There are three basic stand up paddle boards - beginner, intermediate and performance. Let's look at each of them. Beginner
We call this our Cruiser Model, because that's exactly what it's designed for - easy learning, river cruising. The Cruiser ranges in length from 11ft to 12ft, is between 29 and 31 inches wide for greater stability, and is four to 41/2 inches thick for better flotation. This board can handle any body weight up to and even a bit over 100kg, and is the perfect beginner board, or a long distance paddler you can take a passenger or your dog on! Works Great on small and full Waves?. Cruiser models:
11'6 Southpoint Kalama (epoxy) - good entry level board. Quite stable, comes with full EVA deckgrip. Best for flat water paddling and a bit of surfing on smaller days.
12'1 Laird (epoxy) - great beginner board. Super stable, deck grip not included. Best board for bigger riders, flat water paddling and summer days with tiny waves.
11'6 Naish (epoxy) - very stable and buoyant. Surfs quite well for its size. Paddles great in flat water.
11'6 and 12' Laguna Bay (PU) - slightly heavier than the epoxy boards. These boards have more glide when paddling and sit nicer in the wave-face. Intermediate
We call this one our All Rounder because it suits intermediate to advanced surfers, so you'll get long use out of it. Between 10ft and 11ft 6 inches long, between 27 and 29 inches wide and three to 31/4 to 4 inches thick, it surfs pretty much like a longboard and is great for pivot turns, walking the board, nose riding and rail to rail turns. It'll handle a rider of up to 100kg and still paddle well.
Intermediate models -
11ft Oxbow (epoxy) - great all rounder. Excellent shape for surfing and flat water. Really stable, light and fun to ride in the surf.
11ft Laguna Bay (PU) - again slightly heavier but has a bit more performance in the surf.
11ft Laird - a bit narrow at 27 inches wide, so slightly less stable. Paddles well in flat water and surfs well once you get past the stability issue.
11ft NSP - very narrow at 26 inches wide. Makes it easier to surf. Takes a bit of practice to get the stability, but lots of fun and an absolute bargain at $899.Performance
Within this category we've got quite a few different boards. Built to handle huge turns, floaters, roundhouse cutbacks, helicopters, you name it. This board is for advanced riders up to and around 100kg.
Performance boards range from loose and easy boards that can be used by intermediate riders as well as advanced to narrower, thinner boards designed purely for surfing chest high plus waves.
Performance boards surf a lot better than their bigger brothers, but lose some glide and paddling speed as the length is cut down. Stability can be maintained as long as the width isn't compromised and some are even finding that 10ftx29 inch boards are more stable than 11ftx27 inch boards. Performance boards -
10ft Oxbow - Great surfing board, super light and stable. Nice shape and still paddles well for a small board.
10'6 Naish - Extremely durable construction. Stable and paddles the best out of the performance boards in the flat water and still surfs unreal!
10ft Laguna Bay - Superior handling in the waves. Great for nose-riding and probably the most manoeuvrable performance board available.
10ft South Point Bonga - Epoxy construction. Not as durable as some of the others. Has a full EVA deck grip. Step down rails allow for easier turns. A really fun board to surf for the smaller guys.
9'6 Laguna Bay Fish - The bees knees of performance boards. If you like the fish shape, you will love this board. Crank turns like a shortboarder on this highly manoeuvrable board.
Our thanks to Grant from standuppaddlesurf.com.au
for this article