Home Paddleboarding Types of Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP)

Types of Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP)

There are various kinds of these Stand Up Paddleboards depending on their functionality, areas of use, the skill of the user, among other factors.

In terms of construction, the boards come in different sizes, weights, lengths, widths, and volume to cater to the difference in use.  Find out details about the types and much more below.

Basically, SUP types can be classified into two categories.

  • Construction
  • Functionality


This speaks about how the paddleboard is made. There are three main types of SUPs in this category;

  • Solid
  • inflatable
  • Soft

Solid SUPs

From the term, solid boards are made of hard materials such as epoxy, foam, fiberglass, wood, kevlar, plastic, or a combination. They have been in the market the longest as they are known to offer the most strength and rigidity.

Solid paddlebord
Solid board

Despite being made with hard materials, they are considered lightweight, durable, and affordable to purchase. Except for those made of carbon fiber as they are more expensive due to their additional desirable features, while the plastic is the least expensive as they aren’t at par with the rest in terms of performance.

Inflatable SUPs

In 2014, the most agile type of paddleboard was constructed. These inflatable boards are made of PVC exteriors, drop-stitch construction seamed with glue, and openings to allow for inflation and deflation. They are the easiest to handle and store since you can fold them into a carrying case and transport over long distances without worry.

Inflatable SUP

Quality inflatable SUPs have the ability to inflate even 12 to 15 pounds per square inch up to when it feels rigid enough. They offer the most convenient since they don’t require much storage space, easily portable, and can be used for a variety of sports like surfing, cruising, kayaking, and/ or whitewater.

They are lighter than any other SUPs because they don’t require the extra layering like the epoxy hard paddleboard with epoxy and double fiberglass layering.

Soft Top SUPs

Finally, the soft top boards are made with spongy soft foam that covers the board’s front area. Despite its texture, they also offer rigidity thanks to their interior making using sturdy materials; the epoxy hardwood with high-density foam and an equally supporting stringer.

This kind is not as prevalent as the rest, therefore more affordable than the rest. However, their weight surpassed the other two, and they aren’t as great in terms of performance. Either way, they are still the best option for kids and beginners.

Other types of paddleboards available in regard to the making include the bamboo paddleboards. They are expensive because of the type of material, plus they also offer one of the highest rigidity levels compared to the others.


In this section, we shall have a look at other different types of SUPs. These are differentiated by size, shapes, and styles.

All Around SUPS

As the name suggests, this type of board is the most prevalent and most versatile kind there is. It’s perfect for beginners as it doesn’t require much maneuvering. The boards have an average length of 10 to 14 inches and a width of 30 to 34 inches. Hence, thicker, wider, and longer than other surfing models.

Because of their wideness, they offer excellent stability and allow you to easily explore the waters. They also have a decent glide for either touring or flatwater paddling. They don’t offer the best in surfing but can be used if it’s recreational rather than competitive. Lastly, they can be modernized by adding certain elements such as turning them into windsurfers.

Flatwater SUPs

As opposed to the above kind, the flatwater board has a narrower and longer edge, which is also more pointed. They have an average length of 11 to 14 inches and a width of 28 to 32 inches. They are optimized for flatwater paddling, ocean touring, and downwinders – especially for long distances.

Thanks to their shape, they equally glide smoothly offering more speed than the all-rounded type. Many would also refer to this board as the touring board, except there are slight differences between them. Moreover, the boards also belong to the same category as the racing SUPs, but these have sharper edges and are meant to be used by advanced users.

Touring SUPs

Similar to the flatwater SUPs, the touring board is also excellent for long-distance paddling. They are longer with a rather pointed nose and have a displacement hull which is essential for gliding and tracking. They can easily be used in any type of water body from lakes, rivers, ocean bays, and open waters.

The average length of these boards is 10 to 15 inches with a width of 30 to 34 inches, they offer a great base for your workout and endurance paddling.

Racing SUPs

Also falling close to the flatwater paddle boards is the racing SUPs. They are the longest kind with the fastest speed and most efficient glide. Because they are for racing, there can be two kinds; for short and long-distance races.

For the short kind, the average length is 12.6 inches and under with a width of 25 to 29 inches. For long distances, the length is about longer – 15 inches with the same width as the one above. Another defining element about this kind besides the length is the large fin located at the bottom of the board, used for tracking.

Unfortunately, this board can only be used by athletes or those conversant with the sport. This is because it requires high levels of strength and balance.

Fishing SUPs

For all your fishing expeditions, you can use a fishing SUP. It has a wider deck to offer balance as you navigate the water fishing. It also offers more space to store fishing equipment like attachments, hooks, bait trays, and rod holders, among other items.

The boards are beginner-friendly with a more pointed nose compared to the all-rounded. Otherwise, they have the widest width that can stretch to over 40 inches. They are also versatile offering various other activities rather than simply fishing. What’s more, they can easily be transported, especially those inflatable types.

Yoga SUPs

Paddleboarding has been known to have health benefits thanks to its workout. A good example is yoga. The yoga SUP has the most expansive deck to give you more room for all your poses and exercises. The average length on these boards is 9 to 11 inches with a width of 32 to 36 inches wide.

For the best yoga experience, the inflatable yoga boards offer a better balance for your training. Because you’ll be engaging in all sorts of exercises from cardio, burnout and yoga poses, this yoga board has the best to offer.

Surf SUPs

Another prevalent type of SUPs is the surfing boards. They are shorter, narrower, and have a tail as well. They have a smoother curve than the all-rounded and flatwater boards. These come closest to the traditional surfing boards due to their sizing as well as shape that allows for maneuverability in the water.

The average width of this surfboard is 27 to 32 inches with a length of 7 to 10.5 inches. They aren’t a wise choice for beginners because they are the least stable (just like racing SUP). They are slower and don’t have any tracking that allows them to glide in a straight line. Fortunately, they can be sued over long distances since someone has the hang of using them.

Cruising SUPs

Also termed as recreational paddling, these boards are very similar to flat water and touring surfers. They have an average length of 11 to 14 inches and a width of 28 to 32 inches. They are not optimized for much since most people tend to use them in the summer for swimming and just navigating the water.

They have smooth edges for decent gliding, plus offer average balance for users. This also means they can be used by beginners. They can slops be used over long distances but not recommended as they don’t have the nose to cope with waves.

Whitewater SUPs

Last but not least, the whitewater paddleboards. Also known as the river SUPs, they are meant for adventure or sports-driven activities. They come in a wide variety of inflatables as they can easily glide through waves and other rocky spots.

They are smaller in size than any other kind of paddleboard. They also feature a rocker or a lift at the nose area to help with navigation of the rivers. The average length is 10 inches and below with a width of 30 to 35 inches. They are also beginner-friendly.

Further SUP Ideas & How-tos

The following is a collection of more Stand up paddleboarding ideas and board guides

SUP Equipment & Accessories