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Which paddle board for the ocean?

Stand up paddle boarding is a water sport that involves moving upright on a board using a paddle. It can be practiced on different types of water, but the ocean offers a particularly varied and stimulating playground. Whether it’s for walking, surfing, hiking or running, paddle boarding in the sea allows you to discover magnificent landscapes, enjoy the benefits of salt water and experience thrills.

But to practice paddle boarding in the ocean, you need to choose the right equipment. Indeed, not all paddles are adapted to the marine conditions, which can be changeable and difficult. It is therefore necessary to take into account several criteria to find the ideal paddle for your adventures at sea.

In this article, we will give you tips and recommendations for choosing the best paddle board for the ocean. We will also present you the best brands and models of inflatable paddle boards for the sea, as well as the essential accessories for this practice. Finally, we will give you some tips on how to practice safely and show you the must-see spots for stand up paddle boarding at sea.

What types of paddle boards are suitable for surfing?

There are two main types of paddle boards: rigid paddle boards and inflatable paddle boards. An inflatable paddle board and a rigid paddle board have a lot of differences. However, we can still say that in 80% of cases, an inflatable paddle board is the best choice. Indeed, it is the ideal option if you are looking for a versatile SUP (leisure, walks, day at the beach, yoga…). A good quality inflatable paddle board will guarantee you very good performance and great resistance, while remaining at an affordable price. Not to mention the transport and storage which are very practical and easy. On the other hand, if you want to compete or surf big waves, a high-end rigid SUP will be more suitable.

What are the differences between paddles specifically designed for the ocean and those for other types of bodies of water?

Paddle boards specifically designed for the ocean have special features that make them suitable for marine conditions. They differ from paddle boards for other types of bodies of water by their shape, size, thickness and fin.

The shape of the paddle board affects its stability, glide and maneuverability. There are several forms of paddle boarding:

quel paddle gonflable pour l'océan
Stand-Up Paddle Sroka - Model GIRLY
  • Paddle surfing: it has a short and wide shape, with a pronounced rocker (curvature) at the front and back. It’s designed to ride waves and be nimble in turns.
  • The all-round paddle : it has a versatile shape, with a balance between length, width and rocker. It is suitable for walking, surfing, and hiking on calm or rough bodies of water.
  • Paddle touring / walking: It has a long, narrow shape, with a weak rocker at the front and rear. It is optimized for gliding, speed and comfort on flat or slightly choppy bodies of water.
  • The paddle race: It has a very long and very narrow shape, with minimal rocker at the front and rear. It is specially designed for speed racing on flat or rough bodies of water.

To choose the shape of the paddle adapted to the ocean, you need to define your objective: surf the waves (paddle surf), take a leisurely walk (paddle all-round and touring) or cover long distances (paddle touring and race).

The size of the paddle depends on your size, your level and your practice. In general, the longer the paddle, the faster and more stable it is, but the less manoeuvrable it is. The wider the paddle, the more stable and comfortable it is, but the less fast and responsive it is. The thicker the paddle, the stiffer and more load-bearing it is, but the less it is close to the water and less sensitive to movement.

The thickness of the paddle board affects its rigidity, buoyancy and balance. In general, the thicker the paddle, the stiffer and more load-bearing it is, but the less it is close to the water and less sensitive to movement.

The paddle fin plays an important role in the stability, direction and performance of the paddle. There are several types of fins: the central fin that attaches under the paddle at the level of the center of gravity ensures lateral stability and the trajectory of the paddle; the side fins that attach to the underside of the paddle at the rails (edges) improve the maneuverability and control of the paddle in turns and waves; The rear spoiler that attaches to the underside of the paddle at the rear increases the speed and responsiveness of the paddle.

Criteria to consider when choosing a paddle board for the ocean (stability, dimensions, materials)

As we have just seen, the choice of a paddle for the ocean depends on several criteria related to the shape, size, thickness and fin of the paddle. But there are other criteria to consider when choosing a paddle board for the ocean:

  • Stability: this is the ability of the paddle to stay balanced on the water. It depends mainly on the width and thickness of the paddle, as well as the distribution of the volume. The wider and thicker the paddle, the more stable it is. The more the volume is concentrated in the center of the paddle, the more stable it is.
  • Dimensions: these are the measurements of the paddle in length, width and thickness. They are expressed in feet (‘) and inches (“). For example, a 10’6 x 32″ x 6” paddle board measures 10 feet and 6 inches in length (about 320 cm), 32 inches in width (about 81 cm), and 6 inches thick (about 15 cm).
  • Materials: these are the components that make up the paddle. They affect the weight, stiffness, strength and price of the paddle. Among the strongest constructions are: the rigid fiber paddle, the carbon rigid paddle and the high-end PVC inflatable paddle (beware of low-end PVC paddles that will not last over time).

The best paddle boards for the ocean from Sroka Company

Our brand, Sroka Company, is a French brand created by Bruno Sroka, three-time kitesurfing world champion. We offer high-quality inflatable paddle boards, made with durable materials that will keep your paddle for years to come. Our paddles are suitable for all levels and practices, from surfing to hiking and yoga. Here is a selection of our best paddle boards for the ocean:

The Malibu

The Malibu is a versatile and comfortable all-round paddle board, ideal for cruising, surfing, and hiking on calm or choppy bodies of water. It has a wide and stable shape, with moderate rocker at the front and rear. It is equipped with a removable center fin and two fixed side fins. The Malibu is made of fused double-layer PVC to ensure good strength whatever your rides in the ocean.

→ Learn more about the Malibu 

quel stand-up paddle pour l'ocean

The Aplha and the Girly

The Alpha is a paddle halfway between paddle touring and paddle racing. Its slim profile allows for efficient and fast paddling, without too much effort. Built with thermo-welding technology and its 3 layers of PVC on the rails, it offers excellent rigidity and optimal strength, making it an ideal choice for long ocean rides.
The Girly, on the other hand, has the same technical characteristics as the Alpha, but with a refined design that combines glide and elegance.

→ Learn more about the Alpha and the Girly

paddle waves sroka pour les vagues

The Wave 9'5

The Wave 9’5 inflatable paddle surf is designed to allow you to discover the joys of surfing. It’s a short board with a rounder outline, which allows you to turn better on the wave. Thanks to its construction with Fusion technology, this paddle board is light and stiff, which is an important advantage for surfing waves. It’s the perfect compromise to go for a ride and discover surfing in small waves. This inflatable SUP is suitable for beginners and advanced skiers alike.

→ Learn more about the Wave 9’5

Guide to essential accessories for stand up paddle boarding in the sea

To fully enjoy the practice of stand up paddle boarding in the sea, proper preparation is essential. Marine elements, unpredictable and potentially hazardous, require appropriate care and protection. Here is a list of essential accessories for a safe and rewarding stand up paddle experience at sea:

  1. The leash: This device, attached to the rider’s ankle or calf, maintains a constant connection with the board. In the event of a fall, the leash prevents the loss of the paddle and makes it easier to hook up if necessary, whether due to fatigue or currents. 
  2. The life jacket: It provides buoyancy in the event of immersion. It is very strongly advised to wear one for minors and beginners. However, it is advisable to have one regardless of your level because no one is safe from a change in the weather that makes the practice difficult. 
  3. The combination: It protects against cold, UV rays, friction and injury. It is especially advisable to wear one when paddleboarding in the ocean, especially in winter or in areas with cooler temperatures. 
  4. The waterproof bag: Having a waterproof bag is very convenient for storing and protecting personal belongings such as phone, keys, water, food, etc. 
  5. The pump: the pump is essential for inflating and deflating the inflatable paddle board, allowing the pressure to be adjusted according to the sailing conditions. 

How to practice safely, our advice

Stand up paddle boarding at sea is a sport that requires a certain amount of vigilance and preparation. To avoid accidents and unpleasant surprises, there are a few safety rules to follow:

  • Check the weather: before going out to sea, you should check the weather forecast (wind, swell, tide, etc.) and choose a spot adapted to your level and objective.
  • Inform someone: Before going to sea, you should tell someone (family, friend, club, etc.) about their route, duration and phone number.
  • Wear appropriate equipment: before going to sea, you must equip yourself with a leash, a life jacket, a wetsuit and a waterproof bag containing safety elements (whistle, flashlight, survival blanket, etc.) and the best inflatable paddle board for the sea.
  • Observe the rules of navigation: during navigation, you must respect the authorized areas, the right of way, the safety distances and the signals.
  • Remain vigilant : While navigating, you must remain alert to weather conditions, currents, waves, obstacles and other users.
  • Know how to give up: during navigation, you must know how to assess your limits and those of the equipment, and do not hesitate to turn around or ask for help if there is a problem.

The 4 Best Places to Go Stand Up Paddleboarding at Sea

1. The Bay of Arcachon

A real haven for walking, surfing or hiking in the sea. You will be amazed by the view of the Arcachon Bay, Cap Ferret, the Ile aux Oiseaux and the majestic Dune du Pilat. An abundant biodiversity awaits you, with a rich and varied fauna and flora.

2. The Crozon Peninsula

It is the perfect place for surfing or sea hiking. You will enjoy quality waves, panoramas that are as wild as they are paradisiacal and exceptional sites such as the Pointe de Pen-Hir, the Pointe du Raz, the Virgin Island (see photo) or the mysterious sea caves.

quel paddle pour faire du sup en mer

3. The Bay of the Somme

It is the perfect place for a walk or a hike in the sea. You will discover the Baie de Somme Regional Nature Park, the charming villages of Le Crotoy and Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, as well as the Marquenterre ornithological reserve. Seals, birds and horses punctuate this uniquely beautiful landscape.

Faire du paddle dans la baie de somme

4. The Côte d'Azur

A real paradise for a walk or a hike in the sea. You’ll savor the Mediterranean climate, crystal clear waters, and iconic cities like Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez. Also worth exploring are the islands of Lérins, Porquerolles and Port-Cros.

Our favorite place to paddle board? The creeks of Cassis. Departing from the beach of Cassis, the creeks are easily accessible by paddle, you can go from creek to creek while admiring the beauty of the coast.

faire du paddle sur la côte d'azur

Stand up paddleboarding at sea opens the door to a myriad of benefits and pleasures as a water sport. It’s a way to work out, relax, have fun and explore corners of paradise. However, to be able to fully enjoy paddle boarding in the sea depends on the judicious choice of equipment and the relaxed respect of the safety rules. We sincerely hope that this article has enlightened your quest for the perfect paddle board for your future sea escapades.

If you still have questions about this, or for any other request, please do not hesitate to contact us !

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