Stand Up Paddle Board Construction - The 3 Most Popular Types
While Stand Up Paddle boarding is a relatively new sport, the construction of these boards is nothing new and has been carried over from surfboard construction techniques that have been in use for decades. To help you navigate the different constructions and ultimately choose what may work best for you we will touch on the basics of the three most popular constructions on the market today.
TYPE 1: EPS Foam Core + Fiberglass Cloth + Epoxy Resin
This is the most common and basic construction method used for price point boards retailing in the $700-$900 range. Because nearly all stock (non-custom) boards are built in overseas factories, the materials used are all sourced from local Chinese suppliers and while the quality of material can vary greatly all would be considered to be low grade materials. To gain the necessary strength from these materials more layers of fiberglass cloth is needed which in turns makes the boards heavier and stiffer. The epoxy resin used also has a yellowish hue to it so the boards are painted on the outside to cover this up. In the end you have a heavier, stiffer board that should be strong but some unknowns and potential pitfalls can arise depending on what company you are buying from.
TYPE 2: EPS Foam Core + Wood Stringer + Hexcel Fiberglass Cloth + Clear Epoxy Resin
This is our XPS construction that we build all of our Isle SUPs and performance surfboards out of for a number of reasons. Adding a wood stringer to our lightweight EPS foam core adds strength to the core of the board and makes it less prone to twisting and snapping. Instead of using locally sourced fiberglass cloth and resin to glass the boards we use the highest quality USA made Hexcel Fiberglass cloth and Resin Research Clear Epoxy Resin. This is a huge added expensive but we feel the end result is well worth it. Because of the higher quality materials we can use less cloth to achieve a stronger more durable board which in turns makes the boards lighter and not as stiff as other epoxy boards. In addition to the increased performance characteristics, the look of the clear epoxy board is one of a traditional fiberglass board and much more appealing than the painted on the outside (plastic) look in our opinion. Because of our Direct to Consumer selling channels we are able to offer this higher end construction for often times less than the cheaper (painted on the outside) Epoxy construction.
TYPE 3: PVC Sandwich Construction
Often times referred to as a ‘Pop Out’ this type of construction is often built in molds and has its pluses and minuses. While the core materials are the same (EPS foam, Fiberglass Cloth and Epoxy resin) another layer of material called PVC is ‘sandwiched’ into the board during the molding process. PVC is a thin layer of very dense (hard) foam that when molded together with the fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin creates a very hard outer layer that gives the board a very durable ‘shell’. Because of the extra strength the PVC gives the board, a lighter EPS foam can be used which makes the boards very light. While light is often a good thing, when combined with the hard outer shell, some say the boards tend to feel too ‘corky’ and stiff. This extra PVC layer is an expensive addition and PVC sandwich boards often range from $1300-$1800.
In a Nut Shell
A board painted on the outside is most commonly either a price point EPS Epoxy board or a PVC sandwich board. Easiest way to tell which one it is, is the price tag. Clear epoxy boards are typically going to be lighter and more performance oriented and for the simple reason that the resin is clear you know you are getting a board with higher end materials as there is nothing to cover up. This construction is more expensive to manufacturer but because of our direct to the consumer business model we are able to sell them at or below what others are selling a much cheaper Epoxy board for. If durability is your biggest concern than you may want to look into a PVC sandwich board but be ready to pay double the price. Most will find that a clear epoxy board is more than durable for regular use, year after year.
If you need help deciding what may be best for you or have any questions at all, one of our surf and SUP experts will be happy to answer any of your questions. Give us a call at 888-569-7873!