What Type of SUP is Best For Me?
I’m on the search for an all-around SUP. But even more specific than an “all-arounder”, I need something that will fit nicely within the parameters set by my surrounding environment, type of paddling, fitness goals, body type, and storage and transportation needs.
For starters, I plan on using the SUP to get to-and-from places within the often choppy waters of my local bay, so I’d like something that can track straight and glide nicely. It would be great if the board was equipped with tie-downs or storage compartments so I could bring some supplies along for the ride.
I also want to use the board for fitness – launching from different locations and finding “routes” along the shore to build up strength and endurance. However, the board also needs to be stable enough for others to use. This includes family members and guests of varying shapes, sizes, and abilities.
Below are three of the boards I am considering. Keep in mind that I’m also taking into account affordability, max weight capacity (it should be able to hold at least 200lbs), length (I’m trying to stay below the 12’6” category for storage and transportation purposes), board weight (the lighter the better), and overall versatility.
I like that this board is designed for both fitness and exploring. It’s built to track well on straight lines and includes a displacement bow that would serve me well in the small chop. You can step back to free up the nose and maneuver the board through turns and surf.
I also like the 11’ length, making it a little easier to transport and store. It has a volume of 200 liters and can support riders over 220 lbs. That combination of relatively short length and high weight capacity can be hard to find at times. Board width is 31” and thickness 4 3/4”.
The board is built with Edge’s “DURA-LITE” technology. This includes a molded EPS core wrapped in mat-glass (used in boat hulls) and foaming expanding epoxy, then pressure heated and sealed with gel coat.
Some other features I like: it comes with a deck pad, cargo system and an adjustable paddle. The Crossfit is designed for all conditions and ranges in ability.
This board is also only 11’ in length. It is truly designed to offer range in both flat-water and wave riding. This definitely appeals to me, as riding in the bay can be nice and calm like a lake, but we also get plenty of chop and the occasional roller, so I’d like to be able to handle varying conditions while I’m out there. Since we don’t live to far from ocean surf, I can always take the board for some light surf riding as well.
At 178 liters, this board has less volume than the Edge Cross, but still big enough to carry riders up to 200 lbs. It also rates high in both stability and maneuverability. Deck pad, carry handle and three fin system all included. It is built with AST construction, providing a nice combination of light weight, stiffness and durability. Board width is 30.5” and thickness is 4”.
This is definitely a high-quality all around board. It would most likely be ideal for my purposes. What about price, you ask? This board comes in around $1359.00; still reasonable in the world of SUPs, but a bit more than the Edge.
Overall, this board is a little sleeker than the Edge. Plus, it weighs only 26.6 lbs. The Edge, on the other hand, includes the displacement nose, which I really like for paddling in my area. It is also a little larger. This could benefit me on my bay explorations.
The third board I’m looking at is the Starboard Blend. Starboard has a great name and reputation in the windsurfing industry, and the high quality and versatility of their boards carries over to the SUP world as well. Like the name suggests, this board is designed to blend flat-water and wave riding capabilities.
The board is designed with a round nose and flat concave in the middle with V in the tail. It is designed to give beginner surfers stable performance in the waves, while keeping glide characteristics intact for flat-water riders of all abilities.
The Blend includes a three-quarter deck pad with 4mm square-groove EVA foam in the standing area and 2mm EVA fore and aft. It also includes the light-weight Startouch deck traction on the nose. This board has a width of 30”, thickness is 4.3″ and 174 liters in volume.
Overall, this board is slightly longer and more narrow than the aforementioned SUPs. It also has a little less volume. The AST Version is priced at $1,129. There is also an ASAP version of the Blend priced reasonably at $999, and the Blend Slick, currently on sale for $799.
I don’t see whether this board is equipped with a cargo system or attachments. This is an important feature for me. But the range of prices and board options definitely open up some possibilities with the Blend.
I think it’s safe to say that each board would be a great “all-arounder”. I should also mention that each board includes a center fin with the option of adding two side fins for a full thruster set-up.
As always, the final analysis comes to down to personal preference for each rider’s specific conditions and riding style.
All three boards rate high in stability. That’s a plus. The Amundson rates high in tracking and maneuverability, but slightly lower in glide. The Starboard rates high in tracking and stability, but lower in glide, and slightly less so in maneuverability. It also has a little less volume at 174 liters, so it might not be as well-suited for larger, beginner riders. The exploration and touring capabilities of the Edge, on the other hand, emphasize this board’s glide characteristics. This is an important feature for me, since I plan to do a lot of touring and local exploration.
So, as of now, I’m giving the slight edge the Edge Crossfit. To be continued…