How to choose an inflatable iSUP
Choosing the right inflatable paddleboard should be a joy – you should be thinking about the adventures you’re going to have on your new board, all the new places to visit, all the amazing people you’ll meet on your SUP journey.
But all too often all the fun is taken out of it by overly complex decision making, by the number of products available, and by conflicting claims by different manufacturers. And that’s before you start thinking about ethics, sustainability and what colour the board is.
When we set up McConks, we said we’d only make a small range of boards to make it easier for people to pick the perfect board. But as we worked with instructors and customers, we quickly realised that paddlers wanted different things, and that a too limited range was too limiting. But now we have such a range of boards, that prospective customers quite rightly tell us that we’ve made it a little too difficult to make a choice, and that decision anxiety prevents them from making a final decision (1).
So we’ve put together this inflatable SUP board selector to make it easier for you to choose the right board. Even if you’re not after a McConks board (2), then this should make it easier to see what shape, size and type of board matches your ability, weight and ambition/paddling environment!
The selector/wizard will help guide you through the process, but before you start you might want to first think about the following questions:
What weight do you need your board to carry?
This is not just your weight, but the total weight that you will expect to carry most of the time. So if you expect to regularly paddle with children on board, don’t forget to add their weight. Of if you are intending to be overnight adventures, don’t forget the weight of the kit of you will carry.
How much SUP experience do you have?
There’s little point getting an inflatable paddleboard board that’s designed for elite whitewater paddlers if you’ve never been on whitewater before. Be realistic about your ability to get the most out of your board. And we can say this from bitter experience. For years we over-estimated our windsurfing and surfing ability and struggled with inappropriate kit. Development is much swifter if you get the right kit for your ability.
What type of paddling do you want to do?
Many people choose an all round board because they aren’t sure about what type of paddling they want to do, and because the wonderful world of SUP marketing has told them that all round board inflatable SUP boards, like the Red Paddle Ride 10’6 are the best boards for beginners in all environments. It’s true that all round boards are great beginners boards and great if you want to practice a mixture of SUP surfing and SUP touring. But that isn’t most paddlers. Most paddlers spend more time touring, exploring and having fun, than surfing. And if this is the case, a board that is designed for touring, but that is fun in surf, might be a better option. Likewise, if you want a board that you use occasionally for SUP yoga, but most of the time for cruising/exploring, then you might find that a Yoga specific board is too slow and cumbersome for general paddles, and that a touring board is good enough for SUP yoga.
So choose your based on the 90% of the paddling you will actually do, not the 10% of paddling that you might do!
(1). If this is you, why not try before you buy? You can always take advantage of our 28 day no quibble returns procedure. Buy a board, test it, if it’s not right for you substitute with a different size. And we have a range of demo centres / rental locations across the UK.
(2). Why would you not want a McConks board? We were number one SUP Manufacturer according to the SUPhubUK survey of over 1200 paddlers and SUP instructors! We’re trusted by users who put their kit through the most rigorous of use, such as the National Trust and Prince’s Trust! And we think we are about the most ethical and sustainable paddleboard brand there is.