Stand up paddling is gaining popularity among people of all ages because it is a water activity that is quite easy to learn whether you are young or old. It is also a versatile sport that adapts to your skills as you continue to learn.
An important piece of equipment that you should carefully consider is your stand up paddle board. If you will be spending a large portion of your time doing the sport, investing in a good quality stand up paddle board is the most practical way to ensure that you get the most out of the money you will spend by knowing that the paddle board you invest in will last a long time and will perform according to what is expected of it.
Depending on the style and size of the paddle board, the typical weight for the average stand up paddle board is approximately 30 pounds, although you can find pieces that weigh as light as 15 pounds or as heavy as 40 pounds. SUP boards that are really lightweight usually cost more than their average counterparts.
But it doesn’t mean that they are durable. The advantage of having a light SUP board is that it can be easier to transport and carry around. However, this can also mean that the materials used may be more fragile.
The construction materials and design used in making the board also have a great impact on the overall weight of the board. This factor also depends on the manufacturer’s choice which is why different brands also offer varying prices, depending on what was used in making the board.
Most common materials used are EPS foam encased with fiberglass, plastic or carbon fiber. The core can also be designed to be hollow or solid.
High-end paddle boards usually have hollow cores to offer the rider a better performance as well as being more lightweight. To greatly reduce weight, paddle boards are made from carbon fiber or fiberglass.
Unlike most paddle boards that utilize expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam for their core, layered with wood or PVC, epoxy and fiberglass, paddle boards that are constructed using carbon utilize carbon fiber instead of fiberglass, together with foam, to make the core. Aside from being stronger and harder that fiberglass, carbon fiber also weighs lighter compared to fiberglass.
Advantages of carbon fiber materials:
Strong and lightweight
These are distinct characteristics that make carbon fiber more appealing compared to other materials. Because it is stiffer, the paddle board becomes more responsive on water, which is a must when it comes to surfing or paddling that requires the rider to make lots of turns. It also reduces the tendency of the board to flex under the rider’s weight, which affects one’s speed and performance.
The lightness of the materials used makes the stand-up paddle board move faster due to less drag in the water.
Disadvantages of using carbon fiber materials:
A major drawback in opting for a carbon fiber paddle board is the high price. The more carbon fiber you use in the construction, the more expensive the paddle board will become.
This is why manufacturers usually just incorporate carbon with other materials instead of making the stand-up paddle board full-on carbon.
By including carbon in the make and design, manufacturers can adjust how the board will perform out in the water but can still adjust the price at a range that will still be affordable by most people.
Another disadvantage that comes with a carbon board is that it will not be as durable as other paddle boards if no reinforcements are added. Although carbon is a sturdy material, boards made of carbon are more prone to dings compared to fiberglass because it is stiffer and brittle.
You need to consider this factor when choosing a place to use your carbon paddle board as smashing it into rocks will surely damage the board. You also have to be careful in transporting carbon paddle boards because although they are light, they can get easily dinged.
Quite meticulous to repair
If carbon fiber gets damaged, repairing it will require more attention to detail, unlike repairing fiber glass, since carbon fiber is just really strands of carbon woven together in sheets. If the fibers get torn apart, the materials need to be replaced with a new one, sanded or cut out. Repairing it needs to be done by people who specialize in it.