Buying a new SUP board is often a juggle between price and pride. But is the most expensive board the right board for you? Lets discuss whats important without blowing the budget.
"juggle between price and pride"
There are 4 things that you should consider other than budget and whether your new SUP will impress your friends.
Will this board inspire you to paddle more, try new techniques or leave you wet, frustrated and embarrassed? Getting a SUP that inspires confidence, means you will enjoy paddling more, because you won't be afraid to run around on the deck and test the rails and find where the secondary stability starts and ends. Learning how to get your weight outside the board for effective technique paddle technique is very difficult on a board that you don't trust. Choose a board that you feel stable and comfortable on, before asking if it comes in green.
We all love the idea of a carbon fibre SUP, but in reality they have been difficult to live with from a damage and budget point of view. Paddle strikes and falling onto the deck with your knees are common can prove costly in the beginning. Nevermind the week or two off the water. Consider fibre glass or inflatable in the beginning.
"dependable and predictable is far more important that fast and light"
Having a board that is dependable and predictable is far more important that fast and light. A fast light board is slow and frustrating if you can't stay on it. A well designed board that is dependable and gives consistent feed back makes new or tough conditions exciting rather than daunting. When you trust your equipment and yourself on it, you'll be faster and enjoy paddling far more. A predictable board does the same thing over and over meaning you can learn and adjust. This inspires growth and once again confidence to try new things.
Ego and peer pressure are easily the two biggest reasons for choosing the wrong board. Find a board that suits your needs and not what the industry is trying to sell you. For example a 17 foot dug out with a rudder is arguably one of the fastest, most awe inspiring boards on the water. But its a handful to load, store and live with, never-mind trying to get back yourself back into a dugout once you fallen out.
I tend to ignore what everyone else is doing in the industry and follow what works for me.
Beginners: Consider an inflatable or fibreglass board that is stable enough to learn good technique and inspire confidence to run around the deck and try new things. Don't let price or pride get in the way of a well designed board that you can trust.
Intermediate: By this stage you know what you like and don't like, consider a board that challenges you occasionally, but doesn't leave you frustrated. Your first question should always, be "How can I get faster, fitter, stronger" only once you are addressing your shortfalls is it worth upgrading your to a narrower, faster board.
Advanced: Follow your gut and get a board that is not only faster but you know and trust. Every board has its pros and cons, find the board that brings the best out in your style or paddling. Its only when all the factors come together that you really start to shine at top level.
I would love to hear what your thoughts on your board choice.
Have a stand up day!