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Choose the right equipment - SUP

 

We are here to help you

Here at Kona Sports, we develop boards and equipment for SUP that we ourselves love to use, equipment that we hope you will also love to use for a long time to come.

Starting with SUP may mean a large investment initially, but is also an investment in yourself and the benefit and joy you get from SUP is invaluable. That is why we also make sure that you get the right equipment from the beginning, equipment that makes you develop and experience SUP in the best way.

In order for you to be able to choose the right equipment just for you and your conditions, our experienced experts are always available on our chat or phone. No matter what your questions or concerns are, we will help you. As a guarantee that you will always feel satisfied with your equipment from Kona Sports, you also get the opportunity to always upgrade your equipment even after you have tried it on the water.

SUP for movement, joy and health

Stand up paddle, SUP has with its functionality and accessibility become one of the fastest growing water sports. SUP attracts everything from elite athletes and exercise enthusiasts to surfers, yoga practitioners and curious water lovers. SUP can in principle be practiced on all types of water and in all weathers. As a result, there are also a variety of boards and equipment for SUP.

The type of SUP board that suits you depends on your experience, capacity and what you want to use it for. Simply explained, the properties of the SUP board depend on the width, length and hull shape. A wider board with a round liner provides a lot of stability but can be a bit boring to paddle while a longer and narrower board glides easier and faster. If we go in depth, there are lots of additional factors that affect the board's properties, such as construction, volume, material, surface layer, stability- and gliding index numbers etc.

We at Kona Sports live for SUP and our goal is to continue to develop the most durable and functional equipment. All our products are therefore tested daily and all year round here in Sweden so that we can ensure that you get the best experience of SUP and Kona.

Exercise, training and competition

SUP is actually one of the most functional forms of exercise that we can practice. SUP provides both unique and revolutionary training effects that develop both our condition and strength in parallel with the ability to balance. As a side effect, it also provides superior torso stability.

Which SUP board for training and competition suits us best depends on a number of factors such as what type of water we will mainly train, our height and weight, physical capacity, paddling technique, average paddling frequency and perhaps also what competition distance and competition format we want to train for. A board with a longer waterline usually slides better, so if you want a SUP board for training and competition, we recommend a length of either 12'6 "feet (381 cm) if you weigh less than 65 kg or 14'0" feet ( 427 cm) if you weigh over.

Stability for performance

Our entire product range is based on the motto "Stability for performance", which means, among other things. that the more stably a SUP board is built, the narrower it can be, which thereby provides the opportunity for a more ergonomic and more efficient paddle stroke. The result is then a better power transmission that creates higher speed at a lower energy cost. That is why we always strive to build the most stable and functional boards, no matter what they are used for.

Recreation, leisure and yoga

Are you looking for a SUP board for fun on the water and nice summer days? Then a relatively wide board with good initial stability fits, i.e. that it feels stable at low speeds or when you stand still on it. This type of board is also suitable for yoga and is ideal for children. If you also want to be able to paddle a little further and discover your home waters, our recommendation is a SUP board with a length from 12'6 "feet (381 cm) and which has brackets for packing.

Inflatable or a hard board

 

If we are close to the water or have the opportunity to transport and store a 3–4.5 m long SUP board, we can consider getting a hard SUP board. If we instead prefer to take public transport to the water and or live in an apartment, the natural solution will be an inflatable SUP board. The difference between these options is that a hard SUP board has many beneficial properties that an inflatable board does not have.

Due to its construction, a hard SUP board will always be more responsive in relation to an inflatable board, it reacts m.a.o. faster and more directly on the paddle and movement of our center of gravity, which are the primary tools we use to propel, steer and trim the board.

A hard SUP board from Kona is also designed so that we are much closer to the water surface than we can do on an inflatable board. A hard board is also lower and thus more stable in the water. All in all, this makes a hard SUP board glide easier and is generally more stable than an inflatable SUP board and can therefore be paddled in all water and weather conditions and handle heavier packing better.

However, inflatable SUP boards have many other benefits. In addition to the fact that we can in principle take them everywhere and that they take up minimal space to store, they are also significantly lower in price compared to a hard composite board. In addition, they also withstand blows and shocks better. If we want, we can also leave the inflatable board inflated when we use it often during certain periods, in order to avoid inflating it every time we use it.

Other equipment to think about

 

Safe SUP

The single most important safety feature in SUP is a restraint, so-called leash. Your SUP board is your primary buoyancy aid and the leash means that you always have your board close to you on the water. An inflatable SUP board is caught extra easily by the wind and makes the board drift away quickly if you happen to fall in.

A spiral-shaped and elastic leash, so-called coil is preferable if you are not going to surf with the board in breaking waves. Then a straight model for surfing is a better alternative. With a coil leash that is attached to the board in front of the standing surface and under one of your knees, you avoid stepping on it and also the risk dragging in the water while paddling. The leash is your lifeline, so always check that it is complete and working. Therefore, feel free to change the leash every year to be safe.

Fin and function

In addition to the board and the paddle, the third most important part of our equipment is the fin. A SUP fin is mainly there to strengthen the board's properties and to help us stay the course and to be able to steer the board in waves and wind.

The fin is especially important for inflatable SUP boards as it is much more difficult to use the edges of an inflatable board to steer with. With a little practice, we can paddle a hard SUP board without fins, which is also an effective way to learn foot control.

The slope of the SUP fin, the so-called fin. "rake" is also very important. With more inclination, the risk of seagrass etc getting stuck when we paddle decreases, while a more upright fin instead provides increased lateral stability.

For more serious training and competition, there are lots of fins with different properties. What determines the function of a SUP fin is i.a. its surface, material, depth, base length, angle (rake), flex and foil. It is important here that the fin is adapted to our own SUP board and the conditions we are to paddle in. The paddling technique we use also plays a role here. With the wrong type of fin, there is a great risk that the built-in properties of the SUP board are ignored.

Care and storage of our SUP board

Regardless of whether we have an inflatable or a hard SUP board, it lasts longer and retains its glide better if we wash it with fresh water and detergent after a long period of use. We should also avoid storing the board in strong sunlight as the UV radiation causes the material to age and fade faster.

To minimize wear on the valve when we release the air from our inflatable SUP board, it is a good idea to press the valve down gently at the beginning until the pressure has decreased. For long-term storage, a dark and relatively cool place with an even temperature is preferable. It is also good if the board is completely dry when we put it away. This reduces the risk of mold or other coatings forming on the board until we use it again.

Even a hard SUP board retains its function longer if it is not out in the sun for too long. If we still need to have the board lying in the sun for several hours, it is good if we then open the valve screw. This reduces the pressure in the board when the air inside the board is heated. The same applies if, for example, we are to fly with a hard SUP board or at times when the pressure conditions can vary greatly. However, we must not forget to screw in the valve screw again before use as otherwise there is a risk that we get water into the board.

All hard SUP boards from Kona have a so-called GoreTex valve that is self-regulating and then we do not have to think about this. If we store our board in a case, it is good if we also leave a gap to ventilate out moisture and condensation.

Clothes according to weather (and water)

SUP is an activity and form of training that we can run all year round. As long as there is no ice, we can SUP. Slowly gliding on calm water in snowfall is something meditative and peaceful that we can warmly recommend.

What we need in order to safely SUP in below zero degrees is a relatively thin and elastic wet or dry suit, a pair of thicker wet shoes (> 6mm) in neoprene, a hat and a pair of thin gloves or mittens that can withstand wet. What we should keep in mind is that a wet suit keeps the heat even in the water while a thin dry suit for SUP does not. Here it is instead the clothes under the suit that isolates.

As there are not so many specific wetsuits for SUP on the market yet, we have seen that thin wetsuits (<4mm) for wave surfing without a fixed hood are preferable. A thin wetsuit can also be reinforced with a thin windproof vest or jacket.

Like a glove

Even when it comes to gloves for SUP, there are not many specific variants on the market yet. Because we want to get the best possible grip and feel of the SUP paddle, gloves for other types of paddling are therefore preferable. These also last longer than, for example, gloves for wave surfing.

Here it is important not to choose a glove or mitten that is not too thick. Neoprene gloves with a thickness of between 0.5 and 3 mm keep the heat in most conditions.

Feet first

One of the best things about SUP is that we stand on the board barefoot. This is precisely a large part of the unique and revolutionary training effects that SUP contributes to. Standing barefoot on the board means that we keep our balance better and also open up our mobility.

The dilemma is that if you, like us, live and paddle in Sweden, then it may not be completely functional to always be barefoot, especially not during the winter season. In SUP, the feet are probably the most important thing not to get cold and then we also need some form of clothing.

Most important here is that the foot must be able to move just as if we were barefoot and that the sole of the shoe is not too thick. A too thick sole means that we lose contact with the board, which makes it hard to control and also impedes balance. Our experience is that wet shoes for wave surfing are also what currently work best. For pure winter conditions and early spring, 6-8mm thick shoes are recommended, while in the autumn you can often manage with 3-5mm.

Choice of paddle

 

The SUP paddle

The paddle means as much in SUP as the poles in cross-country skiing. It is with the paddle that we primarily drive and maneuver the SUP board. The more efficient and thus more energy-saving we want to paddle, the more important it is that we have a paddle that is adapted to our specific conditions and purposes.

If we are also going to paddle long distances or train and compete seriously, the choice of paddle is even more important. In order for us to get the most out of our capacity, we need a light and rigid paddle that is adapted to our body length and the distance we train to paddle. Paddles with a fixed length, made entirely of carbon fiber are preferred here. Most people who compete and train often have several paddles in different lengths and blade sizes.

SUP paddles otherwise come in a variety of materials and designs. The most common materials used for paddles are aluminum, plastic, fiberglass and carbon fiber. Aluminum and plastic are the most durable but heaviest, while carbon fiber is the lightest and stiffest with fiberglass paddles in between. Paddles with aluminum handles and plastic blades are the lowest in price and are what is normally included when we buy an inflatable SUP board, while a really good paddle can be seen as an investment.

Paddles for inflatable SUP boards are often divisible and also have an adjustable length. The most common are 3-part paddles as these can be taken apart to fit in the associated backpack, but there are also 5-part paddles. If there are several of us who will use the same paddle, one with an adjustable length is recommended. Then everyone in the family can use it.

Weight is also important. During distance training in SUP, we take between 2,500–3,500 paddle strokes and if there is a difference of more than half a kilo between different SUP paddles, we soon realize the importance of weight. How stiff the paddle is is also very important. A rigid paddle allows us to get more out of the power we create, while a softer paddle can feel more gentle on the body.

For SUP for purely recreational purposes, basically any paddle works to begin with, while the feeling of paddling with a good carbon fiber paddle must be experienced. If we get a hard composite board for training and competition, our recommendation is to also get an equivalent paddle as these reinforce the effect of each other.

Regarding the length of the SUP paddle, our recommendation is to start with a paddle that is a maximum of about 10 cm above your body length. As we get more used to it, we can gradually shorten the paddle all the way down to about 15 cm below our body length.

CHOICE OF PADDLE BLADE

For competition and serious training, a stiff blade is needed that responds well to the water and provide loads of power. If you are going to use the board for exercise, it is usually better with a little softness in the blade. It gives a softer feel and makes it easier to maneuver.

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