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Paddleboard Construction

Quality and Construction

Low quality SUP boards tend to use inexpensive polyurethane foam or low density EPS foam (12 kg or 14 kg) cores simply coated with a few layers of glassing. If they use cheaper polyurethane foam they can use polyester glassing, which is cheaper, yet more susceptible to cracking and chipping. EPS foam requires epoxy glassing, but production costs and quality can be driven down by using lower density EPS foam and only 2 or 3 layers of glassing. The result is a stand up paddle board that looks good and will work reasonably well for most flat water applications, but will easily crack, isn't durable, can absorb water thru small scratches and can snap in waves. In other words, not good for paddling in Idaho.

High quality SUP boards like the Glide Good Buddy that can take the rigors of whitewater SUPing, tend to only use EPS foam cores, sandwich construction, high-density foam blocks reinforcing, and many layers of inner and outer glassing hardened with epoxy resins using a vacuum bagging technique. The result is a stand up paddle board that is designed to endure most everything you or the environment can throw at it, and retain its original form, weight, and performance characteristics for many years of use. Great for paddling in Idaho!
We also have to mention a couple of variations - inflatable SUPs like the iSUP from Surftech and the NRS Big Earl. Inflatables are really quite stable.
Polypro (like kayaks) construction like that used for the great Liquid Logic Versaboard is also a standout especially for long, expedittion and paddles where you want to take the dog, a picnic or spend a night.

Foam Glass vs Epoxy Mould Construction

SUP boards come in two or three construction types, either a custom shaped foam/fiberglassed board from a local shaper, or a moulded epoxy board generally from a mass produced factory. Each construction method has its merits and may help you in making your SUP selection.

Foam Glass

Pros: Foam boards are custom shaped and are leading the industry in innovative and up to date designs. A foam board is generally heavier which allows better glide through the water in windy conditions. The glass on the rails is much more durable against carbon paddles and will last much longer with basic care. Dings and scratches are easy to fix.

Cons: Foam boards are generally more expensive than an equivalent Expoxy board due to its labour intensive construction. A foam board is heavier which is a hinderance when manhandling the board. Paddles are not usually included inthe board price and adds overall cost.

Epoxy Mould

Epoxy boards are generally made from moulds in factories snd hsve provided better access to top quality boards. Epoxy boards use a 2Pac paint system to gel coat the outer layer of the board. Although this looks nice it is proving to be delicate against the hard carbon paddles leaving scratch and scuff marks..

Pros: Epoxy boards are cheap due to mass production and come with paddles. They are light and are excellent for beginners.
Cons: Scuffs easily from the paddle. Easily blown away in strong winds. Shapes can run 6-12 months behind due to long production to market times.


Stand Up Paddlesurfing Magazine provides a guide that breaks out the pop-out construction method into a third construction method.

A Quick Guide to Stand Up Paddle Surfboard Construction - click here

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