Rob Casey is the owner of Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle and is the author of two paddling guides.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Light SUP Boards

A few weeks ago, a woman contacted me to ask about which boards would be easy to carry. So often, SUP boards are really heavy and often the deck width is too wide for some folks to reach across for carries other than using the deck handle.

Issues with large boards for some people..

- Too wide to reach across for non deck grab carries.
- Too wide to straddle, or rather sit with both legs over the sides.
- Too wide for prone paddling.
- Too heavy to carry.
- Being heavy and/or wide is difficult to carry in windy conditions where a board acts as a sail.
- Give all of the above, thus becomes difficult to load solo on a car.

Inflatables - 
The best way to shed weight is to get an inflatable SUP. These have come a long way and are super light, can fold or roll into a small bundle and are great for those living in apartments, without car racks or for ease of carrying. Plus you can drop it, slide it down a hill, throw it in the water, etc.

I recommend the following inflatable brands: Imagine, Naish, Uli, Red Company, Hola, Starboard, and NRS. There are others. Always try first, make sure you give each enough PSI, and test falling and climbing back on prior to taking into open water as the 6" boards are pretty thick.

Epoxy - 
There's tons of Epoxy boards on the market now and I haven't tried them all but those that I have which are light(er) and I like are the following:

- Imagine Recruit Icon - stable for us big guys at 34" wide, great for flat water or surf.
- Starboard - several of their epoxy boards are quite light.
- Naish Nalu 11-6 and 11-4
- Amundson Source 11-6 (we use these a lot of lessons)
- Lakeshore (see Corey Dolan's comment below)

Things to look for in an epoxy board:

- Easy carrying handle. Either a pop-out handle or one where you hand goes in the board comfortably. Imagine carry it for a few hundred yards. Some boards have a long cloth handle.

- Balanced carry. Is it evenly balanced when carrying with deck handle? If the fin weights it down, you'll have a uncomfortable carry.

Easier methods of carrying a SUP:

- Shoulder Strap such as this one from Seattle Sports. 

- Wheels. I like SUP Wheels and Seattle Sports SUP wheels.

- Have a friend help. One person on each end.  Get outfitting on your deck to stuff paddle under to go keep hands free. You can use stick on handle products such as these from North Shore Inc.


3 comments:

Corey Dolan said...

Lakeshore Paddle board company makes 2 light weight models 1 that is an 11'-6" that is 19 Lbs and a 12'-6" that is 21lbs and best of all they are made in the USA not in china like most company's. They are both a hollow constructed as well as very good looking. And are resonable in price compared to other displacement hule type boards. And a quite stable great for touring and racing.

Rob Casey Writer, Photographer & Paddling Instructor said...

Corey,
good info, in thanks! that brings up another pov that race boards are often lighter than all arounders.
hope you're doing well! RC

Andie G said...

I had a 10'8 Ultra light Bamboo Cruiser sup... I sold it and now regret it ... It weight 25 lb and had a very good glide, good tracking and was very stable !