SUP Shop Tips: What You Need to Know …


SUP is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. In 2011, over 1.2 million people tried the sport for the first time, and more than 55,000 boards were purchased in the USA!


It’s also one of the best full-body workouts out there. It’s a low impact exercise that uses balance, strength, and endurance, helping you to burn between 600-700 calories paddle surfing in one hour!


But before you head out and buy your gear, here are a few SUP shop tips you need to know.


The Different Types of SUPs

All-Around SUPs

All-around SUPs are the perfect choice for beginner paddlers. The all-around boards are usually made longer, wider and thicker, making it easy to use your board in a variety of conditions.


It gives first-timers the chance to tackle flatwater or open ocean touring and has a decent sidecut and rocker for surfing.


If you’re keen to try SUP windsurfing, you’ll want to buy a board with a mast foot fitting. You can use it to mount the windsurf sailing rig and get even more versatility out of your SUP board!





Surfing SUPS

For intermediate and advanced paddlers, you’ll want to buy a surf SUP. These are essentially oversized surfboards and will give you more action on the waves!


The only downside is that these boards aren’t as stable as the all-around SUPs. Before going into a SUP shop to buy one, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve honed your paddleboard balancing and you’re ready to progress to the next level.



Touring SUPS

If you want to get the most out of your SUP experience, invest in a touring board. These boards are designed for gliding down long distances of flatwater at maximum efficiency and speed.


Touring SUPs are excellent choices for the beginner or immediate paddler, but are not designed for wave riding.


If it’s your goal to start racing, touring SUPs will give you the perfect training platform until you feel ready to compete. You’ll easily be able to practice tracking, cadence, and longer paddles!



High-performance SUPS


High-performance SUPs are boards designed for paddleboarding races. If you’re planning to enter flat water races, downwinders or open ocean competitions, these boards will give you the competitive edge you need.


These boards are designed with extra length and width to get you gliding at maximum efficiency and at a fast speed.


Beginner paddleboarders might find high-performance SUPs challenging to use, but it’s perfect for advanced riders and racers.



Fishing SUPs

Do you love going on fishing trips, but don’t want to invest in a boat? Head to Vanhunks and pick up our newest board, the Amberjack!


These boards are a hybrid between a kayak and a SUP. Two Swivel rod holders are flanking the front of the deck and four accessory tracks line the sides.


It gives you the option to set up more rod holders and other accessories like GPS navigation, action cam mounts, and other gadgets for your fishing trip.


The Amberjack also has more volume than other paddleboards, helping you and your gear to stay dry.




Read More: Fishing Kayak Journal: The Best Kayak Fishing Spots in Florida

Yoga SUPs

If you want to get your “om” on, you need a board that is constructed for stability. Yoga SUPs are designed to help you move through your Vinyasa flow without ending up in the water.


These boards also have a larger deck pad, giving you all the room you need.



What Size SUP You Need

There are two factors you need to consider when deciding on the size of your SUP board: Your weight and experience.


If you’re a beginner, you want a board that is wider, longer and thicker. It will have more volume and weight capacity, making it easier to find your balance on the water.


As you become more skilled with your SUP, your balance and strength will improve, and you can start looking at downsizing your board.

Hull Types Available at a SUP Shop


Planing Hull: A planing hull is perfect for surfing and recreational paddling. The board tapers off towards the edges, giving you added stability and the ability to maneuver through the waves with ease.


Displacement Hull: Want to cover long distances and train for a race? Go to your nearest SUP shop and get a board with a displacement hull. The sharp-pointed nose displaces the water, helping you slice through the water at record speed.


The Difference Between Inflatable and Epoxy SUPs


The next thing you need to decide before visiting a SUP shop is whether an iSUP or an epoxy paddleboard is right for you.


Here’s a quick guide on these two types of boards to help you decide:

Inflatable SUP


Usage: Inflatable or iSUP boards are great for beginners. They work well in all types of conditions and are the easiest option if you plan to take your board on adventures around the US or the world.


Transportation: With an inflatable SUP, all you need to do is deflate it, roll it up and it’s good to go anywhere!


Storage: If you’re living in a small apartment or you don’t have a ton of storage space, inflatable SUPs are the best option. These boards deflate to the size of a sleeping bag (OK, a bit bigger), making it easy to store anywhere in your house.




Read More: Inflatable SUP: Tips For Buying Your First iSUP

Epoxy SUPs


Usage: If you’re looking for a board that’s going to give you the best performance in the water, invest in an epoxy SUP. You’ll get increased speed and maneuverability on the water, plus these boards are made with high-quality materials.


Transportation: To get your epoxy board from once place to the next, you’ll need to buy straps for your car to stow it on the roof. Depending on how far you’re driving, soft racks will be enough for short drives to the beach. For longer driving, on highways, you’re going to need roof racks and tie-downs.


Storage: Epoxy boards are typically 9 feet long. Before you go and buy an epoxy SUP, make sure you have space. You’ll also need to keep it in a boardbag to avoid any unnecessary scratches or chips.



What Size Paddle You Need

How to Choose the Right Height for Your Paddle


For beginners going to a SUP shop for the first time, you’ll want to buy an adjustable paddle. These are also an excellent option if you’re going to share your paddleboard with friends or family.


When choosing an adjustable paddle, you should look for one that has a reach of 8-10 inches taller than your height and is made from fiberglass. If the whole gang or family is going to be using the SUP, an adjustable will be perfect to fit each person.




As you become more experienced, you’ll want to come back and invest in a more advanced fixed-length paddle. You’ll also want to get one that’s made from advanced materials like carbon fiber.


Advanced paddlers can also start looking at paddles with different blade lengths and angles. These will help you maximize your performance in the water, whether you’re focusing on racing or wave riding.



Accessories Available at a SUP Shop

SUP Leashes


For beginners, it’s a good idea to get a SUP leash when you go and buy your first paddleboard. It will keep you attached to your gear if you fall off when you’re riding in choppy conditions or surfing. In fact, we recommend leashes to all levels of riders. Your board is going to travel faster than you can swim if there’s wind or strong currents. Also, Your board may be your only saving grace if something goes wrong and you’ll want it close to you to hop onto again if you need to rest.


There are two styles of SUP leashes you can buy:


Coil: A coil stretches out when under tension. This helps to keep the board at a safe distance and stops the leash from dragging in the water.


Standard: A standard leash is similar to the kind you’ll see on surfboards. These do drag in the water but are more lightweight than a coil leash. You can expect to find this variety of SUP leashes at our SUP shop.

How to Choose The Right Leash Length


A good rule of thumb is to buy a leash that’s the same length as your SUP. The longer your leash, the less risk you’ll have of the board hitting you when you fall off.


If you know you’re going to be spending the majority of your time surfing or in choppy conditions, invest in a longer leash.


For paddleboarders that are mainly going to be on flat water, you can buy a shorter leash. The calmer waters mean you don’t have to worry about a wave pushing your SUP onto you. We generally suggest a leash that is one foot shorter than your board. So you have a nine-foot board? Get an eight-foot leash.




Buoyancy Aids for SUP


No matter your skill level, you’ll want to buy a buoyancy aid. You never know what could happen on the water and you’ll want to be prepared for a sudden change in conditions.


We recommend getting one that meets the necessary safety standards like the Coast Guard Approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD). US Coast Guard regulations insists PFDs be mandatory safety equipment on all vessels, regardless of size. Regulation also states PFDs need to be out of packaging and within easy reach at any time.



Whether you’re padding in Florida’s warm summer months or the winter, a wetsuit will come in handy. You’ll be able to extend your SUP session and stay out as long as you want, regardless of the season.

How to Look After Your Paddleboard


Storage: Keep your inflatable or epoxy SUP out of direct sunlight. Find a spot in your house that’s dry and cool, like your garage.


Transporting: Always transport your SUP in its protective boardbag. It will help to prevent any damage and save you money on repairs.


Vent plug: If you buy a paddleboard at a SUP shop with a vent plug, make sure you close it at the start of your session. You don’t want the water getting into your board and damaging the form core. Once you get home, open the vent plug to stop pressure from building up inside your board. Vanhunks boards come with self-regulating vent plugs, so you never have to worry about what your breather plug is up to.


Aftercare: Always wash your SUP after going into saltwater. If you don’t, the water can dry out your board and eat away at the materials. It’s also a good idea to regularly check your SUP and paddle for any cracks and scratches. If you do find something that can lead to water getting into your board, take it to your nearest SUP shop to get it drained or repaired.

The Cost of Buying a Paddleboard


If it’s your first time buying a stand up paddle board, you don’t need to splurge on a top of the range SUP. You can get away with spending under $500 if you’re going to use your SUP recreationally, or if you want to see how much you like the sport before investing in a more premium quality board.




For paddlers that demand excellent performance, craftsmanship, and quality at an affordable price, you’re looking at spending anywhere between $500 to $1000, potentially even more if carbon is involved.



Why Vanhunks Boarding is the Best SUP Shop in Florida


Customer Service: At Vanhunks, we pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service. Not only are we all passionate about SUP, but we’ve built our brand around knowing which materials, boards, and accessories will give you the performance you’re looking for.


High Quality: It’s our mission to create stand up paddle board equipment that will stand the test of time and Mother Nature. We build boards that are sustainable and use only the most advanced materials. We also do our best to employ the finest shapers in the industry to give you boards that are made for exceeding your performance expectations. Read about the SUP board materials we use and why we choose them.


Free Shipping: Our SUP shop offers free shipping on all online orders in the US!


That’s everything you need to know before visiting a SUP shop for the first time.


Now that you’ve identified the type of board you need, what paddle will work best and all the accessories, you’re ready to join the ranks as a member of one of the top sports in the US!


Ready to visit our Vanhunks in Florida and buy your first board? Or do you have any questions for our team?


Feel free to give us a call, send us an email or book your in-store demo! We’d love to answer any of your questions and give you the guidance you need to start your SUP journey.