Get Up, Stand Up
The paddleboard craze is going wild. Whether you're a seasoned water rat or a total newbie, here’s how to get vertical.
Naish Glide AST board and Kialoa Shaka Puu paddleNaish Glide AST and Kialoa Shaka Puu
Looking for a flatwater workout? Itching to explore the coastline? Opt for a sleek, efficient board like Naish’s 12-foot Glide AST. It’s light and streamlined enough to move easily on the water—outpacing other boards its length in our head-to-head tests—but at 5.5 inches thick and almost 30 inches wide, it doesn’t sacrifice stability, making it a superb entry-level racing or touring SUP. $1,450; naishsup.com. PAIR IT WITH: The Kialoa Shaka Puu, a versatile, surf-ready carbon-fiber paddle that’s light enough (1.4 pounds) for long-distance forays. $340; kialoa.com
Surftech Universal Paddleboard & Adjustable Aluminum PaddleSurftech Universal Paddleboard & Adjustable Aluminum Paddle
Surftech’s Universal does a little of everything: tour flatwater, surf mellow rollers, even ferry gear on a camping trip. Despite its heft (37 pounds), the 11.5-foot board we tested had surprisingly good glide during a two-hour downwind run on North Carolina’s Intracoastal Waterway, and it surfed better than most novice boards. It’s also a barge: at 32 inches wide and 5 inches thick, it didn’t flinch when we brought the dog and a preschooler aboard for a ride. 9.5 feet to 12 feet; $1,000 to $1,185; surftechsup.com. PAIR IT WITH: Surftech’s Adjustable Aluminum Paddle—a no-frills plastic blade with a sliding aluminum shaft to accommodate a range of paddlers. $130; surftechsup.com
Rusty Paddleboard & C4 Stand Up 1-Piece Carbon PaddleRusty Paddleboard & C4 Stand Up 1-Piece Carbon Paddle
When it comes to riding ocean waves, most stand-ups perform like a slab of driftwood. Rusty’s is a welcome exception. It’s built like a jumbo surfboard—tapered at the nose and slightly concave underneath, giving the 11.3-footer we tested the maneuverability of SUPs a foot shorter. We caught waves easily, even weak knee-high peelers. Yet, at 4 inches thick and 31 wide, it’s stable enough for most. 9.3 feet to 11.3 feet; $1,325 to $1,500; board workssup.com. PAIR IT WITH: C4’s Stand Up 1-Piece Carbon paddle; the all-carbon design is light (1.4 pounds) and powerful, with an oval shaft for better control in surf. $325; c4waterman.com