Paddle Boarding FAQs

The UK, has an exciting range of inflatable paddle boards.

There are several reputable paddle board brands that are highly regarded and generally considered the best. These primarily include Quroc Paddle Boards, Red Paddle and Starboard.

SUPBoarder Magazine run several independent head-to-head tests, featuring boards from up to 24 different brands available in the UK. In categories from "Allround Improver" to "Multi-day Touring", Quroc, Red and Starboard regularly feature in the top 3.

The correct size paddle board will depend on your height, weight and the type of paddling you are looking to do.

For most paddlers, a 10'6 x 32" board will be an ideal starter board for general paddling.

If you are looking to take on longer paddles then a longer and thinner paddle board would be a better option.

Check out our guide on How to Choose a Paddle Board for more detailed advice.

The main differences between a cheap and a premium paddle board will be:

1. Design and Development

2. Quality of Materials and Workmanship

3. Quality Control

Design & Development

Premium paddle board brands like Quroc invest a lot of time and money in designing and developing their boards. This ensures your on water experience is the best it can be.

Cheaper boards will be standard, generic shapes and sizes.

Quality of Materials & Workmanship

Lower quality materials and glues have a direct effect on how long your board will last and how firm it feels on the water. Avoid boards which will only take 12-15 psi. Low recommended psi is because the materials and glues are not strong enough and will "pop" at high pressure. For the best performance on the water you should be looking at 18-20 psi.

Yellow glue marks and bubbles on the sides of the paddle board are a sign of poor workmanship.

Quality Control

Many cheaper boards will leave the factory with little or no quality checks. This means you will only find a problem when it's bought and used for the first time.

Premium paddle boards will be inflated to 25psi plus for at least 48hrs to test the integrity of the boards. The finish will also be nice and clean.

All Quroc Paddle Boards will spend at least five days on the production line and pass three dedicated stages (areas) of quality checks. The final check will be a stress test where the board is inflated to 30psi for 72hrs.

Our guide on How to Choose a Paddle Board provides a bit more information.

The length and width of a paddle board can significantly affect its performance and characteristics on the water. Here's how:

Length:

  • Longer boards typically offer better tracking, meaning they maintain a straighter course when paddling, especially in flat water conditions. This can make longer paddle boards ideal for touring or long-distance paddling.
  • Longer boards also tend to have greater glide, allowing them to cover more distance with each paddle stroke and maintain momentum more efficiently.
  • However, longer boards may be more challenging to maneuver, especially in tight spaces or when navigating through waves or obstacles.
  • Shorter boards are generally more maneuverable and easier to turn, making them better suited for surfing, whitewater paddling, or paddle boards for allround paddling.

Width:

  • Wider boards offer more stability, making them ideal for beginners or recreational paddlers who prioritise balance and comfort. Wider boards are less prone to tipping over, which can instill confidence in new paddlers.
  • Narrower boards tend to be faster and more efficient, as they create less resistance in the water. This makes them suitable for experienced paddlers or those looking for higher performance.
  • However, narrower boards may sacrifice some stability, requiring more effort to maintain balance, especially for beginners or paddlers in choppy water conditions.
  • Wide boards are also often used for activities like yoga or fishing, where stability is paramount.

In summary, the length and width of a paddle board interact to determine its overall performance characteristics. Longer boards typically offer better tracking and glide but may sacrifice maneuverability, while wider boards provide greater stability but may be slower and less efficient. Finding the right balance of length and width depends on your paddling style, skill level, and intended use of the board.

Learning to paddle board can be relatively easy for most people, especially compared to some other water sports. Here are several reasons why:

  1. Minimal Equipment: Paddle boarding requires minimal equipment - just a paddle board, paddle, a leash and personal flotation device (PFD). This simplicity makes it easy to get started without needing to invest in a lot of gear.
  2. Versatility: Paddle boarding can be done on various types of water bodies, including lakes, rivers, and oceans. This versatility means you can choose a location that matches your skill level and preferences.
  3. Quick Learning Curve: Most beginners can get the hang of paddle boarding within a relatively short amount of time, often in just one session. Balancing on the board and paddling are skills that many people pick up quickly.
  4. Accessible to All Ages: Paddle boarding can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. It's a low-impact activity that doesn't require a high level of physical fitness or athletic ability, making it accessible to a wide range of people.
  5. Enjoyable Experience: Many people find paddle boarding to be a fun and enjoyable activity from the very beginning. The sensation of gliding across the water and being surrounded by nature can be incredibly rewarding and motivating.

That said, while paddle boarding is relatively easy to learn, it's essential to read through our guide on Paddle Board Safety Advice.

Also, taking lessons from a qualified instructor can help you learn proper technique, safety guidelines, and paddle boarding etiquette.

Most inflatable paddle board pumps are compatible but it's worth checking with your paddle board supplier before buying.

The most popular vale is styles on the Halkey Roberts valve so, whether you have an original Halkey Roberts vale or a copy, most mumps will fit.

Most pumps come with a selection of rubber spacers and you may need to try each one to ensure a tight fit with your valve.

No, not all fins will fit your paddle board.

The best fin box is a Universal Standard Fin Box, most commonly known as a US Fin Box.

If your paddle board has a US Fin Box you will have access to the widest selection of fins, including FCS Touring Fins and Flexi River Fins.

Yes, paddle boards can be stored outside, but it's important to take some precautions to ensure they remain in good condition:

  1. Cover: Use a protective cover to shield the paddle board from direct sunlight, rain, and other environmental factors. This will help prevent damage from UV rays and keep the board dry.
  2. Elevate: Store the paddle board off the ground to prevent moisture buildup. You can use a rack or stand designed specifically for paddle boards, or simply prop it up against a wall.
  3. Secure: Make sure the paddle board is securely fastened or stored in a location where it won't be easily knocked over or blown away by strong winds.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Check the paddle board regularly for any signs of damage or wear, and clean it as needed to prevent buildup of dirt and debris.
  5. Seasonal Storage: If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, consider bringing the paddle board indoors during the off-season or during particularly harsh weather.

By following these tips and others in our How to Care for Your Inflatable Paddle Board Guide, you can help protect your paddle board and extend its lifespan, even when stored outside.

The safety of paddle boarding depends on various factors, including weather conditions, water conditions, and your own skill level. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  1. Wind & Weather Conditions: Check the weather forecast and understand how it will affect your paddling.
  2. Location: Is your location suitable for the forecasted wind speed and direction? What specific hazards are there? e.g. shipping lanes, weirs or fast flowing water.
  3. Tide or River Conditions: Moving water can be dangerous. What is its speed and direction and how will it affect your paddling.
  4. Clothing: Always dress appropriately for the water temperature. You might not intend to fall in but you never know. Are you aware of the different clothing options?
  5. Personal Flotation: It's recommended to wear a personal flotation device (PFD). Do you know which type is the most suitable?
  6. Communication & Emergency Always tell someone where you are going and when you'll be back. Take a means of calling - phone, VHF radio of even a whistle.
  7. Equipment: Ensure all your kit is well maintained and appropriate for the conditions. What extras do you need? e.g. water, extra clothing, suncream, etc
  8. Leash: Coiled or straight, ankle or waist? Know and understand the difference.

Overall, paddle boarding can be a safe and enjoyable activity when practiced responsibly and in appropriate conditions. If you are unsure about any of the above, our Paddle Board Safety Advice is a comprehensive guide.

Paddle boarding can be enjoyed by people of various fitness levels and balance abilities. While being fit and having good balance can certainly enhance your experience, they are not strict requirements for enjoying paddle boarding.

Here's why:

  1. Low Impact Activity: Paddle boarding is a low-impact activity, meaning it's gentle on the joints and doesn't require high levels of cardiovascular fitness. Even individuals with limited fitness levels can typically participate comfortably.
  2. Beginner-Friendly: Many people find paddle boarding to be accessible even as beginners. Most paddle boards are stable and easy to balance on, especially wider and longer boards designed for beginners.
  3. Opportunities for Improvement: Paddle boarding provides opportunities for individuals to improve their balance and fitness over time. As you gain experience and confidence on the water, you may find yourself becoming more skilled and fit through regular paddling.
  4. Adaptability: Paddle boarding can be adapted to suit your individual fitness level and comfort level. You can start by paddling at a leisurely pace in calm waters and gradually increase the intensity or duration of your sessions as you become more comfortable.

Having a good paddle board will also help as you need a stiff and stable board.

Also, if you have specific concerns about your fitness level or balance abilities, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new physical activity. Additionally, taking lessons from a qualified instructor can help you learn proper technique and build confidence on the water, regardless of your starting point.

The stability is determined by the shape, width and stiffness. Better designed and made boards, such as Quroc boards, use more modern technology, better materials and are therefore more stable.

The amount of air you need to put into a paddle board depends on the specific board you have, as well as your weight and preferences for stability and performance. Most inflatable paddle boards come with recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Premium inflatable paddle boards can be inflated to at least 25psi but usually will be best at 18-20psi

Cheaper paddle boards advise 15psi but will not be as stable, or perform as well.

Avoid any inflatable paddle board with a recommended pressure below 15psi.

For more information, read our Guide on How to Choose a Paddle Board.

The time it takes to inflate a paddle board can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the board, the type of pump you're using, your physical strength, and your familiarity with the process. Here are some general estimates:

  1. Manual Hand Pump: Using a manual hand pump, it typically takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to inflate a paddle board fully. This can vary based on the size of the board and the pressure required. Larger boards may take a bit longer to inflate.
  2. Electric Pump: Electric pumps take a similar time but it frees you up to get changed, ready for the water
  3. Experience: As you become more familiar with the inflation process and develop a routine, you may find that you can inflate the board more quickly over time.

Regardless of the pump you use, it's essential to take your time and ensure that the board is fully inflated to the recommended PSI for optimal performance and safety while paddling.

Yes, you can take an inflatable paddle board on a plane. Most boards come with a sturdy wheeled travel bag and this gives you two options:

  1. Check your bag in as standard hold luggage and add in holiday extras like towels, wetsuits, etc. This is the cheapest option but you may not be covered for the loss of sports equipment, should your bag go missing.
  2. Check your bag in as sports equipment. This usually incurs an extra fee but you will be covered if your bag is lost.

The number of fins on a paddle board can vary depending on the design and intended use of the board. Here are some common configurations and their benefits:

  1. Single Fin (Center Fin): A single fin setup is common on paddle boards, especially those designed for all-around use or touring. The single fin provides stability and tracking (the ability to maintain a straight line while paddling), making it suitable for various water conditions. This setup is ideal for beginners through to touring and racing.
  2. Three-Fin (Thruster): A three-fin setup, also known as a thruster setup, consists of a center fin and two side fins. This configuration offers enhanced maneuverability and responsiveness, making it suitable for surfing and more dynamic paddling conditions. The side fins provide additional stability and control when turning.
  3. Two-Plus-One (2+1): The two-plus-one setup features a larger center fin and two smaller side fins. This configuration combines the stability and tracking of a single fin with the maneuverability of side fins, making it versatile for various paddling styles and conditions. This is most common of allround paddle boards
  4. Quad Fin: A quad fin setup consists of four smaller fins, typically positioned towards the rails (sides) of the board. This configuration provides excellent maneuverability and speed, making it popular for surfing and white water paddle boarding.
  5. Removable Fins: most paddle boards feature removable fins, allowing you to customise the fin setup based on your preferences and the conditions you'll be paddling in. Removable fins offer flexibility and versatility, as you can easily swap out different fin configurations to suit your needs. This is most useful when swapping standard fins for a flexible river fin if you will be paddling in very shallow water.

Ultimately, the best number of fins for a paddle board depends on your personal preferences, paddling style, and intended use of the board.

For most beginners and recreational paddlers a single fin (or 2+1) setup will be best for stability and ease of use.

The lifespan of an inflatable paddle board can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the board, how well it's maintained, how often it's used, and the conditions in which it's used and stored. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Quality of the Board: High quality inflatable paddle boards such as the Quroc range are made from the best materials and glues are designed to last for many years with proper care. Cheaper, lower-quality boards may degrade more quickly and have a shorter lifespan.
  2. Maintenance: Proper maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of an inflatable paddle board. This includes rinsing the board with fresh water after each use to remove salt, sand, and debris, drying it thoroughly before storage, and storing it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
  3. Usage: The frequency and intensity of use can affect the lifespan of an inflatable paddle board. Boards that are used frequently in challenging conditions such as rough water, surf, or rocky shores may experience more wear and tear than those used infrequently in calm conditions.
  4. Storage: Storing the paddle board properly when not in use is essential for preserving its lifespan. Avoid storing the board in areas where it's exposed to prolonged sunlight, extreme temperatures, or moisture buildup, as these factors can accelerate degradation.
  5. Repairs: Minor damage such as punctures or tears can usually be repaired with patch kits provided by the manufacturer. Promptly addressing any damage and performing repairs as needed can help prolong the lifespan of the board.

In general, a well made and well-maintained inflatable paddle board from a reputable manufacturer should last 10 years or more with regular use. These are normally priced at £600 plus.

The lifespan of boards priced below £500 is significantly less as the quality of glues and materials will be much lower.

However, it's essential to keep in mind that individual experiences may vary, and factors such as usage patterns and environmental conditions can impact the lifespan of the board.