iSUP for beginner - is longer better or what is the correct size?

I’m looking for a touring iSUP to go to places at a bit more than dilly-dally speed and want to go straight. Imagine 5+ hour roundtrips. I figured what they call Touring iSUP at around 30" width would be a good compromise between speed and stability. the ones I looked at seem to be displacement hulls. Most models I look at have a 12’6" and a 14’ version or something close.

For regulars hard kayaks and SUP, the rule is longer is better (faster and better tracking). But I read somewhere that for an inflatable this isn’t true since it flexes a bit and that makes a longer inflatable not necessarily better. Is there some truth to it and could a longer one be too long?

I’m 175#, 5’11" and would only have limited cargo. So any size would allow a much higher weight. The little added cost and weight of the 14’ iSUP vs. the 12.5’ iSUP wouldn’t matter. If both iSUP have the same width, I also imagine the longer one would be more stable. But again, this may not true due to flex.

I’m still researching, but have my eye set on the Sea Eagle Needlenose 14 and 126. But I’m also looking at other models that seem to offer 2+ length for a given type.

So is there any reason to get the shorter version (12’6")? Or is 14’ just better for speed and tracking with a given shape?

I can’t help you with your question - I ordered and am waiting on a rigid SUP to meet my longer/faster needs. I think you will have more responses in the reddit SUP sub.

Yeah, SUP doesn’t get a lot of play here.

My advice would be to get a used 12.5 " conventional hard touring board and get some experience paddling. You can go faster on a longer board but it is doubtful you have the skills to manage a fast board. Not a lot of advantage in transporting inflating a 14’ inflatable. This video has a lot of good info about ISUPs and hard boards. I would also look for people who are actually paddling the boards you are interested in. A lot of your assumptions about how boards perform is just plain wrong. You may get more advice here if you seem willing to listen.

Hah, I had watched that video this morning.
Unfortunately a hard board is not an option. It is inflatable, or nothing. And even now in fall the used market here doesn’t yield anything good. Basically all Amazon boards that people try to sell like a brand-name new board.

Could you explain which of my assumptions regarding iSUP are wrong and why?

How would managing a 30" wide iSUP that is 14’ long be harder than the same width iSUP at 12’6"? Only thing harder I can imagine would be turning, which I don’t do a lot.

I researched a lot of sizing and most advice copies each other and is based on the 10’ boards. most advice also pointed out to not get a board rated too close to the rider weight. But I didn’t see advice saying a board with too much carrying capacity would be bad.

Again, I ask for advice specifically to inflatable SUPs since they are a bit more flexy and behave different than hard boards.

I will offer you a bit of advice regarding long touring iSUPs. I would highly recommend looking at those with side rail stiffeners (like Red Paddle Co has). And go with a higher volume board than your weight dictates, since weight recommendations for SUP are typically not specified for most of the weight being the rider at the center of the board but for weight spread out across the entire board. You will see more flex if you are pushing the weight limit.

Oops I missed this point. The only downside if you get a board with too high volume for your weight and load is that you might not weight the board enough to take advantage of the intended waterline and therefore speed. My iSUP is too high volume for me when I ride it alone, but not when I take my 75 lb dog. It was a tradeoff.

Thanks for the advice. I also sent SE an email asking about their advice on the length for me.

I agree an iSUP like the Red Voyager would be the best. Up to 25 psi, the side rails etc. but for me just starting and trying it out, the price is steep. My plan is to use the iSUP with seat as a kayak replacement and as SUP. I have no idea yet what % I will be sitting, or standing. After the 2022 season I will know better if I will kayak or SUP more and then can tell better what to look for in a much better boat.

I realize something like the SE NN14 will be a lesser iSUP than the Red. It only inflates to 15 psi etc. but I was hoping it will be an OK beginner iSUP. I’m convinced it will be miles better than my current SE 370, and also be better than the majority of beginner iSUP. I also check ebay for SE return models (that is how I bought my SE 370), so there is a chance to get a good deal.

Only 15 psi? Go shorter. Like 10’6" short.

I realize 15 psi nowadays is relatively low. The next more expensive Starbaord are up to 18psi.
I’m concerned about the 15 psi as well. But I watched a few videos and paid attention to see if the board buckles down in the center, but didn’t really see a problem with the riders shown.

Do you think my 175# will make the Sea Eagle NN buckle?

Yes, you get what you pay for.

I like your above point that they rate the capacity with an even load. That is a ridiculous way to rate the capacity of a STAND UP paddle board.

I saw ZEN double chamber starbaord iSUP for $1,100. Maybe I look at those since they allow some more pressure and have the side rails.

a local store has (or had) this 10’ cheap iSUP on sale for $200. I could get that and try out how i like the kayaking on an iSUP and then decide. My worry is, then mid-season 2022 i want a better device, and then they all will be sold out again or expensive. That one obviously is a great departure from the above iSUP. but could be a future board for my daughter.

I really don’t know. I’m not familiar with that brand so you’ll just have to research - and probably not on this website. My post about going shorter was a gut reaction. I think it probably depends more on the thickness, and the width. Usually longer boards are more narrow and I cannot imagine you will not see some flex, which would suck. My board is 6 inches thick, 29 inches wide, 10’6" long, and rated 15 psi max. But I only weigh 110 lbs and inflate to 13 psi when I am alone - no flex at all. I inflate to 15 when I bring my dog. When he stands with me in the middle, there is definitely flex at our combined weight of 185 lbs. So he typically stands more forward and I stand more back. That won’t be an option for you.

You get what you pay for is definitely the case. Get the best board you can afford.

I talked to Se Eagle and they stated the longer NN 14 would track better and be faster, but be harder to manage for my weight. So a typical trade-off. Somewhere else I read a too long SUP will sit higher and be more impacted by cross-winds, which makes sense.

So I concluded I’ll focus on the 12’6" size of boats. On the upside, that seems to give more options.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in. I’ll try to get on a SUP specific forum for more SUP specific questions.