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What Paddleboard is Right For Me? A Beginner's Guide

What Paddleboard is Right For Me? A Beginner's Guide

By: Coast OutdoorsComments: 0

Introduction: Hot take here for you. Most people who bought a new paddleboard, bought the wrong one. But fear not, as we're here to guide you through the process of selecting the perfect paddleboard for your needs and preferences.

The Pitfalls of Stand Up Paddle Board Shopping Online

This is the first problem everyone encounters when buying a paddle board: When you browse the Internet, you'll find a huge selection of stand up paddle boards, and they range in quality from absolute trash, to premium racing boards. First tip: When buying a stand up paddleboard, don't use just price as your guiding factor because You do get what you pay for... cheap boards, equal cheap manufacturing and future problems. 

The Most Common Stand Up Paddle Board: The ‘All-Around’ SUP

Alsmost all inflatable paddle boards are ‘All-Round’ boards. Most hardboards are also all-round boards. If you are shopping at a ‘big box’ store, you're likely looking at all-around boards. They're modelled after surfboards, and they have a round nose and a relatively wide tail. These stand up paddle boards are fine, so long as you're not getting anything that's super cheap, they will float and allow you to do some yoga, hang out, or maybe float around with the kids.

The ‘All-Around’ Paddleboard is Great, but it has its Limits

Yes, they are very easy to paddle. It gets people into the sport with very low barriers, which is a good thing, but it does come at a cost… If you want to go beyond casual floating, perhaps paddle a little further and go to the next island, or explore new places on the water… Then you might want to pick a paddleboard that will enable you to do all the basics, and much much more… 
Shop All-Round Paddleboards

A Better Beginner to Intermediate option: The Touring Paddle Board

Enter the touring paddle board. Perfect for exploring flat waters. These boards offer stability, ease of paddling, and are ideal for family and friends outings. 

All-Round vs Touring (Displacement) Boards: The Differences in Design

Touring Paddleboards differ from all-around boards, primarily in their shape. Touring boards tend to be a bit narrower, especially in the nose, with a sharper point or a displacement style nose. This design allows the board to cut through the water much easier, giving you more glide in every stroke.

Touring SUP's Have Better Paddling Efficiency

Touring boards tend to be longer, and with their sharper nose, they track in a straight line significantly better. This means you can paddle without having to switch sides as often. The efficiency of a touring board shines through, even keeping the glide when you stop paddling.

Touring Paddle Boards Are a Pleasure to Paddle 

When it comes to the experience, the biggest thing you'll find in a touring board (displacement board) versus an all-around board is that everything just gets easier. Less effort in each stroke, the ability to go further, faster, and with less exertion.

Can a Beginner use a Touring Board?

Short Answer: Hell yeah! But you might be wondering, why do I need a board that allows me to go faster or be more efficient? “I just want to be out there and chill on the water.” Well, you can still 'chill' on a touring board. It doesn't mean you have to go fast or work hard. But at least you can give yourself the option to explore further and make your life easier when you're on the water.

What about Racing Paddleboards?

Yeah, they're super fun too. But we've not highlighted them in this ‘beginner guide’ due to their technical difficulty. If you want to take the race board route, we recommend getting a lesson on a race SUP first. Try it out! If you live in Vancouver Canada, you could also race at our weekly racing series - The Summer TNR. We have a big selection of racing boards at Coast Outdoors, and we love them. Come chat with us in store if you're venturing into the world of SUP racing. The GEN R is a perfect paddleboard for someone wanting to take the step up from Touring boards, and into the performance paddle board world. See our Starboard Generation R video to find out more. Shop the Starboard GEN R here. 

What about the fit of the board, and the construction?

We can and will have a separate blog post for that question. For now, just know this: All SUPs come in various shapes, sizes and constructions. The size will be dependent on your size and skill level. The construction is more to do with weight, and your intended use. But, when it comes to the shape, I hope we've answered that question in this article (displacement / Touring Boards) have the most versatility. 


The Touring SUP is the sweetspot for most people. When you use a touring board, you'll experience better glide, an easier paddling experience, better tracking, and great stability due to the higher volume of the board. With a more efficient paddleboard, you can get on the water with less energy, less effort, and explore some of the amazing places we have here on the coast. 

Our Touring Board Recommendations

Whether you're new to paddleboarding or looking to upgrade from an all-around board, we highly recommend trying out these three boards: The starboard waterline, the starboard generation, and the starboard touring. Check them out in-store at Coast Outdoors or online at Coast Outdoors Dossier.

We're Here to help - Get Free Expert Advice at Coast Outdoors

Lastly, it's worth mentioning that our staff at Coast Outdoors are all avid paddlers themselves. They're highly knowledgeable and will ensure you get the perfect fitting board, suitable for your skill level and the type of water you intend to paddle on. Head on over to 35 Linn Avenue in North Vancouver, just behind Canadian Tire.


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