David Ziessen
David Ziessen

January 9, 2023

Paddle Board choice

Finding the right Paddle Board to buy is quite difficult. There are many types of stand up paddle boards. How do you choose the right stand up paddle board? Which Paddle board suits you best? Over the years, ISUPCENTER has become a true specialist in the field of paddleboarding. This is mainly because we also have a SUP rental ourselves and we also like to be on the water with the SUP. To make the right choice, we will help you choose the right Paddle Board.

1. Stand up paddle boards for beginners

In the advice guide for beginning Paddle Boarders we will give advice for purchasing the right Paddle Board. A advanced Paddler is a person who has stood on a Paddle board at least ten times or who has taken at least 8 sup lessons. SUP ‘Stand Up Paddling’, also called supping, can be done anywhere, as long as there is water and the environment is safe. One of the biggest reasons that supping is so popular is because you can do it anywhere and anyone can learn it. SUP Boarding has a nice age range, a child from 7 years old to an adult of 80 years can learn to paddle! This advice/buying guide has been created based on our years of experience and the experience of our suppliers in the field of paddle boarding. This makes this guide the number 1 buying guide in Europe.

The question we usually get first is “which Paddle Board is right for me?”.
Wherever there is water you can paddle. This can be done at sea, but also on inland waters such as lakes, ponds, canals, etc. Most holidaymakers mainly paddle on inland waters. If you mainly go supping on inland waters, the following questions will be asked: do you want a wonderfully relaxed round of supping and/or do you want to make short or long distances? Some people have the goal of turning it into a sport, for example to paddle short or long distances as quickly as possible. SUP Boarding is like running. You can take it easy or very intensive. It is important to map this out for yourself as well as possible.

For short trips, we recommend an all-round SUP for beginners. For long trips we recommend a touring SUP for beginners. For advanced suppers, a touring and racing SUP is suitable for both short and long distances.

fanatic paddle boards

Why choose an inflatable Paddle board?

We sell both hardboards and inflatable SUPS. You will mainly find inflatable Paddle boards in our webshop, because these are perfect for beginners and intermediary paddle boarders. We will explain the inflatable sup board in the first part of this buying guide.

These are the advantages of inflatable paddle boards:

> Inflatable: this is a great advantage if you have limited space at home, you can store it anywhere and take it anywhere
> Stiff: current technology in inflatable Paddle Boards makes them almost as stiff as hardboards
> Type: there is a type of Paddle Board for every purpose. By purpose we mean use at sea, flat water, wild water, rivers etc.
> Low in Price: the inflatable Paddle boards are cheaper to purchase than a hardboard of a similar quality

Types of Stand Up Paddle Boards

In addition, there are different types of Paddle boards in the inflatable SUP market. If you are going to start with Stand Up Paddle Boarding you first have to think carefully about what you want to do with your Paddle board. Is it your goal to relax or go on more trips or maybe even to go supping on the sea or rivers? This is all important to know to find the right type of Board. Nowadays yoga and Pilates are also done on a Paddle Board. In addition, with a Paddle Board you can go to places where normally no one can go. Your goal and activity already determines what kind and type of SUP you need.

Below you will find the most recommended Paddle Boards for beginners:

For specific activities such as sup yoga, sup pilates and sup windsurfing, there is a limited choice of SUPS as it is for a specific purpose. We have researched the top 3 best Paddle Boards of each type of Board.

We examined this on the following points:

1. Stability
2. Quality
3. Price

Check out the top 3 best all-round beginners Paddle boards here:

We have also made a selection of the 3 best touring Paddle boards, view the selection below:

Check out our selection of the 3 best surf Paddle boards here:

Besides having a good beginner sup board, it is also important to learn to sup in the right way. Novice suppers often make the mistake of paddling forward too much from their arms. It is important to use the full core when supping. We therefore always advise novice customers to take a few sup lessons at a sup school. Want to know more about the best sup technique? Check out our blogs and advice guide with the 10 beginner tips for paddleboarding.

Why choose a hardboard SUP?

fanatic sup boarden
Hard Paddle Board

In addition to our inflatable Paddle boards collection, we also have hardboard sups.
You don’t have to blow up the hardboard sups. These boards are suitable for beginners and advanced paddle boarders, depending on which model and size you choose.
We will fully explain the hardboard sup’s below.

What are the advantages of a hardboard sup board?

>Non-inflatable: you don’t have to inflate these Paddle boards
> Stiff: these are the stiffest boards, this ensures that the board glides better over the water
> Type: there are various types of hardboard sup boards available, both for sea, flat water and subdivided per purpose including racing, all-round and touring
> Price: the price is often a bit higher than with an inflatable sup, on the other hand they almost never leak / break

As with the inflatable paddle boards, there are also various types of boards for the hardboards and each is divided into various activities. Especially as a beginner you have to think carefully about what you are going to use the SUP for. Are you going to try supping at sea or are you going for a big round of paddle boarding. For a hardboard sup, you need to store the board in a safe, dry and spacious place

Below you will find the most recommended hardboards for beginners:

2. Stand up paddle Boards for advanced paddle boarders

Have you mastered the right balance and sup paddling technique and do you already have the necessary experience? Then you belong to the advanced suppers. From our experiences we see that after a few seasons of supping, some people really get the hang of it. The goals of an advanced supper are often different from a beginning paddle boarder. An advanced supper is often looking for more speed, challenge and comfort for long trips. This advice is intended for:

> People who paddle for longer than a season
> People who would like a narrower board
> People who want to use the paddle board for multiple purposes such as windsurfing

What do you need to know about an advanced Paddle Board?

        • Use: where are you going to paddle? Are you going to catch waves at sea or take a long trip on a lake
        • Size & Volume: find the size that’s right for you. Advanced paddle boards are often narrower. Check carefully which width is best for you. This completely depends on your balance, technique and use. In addition, the length of the SUP is also very important. At sea you want a shorter sup and for racing or touring you want to use a longer SUP

Inflatable or hardboard sup

Both in the inflatable and hardboard paddle boards, there are sup’s for advanced players. You can find all these sups in our webshop. Which board suits you best depends on several factors. The modern technique of making inflatable paddle boards ensures that they are almost as sturdy as hardboards. This can make the choice between an inflatable and hardboard SUP a lot easier.

Below we have listed the major differences between inflatable and hardboard sups. We have investigated this by means of material, weight and stiffness.

Inflatable paddle boards VS hardboard paddle boards

FeatureInflatable SUP BoardsHardboard Paddle Boards
MaterialsMainly PVC with drop-stitch technologyhard materials such as composite, fiberglass and carbon
Stiffness and hardnessSlightly less stiff and hard than a hardboard sup from the same price rangeHarder and stiffer than an inflatable supboard
PerformanceLess like a hardboard.
This is mainly because a
hardboard sup is harder and stiffer glides more over the water
Better than an inflatable sup,
because the sups are stiffer and harder 
the board glides better over the water
StorageYou need less space.
The sup’s can easily be placed in small spaces
You need more space to store the sup board
Mast insert and mount
for action camera
With some models this is possibleWith some models this is possible
luggage netDepending on board typeDepending on board type
Package deals:
Paddle Board with paddle, leash,
pump and carrying case
Price indication€ 499,-€ 1000,-


Although inflatable Paddle boards also have race, touring and windsurf sups in various sizes, inflatable sups are more accessible for beginning paddle boarders than for advanced paddle boarders. This is mainly because purchasing an inflatable paddle board is cheaper and the properties of a hardboard in general are slightly better. It is good to know that you not only have inflatable boards for beginners but also for advanced paddle boarders. These inflatable paddle boards are therefore recommended for both beginning and advanced paddlers. Overall, the hardboards are a lot better for advanced suppers thanks to the stiffness, speed, quality and sturdiness. It is also good to know that hardboards for beginners are also available.

View the top 3 best sup boarding for advanced paddlers here:


3. What type of stand up paddle boards are there?

It is very important to know for what purpose you are going to use your paddle board. You can use a sup for at sea, but also for lakes and rivers. For someone who starts with supping, stability is important and for advanced suppers speed is more important. There are different sizes for each type of board for both beginners and advanced paddlers.

We have listed all types of sups here:

      • Surf Paddle boards
      • Allround paddle boards
      • Touring paddle boards
      • Race paddle boards
      • Wind crossover paddle boards
      • New: Foil paddle boards

Surf paddle boards (also available in inflatable)

Surf paddle boards Firstly, have more rocker than the racing and touring boards. What exactly is rocker? If you put your paddle board on the ground, the center of the board will not touch the ground. This is because the front/nose is rounder. This ensures that the nose of your board does not dive under water as soon as you are picked up by a wave. In addition, sufficient rocker is essential for short steering and faster cornering. It also gives a lot of stability. The boards for SUP surfing are also shorter, often between 8″ and 10 feet. The Netherlands has a beautiful coastline of up to 523 km, where surf suppers can show their skills. Thanks to the arrival of supping you can go a lot easier and also in less high waves, all the ultimate surf feeling can be experienced.

View our selection of surf sups here:

Allround paddle boards (also available inflatable)

The all-round paddle boards are made for supping on flat and sea water. These paddle boards are often between 10 and 11 feet long.
In terms of length, these boards are in between surf, tour and race boards. These are often shorter and have less volume than the longer touring and racing boards. Most recreational users opt for an all-round board. There is by far the most choice for a allround board. You can determine your choice with the following question: do you want to use the paddle board on flat water or at sea? If you are going to paddle long stretches on flat water, we recommend a slightly longer all-round board of 11 feet. Are you going to paddle small tours? Then 10’4 feet will suffice. When you go supping at sea, a somewhat longer all-round board of 11 feet is the best. Are you going to surf the waves? Then take a short all-round board of maximum 10’4 feet.

View our selection of all-round paddle boards here:

Glide is the way the sup glides through/on the water.
A wide board has more resistance in the water, so less glide. A narrow supboard has less resistance in the water, so more glide. Every Stand Up Paddle Board is different, so the shape of the board is also very important. A touring board and race board has a pointy nose that ensures that the water goes past the hull. The following English sup term is used for this: displacement hull. Because the front of the touring board and race board are made in this way, they cut through the water even easier. An all-round paddle board is a bit more on water, so it slows down more.

Buying a paddle board, what else do you have to think about? See it in the headlines below.

Transport and storage space

What means of transport do you have? Do you take your Stand Up Paddle Board with you in the car? Do you take it on or in the car? Or do you take your paddle board with you by public transport or by bike?

It is of course also possible that you live right on the water and that you never have to transport your paddle board. How much space do you have to store your board? And where do you store it? 

An inflatable paddle board is of course very easy to roll up. So for an inflatable board you don’t need much space to store it. In addition, it can easily be placed on the roof of your car, but also in the car. Every inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board comes with a special bag with which you can always easily take the board with you. So if you don’t have roof racks or the space to store a hardboard, an inflatable board may be a better choice for you.

Buy a hardboard or inflatable paddle board?

When you live right on the water or you don’t have to transport your board. Then most people opt for a hardboard, provided they have the necessary storage space. If you choose a hardboard and would like to paddle in other places, how are you going to transport the board? Provided you know the answer to this, a hardboard may be the right choice for you. If you don’t know the answer to this, an inflatable SUP may be the better choice for you.

Maintenance of the Stand Up Paddle board

You might not think that a supboard needs to be maintained. Maintaining your board is really important to ensure that your board can last as long as possible. 

Length and weight

How tall are you? What is your weight? For the right paddle Board choice, it is important that your SUP has enough volume for your height and weight. For a large/tall/heavy person, a board with a lot of volume is the best choice! What happens if a large/tall/heavy person stands on a board that is too small? Then the board will be too deep in the water, which causes a lot of instability and also an unpleasant SUP experience. So make sure there is sufficient volume and width so that the stability is sufficient.

What kind of SUP levels do you have?

In Europe we currently mainly have many recreational and beginning Stand Up Paddle Boarders. The fanatics who have got the hang of it even continue to paddle in the winter. The number of recreational and beginning suppers is currently growing rapidly.

Paddle Boarding on flat water can be learned relatively quickly. Paddle Boarding at sea is a different story, here you have to deal with waves, wind and the current. This takes a lot more time and training to master.

Distribution of SUP levels

Beginner: you have never paddled before and/or have hardly any experience with paddle boarding

Advanced: you paddle regularly and/or you have taken sup lessons several times at a paddle board school. In addition, you also have the SUP technique under control and you are 100% stable on a Paddle Board

Expert: you have the skills to paddle in almost all weather conditions and you paddle both lots of short and long distances. In addition, you have years of experience and you SUP intensively several times a month.

Do you need more advice?

We are here for you! We try to provide everyone with the right advice as soon as possible. Are you a beginning supper? Check out our top 10 beginner tips. Do you have any other questions? Please contact us. We are happy to help you!

Read our blogs about Stand Up Paddling!