McConks menu logo

What’s the best SUP for a beginner?

What’s the best type of SUP for a beginner?

At McConks, we used to (rather arrogantly) think that we knew the answer to this question, and we used to tell people that an all-round paddleboard shape was the best of no worlds, and that most new paddlers would be better off with a touring shape pointy nose board. We based this on our own experience and the experience of the relatively small groups of people that we paddled with. But we forgot there is a whole wide world of other paddlers out there, paddling in different environments and doing different kinds of paddling. And lots of instructors with decades of experience of teaching paddlesports.

Now that we’ve grown up as a company, we have a shed load more instructor friends with decades of experience. They’ve been offering accredited lessons and introductory sessions all around the UK and Europe, and for many, many years. And these are full time professional instructors as well – with PhDs in paddlesports instruction and sports psychology degrees, rather than recent converts to SUP. And they have had a quiet word with us to tell us that we’re wrong, and quite frankly, arrogant. It took a while to believe them. But when enough people tell you the same thing, you eventually start to listen.

All McConks SUPs in a row.
Super stable for Yoga (Kathy Marston Yoga at Cotswold Water Park Hire).

Like we say, it took a while to believe them. After all, they’ve only got decades of experience and qualifications between them, so why would we trust them? To delve a little deeper, we asked why they preferred this particular shape of board for SUP beginners. They didn’t all have the same answers, with some thinking that certain features were more important for paddleboard beginners than others. But they did all agree on one thing – our All round Go Anywhere boards are the best paddle boards for beginners to learn on. And here’s what they said!”

What the instructors say:

“The width to volume ratio is really on point. It really is a stable board for beginners when first stepping on to a board – allowing total newbies to develop paddle skills and techniques without needing to always focus on balance”

“Having the option of both a 5″ deep and a 6″ deep board allows me to pair a beginner with a board with the right volume for them to gain confidence and improve. So many beginners boards are 6″ thick – which can be really hard work for beginner paddlers!”

“They are truly all round. With 2+1 fins they’re great for beginners to learn surf SUP. But single fin, they track really well in a straight line. So I can use them for lessons on sea, on rivers, on lakes or on canals. And even a bit of whitewater. The really are Go Anywhere!”

“There is ‘just enough’ nose rocker to be fun in small waves, but not so much it effects beginners in wind or chop. This is especially true for the 5″ 10’6 Go Anywhere!”

“The ability to ride with a long single fin allows the board to track just as well as any similar length touring board, and to be just as fast as boards with stuck on side. It also helps with stability, and so they’re great for SUP yoga as well!

“It’s a godsend being able to put shorter river fins on the boards. It allows me to give improvers lessons on faster flowing shallow rivers as well!”

“That tail shape is just perfect. Enough volume in the board through the mid section for top of the pile stability, but lots of play when you step back – so really good for teaching next level skils like step back turns.”

“Amazing for yoga”

“Carries more weight than McConks claim!”

“Handles – lots of them. So important for beginners! so many different options for getting back on to the board.”

“6 inch thick or longer boards have too much volume for most beginners and lots of improving paddlers. If they honed their skills on boards of a more appropriate volume and length, they would progress much quicker.”

Plenty of stand up paddl eboards from McConks.
McConks SUPs sued extensively by businesses and instructors (Photos Courtesy of and BoardinSkool).
McConks SUPs: light and easy to handle.

Why McConks?

Only one warranty return for faulty valve in 4 years

Only one return under our no quibble returns policy or try before you buy scheme in 3 years

We reinvest back into the SUP community with our GoInspire initiative

Ethical and sustainable principles

Price promise

Fusion and hot weld technology for three years

Three year manufacturer defect warranty

30 day no quibble return policy

Small UK family company with a big heart

Subscribe for our carefully curated two weekly newsletter with tips, tricks, giveaways and competitions.


We promise not to spam you.

Are you a coach or guide wanting the best gear?

drop us a line and keep in touch