How To Choose An Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)

How To Choose An Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Whether you're a beginner exploring the tranquil waters or an experienced paddler seeking adventure, selecting the suitable SUP is crucial for an enjoyable and successful experience on the water. 

This guide will walk you through the essential factors to consider, including board dimensions, weight capacity, stability, manoeuvrability, durability, and portability. By the end, you will have the knowledge and confidence to make an informed decision and embark on your paddleboarding journey with the ideal inflatable SUP that suits your preferences and goals.

Let's dive in and discover the key elements of choosing an inflatable stand-up paddleboard.

What is Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is one of the fastest-growing water sports. Inflatable paddle boards are versatile and can be used at any activity level. Whether you like to paddle leisurely around a calm lake, prefer a more energetic paddle over the swell of ocean waves, or if you're a fan of paddleboard yoga, this piece of sporting equipment has something for everyone. 

Inflatable versions can even be rolled up tightly and taken wherever you go. Here's what you need to know when picking your perfect inflatable paddle board.

How to Choose an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board 

When choosing your stand up paddle board, it's important to consider several key factors:

• Board dimensions and volume
• Inflation and deflation time
• Material and durability
• Fin configuration
• Paddling style and intended use

Board Dimensions and Volume

It is essential to consider how that relates to your body type. SUPs all have a volume, measured in litres – this shows how much weight the board can take. 

What Size Paddle Board Do I Need?

To find the volume that's best for you, you can use this formula:

Your weight in kg x 2 (for example, 80kg x 2 = 160 litres).

Inflation/ Deflation Time

Choosing a stand-up paddle board with a hand pump can take up to an average of 6-10 minutes.

With an electric pump, the average time takes up to 6-8 minutes. 

Deflation only takes a few minutes: the air escapes naturally once you release the valve. 

Fin Configuration

You may consider different fin configurations depending on how you intend to use your stand-up paddle board. 

Singles: Single fin setup provides the best results for those who prefer flat water SUP. Having a single fin reduces drag and adds extra speed to the board. 

2 + 1: 2 + 1 configuration is the most common setup for stand-up paddleboarding. One large fin and two smaller fins are placed at the back of the board, providing more stability overall. 

4 + 1: The 4+1 configuration provides an outstanding balance between stability, speed and manoeuvrability.

Determine Your Paddling Style and Intended Use

SUP comes in several paddling styles and intended uses! We have rounded all the paddling styles and some of our top boards for you to discover below:

All-round SUP 

These are great for beginners or people who would like to try all aspects of paddle boarding, as these SUPs are the most versatile. Their thicker, extended size gives more excellent stability for flatwater paddling, but there's also enough manoeuvrability to allow for their use in the surf. If you plan to use your board for windsurfing, choose an all-round board with a mast fitting.

Yoga-Specific SUP

SUP yoga is the practice of yoga on a paddleboard on water. SUP yoga can be practised on calm waters such as lakes, bays or harbours. 

Regarding SUP boards, purchasing a yoga-specific model is beneficial as you will need efficient stability to stay dry. 

Surf SUP 

Surf SUP boards differ from all-round boards in their slimmer and shorter design. While all-round and touring SUP boards prioritise balance, surfing SUP boards prioritise manoeuvrability. When surfing, you must adapt to each wave and prepare for the next one.

Surfing SUP boards are generally smaller and more agile than standard SUP boards. Their smaller size allows for quick turns and the ability to follow wave patterns. 

Flatwater SUP

Flatwater SUP is perfect for beginners as paddleboarders use flat water on lakes, cottages and calm rivers. Flatwater paddle boarding suits paddle boarders of all ages and skill levels.

Flatwater SUP boards are longer and broader than all-round boards and usually have a pointed nose. This board is the most stable for gliding along stretches of calmer water. 

Race Boards

Race boards are for more advanced paddle boarders. A race SUP board is longer and narrow meaning minimal resistance and maximum glide. For more advanced paddle boarders, race boards are in the same family as flatwater boards but are longer and thinner. This makes the board less stable but much faster.

Stand Up Paddle Board Accessories 


Many of our inflatable SUPs come in a package, ensuring that you have everything you need to get on the water. You can also add a sail to compatible models or switch up your SUP paddle for a more customised experience. Depending on where you will use the board, it might also be worth adding a wetsuit for comfort.

At Wetsuit Centre, we stock a wide range of SUP accessories including pumps, dry bags, adaptors, paddles, wetsuits and board covers!

We hope this guide has helped with your search for a new pair of wetsuit boots! For more information and advice, contact us here at Wetsuit Centre; our team is always happy to help.