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iSUP | The Board | What you need to know when purchasing

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

VAST ISUP in water
VAST Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Inflatable Stand Up Paddle board

iSUPs, or Inflatable Stand Up Paddle boards, have gained tremendous popularity in the water sports community. Their user-friendly design and easy storage options make them highly sought-after by families and advanced riders alike. However, it's crucial to understand the composition of these boards and how it impacts your experience. This article will explore the significance of various elements such as shapes, widths, and thicknesses, giving you a comprehensive understanding of what to expect.

Paddle Board Shape

Two primary formats are available when selecting the desired shape for your inflatable stand-up paddle board (iSUP): all-round and touring. These options cater to different paddling needs and preferences.

All-Round Paddle Board

An All-around board typically features a rounded nose with a slight kicker, allowing a smooth glide on the water. This versatility makes it suitable for various activities such as paddling on lakes, rivers, coastal areas, and even SUP Yoga, which has recently gained significant popularity. One of the main advantages of an all-around board is its wide range of widths, providing excellent stability for beginners and easier manoeuvrability. However, the all-around board may sacrifice some speed and long-distance paddle ability compared to a touring shape. Explore our selection of all-around boards today and find the perfect fit for your paddling needs.

All-round shapes offered within the VAST Boardsports range:

ASTRO 8'6 Kids - Starting from £374.99 -

Eclipse 9'8 - Starting from £399.99 -

Nova 10'2 - Starting from £399.99 -

Aurora 10'6 - Starting from £399.99 -

Nebula 11' - Starting from £499.99 -

Touring Paddle Board

The Touring paddle board shape features a kayak or canoe-like pointed nose, showcasing its advantages during longer and faster-paced flat-water paddles. This displacement hull, commonly referred to as a pointed nose, enhances efficiency and performance, enabling you to paddle straighter and quicker, requiring fewer strokes to achieve a smooth glide across the water. Due to these characteristics, Touring boards excel in speed and SUP racing. However, you should note that this board shape presents a higher level of difficulty in terms of balance, making it less manoeuvrable for beginners or casual paddlers. Therefore, there may be more suitable choices than Touring shaped boards for novice paddle boarders.

Touring boards available within the VAST Boardsports range: Flare 11'6 - Starting from £599.99 -

Paddle Board Width

The size of the rider determines the width of your board. Consider selecting a wider board for larger or heavier riders for optimal performance. Beginners should aim for a board in the 32-34 inch range, although petite individuals may prefer a smaller board at 30 inches. Advanced paddlers can choose a narrower board, ranging from 30 to 32 inches. Remember that board stability and performance can be affected by its width. Wider boards require more effort to displace water while paddling, so make a thoughtful decision when purchasing your board.

Paddle Board Thickness

Board thickness is a fascinating topic in stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). While the old standard for inflatable SUPs (iSUPs) dictated a 6" thickness for enhanced stability, leading board manufacturers like VAST, including us, are now leaning towards a thinner construction for all-round boards. At VAST, our all-rounders now boast a 4.75" thickness. This decision stems from several key considerations, including performance, safety, and the growth potential we offer our paddlers within the sport.

Performance is a critical factor, especially for most paddlers weighing under 110kgs. A 6" board can often have excessive volume, causing it to sit on top of the water rather than in it, compromising tracking ability. Contrary to popular misconception, relying solely on the fin in the water while the rest of the board stays above can lead to stability issues when faced with waves. Through thorough research, we have observed that boards designed to sit in the water rather than on top result in cleaner tracking and enhanced stability.

As proponents of water safety, VAST collaborates extensively with organisations like the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to ensure best practices in paddleboarding. Recent press coverage has highlighted an alarming rise in stranded iSUP and paddleboarders, prompting the RNLI to respond to these incidents in record numbers. While the increasing prevalence of iSUPs in the water contributes partially to these statistics, the thickness of the board also plays a significant role. Following the RNLI's suggestions, we have transitioned all beginner all-rounder boards to a 4.75" thickness, allowing them to sit in the water. This approach aims to prevent riders from inadvertently acting as sails in mild winds, which can carry them out to sea.

By prioritising performance, safety, and collaboration with water safety organisations, VAST strives to offer exceptional paddleboarding experiences and equipment that align with the evolving needs and best practices in the sport.

Our comprehensive guide to iSUP board shapes and sizes aims to provide you with valuable insights for making an informed purchase decision. If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us at 01656 654 989.

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