7 Best WindSUP Paddle Boards in 2020
WindSUP is one of the coolest new inventions in the water sports industry. As a mixture of classic windsurf boards and stand up paddling boards, WindSUP boards play in both worlds. The advantages are obvious, with WindSUP all the equipment fits into a backpack and this can even be easily stowed in the trunk of a small car. This is also possible with classic windsurfing – but only with a scrap press.
Today’s situation is that from runners, skiers, soccer players to badminton players, no sportsman needs as much material as a windsurfer. Hardly any other sport requires the space of a garage to store the equipment. Not to be neglected is of course the fact that all the stuff has to be first transported from home to the car and then from the parking place to the water.
The inflatable WindSUPs seem to be the solution for these problems. The boards can be assembled and disassembled in 15 minutes. And for the transport a big backpack is enough, which is already included when buying a WindSUP board. This backpack holds the boom, the mast, the sail and the rolled up board.
For windsurfing beginners the WindSUPs are a great way to get into windsurfing, but also for advanced windsurfers the new boards are exciting. The double use as a SUP Board and as a windsurfing board is especially practical.
In the following we take a look at the best available WindSUPs, which are suitable for paddling as well as windsurfing. The models from our list of best boards have already convinced in a WindSUP test or otherwise in practice.
WindSUP is probably the coolest development that the watersports industry has produced in recent years. The combination of windsurfing and Stand Up Paddling has the potential to change windsurfing completely.
The boards are light, easy to transport and glide amazingly well over the water. They are a great choice for surfers who want to go windsurfing on a windy day and paddle a few laps with the family on windless days.
In our best list we have already briefly introduced some of the best WindSUP boards. Directly afterwards we will go into more detail about the listed boards and then describe in a guide what is important for a WindSUP board.
The best WindSUP Boards
|Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board -|
|Progressive Boards Club TST Wind|
|SurfStow 50039 SUP Transport Deluxe|
|Goplus Inflatable Stand up Paddle|
|Goplus Inflatable Stand Up Paddle|
|Inflatable SUP Stand Up Paddle|
Guide: Buying the right WindSUP board
Not every SUP board is suitable for WindSUP. Also, various factors such as your riding skills, the intended use, the type of board and the expected wind force play a role in the decision for a particular model. In the following we will therefore take a closer look at the aspects that need to be considered when making your choice.
The decision for a particular WindSUP depends largely on your windsurfing experience.
For windsurf beginners or WindSUP beginners with no or very little experience with windsurfing, complete sets are the best choice. These sets include a board and a suitable sail.
For beginners the advantage is obvious: Nobody has to deal with the material in detail, because the manufacturer has already adjusted the rig to the board. In addition, the costs for these sets of board and rig are often lower than the prices for individual purchases.
Moreover, many of the sets are designed for beginners, so that the sail is somewhat smaller with 3 to 5 m² and the board is often built with a width of 80 cm or more, which provides more stability against tilting and therefore makes it easier to start windsurfing.
In terms of speed, most finished sets cannot compete with individual builds designed for speed. Instead of performance, the board and rig of complete sets are designed for good handling. Even with complete sets, the sail or board can of course be replaced afterwards.
If you already have a lot of experience with windsurfing, it is best to choose a sail with a size of at least 5.5 m², which allows manoeuvres even in light winds. For higher speeds, a narrow and elongated board should also be chosen.
A wide construction gives stability, but also slows down while sailing. Longish touring boards with a tapered nose are better suited, as they have better directional stability and can therefore ride faster.
With a length of about 350 cm these boards are significantly longer than the longest longboards. Turning manoeuvres are correspondingly demanding with the Touring WindSUPs, but both with mounted rig and without, Touring Boards are convincing due to their high speed when riding straight ahead.
Real windsurfing veterans should also assemble their own equipment. On the one hand, wide, tilt resistant beginner boards are not the right choice for experienced surfers. And on the other hand, many boards that are also suitable for experienced surfers are not available in complete sets.
The most important thing when assembling a board is that the sail is adjusted to the size of the board. The longer the SUP, the bigger the sail must be. Only with a suitable sail can jibing and tacking be done sensibly. A 13’0” long touring board can therefore not be combined with a sail that is only 5 m². Boards of this length need counter torque and therefore much bigger sails.
Whether WindSUP boards will prevail or not depends on the riding characteristics. We can’t lump all models together, but especially the models of the last years show a very good development in this area.
With the inflatable WindSUPs from the years 2013 and 2014 the manufacturers have made it a little too easy for themselves. Essentially, these were conventional SUPs that were simply fitted with a mast foot insert and then titled WindSUPs.
However, the typical thick, rounded edges of the SUP boards proved to be very unsuitable for surfing. With increasing speed they sucked themselves deeper and deeper into the water. Effortless gliding was no longer noticeable.
In 2015 Starboard was one of the first manufacturers to change this. The Airplane model is equipped with sharp tear-off edges. Even at low speeds it is clearly noticeable that the power from the sail is converted into speed much more efficiently.
When accelerating at a certain speed, the point comes at which the flow on the lower edge suddenly breaks off and the board starts to glide. Holding the sail does not become increasingly difficult, but much easier once the board starts to glide.
length and width
The length has a big influence on the riding characteristics of a SUP board. The basic rule is: the longer and narrower the board, the better the straight line.
Compared to SUP boards, surfboards are much narrower, shorter and thinner. The average WindSUP measures 320 cm x 80 cm x 15 cm, while classic windsurfing boards for beginners measure about 220 cm x 55 cm x 7 cm. The length of the SUP boards significantly limits their manoeuvrability.
On the other hand, the size of the SUPs means that even inexperienced stand up paddlers can easily stand on the board. In contrast to classic windsurfing, inflatable WindSUP boards do not require a water start.
As the boards are not only used for windsurfing, we will take a closer look at the length of SUP boards. Based on this measurement, the boards are assigned to different board classes:
- Kids: 7’0” to 8’6” (238 cm to 258 cm)
- Wave: 9’0” to 9’8” (274 cm to 290 cm)
- Allround: 10′ to 11’5” (304 cm to 330 cm)
- Touring: 11’5” to 12’0” (330 cm to 384 cm)
- Race: 12’0” to 14’0” (384 cm to 427 cm)
Allrounders are the classic and a good choice for beginners. The boards, which are usually built quite wide, already have the versatile application possibilities in their name. Due to their size, Allround SUP boards offer a good degree of tilt stability.
When it comes to WindSUP boards, touring boards are the other alternative. Although the boards are even longer than classic windsurfing boards, they offer a very good straight-line stability. Typical for this class of boards is that the boards are a bit narrower than Allround SUPs and that the nose is tapered, which both reduces the water resistance and thus allows for higher speeds.
The optimal thickness of the SUP boards is always a subject of discussion and a subject of much experimentation. When the first inflatable SUP Boards appeared in this country in the early 2010s, they often measured only 4 inches (10 cm) in thickness. The problem was that they often bent.
The manufacturers reacted with better production methods, which provided more robustness, and widened the boards to 6 inch (15 cm). Much more air fits into the thicker boards, which provides more stability and more buoyancy. Some manufacturers are experimenting with thinner boards from time to time, but by and large the 15 cm thickness is still the standard for conventional SUP boards.
With WindSUPs it looks quite similar. Again, most of the models measure 15 cm in thickness. So they are about twice as thick as classic windsurf boards. Some manufacturers already brought boards onto the market that were only 5 inch (12.5 cm) thick. The main part of all WindSUPs still measures 15 cm in thickness.
The most important arguments for the experiments with 5 inch thick boards were that the thinner boards would cope better with the wind and would drift noticeably less in sideways winds.
However, the better directional stability in windy conditions was also achieved by better fins or especially by better tear-off edges. These newer boards got into the glide mode faster, which makes for more directional stability anyway. A thicker board with a correspondingly high volume is useful for this, because it is higher in the water anyway and therefore easier to glide.
SUP boards have less directional stability than windsurf boards. For this reason it is important that the boards are not only equipped with a tail fin. Real WindSUPs have an additional fin box in the middle of the board. The additional fin in the middle of the board improves the directional stability considerably.
In practice, SUP fins in sword shape prove to be particularly suitable. This fin shape makes the boards especially sleek and ensures a safe straight-line ride. Usually two identical fins are included in the delivery. The central fin can alternatively be replaced by a longer daggerboard.
Which fins are used depends on the type of use. If the WindSUP is used for surfing, both fins are required. On the other hand, if you only want to paddle on the board, you do not need to attach the central fin.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions about WindSUPs
How fast can you go with a WindSUP board?
Finding a general answer to this question is very difficult. The speed of the WindSUP board depends on the wind force, the shape of the board and the size of the sail. However, the team from surf Magazin has already broken the 40 km/h barrier. We expect to reach even higher speeds in the near future.
WindSUP boards are especially aimed at beginners. These boards are not designed for top speeds. Usually the sail included in the delivery is also smaller than those of other windsurfers. But if you use a bigger sail, you will be able to go faster. Especially with the longish Touring WindSUPs high speeds can be reached.
Who are WindSUPs aimed at?
The inflatable WindSUPs are primarily aimed at windsurfing beginners. The combination of SUP board and classic windsurfing board are also a great thing for teenagers and the whole family. The fact that the board can also be used without the sail is especially practical.
Stand Up Paddling is a sport for old and young. The water sport is namely very beginner-friendly and with a good sense of balance, paddling can be learned in only 30 minutes. Another group for whom WindSUP boards are interesting are people who already have some experience with windsurfing but have not invested in windsurfing equipment before.
For these people it is also interesting that they don’t have to choose between two water sports, but get a WindSUP, a sports equipment for windsurfing and stand up paddling in their house. The boards from our best list are full SUP boards. When using them for windsurfing, compromises are made, but these are easily compensated by the extremely easy transport and the lower price.
Real windsurfing veterans will not switch to WindSUP. Even if they are really top SUP boards, WindSUP boards are rather aimed at newcomers and surfers with some windsurfing experience.
Is WindSUP the new windsurfing ?
One can only speculate about such questions. We believe that WindSUPs represent a great opportunity for classic windsurfing. In the last few years the sport has clearly slipped down. Apart from the well-known windsurfing hotspots, only few young people are interested in the sport. And comparatively few newcomers start new into the sport. One reason for this is that the sport is very material-intensive and quite expensive.
Furthermore, classic windsurfing is associated with high costs for the acquisition of equipment and a lot of time. The sport requires a lot of knowledge about the choice of the right equipment up to the dismantling of the equipment.
The easily transportable WindSUPs are easier and faster to assemble and cost less. In our opinion, there is a good chance that WindSUP will attract more young people again.
WindSUP will not change the sport of windsurfing in the short and medium term, but it may well provide more influx. We suspect that people who start windsurfing now with WindSUP will switch to classic equipment with a normal windsurfing board and sail after a few seasons.
However, if the WindSUPs become even better and come even closer to the fixed windsurf boards in terms of riding characteristics, we can imagine that this will change the sport forever.
How much wind does it take to windsurf with a WindSUP?
The required wind force depends on the sail size. From wind speeds of six to seven knots the light WindSUPs already start to slip. At more eight knots the first manoeuvres are possible. How strong the wind has to be, however, also depends on the sail size. On days with weak wind, a large sail should therefore be used.
Do you wear a leash on WindSUPen?
Yes, even with WindSUPing you enter a SUP Leash. The leash is attached to the ankle and the board. It is best to use a coiled leash. These leashes are rolled up in their basic state and only expand to their full length of about three meters when you fall into the water.
The advantage of these leashes is that, unlike simple laces, they do not get caught on underwater plants, rocks or other obstacles. With these simple lines, which were used more often in the past, this had led to nasty falls.
Will WindSUPs prevail?
At this point, nobody knows. We just want to say this much. There were, are and always will be people who are critical of every new development. They are always looking for reasons why the latest inventions are not useful things, instead of looking at the opportunities.
If all people would listen to this group and never trust the visionaries and tinkerers, we would still lead today in horse-drawn carriages over paved roads. Who wants to have to refuel when the horses can graze anywhere?
The development of inflatable SUP boards has already been well seen. In the beginning there were big difficulties with the robustness and durability. Already with average heavy paddlers the board bended strongly. From the then still very small community of dyed-in-the-wool paddlers there was a lot of malice for the supposed “air mattresses”.
Over the years, better production techniques were developed and new materials were researched. Today’s models are by no means “air mattresses” anymore, but light and at the same time rock-hard boards, which have massive advantages in the areas of transport, construction and storage. With Stand Up Paddling, it is therefore no wonder that inflatable models account for 95 to 98% of all SUP boards sold, according to various estimates.
A similar development would be conceivable for WindSUPs. In windsurfing, however, there are many more old hands who have been practising the sport for decades. Criticism is preprogrammed there. Wherever windsurfing develops – we observe the current trends with great interest and continue to report diligently.
The really passionate racers, waverers or freestylers will certainly not run off to order the next WindSUP board right away. But we believe that WindSUP has a huge potential. The inflatable windsurf boards could become mainstream. The advantages of the extremely uncomplicated transport and the simplified storage would argue for it.
We also expect WindSUP to become more attractive for new people again for the reasons mentioned above. Getting into windsurfing is not easy. The initial investment and the required knowledge are too high, but with the upcoming WindSUPs these problems will be solved. Compared to classic sets, even the best WindSUPs are quite affordable and are worth it, especially because of the dual use as a normal SUP.
It remains to be seen which WindSUPs will prevail, but with the models from our best list you will be well equipped. We update the list constantly. There we also include information from the very latest WindSUP tests and other sources.