Choosing your first stand up paddle board

Buying stand up paddle boards can be a daunting process for beginner paddlers. Once you’ve got to grips with standing, balancing and using your paddle you’ll no doubt be looking to invest, yet with a multitude of options it’s hard to know where to begin.

Beginner SUP Fatstick SUPWoohoo!

Wide and volume

SUP sizes are usually quoted in width and volume dimensions. Length also plays a part and some brands list tail measurements. You may already have in mind the length you’re after but this alone won’t give an accurate picture.

For instance: some sub 9ft SUPs can be just as stable as 10ft+. It’s best, however, to go for something between 9ft-10ft. The longer the board the better the glide (or momentum) you’ll have. Longer boards also track (point) slightly better meaning less corrective strokes – although you can over board with length and end up with something that’s difficult to turn.

If you’re on the lighter side (sub 80kg) then you’ll get away with widths a little less than 30” – although don’t go too narrow! If you’re bigger boned then 30” would better. Around 140L would be a good starting point for larger individuals whereas 120L-130L for lighter paddlers should be fine.

Board types

There’s a plethora of SUP shapes available with funky colours and accompanying marketing spiels that proclaim: ‘buy this now, it does everything and you’ll be the next SUPerstar!’ While we wish this were true, the fact is, it’s not that simple.

As a beginner it’s best to choose something billed as all round. These designs usually come with rounded noses and wide tails – although don’t worry so much about this.

Fatstikc SUP beginner coachingThis is how it’s done…

Some brands do market their pointy bow boards as being ‘do it alls’ and while this might be a good shape if you’re only ever going to paddle on flat water, it might be wise to choose a board that can handle small waves. After all, at this stage of your paddling career, you don’t want to specialise or limit yourself – experiencing all that SUP has to offer is much wiser.


Usually more durable boards are heavier than their full carbon super light cousins. Even those who have the extra cash to stump up for the bling model would be better off parting readies for the less ding prone offerings.

At this stage in the game you’re more likely to scuff and scrape your prize possession so anything to help combat knocks is a good thing.

Cheap isn’t always bad

There’s a perception at the moment that less pricey boards equals quality. This just isn’t the case. Of course high end models do cost, and you get a lot of performance for what you shell out. On the flip though you don’t have to break the bank with your first board. Fatstick offer affordable well constructed shapes that will help you progress. In time you might fancy one of our bling models with more performance built in.

Of course, there are some dodgy products on the market and you do have to be careful. For those unsure we’re at the end of a phone or email and are happy to chat and talk through options with you – just give us a bell for that personal service.

Don’t forget your paddle!

Once you’ve decided on your board of choice you’ll need to consider the ‘engine’ – or paddle. Many forget that it’s this one piece of kit that differentiates us from all other watersports. Spending a little more of your hard earned cash on your paddle is better than forking it all out on a board. That said the best for what you can afford should always be the best course of action.

Whatever you ultimately end up getting hold of make sure it’s the right kit for you, what you aspire to and where you generally play. Do your research, give us a call and chat through your requirements and speak with others, this way you’ll be guaranteed you end up with the right thing.

For more advice on choosing your stand up paddle boarding equipment give Fatstick SUP a call on 07791 076537 or email

This entry was posted in recreational stand up paddle boarding, SUP and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Choosing your first stand up paddle board

  1. Graham says:

    Many thanks for such useful information. As a newcomer to the sport, I appreciated the opportunity to try one of your boards before purchase.


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