of your way during wave riding.