What to look for when buying a SUP board

Q&A session with John Hibbard from Red Paddle Co.

Red Paddle Co. Brings us yet again an exceptional collection of Inflatable SUP boards. The brand has been an industry leader and introduced many innovations, making inflatable boards serious competitors to the rigid stand-up paddleboards. On May the 21st Red Paddle Co. questioned John Hibbard live on their Facebook channel. Buring the interview that took place in the Red Paddle Co. Development centre John was asked some of the most pressing questions and answered each one of them in less than 30 seconds. We summarised the interview and bring you the essence of knowledge about paddle boarding and the new boards from Red Paddle Co. The first question of the Q&A session addressed stand-up paddleboard beginners. John answers with which board a person completely new to paddleboarding should start, mentioning the importance of the experience level, the place and the water conditions the board will be used in. A perfect starting point is the versatile Red Paddle Ride 10ft 6”. This all-rounder is the Red Paddle’s number one selling board globally. Featuring round front and virtually indestructible fins, the board also provides a lot of stability making it a great choice for all those taking up stand up paddleboarding for the first time. Ride also comes in different sizes. Those below 80kg will feel best with Ride 10ft 6”, and those above 85kg may want to choose Ride 10ft 9”. Experience and water conditions determinate not just the model of the board, but also help in choosing the right dimensions of your new SUP. The heavier you are, the less experienced and less stable; the wider the board you should choose. The boards with the width of 32” or 34” are great for beginners, as they provide more stability making the first experience with SUP easier and more enjoyable. For more advanced paddlers the narrower, more challenging boards are a good choice. A very important factor is where will you be paddling. Red Paddle Ride works great in coastal, wavy waters. If you will be spending more time paddling inland it is worth to consider a touring SUP board, which is a good choice for exploring the flatter waters. To catch the waves go for the Whip. John explained the differences in the shape of different types of the SUPs. The different types of applications will determinate the shape of board best suitable for the job. Allround boards are good for cruising, some less advanced surf, or a bit of SUP yoga. They have round shape and are typically wider and more stable and good beginners’ choice. If you want to be more specific and go faster you should pick Red Paddle CO Sport or Explorer. Those boards have slightly more pulled in nose, are narrower and a bit longer. They are easier to control in windier condition and ride faster. The race boards are the narrowest, the longest and the one with most pointed nose. Those boards are designed for fast paddling and racing. Intermediate level riders of about 80kg body weight can opt for 10ft 6” Ride if paddling in choppy waters. For Surfing a 9 ft 8” Ride will be a good choice. The 11 ft 3” Sport is, on the other hand, great for flatter water conditions to get more speed. If you are looking for the best SUP board for yoga and fitness you should choose the Red Paddle 10ft 8” Active. The board is designed to be very stable and is the best choice for yoga, pilates and fitness exercises on the SUP. Asked about the board’s performance and what makes them so stiff John explained and demonstrated the difference between the standard inflatable paddle board materials and the ones used in Red Paddle Co. boards. Most of inflatable SUP boards bend easily under pressure as suppose to the Red Paddle Co which uses the more advanced materials and better technology in their products. MSL fusion technology makes the Red Paddle Co boards more stiff and resistant.   MSL is not the only innovation that makes Red Paddle Co boards such great rerformers. Red Paddle Co also introduced the RSS system which is responsible for maintaining the board’s rocker. The RSS system consists of two removable glass-fiber battens inserted at each side of the board and help to spreads the applied weight across the larger surface area of the board.  and improve the stiffness of the SUP by about 37%. The technology has been used in the Red Paddle’s Touring, Racing and Surfing boards to increase their performance. Red Paddle Co also provides two choices for the wind enthusiasts: Wind SUP and WindSurf. Wind SUP is primarily a paddle board but you can add a sail and a central fin on to it and enjoy it as a windsurfing board. On the other hand, the Wind Surf board is a windsurfing board that can be used for supping. It has more of the windsurf spec and features the removable shore fin system. It has been designed with windsurfing in mind and can be used for long upwind sails down the coast. If you think of spending more time paddling then windsurfing on your board go for Wind SUP and if you will be using it mostly as a windsurf equipment then choose the Wind Surf. Answering the question on how to choose the best paddle for standup paddleboarding John compared the paddle to the engine and suggested choosing the most expensive you can afford to get the best experience on the water. The more performance you have in the paddle the better SUP session you will have. Carbon paddle provides the lighter weight which makes it easier to pull through the water and quicker to pull it through the air. It features the refined blade shape and doesn’t flex so much. Carbon Nylon paddle is made of a carbon shaft and nylon blade paddle is a great choice for the Explorer board, providing the carbon stiffness in the shaft and the durability of the blade that can withstand the impacts when colliding with the rocks or other obstacles. Let’s not forget that an adventure with each inflatable SUP board starts with pumping. John explained how the Titan two-chamber pumps make pumping Red Paddle Co boards quicker and easier.  To make sure you inflate the board efficiently and that you don’t waste too much energy when doing so, use the body weight when pumping the board rather than just the strength of the arms. Instead of pumping by bending your elbows, keep your arms and back straight and bend the knees releasing the weight of your body to the pump. This will allow you to save energy and get the board ready quicker. Finally, if you find it hard to pump at the final stages, just release the red stopper to reduce the air pressure inside the pump to make the pumping easier. Although most inflatable paddleboards will suggest maximum 12psi  to 15psi pressure, Red Paddle doesn’t specify the pressure you should inflate your board up to. The MSL technology allows the higher pressure inside the board and can withstand extreme pressures. It is virtually impossible to physically over-inflate the Red Paddle Co board. If you can’t pump anymore it’s a good indication you have reached the right pressure level, which for Red Paddle Co boards would be anything between 18 to 22psi. The heavier the person the more pressure inside the board is needed. Storing the Red Paddle Co SUP boards is the same as storing the rigid SUPs. You can keep the board inflated all the time or you can deflate it and store in the bag. It is best to wash the boards in fresh water and completely dry before storing. Excessive exposure to Sunlight and UV rays as well as heat can damage the boards, so keep your SUP in shade, out of the direct sunlight and in a cool place when not in use. More SUP tips to come. Stay tuned and get in touch with us to choose the best suitable board for yourself.

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