There is a lot to consider when selecting a board for SUP surfing. Length, width and volume are the most common considerations at the forefront for most paddlers. If you are new to SUP surfing, you should look for a board which you can comfortably stand on in a wide variety of conditions. A common mistake is getting a board which is too tippy for your current ability or one which is only stable in certain conditions. This is true for beginners as well as experienced paddlers. Yes, there is a general trend among some paddlers to go shorter, narrower and less volume. Just remember, the goal is to catch waves and have fun.
As you are pondering the three aforementioned board attributes, you should simultaneously begin thinking about where you’ll be surfing. If you’ve been around the sport for any length of time you are likely familiar with the idea of having a quiver of different boards. Why? Simply put, different shapes work better or worse in different conditions depending on the type of waves. I enjoy surfing longer rides and medium-sized softer waves which require / allow for moving back and forth to trim the board. As such, for me, my ideal board is the Infinity New Deal – a performance longboard shape. Others may prefer the attributes of a shortboard style SUP such as the Infinity Bline or RNB which allows riders to take steeper drops and execute aggressive maneuvers.
There is a prominent kick pad on the Infinity New Deal.
Once you’ve settled on a shape which suits your style of surfing you should begin to take into account the finer points and subtle details on a board. By this time you’ve probably made a mental short list of a few models you’re interested in.
Regardless of the brand you chose to support, take a good hard look at the handle and weight of the board you are interested in. Can you comfortably wrap your fingers inside the handle and lift the board? This is important not only for carrying the board to the beach, but also in and out of storage at home as well as on and off (or in and out of) your vehicle.
The board’s traction pad is another important consideration. My Infinity New Deal utilizes two sections of heat embossed closed-cell foam. This attribute is important as it does not allow the traction pad to retain any water. You almost have to surf a board with an inferior traction pad to fully appreciate just how great this is. The traction pad should be grippy and comfortable for long periods of standing. Towards the tail, you may find a more aggressive texture on the traction pad that really allows you to dig in while turning, in addition to an arch bar (helps keep you centered) and a kick pad at the tail so you know where your board ends. Having different textures and an arch bar helps you feel your board so you know your position. Just like the tread on your tires grips the road’s surface, the traction pad allows your feet to grip the surface of your board and maximize its potential performance.
Now get out there and start catching some waves!