Covewater SUP Santa Cruz Stand Up Paddle

How to Choose a SUP Board

How to Choose a SUP image signs
Trying to understand which stand up paddleboard is for you can be very confusing!  Length, width, thickness, volume, rocker, weight, displacement, etc... What does it all mean?  I'm potentally about to spend hundreds of dollars - how do I make sure I won't be disappointed with the board I end up purchasing???  To be honest, the easiest answer is:


When you visit Covewater, we will ask you several questions about your intended plans with a SUP:  Who will be using it and where?  What are the riders' heights and weights?  What are your intended uses - flatwater, surf, touring, racing, fishing, etc?  What are your criteria like price, weight, and length?

Once we understand your needs, then we can walk you through several examples of boards in the shop that will work excellently for your needs and criteria.  With more than 40 models in the shop, there will be at least 3 or 4 that are great matches.  You will be able to actually hold, lift and feel these boards in person.  You'll get a feel for their true weight, how easily you can carry it, and whether or not it appeals to you in "real-life".  Then, you can actually take the boards out and try them!


Now that we have identified boards that meet your needs, you can take them out for a paddle!  Only by actually paddling a SUP will you know what feels perfect for you - the exact combination of charcteristics such as glide and stability in a board that works for you in terms of its weight, appearance and price!  When you demo boards, you rent them all day, however, you can apply up to $100 in rental fees toward the cost of a board.  Therefore, your demos end up being FREE!  Genius idea, you're welcome!


Perhaps you've already encountered it -- retailers and manufacturers frequently describe every board as something like: "perfect for flatwater or the surf - perfect for women or bigger paddlers - perfect for the beginner to the expert paddler."  Of course, you already figured out that can't possibly be the case, right?  Well, it's not.  For example, a 140 pound woman who wants to cruise her local lakes or harbor is looking for something completely different in several regards than a 180 pound man looking for something to paddle and surf a bit, too.  Even though both may need the same length board (a 10'0" might work well for both for example), the boards they need are very different!


When something is not right for you, we'll tell you!  Our number one priority is making sure you end up with the perfect board for you, your needs and your budget!  Word of mouth is our most powerful advertising, and we are proud of how stongly the SUP community feels about sending new paddlers to us for advice and guidance.  See what people have to say on Yelp about their customer experience shopping for a SUP with Covewater.


When making a major purchase in life, we all too often learn by error.  Whether it's buying a laptop, choosing the bad cell phone plan, or choosing a contractor, when you are making major decisions in areas that are out of your comfort zone, someone that you can trust is invaluable.  A good, reliable and honest mechanic, for example, is gold... Think of us as your good mechanic for SUP!  Here's how to avoid the shady mechanic that will leave you disappointed:

  • Avoid "too good to be true" package deals.  A board, paddle, bag and leash for $900?  There is a reason why it's so cheap: the board will be heavy (30 pounds or more is definitely heavy) and cheaply constructed.  The paddles in package deals are notoriously poorly made and heavy.  We have sold countless paddles to people whose package deal paddle either broke or was so heavy that they just couldn't stand it anymore.  
  • Craigslist sellers.  Of course he'll tell you it will be a great board for you.  He just wants to sell it so he can take down the ad and stop his inbox from filling up with questions.  Use extrememe caution.  Most people hold onto good SUPs, even when they buy their second or third.
  • Buying online.  Purchasing a SUP online can be a very risky proposition.  You are purchasing the board sight-unseen.  Even if you are personally familiar with the board you are purchasing online, every SUP shipped to your door carries a huge risk of damage.  Trust us on this one! As all SUP retailers know, when shipping boxes of this size and weight, damage is all too common.  Read the fine print:  Unless the board is a total loss, it will be up to YOU to find some kind of a repair the damage, and you'll only be credited for the cost of the repair.  You'll be stuck with a repaired damaged board, and it will be up to you to find a good repair shop and transport it there.  This is a huge dissapointment for those who have been saving up for months for a perfect, brand new board of their very own.


Choosing a SUP board can be confusing and full of pitfalls.  That's what we're he're to help with.  Come on in, meet us, feel the boards.  Let us help you gain an understanding of what will work for you, then let's help you take one home!  You're a part of the Covewater family the moment you walk in our doors, and we'll be here for you when you need us for your purchase and beyond.


Covewater is a small, family owned business opened in 2010.  A true hub for the stand up paddling community, Covewater is northern California's largest and oldest stand up paddle shop.  Covewater's unparalled selection, knowledge and customer service have afforded it the type of word of mouth that no big-box retailer can ever achieve.  Support those who truly support their customers and their sport - Covewater Paddle Surf.

See what real customers are saying about Covewater on Yelp

Covewater Paddle Surf
726 Water Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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