The rapidly growing pastime and sport of standup paddleboarding (SUP) has taken America by storm and is gradually getting more popular all over the world. To understand SUP better, this blog is dedicated to see how SUP boards are made.
If you are considering taking up SUP, you will have to choose a board; and before you rush out and buy one, you should know the variants and what your skill levels are. Also consider how you are going to transport it and where you are going to store it.
The most traditional SUP boards are solid and they come in many different forms of construction and of course to confuse things even more, there is a fair amount of SUP jargon to decipher. In this blog we look at the different methods of construction of SUP boards. SUP boards can differ depending on the manufacturing process, the core material of the board, and what material the board is covered in. We will take these factors in turn to expand on this subject.
EPS (fiberglass epoxy) is the most common form of solid hardboard construction. It is a layering technique with the core of the SUP board being made from expanded polystyrene foam. The core is then covered in layers of fiberglass and epoxy.
The other most common way to construct a SUP board is by making a PVC sandwich. This is basically a three-layer method which comprises of an inner layer of fiberglass then a layer of high density foam and finally another layer of fiberglass. The sandwich design gives a really strong shell, and because of this the boards are really stable. However, as with every upside there tends to be a downside and, in this case, it is cost. Sandwich boards are more expensive than layered ones which is a factor to consider.
Polyurethane vs EPS
The choice between polyurethane (PU) and EPS as a core is another decision to make when considering your new SUP board. PU was the original choice of a core before EPS came along, with the considerable advantage of being lighter. However, there are pros and cons for both materials, the EPS type boards are more buoyant and far more durable than the EPS ones and tend to last longer. But PU boards are preferred by more experienced SUP surf enthusiasts as they allow more flexibility whilst surfing choppier water.
Fiberglass vs Carbon Fiber
If money is no problem then you can elect to go to the high end of the market, and there are now SUP boards that are covered in carbon fiber and not the traditional fiberglass. Carbon fiber has the unique property that is it incredibly light whilst being very strong.
If you were trying to achieve the same strength from fiberglass then hardwood would have to be added together with PVC strengthening strips. Of course, the biggest drawback to most people opting for carbon fiber is the extortionate cost. So, there we have the options of SUP board construction, your choice will largely depend on what you want to use the board for, and how much money you can afford.