Exploring the lake is part of what makes summer so great. As a kid, I used to hop in a kayak and go off for the day to try and find a new nook in my lake that I’d never been to before. It was a blast traveling up in runoff streams just to appease my adventurous spirit. As an adult, I find more enjoyment in paddling a SUP board than sitting down in a kayak. Stand up paddle boards offer a new perspective on the lake. You can gaze down into the water in shallow sections of the lake for a better vantage point. This type of paddling offers a whole body work out too as opposed to recreational kayaking or canoeing, which is predominantly upper body focused. All in all, paddle boards are a great investment and a ton of fun. So let’s dive into some paddleboarding 101.
Surf Shapes vs. Touring Boards
There are two main types of paddle boards. There are rounded tip, “surf shaped” boards, and touring boards. Surf shaped boards originated as a means of travel between islands in the form of paddle board surfing. The wide shapes channeled water well beneath the boards and allowed the rider to build up speed with the current and waves. These kinds of boards are more traditional. There are not limited to ocean surfing. You can absolutely use them on a lake! Many users say that they are more stable than touring boards. For a beginner paddler, I agree that’s true. With the wider platform, you have greater stability.
Touring boards have a displacement hull. They look like a kayak in the front (meaning they come to a point). They track straighter in the water. This enables the rider to maximize their paddle strokes on each side of the board. Touring boards are a great option of paddle board for a lake front paddler. You’ll carry greater speed across the water. Overall, for exploring lakes in calm water, a touring board is really the way to go!
Inflatable vs. Hardshell
Inflatable paddle boards are a great alternative to hardshell boards. When inflated properly, and to the right PSI, these boards will feel just an epoxy construction. Inflatable boards are often lighter in weight and easier to carry when on land. The biggest advantage comes down to storage and transportation. These boards deflate and fold up to fit into a large duffle or backpack. Don’t be concerned about durability. Inflatable paddleboards are made with a technology called “dropstitching”. The boards are extremely stiff. They do not perform like a traditional float. They are solid structurally.
Hardshell boards are traditional. If you’ve got a roof rack or the storage space for them, send it! Hardshell boards glide just a little better in the water. You’ll never have to inflate them up to pressure. These are what people are more used to when they think of paddle boards. To be honest, I’ve ridden on both. And I enjoy both! Either way, inflatable or hardshell, you really can’t go wrong. That’s paddling 101 in a nutshell!
The two reasons I will push someone in the direction of an Inflatable SUP is because of limited storage and ease of transportation. Someone small in stature with limited upper body strength can easily carry an inflatable paddleboard. That's no joke! Want to know for yourself? Come check out our paddleboard showroom at the shop!
What are some options for Paddle Boards?
We have a great selection of paddle boards at Sun Sports+. We carry SUP ATX, Pua Hana, Michael Dosley, Aquaglide, Connelly, and Surftech! Call us for more information at 207-693-3867. Email us at [email protected] We are happy to answer any and all paddle questions you have.
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