YOUR INFORMATIVE GUIDE TO PADDLEBOARD SHOPPING, AND A BIT ABOUT OUR FAVORITE BRANDS. WITH LOVE, OTHERSIDE BOARDSPORTS
Ok, so now that you are as mad about paddling as the rest of us; how do you go about selecting the right board for you? We’ve got the details you’re after and the answers to all the questions you’ve been googling; as well as what we feel are the best boards in the industry.
In our opinion; the first thing to understand as you approach the purchase of a paddleboard; is that you get what you pay for. We sell premium boards because we have spent the last 10 years building our business based on getting you the right equipment the first time, so you can spend all your free time on the water with us :) There are easily 1 million and 1 options to select from when shopping for your new paddle board; ranging in cost from around $400 to up and over $2,000. From our perspective, the individual purchasing their own paddleboard is doing so because they intend to board often and are making a purchase they expect to be long lasting, durable, and lovely to not only look at but also to use. For that consumer, we really strive to provide the best of the best; which for us has narrowed the vast sea of options down to just three brands; Bote, LIVE & Rhizotomy.
First let’s cover the basic types of paddle board hulls. Traditionally- this includes the planning and the displacement hulls. Basically- the planning hull is great for maneuverability- wide, flat and designed to ride the water. While the displacement hull is designed to break or displace the water from the front of your board to the sides for tracking and speed. Both hull types have evolved within our favorite brands as you will discover; for optimum enjoyment of your favorite paddling activities.
Often in a guest’s first round of inquiry when purchasing a board comes the question- what about that inflatable board? Simple question but in truth a rather complex answer- meaning it’s not really the question one needs to answer first. The first question any shopper should ask themselves is; what do I want to use my board for? Followed by owning any concerns the individual may have about their intended use. Which naturally will then answer the question of which type of board the individual should invest in. As we hope to address all users and the many and varied uses in the SUP market- Lets start by exploring that first question about the inflatable paddlleboards anyway.
For starters inflatables or as our favorite brand and arguably one of the best inflatable brands, BOTE calls them, aeroboats are just awesome, that’s it, it is that simple. Digging below the surface the aeroboats; built on a BLLLLLAHHHH or planning hull, are versatile, they go anywhere and are up for any challenge. Great for all user groups including those of you who enjoy SUP sports like fitness or fishing, white waters or camping trips, and there’s always room for rover with a load capacity of up to 450 pounds. ( The rigid military grade PVC construction of an aeroboat is nearly indestructible and will not fold under pressure, providing as much stability as a traditional board and being covered nose to tail in the heat embossed BVA; rover will feel stability under his paws no matter where he rides along.
Not only will a quality inflatable stand up to such adventure challenges; it’s versatility allows additional user groups to enjoy ownership of a quality board without the headaches of a hard-bodied board. Storage of a traditional board can be a hassle for anyone; for the inflatable, this trouble is history. The board deflates to fold and fit into a pack in under 30 seconds; allowing us apartment dwellers to find space for safe keeping even if that means in that random corner kitchen cabinet. This convenience is also travel friendly for those of us that enjoy the travel as much as the paddle.
All the power and possibility of the paddle board oh so conveniently wrapped up into a pack, which at just 37lbs including the paddle and pump, you can easily haul into any situation- great for the adventurer to roam literally anywhere. Aka its Bucket list compatible and ready to go in just 60 seconds when you utilize a power pump, although most come with a hand pump. Beyond the storage; this board broadens the horizons for the vertically challenged, or outdoor exercise group as a great fitness companion that is easily manageable from site to site as you will no longer need a hand getting the board topside of your vehicle.
Dings/scratches/chips/dents/cracks/breaks…. are too, all things of the past with the inflatable board- what about tears and punctures you may ask?? The inflatables we carry as well as most every other reputable brand today are manufactured with military grade PVC. Premium designers including Bote also feature drop stich construction, and are chamber inflated making this all highly unlikely unless of course you are on the extreme end of the spectrum… and enjoy the rapids. Yet still, we’ve got you covered- Two-part epoxy and a quick patch job will have you back down the river in just 12 to 24 hours!!
Well, now that we’ve gushed on and on about our love affair with the aeroboat/inflatable SUPs… why ever would you even consider a hard body??
Well, here’s to looking at you….
The selection of a paddle board again, is really all about your personal wants and needs.
While the inflatable has all the versatility you could ever hope for; more of the bells, whistles and shapes really come into play with the hard body boards. The hard-bodied boards have a variety of hull shapes and are born of vastly differing schools of thought; these distinctive differences as well as the top side add on’s are what make each of these boards attractive to differing user groups. They are also what make a full day or even a week on the water entirely doable; weather permitting of course :). In general, hard boards are crafted from a foam core and are wrapped in fiberglass, carbon -fiber or plastics.
One of our core brands for instance has pioneered an entirely different board. From the shape and integrated accessory built in’s, to its weight and capacity, LIVE boards are in a class of their own. Built on either a catamaran or Hyper-V hulls with hollow cores, these boards vastly reduce the surface area on the water and can support an unprecedented weight. You haul just 62 lbs of board and the largest of the LIVE brand boards will haul 750 lbs of whatever or whoever you like; with the capacity for multiple riders- it’s the ultimate family board. Gear? camping, fishing, star gazing gear or maybe a bit of everything- LIVE can haul it all and do so in style. Style? Yes style, have you a flair for the bold and unique? You can custom design the LIVE boards from the ground up; your board, your choice- even the YAK tracks can be customized in both design and function. With this integrated technology, you can attach just about anything; literally thousands of options from cooler stays to sit on top chairs to multiple rod holders and of course the beer Koozie- this board leaves its passengers wanting for nothing and gives you confidence that it will still be there when your adventures are through.
Let’s cover in a bit more detail what the catermaran and Hyper-V really mean for the board function. The Hyper-V is far from your typical paddle board but from the topside you can hardly tell; the magic lies underneath it all. The board is mold constructed using a high tech, proprietary process with a hollow center; it appears as if someone came along and removed it’s “guts” with a melon baller. The resulting hollow or Hyper-V, displaces water, reduces surface area and gives the board speed, stability and weighs in at just 31 lbs, wow!
The catamaran or LIVE L4explore is a whole different animal still- two hulls fused by the 8ft deck allow for 750lbs!!! A 14 ft. Hobie only carries 500lbs and it weighs in at 250lbs to give you some perspective. The add on’s here are incredible- like the live well or the camper box for instance… paddle boarding unlike any rental you’ve ever seen. This is the adventure board of your dreams. The catamaran paddleboard not only displaces the water as is glides along on its v shaped hulls but also has significantly less surface area on the water. This design allows you to float along like no other, no matter what you tow along with you. This board is especially loved by the bigger and taller boarder, the 8ft of usable deck offers an incredibly stable space to get you under way.
If it feels like LIVE may be a bit of a jump over the shark for you; look to Bote.
Not even remotely a second-class board-Bote brings all the toys to the table. Winner of 3 of the last 4 innovator of the year awards- Bote paddleboard hold their own with beautiful art distinctive by board type and still haul all the goodies with a top capacity of 500lbs. Their boards come stock with several add on’s to which no other brand holds a candle such as the paddle sheath and the traveler link- their magic is in the boards construction. Let’s start with shape of your board or more appropriately, Bote.
To discuss board shape; one must first see the purpose in differing platforms as briefly mentioned previously. It’s all about how you’re hitting the water, and what type of water you are hitting most often. By selecting a board for your environment, you will be buying yourself the easiest, most comfortable of paddle experiences ahead.
For the Bote board this all started with the HD; meaning hybrid displacement. Featuring (as all Bote’s do) a double concave hull for planning and speed; combined with the deep- v nose to break surface tension for better tracking this board was created for everything but proves especially capable fishing and easily tackles any squall that should arise in your travels, as they do. This design combination is also featured in the Bote Rackham board- with the addition of the raised platform rails- which are shaped to shed water and keep the cockpit dry. This design proves especially helpful for those of you meeting choppier waters or more rigorous adventures. For those of you out for the long haul let me introduce the BOTE Traveler. Designed with the deep V entry as the Rackham and the HD; this board also features a recessed cockpit and a narrower body to ride more like a race horse; lower the center of gravity and create more stability to haul your gear when taking on the open water. The magic, again is in the board design with Bote.
Finally, if you simply love being outdoors and are in the market for a board that tracks well and is incredibly visually appealing that will stand up to paddling in any environment- flat water or small waves, then we have you covered on that front as well. Might we steer you to the Rhizotomy boards. Well-crafted simple boards that are visually striking, aerodynamic and durable- they dare to be different. The boards are constructed from high density EPS foam, and are coated in a fiberglass epoxy. The perfect planning board for the whole family at an unbeatable price.
No Matter the use, no matter the user, remember what you’ve read here and apply it moving forward with your future board purchase and if you find yourself searching for the perfect fit, come see us in the Florida Keys and we promise not to disappoint! Call us any time because we obviously love talking paddleboard talk!
With love- OTHErside Board Sports Paddling Crew