5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a SUP

Purchasing a SUP for the first time

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is the fastest growing sport in the world for good reason. It’s loads of fun, a great workout, and most importantly, anyone can do it because it’s easy to learn. However, selecting your first paddle board can be challenging.

Choosing the right paddle board comes down to your lifestyle, what you plan to use it for and your budget. If you’re not 100% sure what you will be using your SUP for, we will help you figure this out in the next 5 minutes. We assure you that shopping for your ideal SUP can be simple and fun!

Standup paddle boarding in Arizona

1. The different types of paddle boards

In order to find your ideal paddle board, it’s important to know the difference between each type.

Be advised that there can be some crossover, as most people will use their paddleboards for multiple types (i.e. surf/recreational/touring/racing). Below, you’ll find the four most common types of SUP boards on the market.

All Around SUPS

  • Perfect choice for first-time and beginner paddlers
  • Versatile and can work in all conditions
  • The most common standup paddle board shape
  • Family friendly (and dog friendly!)
All around paddle boarding


  • Perfect choice for intermediate to advanced paddlers
  • For those who want more action out of their paddle board experience
  • Less stable on water = easier to fall off
  • Very maneuverable in the surf, highly shreddable
  • Essentially oversized surfboards with a paddle
SUP surfing in Baja Mexico

Touring SUPS

  • Perfect choice for serious paddlers with an interest in high intensity work outs
  • Designed for long distances in flatwater – open ocean, bays and lakes
  • Constructed for maximum glide and efficiency
  • Usually wide and stable enough for beginners


  • Designed for flat water races, downwinders or open ocean competitions
  • Extra length and extra width which generates fast sprint speed and long glide efficiency
  • Sometimes challenging for beginners but perfect for elite and recreational racers alike
SUP racing fitness

Fishing SUPs

  • Perfect choice for those who love to go fishing, but don’t want to invest in a boat or kayak
  • Fishing SUPs have the most volume, so you can stay high and dry out of the water
  • Pre-installed scotty mounts let you personalize your fishing experience and having the option to add rod holders, fish finders and anything you need for your expedition
SUP fishing Arizona

Yoga SUPs

  • Designed for yoga, flatwater paddling and any fitness related exercise
  • Constructed for stability
  • Expansive deck pad gives ample room for yoga
SUP yoga Arizona

2. What size paddle board do you need?

The answer to this question will be based on your weight and paddle boarding experience. Think of your ideal board size in terms of volume. The wider, longer and thicker the board, the more volume and weight capacity it will have. In fact, the more volume the board has, the more stable it will be on the water. Check out our SUP SIZE & WEIGHT CHART to find out what size paddle board suits you.

Beginner paddlers will usually want a board with more volume because this provides additional stability and can support more weight. As your skill, balance and strength improves, you can downsize to a board with less volume. By then, your older board will be great for friends and family to use!

Best beginner paddle boards

3. The difference between inflatable and epoxy SUPs?

Once you’ve figured out the type and size of SUP you want, it’s time to decide if you want an inflatable SUP or an epoxy paddle board. There are many differences between inflatable and epoxy paddle boards.

When determining whether an inflatable or epoxy SUP is right for you, it really depends on your budget and storage/transportation options. Here’s the 3 Types of Paddle Boards You Need to Know.

Inflatable versus Epoxy paddle boards


  • When it comes down to performance, epoxy boards surpass inflatables – for now, at least..
  • For first time riders, an inflatable board is ideal and works great in all conditions
  • If you’re a serious paddler and looking for increased maneuverability, speed and glide then an epoxy board might be right for you


  • Inflatables are effortless to transport compared to epoxy and hard boards when it comes to transportation
  • Inflatable paddle boards deflate and roll up to the size of a sleeping bag
  • Epoxy SUPs are a little more cumbersome and usually require a large vehicle or rack and straps for your car


  • Inflatables are perfect for people short on space, because regardless of the size board you have, you’ll be able deflate it and store practically anywhere
  • Epoxy boards aren’t difficult to store. You just need to have enough space for a 9+ foot SUP

To learn more about the differences, read The Difference Between Inflatables and Epoxy Paddle Boards.

4. Storing Your Paddle Board 

A big concern a lot of people have before buying a SUP is where they will store it at their house. To keep your board in great condition and increase its lifespan, you’ll want to minimize its exposure to the elements when not in use. Regardless of the type of climate where you live, it is highly recommended that you keep your standup paddle board indoors when not in use. Here are some Tips For Storing Your Paddle Board.

  • If you have an epoxy board, it’s recommended to stow it in a board bag as it will aide in preventing scratches, dings and other disasters.
  • You want to keep epoxy and inflatable SUPs out of direct sunlight
  • Regardless of what type of board you have, the key is to keep your SUP in a cool dark location where it is safe and protected. Also, go paddling so much where you don’t need to store your board
Storing SUP

5. Where can you get the best SUP value?

With plenty of standup paddle board companies to choose from, it can seem overwhelming to find the perfect one.

The key is to look beyond the marketing and pull back the layers to see exactly what each company offers. The major things to consider when choosing a company is the price of the board(s), the guarantee and the customer service, since it’s usually a direct reflection of the company.

ISLE Surf and SUP standup paddle boarding


The biggest concern for most people is the price of the board. You don’t want a super expensive board, but you also don’t want buy a cheap board just to save money. It’s important to do your research to compare boards and companies.

At ISLE Surf and SUP we offer many great incentives:

  • Manufacturer Direct. We only sell direct to our customers. In other words, we do not sell to retailers where the boards are marked up even more – we cut out the middle man so you can save money and get better service.
  • FREE Shipping. We offer free shipping (to the lower 48 states) straight to your door on all boards because shipping should be the last thing on your mind when browsing for boards.

Board Purchase Guarantee

Purchasing a standup paddle board is an investment, and the last thing you want is to be stuck with a board that you don’t absolutely love. For that reason you should have reassurance that you are getting the right board specifically for you. At ISLE we understand that this is a big decision, and that’s why we extend a board purchase guarantee.

        • 60 day ride it & love it guarantee. We want to make sure you are happy with your board choice. Try it for 60 days and if you don’t 100% love your board, you can always send it back and get all your money refunded with a 20% restocking fee per item.


Customer service

Customer service should come first for every company because it reflects your entire business and how you value your past and potential customers. At Isle it’s our number #1 priority and we’ve built our brand around it.

        • 3,000+ five-star reviews. With a 3,000+ perfect reviews, no one has a better service record than we do.
        • 98% referrals. Practically every past customer had an amazing experience and would refer us to their family and friends.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into purchasing a stand up paddle board. The more research you do, the better informed you will be and that will lead to finding the best paddle board specifically for you!

At ISLE Surf & SUP our only job is to make sure you find that perfect board(s) and our outstanding track record over the past 13 years demonstrates just how committed we are! Please feel free to call or email us regarding any questions or guidance you need.

SUP Fitness


Posted in Paddle Board Lifestyle, Paddle Boarding Tips & Tricks
Oliver Acosta - I have a passion for surfing, paddling and the ocean. I grew up surfing the chilly waters of Northern California and recently made the move to beautiful San Diego. Reach out to me if you have any questions or ideas you want to talk about. - austin@islesurfandsup.com