stand up paddle boarding

Based on the Outdoor Foundation's 2013 Outdoor Participation Report Statement, paddle boarding was listed as the most popular outdoor action among first-time participants. The report said that the average age of a paddle boarder was 28 years old.


Additionally, the Outdoor Foundation's 2015 Special Report on Paddlesports discovered that over 22 million - almost 8% of the population - participated in stand up paddle boarding in 2014. This is up over 2.0 million in 2013 - a huge increase in a very short amount of time. Ages 25-44 accounted for the the highest percentage of total paddlers (47%). The highest participation rate was adolescents ages 14-17 (1.8%), with men comprising 76% of the age bracket.


Substances and layout 


A typical stand up paddle board can range anywhere from $600 to $3500 USD. Generally, these boards are constructed from reinforced plastic  utilizing epoxy or polyester resin which is bonded with polystyrene foam or poly urethane which is expanded into the center. Some paddle boards come with a long piece of timber running down the center, commonly referred to as a "stringer." This helps add strength and rigidity to the board.


The stand up paddle boards come in all shapes and sizes. Most all-around SUP boards are about 9 feet long. However, paddle boards can be as long as 12 feet with other extras such as cushioned decks and concave hulls. If you're fortunate enough to be able to afford a carbon fiber paddle board, you'll be able to purchase a board as short as 7 feet. Being shorter, these boards need to be made out of super-strong carbon fiber which increases the price tremendously. All boards have have one or three surf-board-style fins in the stern (tail/rear of the board) for tracking.


In recent years, inflatable stand up paddle boards, or iSUPs for short, are all the rage. Because they can be deflated and rolled up, inflatable paddle boards are generally easier to transport and carry. Inflating these boards takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes with a hand pump. Compared with traditional rigid stand up paddle boards, an inflatable SUP can be much cheaper. You can pick some up for at little as $300! With so many iSUP's on the market, it's hard to say which is the best inflatable stand up paddle board. But, you'll be sure to have a great time regardless.

Safety and Security while Paddling


Water safety is very important but varies depending on what location you are stand up paddle boarding in. Below, I try to outline the regulations in two of the most popular paddle boarding locations: the United States and Great Britain.

United States

From a regulatory perspective, stand up paddle boarding is similar to body surfing, boogie boarding, or alternative kinds of prone surfing. There are no laws, regulations, or ordinances that require the utilization of an personal flotation device (PFD) while using a stand up paddle board.


However, in some municipalities, authorities may insist on the use of a PFD in specific types of bodies of water such as inland rivers or lakes, seaports, or harbors. In these locations, the US Coast-Guard classifies SUPs, like kayaks or canoes, as vessels. Therefore, SUP riders are required to wear a PFD when swimming in a few places not in the surf zone.


Furthermore, areas like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina or Virginia Beach, VA carefully regulate shore and surf zones, demanding the use of leaches while paddle boarding board - there is a similar law for surfboards as well. Requirements and these regulations are could be applied all year round or just seasonally during the more touristy portions of the year.

Great Britain

No national laws or ordinances exist that require the utilization of an personal flotation gadget (PFD) while stand up paddle boarding. However, smaller towns may required the use of a PDF on national lakes or streams. Also, I've found that most SUP instructors will force you to wear one, even if you know what you're doing. While not required, the usage of a SUP leash is definitely advised in all paddling environments and is a vital piece of safety equipment.