Determined by intended use as well as size and physical ability of the paddler. Numerous options to choose ranging from: recreational, fitness, flat-water, surfing, whitewater or racing. Important Stand Up Paddle Boarding terms to learn are: SUP Stand Up Paddlebording , Nose or Bow of the board which is the tip furthest away from the fins, Tail or stern of the board; fins, anywhere from one to four fins typically on a paddle board determined by intended use; rails or sides of the boards; rocker which refers to the bottom curve of the board; and volume or the ability of the board to displace the water beneath it.
Paddles originally were made of wood, and, while beautiful, are much heavier than modern composite materials such as carbon fiber. Most leisure oriented paddles are adjustable for height and are made of aluminum which can be cold and heavy. The parts of the paddle are the grip, shaft and blade. The blade has two sides, the power-face side and the non-power side or back. Ten to twelve degrees of blade angle off the shaft is typical and is necessary to keep the blade vertical during the most powerful phase of the stroke.
Proper sizing of the overall length of the paddle is important to maintain a comfortable and powerful body position during the stroke. Hand and arm measurement can be accomplished by reaching one arm over head and measuring to the base of the wrist, or eight to ten inches over the paddler height. A good rule of thumb for selecting the proper paddle size is intended use – shorter for surfing and longer for racing. The blade size is also important as a smaller blade width, usually seven to eight inches, is preferred for a quicker stroke, and a nine inch plus blade is used for racing and larger individuals.
A Paddle board equals a flotation device! Not just for easy retrieval in the event of a fall, a leash tethers the paddler to the board and can be used as a flotation device. However, it should be noted that as of October 3, 2008, the US Coast Guard now classifies Stand Up Paddleboards as vessels and as a result Stand Up Paddle Board riders are obliged to have a PFD or personal flotation device with them when paddling in certain areas, but not required to wear them. There are two types of leashes: straight used for surfing; and coiled used for racing -- the coiled leashes stay primarily on the tail of the board and causes less drag.
Safety note: In an emergency, Always stay with your board! Never leave your board in open water. Always stay with your flotation. If in trouble use a “distress signal” by raising and lowering your outstretched arms repeatedly. If necessary assume the “safe position”. Drop to your knees with your paddle between your knees and elbows down. If you lose your paddle assume the prone position and use your arms to prone surf to recover.
Personal Floatation Devide (PFD) Light & Noise Making Device
As stated above, as of October 3, 2008, the US Coast Guard now classifies Stand Up Paddleboards as vessels and as a result Stand Up Paddle Board riders over the age of 12 are obligated to have a USCG Approved PFD or personal flotation device Type III with them when paddling in areas not considered swim, surf, or bathing areas. Stand Up Paddle Board Riders over the age of 12 are required only to carry the PDF on board while paddlers under the age of 12 are required to wear a lifejacket at all times. PFDs include life jackets, Belt Packs as well as several other types, we at Pro SUP shop are partial to Belt Packs as they are less obtrusive, lighter and cooler in the warmer months.
In addition you must carry a sound making device such as a whistle and visual distress signal and navigation light, such as a flashlight.