Surfboards vs. Paddleboards. Which will you choose?
This guide has been created to help you decide between picking a surfboard or paddleboard.
Surfing is a type of water sport where a surfer stands on a surfboard and rides waves. During surfing, surfers only use their bodies to paddle and control the surfboard. The first written description of surfing on the Hawaiian beaches was back in 1779. It is believed that surfing started way before that.
Back then surfers would ride waves while lying, seated or standing on pieces of wooden planks. During that time, Hawaiians had already made it a sport and were showing great skill in it. Stand up paddle boarding is a relatively new sport catching up in most areas.
However, the roots of the sport can be traced back to early days, 3000 BC. At that time, man was paddling his water craft while standing up to go about his business. The crafts being used then were bundled reed watercrafts and canoes.
The very first evidence of standup paddle boarding was seen back in 2004 in a photo where a man is seen riding a wave on a huge board and with a two bladed kayak paddle. It’s believed that’s what led to standup paddle boarding as it is known today.
The first standup paddleboard was made in 2001. Since then, the sport has gained popularity and won’t stop anytime soon.
What is a Surfboard?
It is the board used for surfing. A surfboard can be made of many different materials, including polyurethane (PU), epoxy (EPS), carbon fiber, Kevlar, and bamboo among others. Surfboards are moved by surfers entirely using their bodies.
The surfer paddles the board using hands while approaching the waves and then pops up to control it using their body’s weight. Surfboards come in many variations and types, usually differentiated based on the size of the board. They can either be short boards or longboards.
Short boards are used in extreme surfing sports because they are more maneuverable and give the surfer speed. With lots of speed and control, a surfer is able to tackle even the biggest and fastest waves. Longboards, on the other hand, make the best surfboards for beginners.
Pros of Using a Surfboard
Highly Maneuverable – A surfboard offers high control for the surfer to ease making snappy turns and even “flying off” the waves.
More Fun – Surfboards engages highly for control. Since you have to catch the waves, you get knocked off to the water, making the sport fun.
Highly Portable – Surfboards are light and highly portable. You can easily carry a surfboard in the trunk of your car or on your bike.
Engaging Workout – Surfing is a physically demanding sport, requiring you to propel your weight, paddle and swim, all in one sport. It engages your body well and gives you good workout.
Cons of Using a Surfboard
Skill Required for Riding – Surfboards require some level of skill to be able to ride on them and catch waves.
Versatility is Limited – With a surfboard, all you can do is surf.
Riding is Solo – Surfboards are meant for solo riding unlike paddleboards that allow multiple users on the deck.
What is a Paddleboard?
A paddleboard, on the other hand, is used for standup paddling. It means the surfer stands up on the board and paddles using a bladed kayak paddle. The surfer controls the paddle board using a paddle.
Paddleboards are usually big and voluminous, making it easy to catch waves. Recent developments have seen board makers develop boards that can be used both for paddle boarding and surfing. However, they are distinctly made as paddleboards.
Pros of Using a Paddleboard
A Paddleboard is Stable – Paddle boards are voluminous and therefore stable on the water. They are made so you can stand on them and ride on the water more like you were on a kayak or even a canoe.
Voluminous and stable boards make the best paddleboards for beginners. However, paddleboards are generally easy to maneuver.
Full Body Workout – Most of the people picking up standup paddle boarding are using it to get full body workout. You have fun and also stay healthy and strong.
Versatility – A paddleboard is more versatile than a surfboard because you can use it for more than one activity. In still waters, paddleboards are used for fishing, sightseeing and racing, while on waves, they are ideal for racing and surfing.
Allows Multiple Riders on Deck – With a paddleboard, you can have multiple people on the deck, adding to the fun. Therefore, you can compete as teams or just have fun as a group or with a loved one. You could also just bring your pet on board.
Attachment of Kayak Seats – Some boards allow you to attach kayak seats, further increasing the versatility of your paddleboard. As a result, you can even use the paddleboard while seated more like a kayak.
Touring – A paddleboard is ideal when you want to just glide on the water and sightsee or tour the area. They are comfortable for that purpose and give good rides.
Easy to Maneuver – Using a paddle to maneuver the board is easy even for beginners. The board is highly stable, meaning you can focus your attention on controlling it.
Cons of a Paddleboard
Prone to Damage – One of the biggest cons of paddleboards is that they are prone to get damaged mainly because of their big volume.
Not Highly Portable – Paddleboards are not as portable as surfboards due to their voluminous weights.
Paddleboards are not coming to replace surfboards. Even though they could both be used for surfing, paddleboards are made for standup paddle boarding and surfboards for surfing. You can therefore have both of these boards for both purposes.
Before making a choice between the two, you need to consider what your needs are for the board. Do you want to catch huge waves out in the ocean or are you looking for a board that allows you to tour or fish peacefully?
Contact us to find out more about surfing and paddle boarding to determine what sport suits you best.