This is a common question and largely comes down to intended use, where you’ll be paddling most, storage and transportation limitations and budget. If you’ll be mainly paddling recreationally, don’t have anywhere to store a 9-11′ board and don’t have a way of transporting a hard board you probably want an inflatable all-rounder such as our Amigo Air. If you see yourself mainly paddle surfing or fancy your chances at competitive SUP racing then a hard board is going to offer you more performance but ultimately a hard board will cost you more. Our experience is that many people start off with an iSUP package but once they get the bug they soon upgrade to a composite board but still use the inflatable for specific types of paddling e.g. flat water or taking their board on holiday. If you come from watersports and ride composite surf or kite kit you’ll probably want a hard board provided you can store and transport it.
Sadly the dawn of iSUP has allowed lots of big companies (or anyone with a rich daddy) to jump on the quick buck bandwagon. They usually have zero investment in the sport and buy the cheapest single skin generic inflatables and accessories they can find in China and simply stick their logo on the front. These type of boards bend like bananas because they won’t take as much air, the valves often fail and the paddles are heavy and often sink. By contrast Loco’s inflatables are double skin using the latest and lightest drop stich heat welded together using MSL technology, alongside using extra stiffening stringers to maintain our optimised rockerline. Our premium models also feature our hard edge technology for better tracking, surfing and windSUP performance, a wheeled bag for easy transportation and additional fin options.
Much depends on how much paddling you’ve done and what your aspirations are. Generally, iSUPs have excessive amounts of volume so if you’re wobbly on an inflatable you could be in for a shock getting on a hard board for the first time! In days of old (before iSUPs) the general rule was 2 x bodyweight in litres (eg. 175L) for beginners, 1.5 x bodyweight for intermediates and 1-1.3 x bodyweight for advanced or rising stars. In truth it’s seldom as simple as that as, age, balance and flexibility plays a big part as too does outline, length and width. For hard raceboards the equations are completly different and vary depending whether you’re paddling coastal chop or inland flatwater. If in doubt give Joe a call on 07779127230 and let him guide you.
If you’re paddling several different boards and they sit at different heights in the water or you sharing a paddle with other family members an adjustable paddle is a great idea. If you only have one board or have a preferred length irrespective of board-size then a fixed paddle is for you. You lose less power into the join but you will need to cut it down to size yourself which involves a hacksaw or similar, some sanding paper and something to tape/glue it in place. In terms of blade shape our surf pro is very similar to QB’s V-Drive which is an excellent high aspect all-round paddle. We recommens the 91 for medium to heavyweight riders or those looking for some grunt and the 81 to lighter riders or those looking for ultimate cadence (a high stroke rate).
A leash should be at least as long as your board. For inflatables a coiled leash is best and we include these with many of our iSUP packages. For all-round and surf SUPs leashes are generally straight and he same rules apply. If you surf with a shorter than recommended leash this can end badly with fins to the face so don’t scrimp and buy the correct length. For raceboards some are using coiled leashes for less drag and in white water many are choosing to use no leash although you do risk losing your board down stream!
If you buy an inflatable board and are based in the UK it will usually be with in in 24-48hrs. For hard boards going to the UK we have all boards collected on a Friday and they’ll be with you the following week. Day is governed by your location. For Europe and Worldwide deliveries its always best to get in touch and ask for an specific quote and timeline so we can manage your expectations.