HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PADDLE BOARD
This guide is designed to help new paddlers find a board that will be stable and fun to use.
I. RIGID OR INFLATABLE?
Deciding between a rigid and inflatable is a great first step as it immediately narrows your choice based on your needs and priorities. In a nutshell, choose a rigid paddle baord for specific paddling styles (touring, surfing, etc.), longer life span and if you plan to leave the board outdoors. Choose an inflatable for casual paddling and if you prefer a lighter weight, more portable option.
Reasons to choose a rigid paddle board:
- For maximum durability, in cases where you plan to store it outdoors or will be paddling around sharp rocks, oyster beds, etc.
- Efficiency and glide when paddling in choppy water conditions, thanks to the increased stiffness of the boad.
- When you need a board that is more specifically suited to how you plan to use the baord (touring, surfing, etc).
Reasons to choose an inflatable paddle board:
- For ease of transport, storage and travel
- Considerably lighter weight than rigid kayaks, while still being quite durable
- For casual paddling
- For maximum versatility our SUP-YAK hybrid allows for quick and easy conversion between kayak and paddle board use.
II. WHO WILL USE THE BOARD?
You'll want to select a board that will work for the heaviest rider who will regularly use the board. Lighter riders can have fun on a larger board, but heavier riders will struggle with a board that is too small. All TAHE paddle boards list a maximum recommended rider weight. This recommendation is for novice riders. More experienced riders and athletic individuals can and do use boards below the maximum recommended weight.
Pro Tip: Be sure to include the weight of any gear and/or passengers you plan to bring along when considering the right board for you. For example if you have a 50lb dog and weigh 150lbs you'll want to make sure the maximum rider weight is 200lbs or more.
III. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO USE THE BOARD?
Most people want to simply enjoy time with family and friends on the lake, flat water bay or river. In this case nearly all TAHE boards will work if they are the appropriate size for the user(s). That said, there are a wide range of activities to experience on a paddle board. Understanding these activites, and deciding which ones are of most interest to you, will help you pick your ultimate board.
PADDLE BOARD ACTIVITIES
There are so many fun ways you can enjoy paddle boarding! The list below is an overview of the most popular ways to enjoy the sport. The descriptions below will help you understand the most common ways to enjoy the sport and consider which ones you want your board to be suited towards.
The original Stand Up Paddle Boards! The sport started when surfers in Hawaii began to stand on oversized surfboards and paddle them around when the waves were flat. Their surf-inspired shapes are now optimized for flat-water use, but still fine tuned for wave surfing performance. Chooose this style if you plan to surf ocean waves, or if you just want that surf style look and feel when paddling on the local lake!
Those boards are wider, thicker, and have a less pronounced rocker than their all-round surf cousins. This gives them added stability and capacity in flat-water conditions. These are the most versatile boards for the widest range of activities. From family fun to yoga and fishing, all-round flatwater boards are the perfect platform for good times on the water!
SUP TOURING, FOR EXPLORATION ON CALM SEAS, RIVERS AND LAKES
These boards are designed for long distance exploration paddling on any flat water, and for downwind runs at sea. They’re generally quite wide (for stability) and long, giving more forward speed AND steering control. The nose is often quite pointed, with a “V” shaped hull underneath, helping with straight-line course-holding and avoiding hitting chop full-face. They are usually very stable and are well-suited to beginners.
SUP WINDSURFING, FOR ENJOYING THE BEST OF BOTH
This is an optional extra you might find on some of the all-round “Surf” boards. They’ve got a mast-foot mounting, allowing you to fit a windsurf sail rig to the board. Some, like the 11’6 Performer, also have an integral, retractable dagger board, which improves their upwind performance.
Inflatable SUP boards have the considerable advantage of folding down to a compact carry bag size, of being easily transportable in the boot of your car and of fitting into a cupboard for storage. Great news for anyone living in a small flat or apartment! This also means they can also be easily taken on board a cruise ship or airplane. All good news and an ideal solution for our more nomadic, wandering paddlers. Built using the super-tough Dropstitch system that allows them to be high-pressure inflated, they are stiff and sturdy in use, although their performance and feel are slightly different from those of conventional rigid boards. They’re also great toys for kids to play on, they’ll love the boards’ “dodgem car” ability to withstand knocks and bumps.
Inflatable Support Stringer Technology12'6 BREEZE WING PACKAll-Round FlatwaterTouring
Inflatable Support Stringer Technology12'6" Breeze WingTouring
Inflatable SUP Air11'6" Beach SUP-YAKAll-Round Flatwater
Rigid Ace-Tec10'6" Breeze PerformerAll-Round FlatwaterAll-Round Surf
Inflatable SUP Air10'6" Beach SUP-YAKAll-Round Flatwater
Rigid Ace-Tec11'0" Breeze CrossAll-Round FlatwaterTouring
Inflatable SUP Air9'0 BEACH WING PACKAll-Round FlatwaterTouring
Rigid Ace-Tec10'0" Breeze CrossAll-Round FlatwaterTouring
Rigid Ace-Tec11'6 BREEZE PERFORMERAll-Round FlatwaterAll-Round Surf
Rigid Tough-Tec11'6" Beach PerformerAll-Round Flatwater