News and Events
Determining which width of a SUP will work for you - Feb 1/2021
When purchasing, renting or trying a SUP for the first time, or considering upgrading your current board, you need to make sure you know what width of board is going to work for you. Width is the first consideration I would make when purchasing a new SUP. The width of the board is the predominant factor in how stable a board will be. Not if it’s an inflatable board, not if it’s a rigid board, not if it’s a surf board, etc. The width is the main factor.
The standard width of an all around SUP is about 32”. If you start looking at boards that are wider than 32”, you will add stability but likely lose some speed. If you are looking at boards below 32”, you will gain on speed but lose on stability. Think, narrower like a toothpick for speed or wider like a pancake for stability. If you are new to SUP, I would likely advise on a 32” to 34” board depending on how stable a platform you need. A board in this range will provide great stability, still cruises very well and will allow comfort no matter if you are paddling on the river, lake or ocean. A couple of great all around boards in this width would be the 10’6”X 32” Red Paddle CO. Ride, the Kootenay Sustain 11’ X 32”, or the Badfish Monarch 11’ X 34”.
If you are primarily going to be paddling on more advanced rivers and want stability over anything I can’t say enough about the Badfish Rivershred. The Rivershred comes in at 36” wide and is built for stability and maneuverability in the river. However, if you take this board to the lake you will notice how slow it is because of the width.
When your skills are advancing you will likely want to get on a board built for faster touring or racing. I would advise on a board that is 30” or below. Boards at this width will compromise on stability but make up on speed and touring ability. I would only recommend a board at this width if you are an intermediate paddler, at minimum. You may notice some boards around that are very long and extremely narrow. Starboard has just come out with their new race board that is 14’ long X 19.75” wide! That is just barely wide enough to stand with two feet side by side. You can imagine how unstable a board like this must be. However, boards like this are made for advanced paddlers whose main desire is to go fast. And do they ever rocket! Some great options in the 30” or below boards would be the Red Paddle CO Voyager 13’2” X 30” or the Red Paddle CO. Sport 12’6” X 30”.
Other factors to consider when getting on a board is the volume of a board. Think length X width X thickness. This is how much the board will displace the water when a user is standing on the board or the buoyancy of a board. If you are plus size paddler this is another critical metric to consider. A board that is thicker, wider and longer will add significant volume and help you stay on top of the water easier than a board that has less volume. When we say plus size, we are talking about paddlers north of 225lbs. Here’s where volume of the board becomes a critical part of your enjoyment. We have seen many couples come out paddling with one partner who’s less than 170lbs jumps on the board and rips off having fun, the other partner struggles, just can’t seem to get it right, gets frustrated and stalks back to the shore vowing never to do this again. It’s not a lack of ability, it might simply be the board doesn’t have the right amount of buoyancy. We can work with you to get that right. Not all boards publish their volumes. It’ll be expressed in Litres. A 230 Litre board is a great amount of volume for most paddlers until your weight is more than the published litres. We do have boards that range from 270 L to over 300 L, this may vastly change the fun factor for the plus sized paddler. As your experience and proficiency goes up you’ll be able to reduce the volume and start to play with width and length with more comfort.
Please reach out to us at Bow Valley SUP for any additional questions on choosing a SUP that will work for you.
SUP Shop of the Year, 2020 Overview and the SUP Community
2020 has been a year, to say the least. With Covid, we had no idea how the season would turn out or what the demand for getting on the water would be. We found that demand for getting on the water and staying active was at an all time high for locals and visitors to the area. SUP is an active outlet that can be done at an appropriate social distance, which was likely the reason we saw so many people on the water. There were many challenges this summer for us and all, but also many positives and highlights that we are so stoked about. This makes us optimistic for the future of SUP in our community, Alberta, Canada, and around the world.
For the past three summers we have hosted our downriver SUP race, the Bow Valley Logjam. With Covid, and group activities on pause, we decided to put the Logjam on hold for the year. However, we still wanted to offer our community a way to compete and participate in a fun event. We came up with our version of a social distance SUP race at the Rundle Forebay in Canmore. The race was a 2.7km flatwater race that competitors could take part in at a social distance and at any time they wished before July 31. The race was not intended to have a winner. It was intended to get people out on the water, stay active and relieve some stress from the year. Anyone who competed in the race was entered to win a new 2020 Sustain SUP from Kootenay PDL https://www.kootenaypdl.com. At the conclusion of the race we randomly picked three names from a hat, with one name to be drawn for the SUP prize. Emily Tompkins, was the lucky person to have her name drawn and walk away with a brand new board. She was beyond excited and we can’t wait to see her ripping the water next summer. Even though the race had all the intentions of getting as many people on the water as possible, friendly competition did arise. Strava became the tool used to time and beat the next fastest time. Dan Miller had the top time for men and Brandy Beveridge had the fastest women’s time. Congrats to both for the mind boggling times they posted.
We were also proud to support and partner for the first ever women’s only SUP race in the area called Queen of the Valley. Queen of the Valley was hosted and driven by Julia Barnes from Honubelle https://honubelle.com , Dan Miller from Pure Paddle, Mallory Chapman, us at BVSUP and a handful of amazing sponsors. The race featured a slalom race and a long distance event with the overall winner gaining points in each race to determine an overall winner. The effort and determination of all the competitors was next level and it certainly made us proud and stoked for our community of women paddlers. Emily Louise walked away with the Queen of the Valley crown, evading fierce competitors trying to track her down. The event sold out, and we can’t wait to see how the women’s paddle community progresses and evolves from here.
On the gear side of things, inventory of all sporting equipment was hard hit in 2020. Manufacturers did not know how much new demand there would be, and retailers were stuck in a hard place trying to meet the demand . There was a major imbalance of too much want and not enough stock. At Bow Valley SUP, and many retailers across Canada, we were sold out of new SUPs in mid June. Next season looks like there will be more increased demand across the board. If your’e looking to get a new SUP or other gear, be sure to check our website as we are already 60% sold out of our initial pre-order. https://bow-valley-stand-up-paddleboarding-surf.myshopify.com
Our top highlight from this year was that we won SUP Shop of the Year as voted by the SUP community! This was a huge honour that we are so proud of. We have worked very hard in the 8 years of Bow Valley SUP, and to be voted as SHOP of the Year by our peers, was the culmination and assurance that we are on the right path. We love SUP, the community that has been created and the events have emerged. SUP is truly an amazing way to get together with others, make friends and stay active. Keep getting out, pushing your boundaries and enjoying the magnetic connection to the water. A huge thanks to everyone who voted for us, spread the word and showed your support for Bow Valley SUP.
Next year we look forward to more community events, in whatever form they hold, growing our community and seeing everyone on the water. Stay stoked and see you in the Spring of 2021.