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SUP Board Composition: Anatomy of a Stand Up Paddle Board

At first glance, a stand up paddling board is not really impressive. The design and construction seem simple and strongly reminiscent of a surfboard. In fact, a paddle board is very different from a surfboard. But other parts are really similar.

The biggest difference between a stand up paddling board and a surfboard are the numerous extra functions a stand up paddling board offers. For example, a Stand Up Paddling Board has the ability to attach luggage.

SUP is individual. There is a whole range of individual sub-disciplines. Be it SUP fishing, SUP yoga or touring paddling. The fact is that for all these special uses the board has to be modified accordingly. With a conventional surfboard this is not possible.

Some paddlers also turn their SUP into a kayak by simply mounting a kayak seat. Fishing trips with the board are particularly intensive when it comes to equipment. A cool box and up to two bags with fishing gear and provisions can be easily attached to (special) SUP boards.

Let’s have a detailed look at the Stand Up Paddling Board. Step by step we go through the assembly and describe what you have to pay attention to with the individual parts.


The front part of a Stand Up Paddling Board is also called a nose. Depending on the board type you will find either a rounded or a pointed nose. The front part of a SUP has a big influence on the riding characteristics. And it determines the maximum speed as well as the stability in the water.

With a tapered nose it drives fast, but a bit tippy. For this reason, most touring and racing boards are equipped with a pointed nose. Almost all other types of SUP boards use a round design.


The middle section of a board is also called the core. Today’s models are mainly made of plastic, which is both robust and lightweight.


The rear end of a stand up paddling board is called the tail. In terms of design, the tail resembles a stand up paddling board to a surfboard. A wide tail is well suited for higher speeds, while a tapered tail allows faster changes of direction.


The top side of a SUP board is called the deck. It is the surface on which you stand when paddling. The deck determines the look of a board, accordingly there are many different designs.

A robust material is essential to withstand the elements. The hull should withstand light collisions as well as dog claws and UV light.


When we talk about the rocker, we mean the curve of the SUP board. On most Allround boards the nose is slightly bent up so that the tip of the board is above the waterline and the board glides easily over the water. In this case one speaks of a nose rocker. Alternatively there is also a tail rocker, with a highly curved rear part.


The fins are located at the rear end on the underside of SUP boards. Similar to the construction of surfboards there are also Stand up Paddling models with one, two or three fins. The fins are fixed in a so-called fin box. Different systems are used for the SUP. Accordingly, compatibility must be taken into account when selecting a suitable fin.

Fins provide additional stability and help to keep the board in a straight line. Without fins a SUP would drift much more. Basically it can be said that a setup with several fins leads to more stability, but in return limits maneuverability and (maximum) speed.

Deck pad

On the upper side of the deck a deck pad is attached to all common models. The foam coatings are non-slip and offer good traction. The additional grip ensures a secure stand.

The soft surface of the deck pad is also practical for longer tours, as you stand on it more comfortably. Novel deck pads even provide enough grip when washed over with water to prevent you from slipping.


On the sides of a stand up paddling board there are edges (also called rails). Narrow rails allow a sleek riding style with many changes of direction. The broadest possible rails are recommended for paddlers who value stability.

For special uses of a stand up paddling board such as SUP Yoga or SUP fishing, where a high degree of stability is required, there are special models with reinforced edges.

On some special models, the rails even protrude above the height of the SUP. Similar to an inflatable boat, these boards, which are mainly used for SUP fishing, offer extremely high tilt stability and prevent parts of the equipment from accidentally slipping off the board.


The D-rings are another important feature of stand up paddling boards. The eyelets allow you to attach a seat or other equipment.

For extended tours, a drybag with provisions, car keys and smartphone can be attached to the board. Also popular is the attachment of a luggage net, which is typically held on four or six D-rings.

Under the luggage net, for example, you can attach a water bottle, a waterproof rucksack or a paddle (disassembled into its individual parts) if it is not used at all.

Carrying handles

The carrying handles on the Stand Up Paddling Board are much more padded than on a surfboard.

A SUP board typically has a handle in the middle of the board. Some large (and heavy) boards offer additional handles on the sides or on the nose and tail to allow transport with several people.


Knowing how to set up a Stand Up Paddling Board alone is not enough. Before you can start your first SUP tour, you should be aware of the SUP accessories.

On the one hand there are essential things like the paddle, the air pump, the leash and the matching clothes. On the other hand, there are a number of SUP accessories that fall into the category of “comfort features”. Board bags, carrying straps or roof racks for SUP boards, for example, make transport easier, while electric air pumps keep the effort to a minimum before you even go into the water.

We hope you now know a lot more about the construction and parts of a Stand Up Paddling Board than you did before.

This knowledge will help you to keep your board in better shape. You can also make a better informed decision when choosing your next SUP board.





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