Most of the things one can do on a SUP board can be done on a well designed all around board. However there are some special situations where a board with a very specific purpose may be called for.
A paddle board can be an ideal platform for fishing. A board with short fins will let you float into very shallow waters that can be great for fishing but would be difficult to access by boat.
Any all around board with good stability can be used for fishing, but if fishing will be the main use of the board, having a specialized board can add some convenience.
Some things to look for in a fishing SUP board are:
An alternative to buying a specialized fishing SUP board is to purchase fishing attachments and accessory mounts that can be glued onto an inflatable paddle board. Scotty and RAM are two manufacturers that offer a full line of accessory mounts that can be added to SUP boards and kayaks.
In the early days of stand up paddle boarding, it was not uncommon for windsurfing boards to be repurposed for stand up paddling. They were never ideal for the task because a typical windsurf board is too narrow and too tippy for stand up paddling. Things have come full circle in a way, and now stand up paddle boards are being dual-purposed for occasional windsurfing use.
A paddleboard adapted for windsurfing will have a fitting for attaching the mast and will have a long daggerboard that fits through an opening near the center of the board.
There are also inflatable windsurfing rigs that can be temporarily strapped on to any stand up paddle board. These can be an alternative to investing in a specialized board and are a good way to try out the concept of windsurfing on a SUP board before investing in a full on WindSUP.
Great for parties, team building, and group expeditions, an oversized, multi-person paddle board can open up new ways to have fun on the water. Group touring, surfing “party waves”, running rapids, and acro yoga are just some of the activities that can be done on oversized paddle boards.
While oversized SUP boards can be every bit as much fun as they appear to be, they also require some training in proper use, handling, and maintenance. A larger board will need to be lifted by several people to avoid injury and will need to be properly secured on a vehicle for transport. Each XL board will have a specific inflation pressure rating which may be different (usually lower) than a more typically sized board. Putting too much pressure an oversized SUP board can lead to damage, especially when the air expands in the hot sun. Due to its size, an XL SUP will likely be stored outside, so precautions need to be taken to avoid excessive sun exposure that can damage the materials over time.
When shopping for an XL SUP board, start with an idea of how many people you will want on the board to settle of a size range, then consider how you want it to be used. For casual fun, group surfing, or whitewater, a board with a wide, squarish shape works well. For racing, look for a narrower, longer board that lets the paddlers line up in tandem.
While there are specialty boards that can expand stand up paddle boarding to some very specific activities, most stand up paddle boarding is still done on more multipurpose boards that meet a variety of needs.
If you can only own one paddle board, we recommend choosing a versatile all around board. If you already have an all around board and want an additional board for a special purpose, one of these specialty board types may be worth considering.
See our top specialty inflatable paddle board selections here.
Want more expert advice on choosing an inflatable SUP board? Check out our 2018 Inflatable Paddle Board Buyer’s Guide.