When you start out youll want to start on a bigger board - what we'll refer to as a "Cruiser" board. This is a board in the 11ft- 12ft6 range. We suggest that it be at least 30 inches wide as this will allow added stability especially for first time riders. Its also great for riders weighing over 100 kgs to use past the beginning stage.
Dont let the size put you off if you want to go out and have some fun, nose riding or cross stepping these boards are ideal. On smaller days this can be a great tool in the quiver and when the wind picks up great for down winders.
As you progress, or when the surf picks up to say 4-6 ft faces, youre going to want to have a board that will be able to hold a rail and not nosedive as much as the larger "Cruiser" type boards. So here you have a few options ranging between 8ft- 10ft6 boards. Much of this depends on your weight, for example if you are 100kg+, you are going to want a board with more volume (10'6 x 30 inches wide), and if you are a skinny little girl, you will be able to get away with a smaller (9ft6 x 28 inch wide) board.
In this range, tail configurations and fin set ups will change between, swallow, round and square with quad thruster twin or single fins. The best is to experiment and see what works best on your board.
Board designs are changing on a daily basis and so are the sizes being produced by different manufacturers. We are seeing smaller and smaller boards being produced, typically in the range of 7ft- 9ft and 26-28 inches wide.
These boards are a great option if you're going to be riding smaller waves and want something that turns quick. Although they are more unstable and harder to ride in choppy waters, they make a good option for a second board.
With the sport being so new, what is in today might be outdated tomorrow. The bottom line is that if it floats you, you should get out there and make it work and have fun.
There are about as many paddles on the market as there are boards, so the wide range can easily confuse the average customer. There are wood paddles, fiberglass, carbon, plastic and aluminum paddles - each one with its own price point which will ultimately determine your paddle of choice.
Carbon is generally stiffer and will be stronger but more expensive. Fiberglass shafts are an excellent option as they can be strong enough yet quite a bit less expensive. The shape and angle of the blade is the most important aspects to look at when choosing a paddle.
In terms of shape and angle, we suggest a blade that has about a 8-12 degree angle with a clean profile.
When it comes to length, the rule of thumb is to have a paddle that is 6 to 8 inches above your head.
Deck pads v wax is really a personal option.
Wax can get messy ? it gets on your paddle, on your car, in your car, on your clothes ? pretty much everywhere, and you have to reapply wax every time you go out. Some purists prefer wax as it allows you to ?feel? the board more, especially when cross stepping.
Deck pads are a great way of saving your car from wax and at the same time offering comfort on the feet and more grip depending on the type of grip.
Choosing the right leash is as important as choosing the right board.
A leash that is too short could result in the board shooting back after a wipeout and hitting you. If a leash is too short it also prevents you from getting to the front area of the board, which is really important when nose riding.
A leash that is too thin will snap under pressure due to the added weight of the larger SUP boards. So we recommend purchasing a leash minimum 10ft x ¼ inch.
So once again, get out there and experiment. Mix it up and be open to trying different styles of riding, be it on an old windsurfer board using a plastic paddle or a hot new hybrid with top of the line carbon paddles, enjoy the ride and be safe.
The crew at Irishsup have a depth of knowledge around surf and SUP equipment. Don't hesitate to ask for advice!