Everything You Need to Paddleboard Your Way to a Cooler Summer

You can ride the stand-up paddleboard wave, even on flat water.

At first glance paddleboarding may look like people on surfboards who aren’t surfing. But there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. And you can make it as peaceful or as grueling as you want. “For the average guy, SUP [stand-up paddleboarding] is a great way to get in shape, and it’s a social sport anyone can do,” says pro paddleboarder Slater Trout, who just returned from the world championships in Nicaragua with three medals. So whether you’re looking to get a good core workout outside the gym this summer, want to test your endurance with longer runs on rougher waters, or you just want to have a quick option for getting away from the in-laws on family vacations, we’ve got the boards and the essential gear to get you up and running.

NSP Coco Mat 11’6 SUP ($1,770) 

This board is an all-rounder, meaning it has features friendly to beginners, like a rail line through to the tail that makes for greater stability in the middle and allows for easier walking on the board. Though it’s a bigger board, the head is tapered to promote maneuverability. And it’s just 25 pounds, so you won’t get worn out carrying it around.

Trident Elite Fiberglass Adjustable Paddle ($195)

When starting out, you want an adjustable paddle—so you can experiment to find out what length works best—and a large blade face to get the most propulsion for your efforts. When you’re more advanced, you may go for the versatility of a fixed-length paddle with a smaller blade. Trident has a wide array of quality paddles, but the Elite is good for beginners and many advanced boarders alike.

Adventure Paddleboarding Inflatable 12-Foot SUP ($1,225)

If you have issues getting around with a hard board (two-seater car, no roof rack), Adventure Paddleboarding will have you all set up with a portable backpack complete with an inflatable board, pump with pressure gauge, and a two-piece paddle. You’ll get a pretty good workout filling the board, which is plenty tough enough for boarding and small-wave surfing.

Oakley Blade Compression Top ($165)

This quick-drying top is not only good for when it’s a little cooler outside, but the compression provides support and structure for your muscles that can reduce fatigue and boost your stamina.

Sperry Top-Sider Plaid Board Shorts ($58)

These stretch polyester/elastine shorts allow a full range of motion, dry quickly, have pockets, and look as sharp as your best shorts, i.e., they’ll transition seamlessly to your post-boarding destination.

Sperry Top-Sider H20 Escape Sneaker ($90)

Paddleboarding may take you to places where the bottom is rocky, shelly, and otherwise gnarly. Protect your feet with these lightweight, quick-draining shoes that will also give your feet good grip and thus better balance on the board.

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