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Unless you’ve been living under a rock or hiding out in the desert, you’ve probably noticed that the number of people heading out onto the water on the back of a paddleboard has dramatically increased in the last couple of years.
Whether paddleboarding’s rise in popularity is due to the inherent parochial nature of surfing and bodyboarding or simply because it’s a fun way to keep fit and enjoy being in the water is anyone’s guess, but whatever the reason for it becoming fashionable really is, it’s completely unimportant and doesn’t really matter.
We’re just glad that more people are discovering paddleboarding and getting out there, and as you’ve decided to drop by, we’re guessing that you’re looking to join us and head out into the big blue on the back of your own paddleboard. If that’s the case then you’ve definitely come to the right place.
Foam Is Good, Foam Is Your Friend
Let’s cut straight to the chase and get to the heart of the matter and the reason that you’re here. So are foam paddle boards any good?
Actually, for beginners, they’re an incredibly good way to discover your feet in the world of paddleboarding.
And seeing as you’re here, and you’re interested we’re going to tell you why we believe that every beginner and intermediate paddleboarder should learn the ins and outs of their new athletic pursuit on the back of an SUP (stand up paddleboarding) foam paddleboard.
First things first, if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive way to start your paddleboarding journey, then the only way to go is with a foam board.
Granted, they’re not as cheap as plastic boards are, but they weigh significantly less than plastic boards do (in some cases up to fifteen pounds less, which when you’re paddling in the water you’ll feel every ounce of), which makes them easier to control, much faster and far more fun than their slightly more affordable plastic counterparts.
They’re also surprisingly tough, and the foam body that’s built around the three internal wooden stingers and EPS foam core lend them a durability that’s hard to find fault with.
Foam boards will absorb almost all of the punishment that a new paddleboarder will hand out to them and won’t end up with too many battle scars. And even if they do end up suffering a few dings, as they’re completely waterproof, it won’t affect their ability to stay afloat.
All of that inherent toughness and refusal to do anything other than float has a surprising and rather unexpected side effect, and that’s their universal ability to carry just about anyone who wants to get out on a SUP and enjoy the water.
Unlike a lot of other SUPs, foam boards can carry up to three hundred pounds before they start to sink, which makes them an ideal weapon for every would-be border out there, regardless of their size or shape.
Get Ready For The Negative Waves
Nothing in life is perfect and foam paddleboards have their own inherent flaws.
Even though they’re made out of foam, they’re still hard boards and if you take a spill on one, or get hit by a foam board, you will feel every single pound of its weight as you slam into it, or it slams into you.
Sure, they’re lighter than plastic boards are, but if you do get hit by one, you’ll know it.
They’re also heavier and clumsier than the fiberglass and epoxy SUPs are, which makes them slower and more difficult to maneuver than some boards are.
That said, as they’re also significantly cheaper than their lighter cousins, sacrificing a little speed and turning ability is something that a lot of newbies and veterans alike are willing to endure in order to make the most of a foamies inbuilt toughness and longevity.
The truth is, foam paddle boards are perfect for beginners and anyone who just wants to get out on the water every now and then. But that’s all they really are.
They’re beginners boards, so if you’re looking for a way to dip your toes in the water to see if the life of a paddle boarder is for you, then the only way to find out if you love it as much as you think you’re going to is by riding out to meet your watery fate on the back of a foam SUP.
Are Bamboo Paddle Boards Good?
Bamboo is one of the most resilient and plentiful woods in the world and grows at an astonishing pace, which makes it a perfect alternative to some of the more traditional woods that we take for granted and use for everyday purposes.
And as it’s so light and strong, bamboo is an ideal material to fashion paddleboards from.
As they’re almost as tough as carbon fiber is and just as light as fiberglass, bamboo paddleboards are regarded as being high-end boards that are fast, responsive, easy to ride, and have found a special place in the hearts of an entire generation of paddle boarders. Are bamboo paddleboards good?
No, they’re not. They’re incredible.
Are Soft Top Paddle Boards Good?
They absolutely are, but like all paddleboards, they have a purpose and are better suited to some paddle boarders than others.
Soft top boards aren’t as prone to taking damage or getting dinged as some paddleboards are, and because of their soft surface, if a boarder takes a spill on a soft top SUP, they’re far less likely to get hurt.
This makes them the perfect medium for youngsters to learn how to paddleboard on, and with, So yes, they’re great SUPs as long as you haven’t hit puberty yet.
Are Wood Paddle Boards Good?
Are wood paddleboards good? Again, as wood is relatively light and floats, it’s a great material to make paddleboards from. Wood paddleboards often look incredible, they’re fast and responsive and favored by more experienced riders.
But they are prone to damage, so unless you really know what you’re doing out there, you’d be far better off riding a fiberglass or foam SUP than one that’s been made out of wood.
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.