Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) construction is an important consideration when looking for a hard shell SUP. The construction of your paddleboard will not only determinie how robust and durable your SUP is but also have a direct impact on it's handling and performance.
The great news for hard shell SUP is that manufacturing quirks and technical issues associated with traditional surf boards, kayaks and windsurfing boards were sorted out long before Stand Up Paddleboarding grew in popularity. As a result, the development of hard shell SUP's has been relatively speedy thanks to the use of pre-existing technology.
The four most common types of hard SUP construction are (for more detail about each one please click a construction type) -
- Wood Sandwich Construction
- Advanced Sandwich Construction
- Carbon / Carbon Composite Sandwich Construction
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What is common to all of these paddleboard
While we at The SUP Company only select the best models from the best brands, when considering which SUP is best for you,take time to look at the paddleboard construction options offered by each manufacturer. You can do this by clicking on their logo below.
Wood Sandwich Construction is the most common type of stand up paddleboard construction and can be found in a variety of price ranges depending on the quality and quantity of materials used. Wood Sandwich Construction paddleboards feature a foam core wrapped with fibreglass, a wood veneer (often bamboo or pine) and more fibreglass. The number of layers, weight and type of fibreglass used varies between manufacturer and in some cases models of the same paddleboard. More layers fibreglass usually adds durability, however also with the disadvantage of more weight. Most wood sandwich constructions increase the strength by crossing the 'grain' of the choosen fibreglass ie: north/south and east/west fibreglass mats or by using bi-axial fibreglass. The added advantage of this is the weight of the paddleboard is also reduced. There is also typically a layer of PVC in the stance area to add strength and stiffness. In some cases there are additional stringers of wood or perhaps carbon to add additional strength to the SUP, allowing for a less fibreglass and a lighter weight paddleboard. There is then another “sandwich” of fibreglass, wood veneer and glass on the top. The SUP is then finished. Some paddleboards are painted, some are clear coated so you can still see the woodgrain of the veneer. Either way the end result is the foam core is sandwiched on the top and bottom with much thinner sandwiches of fibreglass, epoxy resin and wood.
Carbon Sandwich Construction SUP's often feature the lightest foam cores wrapped with their lengths wrapped in one or sometimes two layers of PVC. The standing area of these paddleboards is then reinforced with either more PVC or in some cases wood adding yet more strength and stiffness. The entire SUP is then finished with carbon or occassional a composite of carbon and fibreglass matting. The whole paddleboard is then wetted down with epoxy resin resulting in an incredibly strong, stiff and lightweight SUP. This translates directly into performance advantages on the water as lighter and stiffer makes for a faster flat water race SUP, while in the surf it means more manoeuvrability due to the significantly reduced swing weight of the paddleboard. As expected this comes at a price with this construction method costing