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One trend among stand up paddleboards that has really been taking off is the idea of a paddleboard with pedals. If you think it sounds weird, you aren’t alone. Before I tried one for myself, I thought the same thing. However, I quickly learned that pedaling wasn’t as silly as I first thought.
There are multiple benefits to trying out this new sport. Not only is the workout fantastic, so is the ride. When looking at this type of SUP, the most important things to know are what it is, the difference between paddles and pedals, and how to choose.
What is a Stand Up Paddleboard with Pedals?
- 1 What is a Stand Up Paddleboard with Pedals?
- 2 What are the Differences Between Using Paddles or Pedals?
- 3 How to Choose a Pedaled Paddleboard
- 4 Our Favorite Stand Ups with Pedals
Imagine a regular SUP with the addition of two pedals and a mechanism that propels you forward as you step. All this happens at the back of the board while the front is open for storage or a pet. Just don’t make these mistakes as outlined by our fellow animal lover and paddleboarder!
Imagine using an elliptical stair stepper mashup, because that’s what the results will feel like! In fact, the Hobie Mirage Eclipse is one of the best SUPs with pedals on the market. We’ll be reviewing it later in the article. To see for yourself how it works, check out this video:
What are the Differences Between Using Paddles or Pedals?
As I learned, there are a few benefits and drawbacks to each. In the end, the choice really comes down to your comfort level and the kind of workout you want to have. Here are the main differences between paddling and pedaling.
- Pedal boards have a smoother ride. Instead of using your own upper body strength and moving the SUP back and forth, you just have to stand in one place and let your legs do the work. If you want the smoothest ride on a traditional, check out the Atoll 11-foot stand up paddleboard
- Paddling is harder for beginners. Pedal SUPs are a great way to get comfortable on the water. They are easier for new boarders to learn and more stable to learn on. If you suffer from a fear of water, pedaling is a great way to ease into it.
- Pedal Stand Ups offer a more comfortable ride. Not only are they smoother and more stable, the pedal variety is also more comfortable. I had no idea how much of a difference the change in mechanisms would make.
- Traditional paddleboards take more energy. Want to spend a long day on the water but aren’t sure if you have the upper body strength? Try renting a SUP with pedals. They take way less exertion to go the distance.
- Do you want to work on upper body or lower body? If you like to paddleboard for exercise, we recommend one of each for an even workout. Just remember if you want to do yoga you should stick with the board with a paddle.
- Do you have a need for speed? Pedaling will allow you to go much faster in a shorter amount of time than paddling. The fins on the bottom will make sure of that. To find a faster traditional SUP, check out my previous article on which paddleboard fits your style.
How to Choose a Pedaled Paddleboard
Picking out a paddleboard that features pedals is a bit different than a traditional SUP. We have already outlined some of the most important factors in choosing the best regular SUP for your needs. Now, we will talk about the pedaling variety.
When most people consider a purchase of this size, budget comes into play. SUPs with pedals are relatively new, so they are relatively more expensive than the traditional kind. If you are interested in purchasing both or don’t know which to choose, check out the next factor.
You will find some of these stand ups can convert into a traditional paddleboard. By allowing the fins and handlebars to be removed, the manufacturers allow you to get a glimpse into both worlds. However, these are usually the most expensive.
The handlebars are one of the most important parts of your paddleboard. They stabilize you as well as control the direction of your craft. Find handlebars that adjust well to your height and have a good turning radius. You want the smoothest turns for the least amount of effort.
The fins on the bottom are another important aspect of choosing a pedal board. You want to make sure they are built from quality materials that won’t break as soon as they hit a rock. Also, be aware that you need to be careful when pedaling to shore because of these fins.
When considering pedals, think about your storage situation. This variety of SUP is not inflatable, so you will have to think about where to put a 10 or 12-foot board. Luckily, most manufacturers have considered this and you can remove the handlebars.