As the year draws to a close, it's slowly becoming time to start thinking about Christmas presents and good fitness resolutions for 2022. For all those who like to spend time on rivers, lakes and by the sea, the new trend sport stand-up paddling is perfect, because with the colourful boards, both inexperienced and advanced riders of all ages can go on relaxed tours.
But what are the most important buying criteria of a SUP board, which after all costs several hundred euros and more? Sebastian Grazzini, the mastermind behind the Mexican SUP brand CALA, which is conquering the European market this summer, knows them all
Especially for beginners, he has six useful tips for successfully buying a SUP board:
Tip 1: Pay attention to quality
Of course, it takes some effort to spend several hundred dollars on a piece of sports equipment that you have little or no experience with. But in order for you and often your family and friends to enjoy the board for a long time, you simply have to choose a better quality. However, if you ever regret the purchase, you can easily resell a used board.
Tip 2: Deciding between inflating and towing
Inflatable boards - iSUPs for short - are very popular because they combine many practical features: they have good riding characteristics, require little storage space and are easier to transport than fixed boards. Often a suitable transport backpack is included. They are not very susceptible to bumps and scrapes, but of course there are load limits: A sharp rock could well tear a hole in the PVC skin and sink the board. With a hardboard, of course, there is no such risk. It does weigh more than an iSUP, but it doesn't need to be re-inflated before each use.
Tip 3: Pay attention to dimensions
Boards come in different lengths, widths and thicknesses. For beginners, the following rule of thumb is helpful: The more voluminous the board, the better young and old can play and have fun with it. The longer and thicker the board, the more weight it carries, but it is less maneuverable. The width determines how stable it is on the water and how much balance it takes to stay on the board. The dimensions ultimately determine the board's classification:
Fitness boards tend to be long and wide. All-round SUP boards aim for the compromise between maneuverable and stable. Narrow, long boards are for professionals as they are fast but tend to be wobbly in handling.
Tip 4: Do not underestimate the paddle
Next to the board, the paddle plays the most important role: it should be buoyant in case it ever falls into deeper water. SUP paddles are usually made of aluminum, carbon or fiberglass. Carbon paddles are suitable for beginners as well as for professionals. They are a bit more expensive, but durable and comparatively light. Knob handles fit small hands better, T-shaped handles are suitable for large hands. The more surface area the paddle blade has, the faster but also more strenuous the tour will be.
Tip 5: Buy suitable clothing
When stand-up paddling, it's important to wear the right clothes and protect yourself from the sun. There are practical swimming shirts that dry quickly and protect the skin from the sun. Especially for beginners, who will be falling into the water more often, the clothes should cover the belly, because every time you pull yourself up onto the board, you will otherwise scrape your bare skin over the edge. A wetsuit is not necessary as you are not constantly in the water when stand-up paddling.
Tip 6: Self-realization
This factor forms the basis for buying a SUP, because it's all about meeting your own individual needs: Whether it's a long river trip with friends, a meditative after-work ride on the lake, a maritime excursion with the dog or yoga at sunrise. Just about anything is possible on the right board, and the experience is easy to enjoy once you have a firm grip on the paddle.