So you’ve decided to try out a stand up paddleboard (also known as a “sit on top” kayak), the latest trend in outdoor recreation and lifestyle. Congrats! You’re in for a treat. The sleek, modern look of a kayak will appeal to those who enjoy being on the water, but don’t want to be cramped on a bike or car.

But before you make a purchase decision, it’s important to do your research. In this stand up paddleboard review, we’ll cover the ins and outs of this wonderful piece of gear so you can confidently hit the water and enjoy your new found freedom.

Specification

First off, let’s discuss the specs. A sit on top kayak has a few advantages over traditional kayaks; it’s shorter (often described as petite or compact), narrower, and has higher buoyancy (it tends to have less overall volume). Most importantly, a sit on top kayak is a lot more user-friendly than a traditional kayak. It requires less effort to move around in (especially when water is involved), and it has a lot more responsive motion when paddling. The narrow width also makes it easier to balance when paddling, as well as prevent injuries (hip injuries are common in kayaking, especially due to the constant tipping over).

Because of these advantages, a stand up paddleboard is the perfect choice for anyone who’s interested in kayaking but wants something more streamlined and safer.

Design

Let’s discuss the design first, what you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing a board. Most importantly, make sure the design of the paddle works well with your body structure. If you have a narrower frame, you’ll need a narrower paddle, or vice versa. When choosing a paddle, you also need to consider the material and the shape. Generally speaking, it’s best to go for a wooden paddle, with a straight, narrow shape. There are also composite and carbon fiber paddles that are lighter and more durable, but they’re also more expensive. Don’t hesitate to try different types of handles as well; you can always swap them out with pull straps when needed (for increased safety and maneuverability).

Also, make sure that the board is the right size for you. If you’re a bit on the wide side, you’ll need a wider board. And conversely, if you’re a skinny dude (with narrow shoulders) you’ll need a narrower board. As for the length, you can always shorten it by cutting it down. However, trying to make it longer can also benefit you. If you’re looking for a longer board, you can get one that’s approximately 2′ longer than your height. This way, when seated with your feet tucked under you, your butt will be higher in the air, making it easier to push off with your paddle.

Functionality

Let’s discuss the functionality now, what features you’ll need to look out for. As mentioned above, a stand up paddle board is a lot more user-friendly than a traditional kayak. Not only does it have fewer degrees of freedom in terms of tipping, but it also requires less effort to move around. This makes it easier to navigate and control, especially if you’re new to kayaking. If you’re planning on doing some surfing with the board, you’ll need a stronger front end (more nose) and a sharper nose (front part of the board). In addition, you need to make sure that the board is stable when carrying extra weight in the front or back end. This makes it easier to transport and store, as well as reduce the risk of injury while carrying your board or equipment.

Comfort

This is the last but not least important factor to consider before purchasing a stand up paddle board. Without comfort, you’ll never enjoy yourself while boating, and that’s what this piece of gear is all about. When selecting a kayak, you need to ensure that it fits comfortably in terms of length and width. If you have a narrower frame, you’ll need a narrower kayak. But if you’re a bit on the wide side, you’ll need a wider one. When choosing a kayak, also check for how the seating position feels; you don’t want to rush into purchasing a kayak that’s too wide, only to discover that it’s uncomfortable once you sit down in it. In terms of the material, you can go for a harder, more padded surface, or a lighter, thinner one. While most kayaks have some type of padding around the inside, you can always add more if needed. If you go for a harder surface, you’ll also need to get an additional jacket or kayak cover to keep you cozy on the water (especially in the colder months).

As for the seating position itself, you should look for a kayak that has an angled front seat, or a flat front seat with a raised back. The former provides better forward visibility, while the latter creates more room in the front part of the kayak. In addition, make sure that the seating position is comfortable and stable, taking into account your back, stomach, and thighs. You don’t want to injure yourself while kayaking, especially not when accidents are so common in this activity.

Final Considerations

Before making a final decision, there are a few more things you need to keep in mind. First of all, make sure that the kayak is within your budget. And as mentioned above, you need to consider the design and the shape of the paddle. If you have a wooden paddle with a narrow, straight shape, you’ll need a wooden board. If you have a wider frame and a slim, pointed design, you’ll need a narrower board. In addition, make sure you have all the proper equipment with you. This includes a life jacket, paddle, and kayak. Also, you need to have a kayaking guide or map in case you get lost or stranded somewhere. And last but not least, make sure you learn how to use all the equipment safely and efficiently. To do that, you can take a kayaking course with an instructor, or read a good how-to guide online (always important to learn how to do things correctly). In case you do end up in difficulties while kayaking, having a kayak guide or instructor along will help you get out of the situation safely and quickly.

As you can see, there are numerous things to consider before making a purchase decision. If you want to have an enjoyable time on the water, make sure you try out different types of kayaks, and consider all the factors discussed above. Don’t just look at the price tag; rather, look at the whole package, including the safety of the equipment and the experience itself. And last but not least, make sure you store your kayak properly, take care of it, and secure it well so you can enjoy it safely for years to come.