Choosing the Right SUP- Spring 2021

Posted on February 28 2021

Living in Washington, we are lucky to be surrounded by so much water. From the lakes to the Sound to the coast, there are so many places to play, and a paddleboard can be a great way to take advantage! With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know where to start in your search for a SUP. Urban Surf is here to help!

The most important things to consider are:
- The conditions of the areas you will be using the board most
- The skill and size of the paddler
- The pricing that works best for your budget
- The durability you need
- Portability, transport, and storage
- What types of activities you plan to accomplish with your SUP


Below, you will find some recommendations that we believe will provide paddlers the best experience possible based on certain scenarios and product types. All of the featured models will be available at some point during this 2021 paddle season at Urban Surf.

Welcome to the SUP board guide 2021!


Fun for the whole family-

For folks looking for something stable, user-friendly, and fun, an ALL-AROUND shape can be a good place to start. All-Arounders are named for their versatility and are usually between 10-11’ long, staying wide through the whole length. This creates a stable platform for beginners, holds more weight comfortably, and guarantees good times. The wider the board, the more stable it will be. A narrower board will be a bit faster but less suited to newcomers. More durable constructions tend to be a bit heavier, but can better weather outdoor storage, and rocky shores. These designs can handle almost anything- a chill sunny day on the lake, yoga, small surf, or even a paddle with your pup on the front.

Durable, affordable- Surftech Lido, SIC TAO Fit, Boardworks Riptide

Super stable- NSP Cruise, Fanatic Fly, Starboard GoSIC Mangrove

Sportier models- Boardworks Kraken, Bark Catalyst, Surftech Generator, NSP Allrounder


Fitness focused, looking to cover some more distance-

For those ready for a little more mileage or maybe something more efficient in the water, a TOURING shape is a good match. Touring boards are usually longer (11’6-14’) and narrower and include a displacement hull design. These boards tend to track straighter, glide more, and go faster. They are also a little less stable because of the narrower width, sometimes making for a good balance challenge. The hull-like nose also handles choppy open water conditions better, cutting through the water rather than rafting on top.

Intro to touring- Surftech Chameleon, Starboard Touring Lite Tech,  Boardworks Navigator

Light and fast- SIC Okeanos, Starboard Waterline, Boardworks Raven, Boardworks Chinook, Fanatic Ray


Apartment-friendly adventurers-

If you don’t have the space to store a massive rigid SUP, or if you want something easy to take with you anywhere, an INFLATABLE can be a great option. Inflatables come in every shape and size imaginable, making it easy to find an iSUP for any occasion. They are very storable and pack down to the size of a small suitcase. They are also very durable because they are made of tough PVC rubber. Some affordable options come in complete packages with paddle included. Some of the higher-tech inflatables have added details to increase their rigidity; welded seams, carbon inserts, and double wrapped rails cost a little extra but can really increase the performance of the board.

Budget-friendly package- Tahe Beach Wing package, Slingshot Crossbreed, Fanatic Fly Air

High-performing inflatables- Red Paddle Co. Voyager, Starboard Touring Deluxe, Red Paddle Co Sport


Wave riders-

SURFABLE SUPs can be a great way to take advantage of the coast! These designs tend to resemble a regular surfboard with features like sharper rails, more rocker, more fins, a thinner tail, a pointier nose. Some All-Arounders are surfable and can handle both flatwater and small waves. There are also surf-specific SUPs that are designed to perform when wave-riding. Beginner-friendly surf SUPs tend to be wider and higher volume- these are more stable and a bit less responsive making it easier to figure out those initial surf skills. More aggressive designs can be shorter, thinner, and more rockered with harder rails- these are more maneuverable, more responsive, and light up in more powerful waves.

Beginner-friendly surf style with shred-potential- Starboard Wedge, Fanatic All-Wave


Speedsters, downwinders, and long-haulers-

For the advanced paddler, or person ready to advance into a sportier direction with their paddling, a high-performance RACING SUP may be the upgrade for you! These are usually 14’ in length to maximize glide and tracking. They come in narrow builds, between 21.5”-26” wide. Most these days also include a high-volume nose to keep speed up and prevent pearling, and a recessed deck for added stability. These features combined with a light-weight carbon fiber construction make them super fast, great for racing or covering a lot of miles. Some racing boards also work well for downwinding: the art of catching wind-swell in open water. There are also downwind-specific boards that favor a wider standing deck and plenty of nose and tail rocker for play in wind waves.  

An all-around good racer- Starboard All Star, SIC RS


These are just a few of the great options we have in store for you this year. Check out our products on our website, give us a call, or swing by the shop to sort out which SUP is the best for you!


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