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To choose your first paddleboard, you will need to consider what do you want to do with the paddleboard, the board shape, which gear and features you will need and how much money you are willing to invest.

There are many variables in selecting your first paddleboard. These include how long you want to be able to use the board, if you plan on transporting it, if you’ll need carrying capacity for gear or people, and where you will be paddling (i.e. calm lakes vs. waves).

You can find more about the very best models to choose from in our best paddleboards for beginners post.

What Are the Most Common Paddleboard Types for Beginners Buying Their First One?

The most common type of paddleboard for first timers is an all-around board that can be used in flat water, light surf, shorter to mid-range paddle trips.

All-rounds boards will provide the most stability and a lot of flexibility in how to use the paddleboard.

What factors should you consider when picking your first paddleboard?

As there are many things to consider when choosing a beginner paddle board, we have compiled a list of ten things you should out for.

In our guide about how to choose a paddleboard (not just for beginners), we’ve summed it up in more detail.

  1. Board Type: There are inflatable and rigid paddleboards. For the vast majority of beginners, inflatable paddleboards which you inflate with an air pump before using it are the way to go. Rigid boards are way more expensive and are a hassle to store and transport. Inflatable paddleboards just are better for beginners.
  2. Shape: Most beginners will opt for an all-rounder. The more wide, round-shaped paddle boards offer most stability and make it easy to learn how to paddle. However, if you’re a sportsperson or already plan your first paddle trips, you could also look at touring paddle boards. Those more narrow paddleboards allow you to build up speed way more easily and track significantly better. For longer paddle tours, that’s essential.
  3. Fin Setup: There are paddleboards with one and models with three fins. A single central fin provides better tracking and, therefore, higher speed. You can use three fin boards for more stability and better maneuverability. Some high-quality boards let you switch between both settings as they’ve got three fin slots, but all fins can be removed.
  4. Paddleboard Size: Most all-round paddleboards for beginners have the size of 10’6” x 31.5” x 6” (3.20 m x 80 cm x 15 cm). Those boards are great for regular adults, weighing max 80 to 90 kilograms. Just people weighing less than that should consider getting themselves a shorter paddleboard with less volume. If you are a bit heavier than that, get a larger or more wide beginner paddleboard.
  5. Weight Capacity: Most brands use some tricks to drastically inflate the weight capacity of their boards. Especially, in the low-price sector, there are some wild statements about how much small, low-quality paddleboards can carry. Our rule of thumb is, just to be sure, to always subtract a third from whatever weight capacity number paddleboard brands and sellers are promising you.
  6. Built Quality: Built quality varies a lot. In general, more expensive paddleboards are better built than cheap ones. Look out for double-layer or fusion boards as those are more robust than the simple single-layer boards which just got one layer of PVC. Also, we found, that companies disclosing how their paddleboards are built offer higher-quality boards than those just using fluffy language or marketing terms.
  7. Board Features: Some paddleboards got tons of extra features, while others come more bare-boned. However, what you really need are a comfortable deck pad (to give you grip and stability, even if water spills on the paddleboard), a solid central carry grip (to transport the paddleboard) and a luggage net (to transport some gear in a dry bag, a water bottle and some snacks).
  8. Gear: Most beginners paddleboards come with a bunch of included gear. For beginners, the most important accessory products are a leash (important safety equipment to make sure you don’t lose your board when falling into the water), a decent backpack (to transport your inflatable paddleboard), a lightweight paddle (to propel yourself forward in the water; it’s significantly easier having a lightweight model) and a high-quality air pump (to inflate the board).
  9. Price: Paddleboards come at all different prices. We recommend spending at least £250, on a beginner paddle board. If you are looking for an all-inclusive paddle board set, great built-quality and a board shape well suited for doing paddle tours, you will be looking at a price range of £400 to £750.

Where to Find the Best Paddleboard for First-Time Purchases?

You see, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing the first paddleboard.

But now worries, we already did all the heavy lifting for you by reviewing dozens of the most popular beginner paddleboards on the market.

Just check out our best paddleboards for beginners article to find, which ones are the very best ones currently available.

For our blog, we’ve reviewed 50+ paddleboards. Click here to find which are the best models for beginners.

Hi, my name is Max. In 2016, on my first SUP trip, I was still a bit shaky on the SUP board. But quickly the ambition grabbed me and my passion for SUP was ignited. That’s why I founded stand-up-paddling.org the same year. Our mission is to help beginners discover this sport and bring more transparency into the market with our in-depth product reviews.

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