Before we get to the part where we look at actual stand up paddleboard reviews I think it will be a good idea to give you some handy information and history about stand up paddleboards.
What Are Stand Up Paddleboards
Paddleboarding is a sport that has consistently been gaining momentum and popularity. Similar to surfing, it involves using a board to surf the ocean waves. Originally, it was only done using the prone or kneeling position. However, there has been a recent revival of the ancient form of surfing, now known as Stand Up Paddleboarding.
Known in the Hawaiian language as Hoe he’e nalu, it’s now seen as a way for surfers to paddle much longer distances. Now recognized as the fastest-growing water activity, it allows people of all athletic builds to participate in a challenging activity that relies on skill and agility to tame the biggest and baddest waves.
Led by such famous paddleboarders as Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Rick Thomas and Kai Lenny, the sport has been adopted by many former surfers due to its versatility and ability to let them catch more waves within a set while offering better views of those incoming waves.
Stand up paddleboards are made up of a blade, shaft and handle and generally cost from $600-$1,500. Most are now classified as vessels by the Coast Guard and require riders to wear personal flotation devices when boarding in certain spots.
Introducing Inflatable Paddle Boards and The Top Stand Up Boards
A major development in the design of sup’s has been the creation of inflatable stand up boards. This has allowed both the board and pump to be carried in something as small as a backpack. Durable yet lightweight, some boards can be inflated to as much as 30 pounds per square inch.
When someone is trying to find the best stand up paddleboard, they usually look for product reviews. We will look at many Stand up paddleboard reviews from a number of different models. A few of the best ones we will review are the Tower Adventurer Inflatable SUP, Ocean Kayak Nalu Hybrid Paddleboard, Solstice Stand Up Paddleboard and Naish Paddle Boards.
When a person is deciding which is best for him, stand up paddleboard reviews can be of great help. I will be doing some in depth reviews on these particular boards inside this site.
BIC Sport ACS with Adjustable Paddle
So while surf’s up, let’s climb on board and check out the BIC Sport ACS with Adjustable Paddle. The BIC Sport is widely recognized as a great board for beginners as well as a great second board for more skilled boarders.
The greatest feature of this board is its volume of 175-205 liters. While some other boards on the market have less volume, the BIC Sport ACS offers more volume that guarantees to eliminate sagging in the middle. While that extra volume may not sound like much, what it offers its rider is increased rigidity and buoyancy on the water, resulting in less drag and a more comfortable ride.
The width of this board is another big draw to riders. It’s 32 inches wide, which is two inches wider than most other boards on the market. The wider platform allows riders to have greater stability on the board while also having increased maneuverability and speed.
This wider platform is especially helpful when boarding in lateral currents. This board is also one of the easiest ones to transport.
The BIC Sport ACS is an extremely durable board for less money than you’d expect. Thermoformed in steel molds to ensure consistent and accurate reproduction of the original shape. Proven and long-lasting with great performance. Priced from $899.95, it’s a bargain for anyone who wants one of the best SUP’s available.
The Ocean Kayak Nalu
Next up is the Ocean Kayak Nalu Hybrid Paddleboard. This one is considered to be a great all-purpose board that’s known for its durability. Whether a person wants to paddle on a calm lake, ride the ocean waves or sail through whitewater rapids this board is up to the challenge. Constructed of polyethylene, it’s as tough as they come while delivering a smooth ride.
The best feature of this board is it can be used as both a stand up or sit down model. It’s a great board to take with you if going to places where weather may be uncertain. Likewise, if going to a calm lake or river it’s just as much at home there as well. And if you find yourself somewhere with the wind gusting, you can simply decide to sit down and use it this way.
Whatever the weather throws its way, the Nalu Hybrid can meet it head on and come out on top. Its shallow design and long keel make it easy to maneuver in choppy waters while being faster than you’d think. Despite looking bottom-heavy it can really go at a fast clip.
Considered a great starter board, it’s so easy to use that many people in their 50′s, 60′s or older who are new to paddleboarding make this their board of choice. Weighing 40 pounds, it may not be best for kids because of its weight but adults will have no problem handling it. Priced around $650, it’s a great board to buy if speed, stability and ease of use are at the top of your list.
Solstice Stand Up Paddleboard
Next up is the Solstice Stand Up Paddleboard. This board is another favorite of the SUP community. Weighing only 22 pounds, it’s almost 11 feet long and extremely rigid and strong. Considered sleek, lightweight and very fast the Solstice is a board that meets and exceeds the expectations of everyone who rides it. It’s list price is close to $1,000 but it can usually be found for about $600-$700, which is a steal for a model that delivers this kind of performance.
And Finally The Naish Paddle Board Line
Speaking of performance, Naish Paddleboards give that and then some. Considered the industry leader in paddleboarding by many, Naish boards get great reviews. The types of boards they make are almost endless, and they have something for all ages and skill levels.
The company’s Air series of inflatable stand up boards come in lengths of 10 feet and are 33 inches wide, providing excellent stability. Supporting riders weighing up to 240 pounds, they are ideal for almost anyone wanting to get out on the waves. Priced slightly higher at about $1,000 they are well worth the price for the hours of pleasure and fun they will give their owner.
Paddleboarding Is Just Plain Fun And Healthy
Paddleboarding continues to grow in popularity not only with everyday people, but athletes and celebrities as well. Professional athletes like Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett loves paddleboarding, as does one of Hollywood’s favorite leading ladies, “Pretty Woman” star Julia Roberts.
One reason so many athletes and actors and actresses love paddleboarding is its ability to provide a full-body workout while having fun on the water. Athletes such as skiers and snowboarders use SUP’s as one of their cross-training activities to stay in shape, and kayakers also use it as an alternative exercise when training for competitions.
Before hitting the water for a day of paddleboarding, a person should keep some things in mind to make the experience more pleasurable. Besides having the board, paddle and PFD, wearing the proper clothing can not only keep one more comfortable but also help a person stay safe depending upon the weather conditions.
If someone is going to be boarding where hypothermia may be a concern, wearing a wetsuit or a dry suit can guard against this. In warmer areas a bathing suit or shorts and a t-shirt will work just fine, and allow the rider to be able to freely move around while getting wet. To guard against the sun, applying sunscreen and wearing some good sunglasses will protect against sunburn and the glare off the water.
The Paddleboarding Basics
Now that you have the right equipment and clothing for paddleboarding, it’s time to get the right techniques to help make the most of the experience. It’s best to start out on calm waters, and it’s a good idea to take a friend with you when first learning. When learning the proper stance, it’s good to have a friend stabilize the board as you stand on it.
The key to a good stance is all in the hips. Feet should be parallel and hip-width apart, and balancing is done with the hips. Stare off at the horizon instead of down at your feet, and remember paddleboarding is a lot like cycling in that when forward momentum increases, so does stability.
To turn a paddleboard one can use a sidestroke, sea-stroke or back-paddle. To sidestroke, just paddle on one side until the board turns in the direction you wish to go. To go left paddle on the right and vice versa. A sea-stroke, also called a sweeping stroke, is used when the paddle is put near the front of the board and a long sweeping stroke is used from front to back. Back-paddling is used to turn or reverse course, and is done by either dragging the paddle or paddling backwards on either side of the board.
Unfortunately, falling off a board is inevitable. While it’s important to learn how to stand on a board, it’s also good to know the proper way to fall off of one. When a rider feels a fall coming, aim for the side so that you fall into the water rather than on the board. Falling on a board can sometimes cause serious injury, while falling in water will only get you wetter. If you get separated from the board and paddle, find the board first and then use it to paddle to and retrieve your paddle.
When first starting out, many beginners make some common mistakes on their paddleboards. Two of the most common ones are standing hunched over and keeping their knees straight. Instead of being hunched over, it’s best to keep the shoulders level and back straight. Also, bent knees help with stability and one’s ability to maneuver the board.
Stand Up Paddleboarding Is A Way Of Life
For those who paddleboard they describe it as a passion and way of life for them. They are usually very eager to talk about and share their love of the sport with others. To hear them talk, life starts and stops with paddleboarding. They live it and breathe it, and many have turned it into their life’s work.
There are many companies throughout the United States and the world that offer paddleboarding instruction and parties. Those people looking for something different can choose a SUP party for someone’s birthday or anniversary as a way to remember special times in life.
Paddleboard adventure trips down whitewater rapids are also popular, as are business meetings conducted via paddleboarding. Many companies now send employees to corporate “board” meetings, where business is conducted while paddleboarding. These are great ways for employees to bond with one another, and if they’re lucky they may get to see their boss fall off his board a few times during the day!
And To Sum It All Up
So if you are looking for something new and exciting to help with relaxation while providing a great workout, consider taking up paddleboarding. Whether you live in Hawaii and wish to ride some waves, or want to paddle on a calm, serene lake paddleboarding can provide you with hours and hours of fun. For those looking to really enhance their workout, consider taking a Stand Up Paddleboarding exercise class.
Some places even offer yoga performed on paddleboards! With today’s stressful workplaces and hectic personal lives, paddleboarding offers people a chance to unwind and get away from the hassles of home and work. Standing on a board in the middle of a calm body of water can be a fantastic holistic experience, and may lead to another convert to the exciting sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding.