My wife and I started SUP 12 months ago after seeing a couple paddling early one morning ,while we were having breakfast by the beach ,we thought that looks fun had a try and now we paddle three times a week HOOKED!
Our first problem was finding somewhere where we could rent a board, unfortunately our local guy didn't really know much about the sport and rented us a 9' something board and said it will suit you both great. Well I am 6'2" and 100 kg and my wife is 5'7" and 65kg we had no chance of success.
We had fun falling off and nearly gave it away being TOO OLD I am 56.
However being a competitive person and sporty in my youth I didn't give up, did some research and bought a C4 Waterman inflatable 10'9" and presto we were both paddling within minutes and having a ball. The inflatable suited us as it was easy to store and transport.
As we didn't have anyone in our area we could ask advice or try boards ,we used this forum to get advice and and have bought six boards so far .
In order of purchase C4 Waterman / ULI 12'6" single skin/ Fanatic 9'6" Allwave / NSP 10'2" / Fanatic 14" carbon ocean race and ULI 12'6" two skin with WIKI rail.
Our favourite boards are the two ULI's we use these boards 99% of the time.
We paddle flat water most as the river is just down the road and our average paddle is now 8 Klms not bad for old guys.
So where is this going ,well hope that people starting can get another perspective on the sport other than racing and surfing.
We have learnt to surf small waves (that's all we get at our beach) but really enjoy cruising waterways taking in the scenes. We have a 4 klm course we use for fitness (our local rowing course ) and this is where we found that the difference between hard glass boards and inflatables is not as great as would be believed on the forums.
Our figures have been made using GPS tracker on our iPhones .
Both ULI's can be paddled faster than the Allwave and NSP over this course by just over 1klm per hour, the new WIKI rail ULI nearly 2 Klm,s faster.
The fastest average speed I have achieved over the course is 7.4 kph on the Fanatic 14 carbon.
The ULI WIKI rail has averaged 6.5 kph and the old ULI 5.6 .
Now before you laugh at these speeds just remember this is our fitness level and if you can paddle a glass race board 2kph faster you should be able to paddle a ULI WIKI 2kph faster.
On a short burst we can reach 10 kph on the Fanatic 14 carbon and 9.2 kph on the 12'6" WIKI (no tide or wind assist)
So what have we learnt
Inflatables are the best choice for us we can leave them inflated and just throw them on top the ute with no need to worry about dings etc. they can be deflated and taken anywhere ( we are taking the ULI'S to New Zealand with us next march for a fly ,drive ,paddle)
We prefer the Alwave and NSP for our small waves they seem to catch the little waves better.
So no matter what you do SUP is great fun .
John and Glenys
hey guys i enjoyed that.you are very right. not everything has to be a race or a competition.
i reckon some paddlers are so intent on beating the next guy they don't actually enjoy the sensation.
I really enjoyed reading that and it has put things really into perspective for myself, as I am currently about to buy my first board and have an active subject with lots of great suggestions and info and great debating going on about quality of boards etc in this forum
Reading this has really made me think what I want to get out of this sport to start with, and that is to learn to paddle enjoy paddling and see some places I would have never seen before (paddling into rivers/oceans and maybe catch a wave or two on a quiet beach same days.
I am now going to be happy with the type of board and brand of board I first buy even if it ant a top brand name because it simply doesn't matter as long as I am out on the water enjoying it and getting fit I will be happy.. Thanks for putting me back in the right headspace!!
I would perhaps add, to follow on from AndyR's comment that
"I am now going to be happy with the type of board and brand of board I first buy even if it ant a top brand name because it simply doesn't matter..."
to be fair - C4, Fanatic, Uli, NSP, etc... all these brands that oldsup mentioned are actually very well established and respected brands in SUP. Oldsup clearly has a good eye for his equipment, and he's bought well. It's all good gear from manufacturers who know the sport.
Unfortunately though, it is quite possible nowadays to buy SUP gear from 'brands' that actually know jack *** about SUP, and have simply jumped on the bandwagon and had some cheap boards made for them from some generic-output Chinese factory (this goes just as much for inflatables as solid boards). So Andy, for that first board you buy, it does matter a little bit what you get. It doesn't have to be super high performance, that's for sure, nor does it have to be expensive. And good inflatables work as well in many respects and environments (often better) than hard boards. But if you buy something of the wrong shape/size for your weight, or something that falls apart within 6 months, or simply performs like a slug... you aren't going to have a good SUP experience.
So it's still important to do a bit of research and understand what you're buying. And always buy from a reputable brand (just google it. If they've got an enthusiastic website and lots of mentions on forums, facebook etc etc, then you know that they're the real thing.) It's not necessarily going to guarantee that you'll be getting the best possible board (most brands still have the odd dog in their range) but it sure as hell stacks the odds heavily in your favour (and also means you should have a decent resell value too).
Good write up. I, like you, are just looking to enjoy the sport with the family and grab the ocassional surf when its to small for the shortboard. For me its all about getting out on the water more and getting the wife and kids involved, not elite performance.
I asked a question recently relating to the difference 6" makes to the glide of the board @ around the 10' board range but I didn't get any reply's. Your info is exactly what I was after. (I have since a 10' foot board for me and a 10'6" for my wife hoping the difference in glide will even out our paddling speeds which I will get tomorrow)
Out of curiosity what is the difference in time over your 4 km cousre between the NSP @10'2" and the allwave @ 9'6"? (i appreciate they have different designs)
Thanks Oldsup. Picking our new boards this arvo so I will do the practical test myself tomorrow.
Bottom design and weight also make a big diference.For flat water I would try concave right through the hull as this makes the board want to lift in the water and as I found out riding longboards a bit of weight will help to maintain momentum.Hope this helps a bit...
Thanks everyone for the supportive replies
SUP has as many forms as you want it to be , it is a great sport and fun thing to do.
I personally think good quality inflatables need to be given a bit more credit as to their usefulness the new designs seem to be up here with the hard boards and have some distinct advantages .
But no matter what your choice just have fun as you are doing one of the best sports there is
sweet thats the idea just go out and enjoy yourself if you wanna cruise just cruise if you wanna burn alcohol off put a bit more effort in top read guys
The key for your first (and in my case your 5th board) - is ease of use.
30 plus inches wide - and no shorter than 10 ft for #1.
I remember my 3rd go on a sup was on a 27 inch wide board and i wanted to quit there and then - i was just totally pissed off with falling off and missing waves.
Next ride was a 30 x 11'5 and i havent looked back since. Current fave board is a 10ft x 30 nose rider. I prefer to walk the board and find perfect trim at any time Not as loose as some - but will crack a reo nonetheless
but Love the drive / wave catch ability in smaller surf.
And nose riding on the round nose is such a great feeling! But thats just my preference.
You can go narrower / shorter in time (sub 10ft doesnt interest me in the slightest- i can ride my 5'11 do everything surfboard when the swell is more than waist high )
But be careful of the small board "coolness "factor - i have seen riders drift out of the sport because they go so small that they lose sight of why they started SUP in the first place.
You just have to watch Galvo throw a 12, 10'5 or 10 ft er around in small waves to see how far rail use , weight distribution and perfect trim can increase performance on a larger board.
Small boards can really kill the average riders performance envelope without them even realising it. Of course top riders can squeeze tons of performance out of shorties - but they are rare.
This happened in Windsurfing , it happened in kiteboarding - and now i believe its happening a bit in SUP too.
If you must go short and are an average rider - look at the models that keep the width - 30-33 inch shorties can be pretty damn good fun!
as the initial post shows -initial rides on too small boards do the sport a dis -service.