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The Best Paddle Board for SUP Yoga

October 22, 2021


The use and environments in which a paddle board can be used have dramatically expanded from its original inception.

In the beginning, most recreational paddlers were happy enough to get on the flatwater and enjoy a relaxing afternoon under the sun.

But as the popularity of the sport grew so did its versatility. No longer were people satisfied with a 12’ fiberglass board with no handle.

Instead, the market demanded boards that could work in specific environments and with a specific use. With this demand came shorter boards for SUP surfing, longer boards for racing, inflatable boards for travel and durability, and yoga boards for, well, yoga.

And even though these boards were created with a specific use in mind, there arose a separate problem. Not many people could afford multiple boards if they wanted to paddle in different environments or use them for different activities.

As a result, paddlers began to look for boards that could handle more. At Atoll we understood the need and decided to create a board that was great for travel, durable for adventure, perfect for whitewater river paddling, and excellent for SUP yoga.

And while we can certainly give you a rundown on how our board can handle all of these activities, we want to instead focus on one of the fastest-growing sectors of SUP – yoga.

With a special interest in what you should look for in a board to have the best time you can on the water. In this article, we will cover size, shape, and deck pads, to arm you with the knowledge you will need for your next SUP purchase.

So, for you yogis out there, let’s get into it!

Size

For SUP yoga, when it comes to the size it’s not as important to have a long paddle board as it is to have one with a wide deck and a thick rail.

Why?

Because yoga on the water is difficult. Especially in balance poses! And with a wide deck and thick rail, you will have the platform you need to stay upright on the water.

The wider the board is the more stability you will have side-to-side and the thicker the rail is on the board, the more buoyancy you will have. Both of these attributes will increase your ability to balance.

Now, back to the length. Most yoga-specific boards you will see on the market are short. We’re talking 10’-10’6’’. This can be great for practicing yoga, but not so much for paddling. If you want a board that can do both, we suggest purchasing one that is at least 10’6’’ in length. Avoid the shorter boards that are shaped just like a platform. Otherwise, you won’t have any fun paddling it in between sessions.

If you are looking for a board that has all three of these attributes, then look no further than our Atoll 11’ Inflatable SUP. We may be a bit biased (who are we kidding, of course we are!) but with a 32’’ wide deck, 6’’ rail, and 11’’ in length, you’re looking at a great board to paddle with plenty of width and thickness to give you optimal balance on the water – even in tree pose!

Shape

As we have already alluded to, most yoga-specific boards are shaped like you would think a yogi would like – like a mat. They’re shorter in length, wide, and boxier in style.

These can be great for practicing yoga but terribly unfun to paddle. Of course, if you are just taking a class and want to practice with a rented board, by all means, opt for the board that is shaped like a square. It will make your yoga class easier on the water.

But if you’re looking for a board that can do it all – and more – then your best choice is to get a board that you know will paddle well when not practicing yoga.

Look for a board with a pointed nose that can break through the water and waves, one that isn’t too wide so that you will be able to paddle long distances without having to reach too far side to side with your paddle, and one with a pulled in tail that will be easier to turn and maneuver in a current.

The goal isn’t to have a floating mat in the water no matter how tempting that may be. The goal is to have a great paddle board that can easily be used for SUP yoga.

Deck Pad

One of the most important parts of any stand up paddle board has to be the deck pad. Most boards come with a standard foam pad. Some are flat and some are diamond padded. In addition, some companies have begun to experiment with different materials to see if they could make a difference.

What you should be looking for, despite the material or the shape, is of course if it has enough grip. The point of a deck pad is to allow you to stand on your SUP without slipping, even when it is wet. For yoga, you should opt for a deck pad that will provide you with adequate grip when in difficult balance poses.

However, there is one caveat. If you have sensitive feet or hands, the diamond padding, while providing the most amount of grip compared to others on the market, might be too rough for you. Be sure to test out a few options before you decide on one.

Conclusion

SUP yoga is a fun and interesting way to expand your practice on the water. But when it comes to buying a paddle board for the activity, the choice is not always so obvious. While you want a board that will be able to float you and provide you with enough surface area for balance, you should also purchase one that will be great in various environments, in different conditions, and will paddle well for extended trips. Otherwise, you might only be using your board sparingly. Questions or comments? Let us know! Drop a message into our inbox and we will gladly get back to you.

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