“Buying your first SUP”

Everything you need to know when choosing which ‘SUP’ is the right board for you!

There are so many options it can be confusing when you are starting out as a ‘Newbie’ to SUP!

What board will be right for me?

What type of construction- Inflatable, Rigid Hull (EPS), Soft SUP, Moulded SUP

What Size & Volume do I need to start paddleboarding?

What Shape should I choose, Allrounder Surf, Touring/Race shapes

What do I need to spend to get the right board to start paddling?


Don’t Stress, we have the answers right here!

Different SUPs suit different activities, consider what you want to do on your SUP?

The activity you interested in?

  • Surfing – shapes for fast turning, shapes tend to be wider and the boards shorter and less volume
  • Cruising – shapes that are wider and longer offer more stability – the thicker the board the more volume it has and the “floaty” it is. It’s important to weight up to two variables here – rider weight and experience.
  • Racing – shapes for speed tend towards long and narrow – offering better gliding through the water with less resistance. Narrow boards can require a lot of expertise, especially in choppy waters to paddle.
Inflatable, Soft Top or EPS (hardboard)?


  • Convenient – Easy to inflate and they pack down to a small size
  • Durable – as they are constructed from thick drop-stitch fabric

Epoxy (Hardboard) SUPs:

  • Classic Style – smooth rails for turning and sit lower in the water for a smooth ride
  • Strong and Rigid, but also slightly heavier which can settle the board in choppy conditions

Soft Top:

  • Extra comfort on the standing side making getting on and off the board when learning easier
  • Lighter than Epoxy SUP so easier to handle for a smaller paddler
Does size matter?
Factors you should consider:
  • Longer board = Greater speed and efficiency over flat water

Typical Sizes:

Short SUPs are less than 3m long (9ft)

Medium boards range between 3.2 and 3.7m 0-12 ft)

Long ranging upwards from 12ft (3.8m up)


  • The width of your SUP will impact both your stability and speed.
  • A wider board = more stability and excellent for beginners, or families sharing
  • A narrower board = less stability, but faster


  • All SUP boards are specified with a volume measured in litres. A guide for learning is to look for a board 2 to 2.5x your body weight in litres
  • Higher volumes = higher buoyancy.

So which board is Right for me if I’m a ‘Newbie’ SUP and keen to get out there and just cruise?

Come and try for yourself!  Book a SUP INTRO or SUP TOUR and get to try a range of affordable boards.

BOOK ONLINE or email sj@girlsgetouttherenz.net.nz with your questions.

Sarah-Jane Cansdale

Founder – GirlsGetOutThereNZ                                   

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