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The Different Types of Stand-Up Paddle Boards Explained

the different types of paddle board

Paddle boarding is a fun and exhilarating activity that anyone interested in water sports should try. But before you can go paddle boarding, you need a board—and with so many boards to choose from, how do you select the one that’s right for you? If you need help choosing a board, read on to learn about the different types of paddle boards and what their pros and cons are.

Epoxy/Hard Boards

Hard boards, also known as epoxy or composite boards, are made from a combo of EPS foam, fiberglass, carbon, and epoxy resin. Because they’re made from solid materials, these boards are rigid. This rigidity has its pros and cons.

On one hand, hard boards are molded to maximize glide, tracking, and speed, which makes them ideal for long-distance touring and riding big waves. On the other hand, they’re big and inflexible, which makes transport difficult, and they also scratch and dent more easily than other paddle boards. Because of their sensitivity, responsiveness, and higher maintenance needs, we recommend these boards for experienced paddle boarders but not for those new to the sport.

Soft Top Boards

The second of the three main types of paddle boards is the soft top board. These boards have a similar construction to hard boards. The main difference is that soft top boards feature a top deck and rails made from spongy EVA foam for added durability.

These boards are ideal for beginners and casual paddle boarders. Due to the extra weight and size from the padding, they lack the versatility and performance of hard boards. However, they’re durable and can withstand a great deal of wear and tear. They’re great for people who are learning to ride and may bump into obstacles or tip over frequently or for people who like to ride with their dogs, as the plush material protects the board from claws.

Inflatable Boards

Inflatable boards are newer inventions, but in their short existence, they’ve become extremely popular. Many folks wrongly assume they’re made from thin, cheap materials, but actually, iSUPs are made from high-density PVC with drop stitch technology. When inflated correctly, they have the rigidity and performance of hard boards and the durability of soft top boards, giving you a board that offers the best of both worlds.

One area where iSUPs excel is in portability. You can deflate them and place them in a bag for easy carrying. They’re also extremely versatile and can be customized to suit paddle boarders of all ages, fitness levels, and skill levels.

If you’re looking for a new board to take to the water this summer, Green Water Sports has your back. We’re a trusted online SUP store run by paddle boarding enthusiasts, and we offer top-quality paddle boarding products to our customers. Shop our iSUPs and SUP accessories today!

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.