Stand Up Paddleboarding FAQs
Q: Do I need waves in order to paddleboard?
A: No, definitely not! There are many different aspects to the sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding, including racing and YOW (Yoga on Water), and PaddleFit. Flat water is best for learning proper technique.
Q: Where can I rent a board?
A: Walk on Water Inflatable Paddle Sports rents stand up paddleboards (SUP’s) by ½ day, full day, or by the week! All rentals include an SUP, Paddle, Leash, PFD and a 15 min tutorial. Renting is a fun and inexpensive way for beginners and pros alike to enjoy the sport and try out equipment before they buy.
Q: What size paddleboard is best for me?
A: In the beginning, depending on size weight and skill, a board that will float you and keep you stable will be the best experience. Many times new paddlers are so anxious to get out an go that they don’t take the time to find out if there is a better board for them. Feel free to ask Walk on Water IPS to help fit you for the right board for the day.
Q: Why does the paddle have an angle?
A: The angle helps for a positive entry into the water and a positive exit. We know it’s all about getting fit, but negative drag, friction and improper body alignment can hurt more than help. The blade should be angled forward when you first reach out in your stroke. We know it looks to make more sense to have the blade backwards but upon the ending of your stroke you want that blade exiting straight up and down next to your body reducing drag and allowing you to recover your stroke faster. Jim Terrell of Quickblade Paddles is obsessed with hydrodynamics and we encourage you to see what he has to say.
Q: What should I wear for paddleboarding?
A: Wear clothing that lets you move and that can get wet: shorts and a T-shirt (or better yet a rash guard with SPF) or a swimsuit work well in our beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, South Florida Tropical climates. In cold weather, consider a wetsuit or drysuit (if you live in Antarctica). Always have a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) within arms reach.
Q: Do I need to wax the top of the paddleboard?
A: Most paddleboards don’t require wax. The EVA foam deck pad is usually installed right from factory. It’s comfortable on your feet, provides great traction and doesn’t become a melted mess in the sun! But be warned! If you have a black deck pad, put some water on it before you stand on it if it’s been sitting in the sun.
Q: How do I take care of my Stand Up Paddleboard?
A: Be sure to take special care of your SUP as you would any other sporting equipment. We recommend that you rinse the board down after salt water contact, rinse out all of the Fin Boxes (if you have them), inspect your leash-plug, the leash cord, and the leash itself. Inspect the board for any cracks, dings or puncture marks and repair them accordingly. You do not want water seeping into your board during your next session or SUP excursion. Rail rash or paddle slap can be removed with Goo-Gone or a fine rubbing compound… white deck pads can be cleaned with a Magic Eraser with ease.
Also, Never expose your Stand Up Paddlebaoard or iSUP to excessive heat. When your board is not in use, leaving it laying on the beach for hours at a time is not recommended. Special care should be taken to protect your board from the suns harmful rays. Remember, the board is filled with foam and and other materials that can expand and contract due to the chemical reaction it will have with excessive heat. Your deckpad may also distort or become unstuck from the board and the sun will also fade your colors. Most of these are NOT covered under warranty because it’s not manufacturing defect or question of quality.
Do not expose your SUP board to excessive heat or sunlight when not in use. Whenever you are not using your SUP board (either during storage or transport to/from the beach) particular care and attention should be made to protect the board from the sun and heat. Excessive exposure to the sun and/or heat can result in the following unavoidable and undesirable consequences to particularly the deck pad which can become :
- Distorted in size and/or quality.
- Unstuck from the board.
- Significant fading of colour.
These undesirable consequences are not covered under Warranty as they are due to a user or storage problem, and not related to the manufacturing or material quality of your product.
Q: How can I transport a Stand Up Paddleboard on my car?
A: You can carry your SUP on the roof rack of a car, truck or van (and now a day you can trailer it behind your bicycle). It's best to use a rack pad in order to protect the board. Be sure to stack the board on the roof with the fin up, and fin towards the front (just incase the straps become loose and the board slides, the fin will grab the strap and save your investment!). Use hand tightening not ratcheting straps so you don’t crush the board. A hand snug should be more than enough. IF taking long trips, strap down the tail of the board to the front of the car to compensate for the updraft.
Q: Can the fins on a paddleboard be removed?
A: Yes! The fins can be removed on most Epoxy or glassed board, replaced, and/or experimented with. Some boards offer different fin placement such as single fin, thruster fin, and quad fin set-ups. Each setup has it’s own unique feel in different conditions, but never go out without fins… you won’t have much fun! Many iSUP’s don’t have this luxury and you should check the manufacturers specs before you buy.
Q: Where is the best place to stand on a paddleboard?
A: The best place is just behind the center (usually straddling the handle). You can move forward or backward depending on the conditions. Move forward if you have a nasty head wind and drive that nose into the water for less wind resistance. Move backward during down winders or while riding small waves so the nose stays out of the water and lets the rocker of the board do it’s job.
Q: Can I take a paddleboard on rivers?
A: Yes, you can paddle on any body of water. If there was a flood and your backyard was all water, why not give it a try! The neighbors will get a good laugh!
Q: Why not just use a kayak?
A: Stand up Paddleboarding provides a different kind of experience. While kayaking is a fun, paddleboarding provides you with a full body workout and a better vantage point for seeing sea life on the bottom of the ocean. Paddleboarding, will allow you to work as hard or as little as you want and anyone from 8-80 can enjoy it!
Q: Can you surf with a paddleboard?
A: Certainly! We suggest a lesson or two before going into the line-up. You have to remember safety and etiquette not just for yourself but for the others around you. An SUP and a paddle can make for big mistakes if not educated properly.
Q: What does a full paddleboarding setup cost?
Q: Is stand up paddleboarding hard to do?
A: This is the most commonly asked question we get when we are paddling. The truth is it is a very easy sport but like anything-new there is a little bit of a learning curve. When you first get on the board you are going to feel shaky. This is your muscles and mind over-compensating for the fact that the board or kayak is moving. As you paddle, your mind and body will naturally realize they don't have to work so hard. Soon you will find that you feel completely at ease with your paddleboard. This transformation will usually happen in the first hour of paddling, but everyone is different so don't be discouraged if it takes you a little longer. When you start to feel at ease, soon find that you forget that you are walking on water and will relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Q: How do I inflate my inflatable paddleboard (iSUP)? Watch Video
A: There are a couple of choices when inflating your board or kayak. All of our products come with a hand pump. These pumps work great, but they take a little effort when pumping the inflatable paddleboard (iSUP) to the recommended 14psi to 17psi. We like to look at this as a little warm up before we paddle, but we realize that you may be inflating multiple so we recommend getting a 12v electric high-pressure pump. These will get your board up to about 11psi so you can top it off with the hand pump.
To inflate the iSUP, unroll the paddleboard and ensure the valve is in the closed position (to do this push the pin in the center of the valve and make sure it is popped out. If not turn it and it will pop out). Hook up your pump and begin inflating. This can take a while, so pace yourself. Once you have it to the desired pressure (14psi to 17psi) remove the pump and put cap on valve. If you have The Cuttlefish fin system install them at this point.
Q: What is The CUTTLEFISH™ fin system?
A: The CUTTLEFISH™ is a new patent pending design by C4 Waterman. The unique fin system is exclusive to select models of our Rigid AirCore iSUP’s. This technology offers stand up paddleboarders a change from the flexible permanent fins with the benefit of selecting from a wide variety of fin designs from leading fin manufacturer’s such as FCS. Whether surfing waves, paddling rivers or simply choosing to travel a little easier, you can achieve it riding with us.
Q: How do I deflate my inflatable paddleboard?
A: To deflate your paddleboard slowly push in the pin in the center of the valve and turn to lock open once the pressure is out of the board slowly start rolling it up from the end opposite the valve. If you have an electric pump you can attach the hose to the deflate side of the pump and suck all the air out of it. This is not necessary but will make it roll up tighter.
Q: What sets the C4 WATERMAN brand apart from other stand up paddleboard companies that sell inflatable paddleboards?
A: All C4 iWATERMAN products are fabricated from heavy-duty, military-grade, double-wall PVC material. Inside each product, thousands of high-tech fiber ‘cilia’ anchor the deck to bottom, allowing for superior rigidity and locking in C4’s proprietary rockers–features that grant never before seen durability and the closest thing to hard board performance of any inflatable surf craft. And unlike the other brands that use only glue on their seams, the iWATERMAN products are finely stitched with 30% additional thicker, high-tensile fiber thread, making them much tougher, stiffer, and able to withstand a higher PSI (pounds per square inch) of inflation, ranging from 14psi -18psi. The result: A rough-and-ready surf/paddle/rescue tool that is pliant enough to bounce off rocks, yet still deliver hard product performance and reliability.
Q: Why is it important for my instructors be PaddleFit Certified?
A: PaddleFit is a complete fitness system, developed by Brody Welte, that takes you through a full physical assessment. Walk on Water Fitness then uses this assessment to develop a clearly defined path that will help you achieve your goals through both land-based workouts, paddling technique and water based workouts. We will spend the majority of our time in the great outdoors, taking advantage of the natural terrain to enhance our workout experience, both physically and mentally.
All classes are 10 people and under, so we can focus on individual performance and instruction. PaddleFit classes take place at a variety of amazing outdoor locations right here in Fort Lauderdale Florida that are hand selected by Walk on Water Fitness to provide you with an amazing experience and a killer workout. Whether your goals are weight loss, improving your overall health and conditioning, pushing your paddling technique to new heights or you just want a refreshing approach to working out that truly works, we have a program for you and we are excited to have you.
Benefits of the Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard (iSUP):
See some of the benefits of an Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard (iSUP) over an EPS/Epoxy board:
- Inflatable paddleboards Easier to store than an epoxy board. They roll up, fit in a bag, stuff it in a closet and you can even check it as a bag at the airport and avoid oversize baggage fees or board abuse.
- iSUP’s are virtually Indestructible. You can drop them, throw them, bump them, or even run them over with a truck (none of these actions are recommended with an epoxy board… trust us!). They won’t crack, ding or fill with water if you forgot to put the air release valve in. As long as you don’t puncture the board with a super sharp object it will handle all kinds of abuse. If you do puncture it, you can easily repair the hole with the repair kit.
- Epoxy boards are not easy to transport. With iSUP’s there is no need for roof racks or SUP wheels. iSUP’s fit in a car/trunk, boat and if you are daring, you can carry it on your bike or motorcycle. On your boat, don’t worry about dings and gauges to your boat or paddleboard. When it’s time to start heading home, just deflate the iSUP and stow it away.
- Inflatable Paddleboards won’t knock you out in the surf making them kid friendly and easy to learn to paddle surf on. Kids can use them pool toys in the ocean. Jump, play, and fall on the board, it’s all about fun!
- Easy on the feet - While very rigid, the air does cushion your feet a lot more than a hard board, no matter how good the deck pad is.
- Best of all, iSUP’s are LESS EXPENSIVE than most epoxy boards. This makes iSUP’s great for a second board, or for travel or guests.
Paddleboarding FAQ/SUP Terminology
Stand Up Paddleboard, aka Stand up Paddleboard, aka SUP: By definition a Stand Up Paddleboarding is a paddling sport where the paddler stands up on a board similar to a surfboard or a windsurf board and propels the board with long single-bladed paddle. The board is a large piece of foam covered in an epoxy or fiberglass mixture depending on make and model. Now SUP’s are sometimes hollow or inflatable. We would define the sport as WOW! Walk on water and have the most fun you have ever experienced!
Buoyancy: The length x width x thickness of the board combined with the overall shape of the board will determine the volume of the board. A board that has adequate volume for the riders weight won’t sink under the water. The board will be more stable as well as being easier to paddle and the board will move faster than a board of less volume that sits lower in the water.
Stability: If you don’t have sea legs yet, this is important. The combination of a board's volume and width will determine the rail to rail (side to side) stability. When standing square to the board, the stability is what will keep you dry and out of the water while paddling. While there is no specific length or width ratio that defines a stable paddleboard, generally surf and race boards will be in the 26"-29" (from 7’-18’ in length), range while most flat water boards will be in the 30"-32" range (9’-14’ in length). Anything over 32" (with an 11’ length or greater) would be considered very stable. Unfortunately there is no perfect all around board as a wider board (above 32") will be harder to turn and will be less responsive in the surf.
Length: The overall length of the board from the nose to the tail. Generally speaking the longer board the faster and straighter it will paddle. This is because it will cut thru the water and allowing it to carry more glide between strokes. Each discipline of SUP may not need the longest board for speed. You must factor in your needs to determine what you are looking for.
Volume: The volume of the board directly relates to the buoyancy of the board. It is often calculated into Liters (L). See buoyancy for more info.
Big Wave Stand Up Paddleboards (Big Wave SUP’S):
SUP for big waves are for maximum fun on both big waves and on flat, glassy water. The shape of a Big Wave SUP board provides an excellent compromise between maneuverability, speed and stability. Check out the godfather of big wave surfing, Laird Hamilton, for inspiration and tips on how to live like a waterman.
Racing Stand Up Paddlebaoards (Racing SUP’s): A racing stand up paddleboard (SUP) will be slightly different from a board used mainly for recreational purposes. Typically, they are lighter in construction, much more narrow in the nose and tail, longer (12’6 is average), and have several other hydrodynamic features (such as rocker, draw, concave hull designs and tail release), which will propel them through the water more cleanly and quickly. Find more tips on paddle racing at SUP the Mag.
Core Strength: This refers to the body region bounded by the abdominal wall, the pelvis, lower back and the diaphragm. This area provides the ability to stabilize the human body during movement. It is a very important strength to have and will only increase with experience and time on the water.
Cruiser Boards: Typically a cruiser or entry-level board will tend to be similar to racing-style paddleboards. Cruiser boards are meant for laid back activity, like long excursions but can still double as a race board depending on personal comfort.
Leashes: A line affixed to the tail to attach the board to the paddler. Paddleboards (SUP’s) can be as much as 5-6 times heavier and 2-3 times longer than a traditional short board surfboard. This means that a regular surf leash is NOT strong or LONG enough to use. Be sure to check that the leash and ankle-coil you will be using is rated for SUP. When a leash is rated for SUP, it will have a much thicker Urethane cord. The longer the leash, the less likely it is to break and the less likely you are to get hit if you fall off in the surf. There are 9’, 10’, 11’ and 12’ long leashes, straight leashes and coiled leash, and ankle or calf leashes. Which one fits you depends on your board and function. Racers want a coiled leash so it doesn’t drag in the water and create friction but it may not be suitable in the surf as it is harder to keep from wrapping around your leg or acting as a spring bringing your board back at you. Always remember to use your leash.
Paddles: These days there are many different shapes and blade sizes and different terms for each part of the paddle. Your overall height and the type of water you will be riding typically determine the size of your paddle. Usually, paddles should be 8-10 inches more than your height. Paddles have different handle shapes and materials, as well as different shafts (the part between the blade and the handle), made from materials such as aluminum, carbon, and fiberglass. The shafts can be adjustable in two or three pieces, they can be single pieces have a bend or “elbow” in the shaft for maximum efficiency or straight. Each material can have a different flex index. If you are a novice, try a couple of sizes and brands before making your final selection. C4 Waterman Paddles are our preferred paddles and they have an extensive selection!
Rails: The side of the board where the top and bottom meet. This is the part of the stand up paddleboard (SUP), which provides stability in choppy water and maneuverability for the whole SUP. Rails are usually parallel through the middle of the SUP to improve both tracking and glide. Taller rails have been seen on racing SUP’s and shorter rails are more conducive to surfing SUP’s.
Stance: Finding the right stance to distribute your weight evenly is the best way to safely stand up on a paddleboard. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and the board should be gripped with your toes and the bottoms of your feet.
Water Safety: Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP’s) are recognized as a watercraft by the U.S. Coast Guard. The same rules that apply to boats also apply to SUP’s. A basic safety consideration is to always wear your PDF (personal flotation device) and whistle when on your SUP. Read more about these at the World Paddle Association here.
Wave Sufing Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP’s): The construction of a wave surfing paddleboard has a different type of rail structure than paddleboards used for smoother water surfaces. The larger the type of wave being surfed, the more intricate the board. Paddleboarding for recreation really just requires a basic board, paddle, and PFD. The wave surfing types are the racing car version of a paddleboard and can have a variety of customized features added.
Beam: The width of the board at the widest point.
Carry Handle: Located in the center of the deck to carry the board.
Deck: Top surface of the board.
Deck Pad: Usually a foam area on the deck where the paddler stands. Most paddleboards come equipped with a traction pad preinstalled on the deck of the board. The traction pad is a soft layer of EVA foam typically grooved to provide grip and a soft cushion for the feet much like the sole of a shoe.
Fin Boxes: Are recessed compartments under the tail where the fins attach to. There are many different styles of fins and fin boxes.
Fins: Mounted under the tail, they help stabilize the board and assist in tracking. Fin styles and shapes vary for surfing and racing. To name a few, there are FCS, Futures, Rainbow Fin Co., and the ever famous, Glassed in. A great resource for race fins and surf fins would be Larry Allison, a great guy and very easy to talk to. You can also find a great guide to surfboard fins at Tactics.com. Trial and error until you get the feel you are looking for is best.
Leash Plug: A fixture at the tail to attach the leash.
LOA: Length over all. Total length of the board.
Nose: The front of the board.
Tail: The back end of the board.
Paddle Slap or Rail Rash: Usually seen on the rails of your SUP. This occurs during your stroke when you pull to close to your board. It is inevitable, but can be stopped by either controlling your paddle more, using a rubber paddle guard or buying rail tape to protect your board. We assume the sea-life below you hates the noise as much as you hate the marks on the side of the board.
Displacement Hulls: Mostly seen on Race paddleboards (SUP’s) the nose design is similar to kayaks, canoes, or rowing shells, displacing the water around the SUP allowing for better glide.
Planing Hulls: Flatter nose design allowing surfing capabilities. These boards ride on top of the water instead of through the water. C4 Waterman and Starboard have some amazing surf style boards for all levels of enjoyment.
Rocker: Like the rocker of a rocking chair, this shape of a hull allows the SUP to maneuver more easily. Unfortunately the more rocker, the worst your board will track on flat water.
Tracking: The ability to go straight. Racing stand up paddleboards (SUP’s) have the ultimate tracking due to length and fin design. Shorter boards with lots of rocker do not track well, creating lots of crossover paddling (left side to right side). Tracking is most important in racing.
Inflatable SUP Materials: In a nutshell, inflatables are far more durable than composite boards, lighter than plastic boards, a MUCH more portable than any hard board.The main drawbacks to inflatable SUP’s are lack of speed and stiffness. There have been tremendous advances over the past few years in material technology, allowing companies to offer boards that are approaching hard board stiffness. You have probably noticed a large price differential with various inflatables (ranging from about $300-$1300). Part of what you are paying for is a board that can be inflated from 15-18psi, which creates a solid, stiff platform to paddle on.
Epoxy Resin: Epoxy resin is a heat setting polymer that is created through the combination of a resin and hardener. It is often found in modern surfboards and SUP boards because it is lightweight and extremely durable. It will not crack nearly as easily as the commonly used polyester sanding resin in standard surfboards. However, it can be harder to fix in the event that it does malfunction.
EPS Foam: EPS stands for expanded polystyrene. It is rigid closed-cell foam with a much larger cell size than standard surfboard polyurethane foam. Because of its large cells, it is not easily sanded or hand-shaped. Many EPS blanks are made from a mold and glassed without any human manipulation. They are often much stronger than standard polyurethane blanks, especially when coupled with epoxy resin.
Category: The category refers to the intended use of the stand-up board.
MSRP: Manufacturer's suggested retail price.
PFD (Personal Flotation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard classifies stand up paddleboards as vessels, so always wear a PFD whenever you're paddling navigable water.
Sidestroke: One easy method to is simply to paddle on one side until the nose turns in the direction you want to go. Want to turn right? Paddle on the left. Headed to the left? Paddle on the right. Check out one of the most watched SUP instructional videos by John Denney.
Backpaddle: Another fast way to turn or reverse direction is to simply drag the paddle or paddle backwards on either side of the board.
Sea ("c") stroke: Plant your paddle towards the front of the board and take a long sweeping stroke towards the tail. This is sometimes called a sweep stroke.
Stand Up Paddleboard Accessories: SUP accessories are the latest trend and you can find most anything to deck out your board. Accessories range from underwater lights to fishing crates, suction cups, cargo netting, dry bags, carry straps and more.
Rash Guard (aka rash vest or rashie): Rash guards are a type of water-wear made from spandex and nylon or polyester that protects your skin from the sun and/or abrasions while on your SUP. You can wear it alone or under a wetsuit and most rash guards provide SPF protection to help during extreme sun times during the day. The rash guard can also be used as a source of warmth during those early morning dawn patrol sessions. Rashies dry quick too! Get yours here!
Rail Tape: Rail tape is an adhesive strip (can usually be purchased in clear or white) that you can place on the rails of your stand up paddleboard to protect it from paddle slap or barnacle rub.
Shaka (sometimes spelled incorrectly as shocka): This is a Hawaiian hand gesture loosely meaning to chill and be laid back. The shaka can be used to welcome your surf buddies or say goodbye… sometimes it can be used as a thank you!
Kook: A beginner who may surf to try and look cool, usually this person does not follow the rules. If you get called a kook, it’s not a term of endearment. Paddlesurf Hawaii explains this well.
Blank: A piece of foam used to shape a board. Once shaped, the glassing (or finishing) process can begin. Some well known shapers are Jimmy Lewis, Sean Ordonez, Ron House, Gerry Lopez, and Dave Parmenter.
YOW: An acronym for Yoga On Water.
Bottom Turn: This is usually the first move/turn made when coming off the face of wave at the base.
Close Out Waves: When a wave breaks along the entire length all at once, it’s a close out. Florida is notorious for close out waves and mushburgers.
Mushburger: Poor, slow, mushy waves with absolutely no power or speed.
Cranking, Firing or Going Off: When the surf is up and things are looking good, call your friends and tell them it’s go time!
Goofy Foot: When you surf with your right foot forward. Usually your leash would then go on your left ankle.
Regular Foot: When you surf with your left foot forward. Usually your leash would then go on your right ankle.
Kick Out: When you finish riding your wave, turn back over the top of the wave to end your ride.
Offshore Wind: When the wind blows from the shore to the water at your surf spot. Offshore winds can make ideal surfing conditions.
Onshore Wind: When the wind blows from the ocean to the land and spoils the surf conditions. Onshore winds push the waves down and won’t allow them to form. Usually onshore winds create a mushburger day.
Party Wave: When all of your buddies can catch the same wave and not fight, it’s a party wave.
Quiver: A term describing the collection of your boards.
Switch Stance: If you are goofy footed and you ride your board regular footed you just rode switched (or vise versa).
Worked: When you get worked you are being held under and thrown about by the wave.