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What is the best paddle board?

Paddle boarding, no need to introduce it, it is a water sport that allows you to move with a board and a paddle on the water. It allows you to practice different disciplines and is suitable for many practitioners by its simplicity of use, its ability to quickly move away from the crowd while being close to nature.

The notion of “best paddle” is a subjective notion. It depends on your expectations, your needs and what you are mainly looking for in a paddle board.

The best inflatable paddle board for you, will not be the best paddle for your neighbor. Some will be looking for the best price, others for the best stability and/or versatility or maximum performance. Each criterion will lead to different choices. There is no such thing as the best paddle board for everything. It’s a story of compromise. In this article, we will help you choose and find the best paddle board for you.

What are the criteria for choosing a paddle board:

Rigid Paddle VS Inflatable Paddle

The first criterion to take into account is the size. If you have a lot of space and you live by the water, the problem of space is not the same compared to those who live in an apartment. The rigid paddle will have a better glide and will allow you to have sharper sensations.

However, the paddle will be more cumbersome, more fragile and therefore will not suit everyone.

The inflatable paddle board is a really interesting alternative if you are not looking for extreme performance because it allows you to do the same thing with a hard paddle without the disadvantages of a rigid paddle. You’ll lose a little bit in gliding, you’ll lose a little bit in board stiffness compared to a hard SUP board. However, it will be more family-friendly, it will be easier to go on holiday with it, it will be more solid and for leisure use, it will do the trick perfectly.

Depending on the preferred disciplines (initiation, walk, run, surf) the choice of paddle changes

Depending on whether you want to go for a ride, a sporty ride, an initiation, to put a child with you or to go shopping or surfing, the size of the board changes, the width of the board changes, the stiffness of the board also (and consequently the construction) and simply the length of the board differs.

If you want to get started, you can choose a shorter board around 10 feet will do the trick very well. The same goes if you want to surf, a board that is less than 10 feet will be recommended as it will turn more easily.

If you’re not very comfortable in terms of stability, opt for a board with a lot of width in order to increase your lateral stability.

If you’re looking for a paddle board to glide and cover long distances, go for a board that’s longer than 11’6 – 14 feet.

comment transporter un paddle gonflable en voiture

Level of practice (beginner, advanced, expert)

The level of the practitioner strongly influences the choice of board, a beginner, an experienced or an expert will not use the same sizes of paddle.

However, the trend will remain the same.

Those who want to go for a race or a long ride, will prefer the big paddles, those who want to go in the waves the small boards.

However, what will make the difference is the width of the board.

A beginner can use a 12’6 paddle to start but he will take a slightly wider paddle to have more stability (31 or 32 wide). On the other hand, if the expert wants to use a 12’6, he will use a 12’6×28 wide paddle)

The width will determine the stability of a paddle, the wider the paddle and the more stable it will be but will slip less.

So the length of the board is not a criterion to be taken into account depending on the level. Rather, it is the width that will be an important criterion.

comment réparer un stand-up paddle gonflable

Paddler Weight & Height

Of course, the size of the paddler will be fundamental for the choice of board. Proportionally if we talk about percentages, a 2m adult will have the same equivalence with a 14-foot paddle compared to a 1m60 adult with a foot paddle. We are talking about the relationship between the size of the rider and the size of the board. So the taller you are, the more suitable it will be for you to take a large paddle. Unless you are small and want to maximize glide, then a paddle beyond 12′ will be beneficial.

In the same way, the weight will influence the choice of board. A person with a lot of weight will be more stable on a taller and wider board.

In summary, the size of each rider must be taken into account to optimize the choice of your board.

A smaller jig has a choice of all sizes, A heavier jig will need to take a larger and wider board to increase their stability and glide.

5. Price

The price of a paddle board is determined by many criteria, the list is not exhaustive. but will give you more accurate information about the quality of a paddle or not.

  • The first criterion that comes into play is the length of the paddle. A paddle board is made by hand. Because of this, the longer the length of the SUP, the longer the manufacturing time will be. It is for this reason that large paddle boards cost much more than a 10-foot SUP for example.
  • The second criterion is the quality of the PVC used. This is because there are many different grades of pvc. Some factories specialize in inflatable beach buoys but also manufacture paddle boards. Other factories like ours make high-end RIB boats. In our factory we use the same quality of PVC as on semi-rigid boats. This allows us to be more resistant to impact, more rigid and more durable over time. We still have some rental companies who have been using our products for more than 8 years without having changed the products.
  • The amount of PVC layers put into the board. I grant you from the outside, it doesn’t show. But the amount of PVC layers determines the quality of the paddle, its rigidity and durability. To have a cheap paddle for less than 200 euros, you have to reduce the working time on each board, reduce the quality of the pvc and reduce the quantity of the pvc as well as the quality of the glues (we will address this point just below). All these restrictions will mean that a paddle can cost 3 times less to produce than a high-end product. In concrete terms, this translates into a paddle that rolls very easily, this is one of the criteria of the quantity and qualities of the pvc used) the easier a paddle is rolled (when it is stored), the less material there is in it. The SUP will then be less rigid, more fragile and less stable, every time a chop hits the board, you will feel the movement of the chop on the board.

So the harder the paddle is to bend, the heavier it will be (for the same size and dimension) and the more rigid, solid and durable it will be over time. The amount of material put into a board determines the stiffness, durability, and price of the paddle;

  • The quality of the glues. In the same logic as the quantity and qualities of the pvc used, influences the durability of a paddle. The more expensive a paddle is, the better and more durable the quality of the glues and can withstand high temperatures. As we manufacture our paddles in RIB factories, we use the same glues and therefore we are known for having solid and durable products over time

6. Important Features to Consider

As we have seen, there are many criteria to take into account

  • On the one hand, your technical level, the beginner in paddle boarding will not take the same board as an expert.
  • your program, what you want to do with the sporty walk, the initiation or the surf. The size, the shape of the paddle, the width of the paddle different
  • Your size will inevitably influence the size of the paddle you are going to buy
  • If price is one of your main criteria. So, you’ll have to make compromises in durability and rigidity. Again, the stiffness, durability, stability of a paddle board is determined by the amount of carbon inside the board. The higher the number of layers, the higher the quality of the pvc as well as the glues and the longer your paddle can be used.
  • We therefore advise you to rinse it once in a while at low pressure with fresh water.

Presentation of the best paddles by category according to the criteria mentioned

1) The Beginner

If you don’t have any experience in board sports, to start, we advise you to choose a medium-long board (around 10-10’6). It will bring you great manoeuvrability, and ease in your practice. It will be easier to inflate, store and handle. This type of board is stable as long as you have enough board width. So we advise you not to go below 31 inches wide.

Of course, if you are tall and heavy, you will need to enlarge and widen the board a little (for example a 10’6 x32 board will do just fine).

how to start paddling

In our range, we recommend three paddle boards for beginners.

  • The 10’4 x 32 paddle ocean walker is a paddle access, a do-it-all pack, easy, light and space-saving.
  • The Easy 10 x 31 paddle or the Easy 10’6 x 32. The Easy 10 is by far the more accessible of the two, smaller and lighter, it will be perfectly adapted to people under 85 kg. The second will be suitable for taller people.
  • While continuing to move upmarket, the Malibu 10 and 10’6 paddles are paddles from the professional range. More robust and more resistant over time, they have made our reputation with nautical centres and beach clubs.

2) Solo rides

If you want to go for more or less sporty solo rides. We advise you to take longer boards with a slimmer nose, which allows you to glide better and push less water. In concrete terms, this translates into less cost of rowing to cover the same distance. You make less effort and you go faster without forcing more.

To be perfectly suited to solo walks, we can recommend two ranges

  • the Easy range in 11’6 or 12’6, including paddles that keep width for maximum stability with a very good glide and an excellent value for money.
  • The Alpha paddle range from 11’6x 32 to 14x 27, is a very high-end range, with reinforced, rigid PVC. This range comes closest to the stiffness of a rigid board.
inflatable stand up paddle sroka

3) Duo / family walk

If you want to sail with several people on a board, you need to increase the length of the board. There are duo paddle boards that allow you to put 2 adults and 2 children on it. The boards are much longer than in general (around 16 feet) but they really allow you to walk all together on the same board and have a real cooperation between the different people on the board. We find a bit of the spirit of team sports: To move forward, you have to make a joint effort that facilitates the progress of the boat.

This range is intended for riders who want to be two on one board.

The Easy Duo paddle board has the best value for money. Solid and ultra-stable, it can accommodate the whole family.

The duo in the professional range, on the other hand, is the strongest on the market, it was developed by clubs for clubs. It will bring a little more rigidity and more stability at higher speeds.

4) Racing/racing

If you want to do running or fast rides then, we advise you to opt for a board that is beyond 12’6 with very little width in order to facilitate the glide. With this in mind, if you start with a 14’x29 Alpha, for example, you will have a perfect compromise to slide while having stability. The longer the board, the less you’ll need to paddle a little to the right and a little to the left. You’ll glide more with fewer paddle strokes.

Without hesitation, we recommend the Alpha range in 12’6x 28 or in 14×27 or 29 wide. This professional range will bring you stiffness thanks to a reinforced construction on the rails, deck and hull. These paddles will bring a maximum of glide and as the paddle is very rigid, it will allow you to be ultra stable whatever the sea conditions.

5) Surfing

To surf, you need to reduce the length of the board, and have a more closed outline at the front and rear to facilitate maneuverability. These are boards that require you to be a little more agile and balanced because they are a little less stable. However, you can find a compromise by taking a 10-foot board for example with an outline a little less pinched on the ends which will bring you stability but a little less maneuverability.

We recommend 3 different models:

  1. The first, the 9’5 wave. It is designed for 70% surfing and 30% cruising, it is part of the professional range, it is reinforced so more rigid, it will bring you perfect sensations for sup surfing.
  2. Another possible choice, you go for the Easy 10 or the Malibu 10 which are two paddles that are oriented 70% for rides and 30% waves. They will be a little less manoeuvrable but more stable.
  3. The Malibu is part of the professional range, so ultra reinforced, and the Easy 10 which has the same shape has a great value for money.

6) Are there versatile paddle boards for different practices?

Yes, there are of course versatile paddles but not for all disciplines at the same time. Indeed, if you want to surf, breed, if it’s stable and not too big, it’s going to be complicated to do everything. It’s like all sports. A product that is touted to you for everything will never be relevant in every discipline

So choices have to be made.

For example, if you want 30% waves and 70% family ride, paddle boarding can be the same. If you want to do a bit of sporty riding, but also have a paddle for the family, it’s quite possible. You will have to accept that you are not fully successful in all disciplines.

Our choice would be the Easy 10 or Malibu 10 range, which would be the right compromise for surfing and cruising. If you’re heavy, go for the Easy 10’6 or the Malibu 10’6.

If you want to start and do a bit of cruising (without having a vague use), we advise you to refer to the Easy 11’6 or 12’6 range or the alpha range in 11’6x 32 or the 12’6 x31

Stand up paddle gonflable Sroka EASY
Paddle Easy 10
stand up paddle gonflable malibu
Malibu 10 and 10'6
paddle au meilleur rapport qualité prix
SURF avec stand up paddle gonflable Sroka Company en Corse

Comparison of the different types of paddle boards available on the market

1) Which brand to choose for a quality paddle board?

Quelle marque choisir pour un paddle de qualité?

Notes

19/20

17,9/20

16/ 20

Modèle

Alpha 12'6x31

Fanatic  Ray 12'6

Red paddle 12'6 MSL

Prix pack et/ ou Unité

485 €

938 €

1546 €

Couleur

Vert ou bleu

Vert

Bleu, blanc, rouge

Dimensions

12'6x31x6

12'6x32x6

12'6x30x6

Poids

9

9,2

8,9

Type de matériaux

PVC renforcé (type bateau semi rigide)

PVC

PVC

Nombre de couche de PVC pont/carène

2 dessus / dessous 

2 dessus / dessous

2 dessus / dessous

Nombre de couche de PVC sur les rails

3

2

2

Epaisseur

15 cm

15 cm

15 cm

Groupe d'utilisateur

Adultes / adulte+enfant/  sportifs- profesionnelles

Adultes /  sportifs- profesionnelles

Adultes /  sportifs- profesionnelles

Adapté à

Lac - rivière - mer

Lac - rivière - mer

Lac - rivière - mer

Particuliarités

Ultra solide - très stable - excellent rapport qualité prix / excellent glisse

Solide / stable, excellente glisse mais cher.

stable, Solide excellente glisse mais très cher.

Où le trouver

2) What makes an inflatable paddle board better than others?

  1. PVC Quality : Different grades of PVC exist, each with its own rigidity. Some brands use truck tarpaulin, while others, like us, prefer PVC specially designed for RIB boats. These reinforced PVCs offer a longer service life.
  2. Adhesive quality : The adhesives used play a crucial role. We have chosen to work with the same suppliers as for the RIB boats. Some brands reduce the quality of glues to reduce manufacturing costs, but this can compromise the longevity of the board.
  3. Amount of PVC in the board : The greater the amount of PVC, the stiffer the paddle. In summary, a very light paddle board has less material inside, while a reinforced paddle board will be slightly heavier due to its extra layers of PVC on the rails or its increased thickness.

These three factors contribute to the quality and performance of a paddle board. Finding the right balance of stiffness, durability, and weight is key to choosing the board that’s right for you

  1. Paddle shape : The shape of the paddle is essential and varies depending on your discipline. For example, boards longer than 11 feet are ideal for cruising and long distances. On the other hand, a shorter board will be better suited for waves or family outings. It is important to note that water generates 800 times more drag than air. That’s why we spend time testing our paddles with our naval architect to find the right balance between stiffness, glide and stability.
  2. Colors and design : A high-performance, rigid and stable, but also aesthetically pleasing paddle board increases the perceived value of the product. In addition, an attractive design can play a role when you want to resell your paddle.
  3. Quality Equipment : The quality of the bag, pump, and paddle directly affects the overall quality of your product. Even if you have the best paddle board on the market, a low-quality pump or paddle can compromise its use.
  4. Price : Price is an undeniable indicator of quality. A paddle board sold for 150 euros probably cannot be considered a high-quality product.

All these criteria make it possible to differentiate the quality and help you better choose one paddle over another.

At SROKA, your goal is clear: to offer quality products that meet all demands. We offer three product lines:


  1. Ocean Walker
    : In this range, you keep the right glues and PVCs from your factories, but you reduce the quantity. This makes it possible to offer an attractive price while guaranteeing the durability of the product.

  2. The Easy range
    offers the best value for money.
  3. High-end paddles : You offer two high-end ranges, the Alpha and the
    Malibu
    .

It’s reassuring to know that you’re focusing on quality and customer satisfaction.

sup gonflable touring

3) Does the price influence the quality of a paddle board?

To recap, the quality of a paddle board depends on several factors, including:

  1. Layering Amount: Several layers of reinforced PVC contribute to the rigidity and durability of the paddle. However, it also increases the cost of manufacturing.
  2. Quality of the materials: The quality of the PVC and glues used influences the performance and longevity of the paddle. Opting for high-quality materials is essential.
  3. Handcrafted construction: Paddle boards are handcrafted, which requires more time and labor. This is reflected in the final price.
  4. Accessories and design: Quality accessories, as well as careful design, can also influence the price.

All in all, it is crucial to find the right balance between quality, performance and budget when choosing a paddle board.

Conclusion

Choosing the right paddle board depends on your program and specific needs. Here are some tips to guide you:

  1. Type of Glide: If you are looking for a better glide, opt for stand up paddles with pointed noses. These boards are designed to cut through the water more efficiently and provide an optimal gliding experience.
    • Criteria to consider:
    • Technical Level : Your level of experience plays a crucial role. Beginners may prefer more stable boards, while experts may look for more capable models.
    • Size : Your height and weight influence the choice of board. A board adapted to your size will allow you to better balance and maneuver.
    • Quality of the Product Sought : Determine if you prefer a lower price, good value for money, or a high-end model.
      • Program of Use : The length of the paddle varies depending on your program:
      • For cruising and long distance, opt for boards longer than 11 feet.
      • For waves or family outings, a shorter board will be more suitable.
  1. Beware of Choice: If you choose an unsuitable paddle board, you may have difficulty standing up. On the other hand, a wise choice will allow you to enjoy your experience on the water to the fullest.

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

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