Picking the right SUP...
After struggling for years loading a kayak onto a spatially challenged Peugeot, the idea of an inflatable stand-up paddleboard was inspired. Compact and easy to transport an iSUP would enable me to get my ocean fix when the waves were flat.
So first things first…homework!
After a whole 5 minutes of researching and getting overly excited at the prospect of a new water toy I chose to buy an entry level iSUP, basically the cheapest I could find to see if I liked it. This seemed a sensible, logical approach but as the saying goes “you get what you pay for!”. I wish there was more advice out there when I decided to buy so here are my recommendations to anyone thinking of buying their first inflatable stand up paddleboard.
If I had my time again I would invest! Although my second board is a lot more than the price of my first, the quality, ease of use and performance is worth every penny. There is no comparison between my newly purchased 10’4 Ride from Walk and the ‘floating banana’ I previously had.
Buying an inflatable stand up paddleboard with multiple layers, strong seals, good quality valves and a high pressure pump with PSI gage will guarantee ease of use and give the stability and feel not to dissimilar to a hard SUP. I have found these to be the key features you want whilst maintaining the convenience of fitting your whole board in its travel backpack and into the boot of a standard hatchback.
Quality is critically important down to the finish of the accessories and bag and will make a huge difference to the enjoyment of getting out on that millpond. Thin, unpadded straps will dig into your shoulders when you have a journey longer than a length of a car park and will prevent you from exploring the lesser travelled coastline that may require a short walk along a coastal path or beach.
But will I like stand up paddle boarding?
I have cruised meandering rivers with seals, paddled lakes in the Peak District and even taken to the waves in Cornwall and South Devon but there is nothing quite like exploring a section of coastline that no one else gets to see. Even in winter cruising along the breakwater in my winter suit and bobble hat I know I’m getting a perspective few have the opportunity of enjoying. If you like kayaking, surfing or even just appreciate getting out on the water…I have no hesitation you will love it!
Words by Charlotte Summersby.