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SUP Selection Guide
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Choosing your Stand Up Paddleboard can be daunting but it can also be exciting. We aim to make it as simple and fun as possible for you while also providing you with the best possible value for money.
We have been in the watersports industry for over 13 years and have built a reputation for providing sound advice and good quality products at really good prices.
All of our staff have been professionally trained and familiarised with SUP technology, both in theory and practically.
When analysing the SUP market we noticed that there are simply hundreds of SUP brands, ranging from dirt cheap to really expensive, but there seemed to be a lot of smoke and mirrors around what constitutes real value for money.
As such we have carefully selected a manufacturer with a sound reputation for producing quality products for some of the most reputable SUP brands in the world. This manufacturer does not compromise on quality; the FCS fins that they use are REAL FCS fins, the glass used is Hexcel, from USA, arguably the best in the world, all boards are shaped using an Australian APS3000 Shaping Machine and the bamboo veneer board is applied using vacuum technology, guaranteed not to delaminate . . . . . just to name a few.
When we were putting together our Tyrant SUP range we noticed that there was simply too much choice when it came to selecting the right SUP for ones size, weight and purpose. Many people, especially first-time buyers were confused and afraid of making the wrong choice, so we have simplified things by offering just five core models which essentially meet the needs of 95% of SUP paddlers:
Stand Up Paddleboards come in a variety of different constructions. Choosing the right construction will depend on your needs and budget. Listed below are the various types of SUP.
Composite SUP's are made of a foam core with or without wooden "stringers" for strength, and covered with fibreglass and/or carbon cloth hardened with resin. The finish can be polished (shiny) or matt and they may have wooden or bamboo "veneer" for extra strength and visual appeal, or they can be painted in various bright and exciting colours.
These are the lightest SUPs and also have superior buoyancy and performance over other constructions, but they are usually more expensive because they require extra labour costs in their construction. Our Tyrant Composites stand up against the top brands in the world in terms of quality and performance as they are made by the same company that manufactures some of these big brands, but usually around half the price to you because we buy 40' containers direct from the manufacturer and so you do not pay any middle man fees.
Soft SUP's are soft foam based with a rubber "skin" which may be printed in various colours for visual appeal. They may or may not have wooden "stringers" for extra strength. Weight wise and performance wise they are not up there with the Composite SUP's but they are a great option for beginners as they are relatively cheap and do not hurt the paddler if you are to fall onto your knees or even your head (which can happen in the beginning). Because they are soft such impact will also not damage the board.
As with our Composite SUP's we purchase our Tyrant Soft SUP's by the 40' container direct from the supplier and so our prices are often way below what you might pay for the same quality elsewhere. We offer the Tyrant Soft SUP in several bright and vibrant colour options.
Semi Rigid SUP's are a very popular option as they are priced midway between the composite SUP's and the Soft SUP's and offer the benefits of both in that they have a relatively soft top, but a rigid bottom. They are therefore gentle when making contact with your knees or other parts of your body but are better performing than the Soft SUP's.
The Tyrant Semi-Rigid SUP's are made by the same company who manufactures our Composite SUP's and so they boast the same world class quality and economies of scale as our Composite SUP's, resulting in great value for money for our customers.
Polyethylene (plastic) SUP's
The Poly SUP's are the cheapest construction and just like the Poly Kayaks they are virtually indestructible, although they can be a bit heavy. These have become a popular option for beginners and people wanting to get into SUP Fishing.
The Tyrant and Riot Poly SUP's are made by two of our esteemed Kayak Manufacturers and so we stand by their quality.
Inflatable SUP's are a great option for people who have a shortage of storage space at home. They can be easily taken down to the water in their carry bag and then inflated within a few minutes prior to use.
We searched long and hard before deciding that the Shark Inflatable SUP's would be the ideal product to complement our range. They rate in terms of quality and performance amongst some of the big brands but since we buy direct from the manufacturer you get access to these great products at a far reduced price.
Our Shark Inflatable SUP's come standard with paddle, pump, carry bag and leash.
Choosing a SUP
Beginner - Before you decide to enter any long distance races or expeditions, or try your hand at SUP surfing, you need to learn the basics. This is where beginner boards come in and, regardless of your experience with similar sports, beginner boards are an essential step to ensure you get your head around the dynamics of Stand Up Paddling.
The key thing with beginner boards is stability. Stability comes from having a long, wide and buoyant board without too much rocker (see below).
Beware that an inch or two difference in width, whilst not seeming much can make all the difference. For example, a 30" board can be hugely more stable than a 28" board. The Tyrant All Round SUP is the perfect choice for beginners or anyone wanting a recreational SUP for flat water trips only.
You'll also find narrower tails to assist you with turns, and your fin setup becomes more important, with many surf-specific SUPs having a thruster set up or stabiliser fins. The Tyrant Pro Wave SUP is a fantastic dedicated surfing SUP.
As with a beginner board you don't want anything too extreme in terms of the length or the rocker, but you do want something a bit shorter and with less volume than a beginner board, and with a fuller shape than a wave board, to keep you going on flat water.
This is the broadest category of boards, and depending on your needs you can get one that is slightly better in the surf or slightly better on flat water. The Tyrant Wide Boy is one of our most popular SUP models, an ideal hybrid SUP for a combination of flat water paddling and waves. It is both stable and reasonably buoyant but also has the shape to deal nicely with small surf.
Tyrant New Wave SUP is a slightly less buoyant hybrid SUP more suitable for the experienced SUP surfer.
General Touring - For longer distance travel on flat water, touring SUPs have a relatively high volume and are designed to be efficient cruising machines.
Once up to speed, touring SUPs can keep going with much less effort from the paddler. For dedicated flat water touring one can choose between the 11' Tyrant All Round SUP (for paddlers up to 100 kg) or the 11'2" Tyrant All Round HV SUP for larger paddlers (over 100kg). These two models are also favourites amongst beginners.
Large Touring SUP - If you are looking to do some longer distance then you will need something that is buoyant, tracks well and is super stable.
Our 14' Tourer is all of this. Absolutely perfect for those longer trips where maximum efficiency will mean less effort to get where you are going, in the least time.
Also ideal for anyone too big for the All round or All Round HV SUP's and great fun if you want to try two up (two medium sized adults or adult and child). We have also had happy customers tell us that this was the perfect choice for them and their four legged friend.
The Tyrant 14' Tourer is among the worlds best touring SUPS, also suitable for racing.
More about SUPS
When you're on flat water you want the smallest amount you can get away with.
For surfing, rocker is essential to avoid nose dives when you take off at an angle down a wave. So rocker in waves is a good thing, although it will also require more effort by the paddler to get the board going, due to the resistance caused by the nose rocker.
Volume - The volume of a board is literally how much space it occupies, defined in litres. The more volume the higher the board will float in the water, the less drag it will have, and the easier it will be to paddle.
Big volume boards will catch the smallest waves with the greatest of ease, but you'll be limited in manoeuvrability once you're on the wave.
Volume will of course also be determined by the size of the paddler, a larger paddler requiring a higher volume board.
The challenge of choosing your SUP will always be the crossover point of these two things. Too little volume/size and you may not be stable enough and will have difficulty catching the waves.
Fins - Many SUPs have one single fin in the middle of the board. Where the board is going to be ridden on a rail, however, boards will use more fins to increase grip and improve turning. The most common surf set ups are either a single large fin in the middle with a smaller fin on either side (known as a thruster), or four small fins (known as a quad).
Your larger volume cruising boards will often have only a single large fin. As you move into the crossover boards that can handle both flat water and surf, you'll start to move into the large fin + two side fins (hybrid thruster). Once you get into dedicated wave boards, they'll often offer thruster setup (3 small fins all the same size), quads or even five fins.
The single large fin is for keeping the board "on track". With the displacement hulls, the whole board acts like a fin so it tracks reasonably well in any case, but on your plaining hull shapes, the board would spin around without fins.
Tyrant surfing SUPs and crossover SUPs all come with four FCS fins plus one large fin, allowing you to easily add or remove fins to achieve your desired setup. Likewise the Tyrant touring SUPs, flatwater SUPs and racing SUPs all come with two FCS fins plus one large fin allowing you to add or remove fins to achieve a single fin, twin or thruster setup.
Another factor to take into consideration is the size and weight of the paddler. A certain SUP that is perfect for someone for a specific use may not be perfect for someone else that is very different in weight, even if they plan on using it for the same purpose.
Generally a larger paddler will need a board that is more buoyant and more stable whereas a smaller, lighter paddler will not want a board that is overly buoyant.
The Tyrant Wide Boy SUP is an excellent choice for heavier paddlers wanting to get into SUP surfing, while the Tyrant All Round SUP is suitable for paddlers wanting to use it for touring. The Tyrant All Round HV is for larger paddlers (over 100kg) looking to go touring.