SUP! A Buying Guide

So you’re ready to buy a stand up paddle (SUP) board, but with so many different options and brands out there, it can be tricky and a little daunting to know where to start. Luckily, we know a thing or two about the sport and have put together this guide to help get you started.

Stand up paddle boarding offers something for everyone so whether you’re looking for a board to enjoy a relaxing paddle on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, a fast-paced work out in the sea or some SUP yoga, having the right board is key. Deciding how you are going to use the board and how transportable you need it to be will also help you narrow down your options.

There are two options when it comes to stand up paddle boards; solidor inflatable. This will largely depend on how you are planning on transporting the board and how much storage space you have. Inflatables are the easiest type of paddle board to transport, you don’t need a huge van or car because when deflated, they roll up to the size of a sleeping bag. You will have to inflate and deflate afterwards however. With solid paddle boards, you will need a large car or car rack, they also weigh quite a bit more so will be heavier to carry to and from the water but don’t require much set up, ideal for the load and go type of person.


Next, you will want to look at the board itself. There are three basic types of stand up paddle boards: surf, all round, and racing. 

Surf specific stand-up paddle boards are typically shorter, with a narrower nose and tail. Surf paddle boards are perfect if you are going to be spending your time in the surf or paddling in choppier waters. The narrow shape makes the board much more manoeuvrable on a wave, but the downside is that they are often slower and can take longer to master your balance on as they are quite unstable to begin with.

All Round boards are much thicker, wider, and longer than surf specific models. These versatile, multi-purpose boards are great for first timers as they allow you to explore all aspects of the sport with only one board. All round boards are wide enough to feel comfortable and stable, and have decent glide and tracking for flatwater paddling or open ocean touring.

Racing Boards allow you to slice through flat or choppy waters very easily as they usually come with single fin configurations, lessening the drag in the water. Racing SUP boards made for flat and glassy conditions can be very narrow making them very fast but possibly too unstable for a beginner paddler. 

The Paddle

Most paddle boards will come with an adjustable paddle but an important thing to keep in mind is the height of the paddle in relation to your height depending what type of SUP you’re going for. 


·      Surf SUP paddles are usually between 6-8 inches above the paddler’s height due to lower stance taken in surfing.

·      Flatwater SUP paddles are usually between 8-10 inches above the paddler’s height for improved reach and power in each paddle stroke.

·      Racing SUP paddles are usually between 10-12 inches above the paddler’s height for maximum reach and power in each paddle stroke for speed.

There are so many fantastic SUP board brands out there so there is something for everyone. Always ensure to do your research before buying, there are plenty of paddle boarding companies that will allow you to try before you buy or let you hire one for a couple of hours. Speak to the SUP experts online as well.

Each Inflatable paddle board usually comes with a free SUP Paddle, leash, backpack, pump and repair kit. Ensure that each paddle board package and product picture shows you the EXACT accessories that come with the board, so you won’t be getting mislead or any nasty surprises when it comes to the final price.

General rule of thumb

·      The wider the board, the more stable it is (all-around, fitness)

·      The narrower the board, the faster it is (racing, surfing)

·      The longer the board, the more speed it can build up (racing, touring).

·      The shorter the board, the better manoeuvrability you get (racing, surfing)

Quick Points to Consider

  • What are you using the board for? Slow or fast paced paddles? SUP yoga?
  • How transportable do you need it to be?
  • How much do you weigh? Bigger boards are suited for heavier paddlers.
  • How tall are you? Wider boards are suited for tall people and narrower for smaller people.
  • Where will you be doing most of your paddling? Lochs, rivers and lakes or the sea?
  • Would you prefer something more stable or one with more manoeuvrability

If you liked this blog post, check out:

·      10 reasons to learn to SUP: here

·      The best breakfast spots in Edinburgh: here

·      The best hotels and hostels in Edinburgh: here

·      Planning a Hen Party to Edinburgh: here

·      Edinburgh Stag Party Ideas: here

If you are interested in escaping the Edinburgh for the day we deliver a range of great outdoor activities including hill walking, canyoningcoasteering, and canoeing. We provide these adventures to lots of clients including stag and hen groups, adults visiting Edinburgh and also a kids holiday clubs

At Intrepidus we also like to provide interesting and informative blog posts about our experiences of Edinburgh! 

Hope you enjoyed the read!

Intrepidus Outdoors

Intrepidus Outdoors specialises in Outdoor Activites Edinburgh. We are a adventure tourism and outdoor education provider based in Edinburgh. We specialise in canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking and hill walking, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland and the North of England. The experiences that we provide take clients into some of the most exquisite, incredible and extreme environments the UK has to offer.

Mission Statment :

To deliver the highest quality adventurous experiences to entertain, thrill and inspire.

Outdoor Activities Edinburgh & Scotland

Our values reflect those of a business started by a small group of rock climbers and mountain bikers. The experiences that we have had adventuring, and our passion for the outdoors, has led us to choose a lifestyle dedicated to sharing our love for the outdoors with others. The approach that we take to the experiences that we provide, and the business that we run, is that of sustainability, and an unapologetic quest for quality.

For us at Intrepidus Outdoors, we recognise that our experiences kayaking in clean rivers, surfing on unpolluted beaches and climbing frozen waterfalls have contributed to who we are as people. Therefore, protecting the planet so that the next generation of adventurers can have their own experiences, is hugely important for us. We believe that for people, communities and businesses to make the choice to minimise their impact on our planet, they must first value the planet that we have. We feel that the best way for people to value our blue planet, is to have first hand quality experiences in nature. They can then see the beauty of a forest, feel the power of an ocean and learn to love what is outside our towns and cities, so that they then fight to protect them. We strive to through the products that we deliver make a small difference to peoples understanding of the impact that they have on our world.

Our experiences adventuring have made us who we are and Intrepidus Outdoors is a reflection of us. We provide real adventurous experience that we hope you will cherish.

Adventure Activities Edinburgh & Scotland

There are cities where stuff is happening all year round and where you will never get bored. Edinburgh is undoubtedly one of these cities. It’s an extraordinary place, full of history, festivals, impressive architecture and plenty of attractions you won’t find anywhere else. Not to mention that we are located on the door step of so many amazing adventures and outdoor experiences.

We would like to introduce you to this extraordinary city, giving you a full range of possibilities that can be found north of the wall! Edinburgh has a huge dose of beautiful history, world-famous festivals, fantastic attractions, adrenaline fuled expereinces and great food. Edinburgh is calling you and you simply cannot refuse its invitation.

There are a many outdoor and adventurous experiences to be had in Edinburgh. If you are a thrill seeker visiting Edinburgh and interested in a canyoning, coasteering or mountain biking adventure in Scotland, Get In Touch!

Outdoor Adventures Scotland

It’s no secret that Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From the rural coastlines to vast mountain ranges, we have it all.

Whatever kind of experience you’re after you’re sure to find it here, so we’ve put together an adventurer’s guide to Scotland to help get you started. Our guide breaks down all the outdoor activities Edinburgh has to offer and many more adventures to keep you entertained on your holdiay.

To read more check out our adventures guide to Scotland [here]

Check out our Trip Advisor, Youtube channel, Visit Scotland page and blog to hear about how others found their outdoor adventure with Intrepidus outdoors and to see what we do!


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