You’ve decided that you prefer an inflatable stand up paddle board (ISUP) over a solid foam core board. However, your paddle expeditions will take you over choppy water, including those along coastal shores. You’re wondering if there are ISUPs that can manage the chop. There absolutely are, however as with anything, not all options are created alike. The ISUPs you’ve seen at Canadian Tire and big-box retailers are not manufactured to manage incoming swell, wake, nor windblown liquid that can have paddlers spend more time in the drink instead of above the surface. Understanding your thirst for a more adventurous paddling experience we have taken the time to put together a list of what you need to look for when choosing an ISUP for at-times turbulent waters.
What to Look for When Choosing an ISUP to Navigate Through Choppy and Somewhat Rough Waters
A v-board hull, much the same as a displacement hull, is characterized by a pointed nose, similar to what you see on high-performance composite touring and race boards, but also common to kayaks. The v-shape allows the board to cut through choppy water more efficiently than a planing (flat and wide) hull. The design makes the board fast, so when you see an incoming wake or soon-to-be-breaking wave you can race to beat it head-on and cut through before it breaks and topples you over. And to many, it just looks a lot cooler than your traditional ISUP, as it lets people know that you mean business!
The v-board displacement hull is found on our Ketos Racing SUP. Or not quite your cup of tea? You can still find a v-shape nose that will help you cut through chop with our Carta Marina Touring SUP. It does not have the same displacement hull but is still very effective in managing the bumpy waters common to the mainland Vancouver coast and the like. For most paddlers, who only deal with chop some of the time, the Carta Marina is a perfect match. That said, you can get away with not having a v-shape in your nose, especially if the following conditions are met!
A SUP’s rocker is the upward curve found in the nose. It’s an important feature for performance and allows an ISUP to rise with, and over, bumps in the water. SUPs with a flat rocker are not maneuverable in choppy water and are only good in flat lakes without wind or wake. It really limits usability. Unless you plan on paddling in a swimming pool you will want to look for a rocker in the front of your ISUP. A high-nose rocker will also be too restricting, appropriate only to whitewater and surfing SUPs. For typical choppy waters, you want a moderate nose rocker. This will allow you to not only manage those rougher days, it will still let you do yoga, fishing, casual paddling, and most other SUPing activities that you plan on doing. With a moderate nose rocker, you can paddle open ocean, chop, flat water alike. ALL Sea Gods ISUPs have a moderate rocker.
Best Grip for Sure-Footing
The best inflatable SUP for choppy water will have a great grip. ALL Sea Gods boards have been manufactured to include a diamond pattern high traction EVA pad, complete with 5mm thickness and 50A rigidity. By adjusting your footing for firm planting on this diamond-pattern grip you’ll be less likely to slip off when the shop makes you hop. In this sense, all Sea Gods ISUPs are prepared to manage reasonably choppy waters (albeit to varying degrees).
A Place to Secure Your Gear
Armed with core strength and the right board, you may have confidence paddling on your ISUP over choppy water, but can you say the same about your gear? When bringing along a pack, you require a place to secure it, or risk losing your smartphone, wallet, and worse - your snacks! To keep this from happening your ISUP requires built-in cargo securement features. Luckily, ALL Sea Gods ISUPs have been designed with a high-calibre bungee cargo tie-downs with triple-reinforced stainless D-rings. Even when an obnoxious wake-boarding boat comes ripping past without regard for nearby paddlers you’ll have peace of mind that your gear will stay on top of the board and not sink to the bottom of the sea.
View dimensions, specs, prices, and availability for all of our paddle boards here. If you have any questions about which Sea Gods ISUPs are best for choppy water along with your other needs, please feel free to contact Sea Gods anytime.