People often ask us, “what type of paddle board should I get?” There isn’t a simple answer because there is a lot to consider when making your first paddle board purchase, like where and what type of paddling you’ll do most, your height/weight, home storage space, and what type of vehicle you have to transport your board.
There are a lot of paddle board options out there and we know it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what’s right for you. We’ve been fortunate enough to try several paddle board brands and styles over our 4 years in business and we’ve learned a few things.
- Not all paddle boards are created equal.
- You get what you pay for.
- Size does matter! Specifically, width and length.
- If you love your board, you’ll go out and paddle more often.
Let’s break down what to look for in your first paddle board purchase and then we’ll share our favorite boards styles with you.
1. The shape, size and construction of the board matter. To be simple, the wider the board, the more stable it will be. This is a better option for larger/taller people and those carrying gear, children or dogs with them. The longer and more narrow the board, the faster it will be on the water but you sacrifice stability for speed. The general rule is to go wider or longer to increase volume and weight capacity.
2. Construction can be inflatable or rigid. Both options have pros and cons. Inflatables are filled with air either through a manual or electric pump. They are great options for people on a budget, with limited storage, want something lightweight and durable, and want a board that can do it all. Rigid paddle boards are good options for those wanting optimal performance, agility and speed, surfing river and ocean waves, and have more money to spend on a specialized board.
3. You get what you pay for. This rule is true for all things in life, especially outdoor gear! We don’t recommend buying the cheapest paddle board on Amazon. You’ll end up disappointed. Anyone can sell anything on Amazon and although it’s convenient, it doesn’t guarantee the brand is legit or that the board comes with a warranty or any customer service if issues arise.
4. If you love your board, you’ll paddle more often. If your board is lightweight and convenient, you will use it more often. If the board is heavy, cumbersome and difficult to transport, you’re not going to use it as often. We’ve tried lots of different board styles over the years and we’ve learned that inflatables are best for our flat water touring business. We love inflatables for their durability, all-around versatility, they pack down small, and are lightweight.
We love our Hala Gear inflatable paddle boards! They hold up to the everyday use we throw at em. They’re lightweight and easy to transport because they pack down small. And Hala offers a variety of board sizes and styles to accommodate people of all sizes and all paddling styles. This is great for our tour offerings when we need to accommodate a wide range of body shapes and experience levels.
Our favorite boards in the fleet are:
Why? They are great all-around, super stable boards with a retractable fin! This makes it easy for us to stack boards and prepare for trips without the hassle of attaching fins. It also gives our first time customers a great first experience! The Rado is 35″x10’10″x6″ and rated for up to 300lbs, making it super stable for first timers and larger paddlers. The Radito is slightly smaller (34″x10’x6″), but still a great all-around beginner board for slightly smaller paddlers. We especially love them for our SUP Yoga Classes!
#2 Straight Up (33″ x 10′ x 6″) Why? It’s light weight and stable. We especially love this one for carrying into those harder to reach paddling locations because it’s so light. We also love it for the youth groups we work with. The shorter length is better for smaller youth paddlers but it can also handle up to 275lbs.
#3 Hala Playa (32′ x 11′ x 6″)
Why? It’s a lightweight option that falls into the all-around category that’s quicker and more nimble on water. It’s my go to board when I’m going out on my own. I’m 5’7″, 170lbs and an experienced paddler and this is my go to board when I’m going out for a paddle. I prefer the more narrow design and extra length that allows me to cover more ground with less effort on those long distance, overnight trips.
All of the Hala inflatable boards listed above come with a paddle, pump, fin, repair kit and roller bag to carry everything in, plus a 3 year warranty! Best in the industry! As if that wasn’t enough, Hala’s customer service is top notch and also the best in the industry. They’ve always taken good care of us when issues arise and are great to partner with. What more could you ask for?
If you have any questions or need help deciding which Hala board is right for you, leave a comment or contact us directly. We’re more than happy to help get you on a paddle board you love!