There’s a paddleboard for anything and everything. What’s your pleasure? Racing? Touring? Surfing? Yoga? Or a little bit of everything? There are many boards on the market that will easily fill multiple roles. And as your paddling develops, your interests might change, and you may find yourself pursuing different types of paddling than you initially imagined. That’s where the quiver comes into play.
photo from redpaddleco.com
Most people end up with an all-around board for their first board. That’s usually a fine choice because it will allow you to do a little bit of everything. It won’t be the best at any of them, but if it’s a good board for you, it should do enough of all of the things you want to do. But as our paddling progresses, we often start to home in on specific types of paddling that we want to do more of.
Yoga is a fast growing segment of paddleboarding. And with that growth, there is a surge in the number of boards available to help you reach your SUP yoga goals.
So what sets a yoga paddleboard apart from any other board? There are a few things
- They are built for stability first and foremost.
- The bottom is usually pretty flat to give you a nice, steady platform.
- And the top or deck of the board is also flat for the same reason.
- The boards are generally wide, ranging from 32”-35”.
- The deck pad usually resembles a yoga mat so it is more comfortable particularly when doing kneeling poses, and elbow and headstands. They do not tend to have a lot of texture like diamonds, stripes, or cutouts.
- They often feature tie downs to secure your paddle while you are on the water.
- A leash plug in the front is becoming more common as an attachment point for an anchor.
Inflatables are becoming very popular for sup yoga. They provide a very forgiving surface. They are relatively soft underfoot, and many decks have a nice texture that offers both grip and comfort.
You can do yoga on just about any paddleboard, but boards designed specifically for sup yoga tend to have the above features. A race board with a sunken deck will not be ideal for your practice because the platform you have to work on is so small, and narrow boards are not very stable.
All of that stability comes at a cost. Yoga boards are usually very slow when you are paddling them around. And the increased width can be difficult to paddle with good technique because it’s hard to properly get your arms around a very wide board. So if yoga is not your only goal, or even your main goal on the board. You might want to search for something that is a little more versatile. Perhaps you choose a board that is a little narrower so it’s quicker, or one that has a little more shape to the bottom to move through the water more smoothly.
If you are set on only doing yoga, if you already have another board that does everything you want- except it’s not great for yoga, and if you don’t need to go anywhere to do sup yoga, you may want to consider the newly emerging “mats” for the water. These are very boyant rectangular “board” things. They are being used for yoga, pilates, and fitness classes on the water. They won’t really paddle since they are rectangular floating docks. But they will give you the platform you need on the water to be able to do your yoga practice with all of the comforts you will want, and a price tag that is more appealing than most high quality paddleboards. Many studios, gyms, etc are moving in this direction for their water based fitness activities. And for people who are always looking for the next piece of workout gear, this is a great addition. I bet kids will find a million ways to have a blast on these too.
Whatever your pleasure, there is a paddleboard out there for you. Honestly evaluate your sup goals when you are looking to make a purchase, and if SUP yoga is at the top of your list, the tradeoffs for buying a yoga specific board may be well worth it.