A Paddle Board Buyers Guide

...which one is right for you?

There's a simple answer, any of them!

Ok, that doesn't help, but it's all about your needs - what do you need it for and where are you going to use it!

Generally speaking for your first board you will want something around 10 to 11ft long, something  nice and wide to aid with stability (at least 31 inch wide). The shape of the board should have a nice wide and rounded nose and also a wide tail, this also aids with stability.

These board shapes are often known as “all rounders”.

As your skills develop, there are different board shapes that will grow with your ability. From sharper nosed tourers to lighter and shorter surf SUPs.

Here is a simple guide to explain the differences in our boards and to let you know which would suit your needs best.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on info@fatstickboards.com or call us on 01202 985103. We are a family run company based in Dorset with a passion for paddling since 2012 - We are always happy to give advice


10'6 AirStick Paddle Board Starter Pack 

(Click here to see product price)

This is our starter pack and comes with everything you need to start your SUP journey without having to spend a fortune.

The board is a 10'6 x 32" x 5" inflatable board. It's made with high quality single layered drop stitch material and double walled rails. The board also has a PVC stringer that runs along the top and bottom to help with rigidity.

This board comes with an action camera mount on the nose, bungee straps, a 4 piece aluminium kayak conversion paddle and a kayak conversion seat. The bag is a simple, top opening rucksack style bag that fits everything in, with a room to spare.

The safety equipment is standard throughout our inflatable boards - a coiled ankle leash and a Quick Release waist belt.

Basically, the kit gives you all you need to get on the water. You save your money by having more affordable accessories.

 Air Stick Starter Pack Summary

  • Great budget option
  • 5 year warranty
    • Complete kit, with everything you need
      • Can be used on the sea, rivers & lakes
        • Wide & stable

          10'6 Pure Art Paddle Board Package

          (Click here to see product price)

          The Pure Art board, like the AirStick, comes 'water ready'. This means you do not need to buy anything else in order to get you on the water.

          A 10'6 x 32" x 4.7, this board is sleek, sits in the water for a lower centre of gravity which ultimately means improved stability from boards with a 6" rail. Made from dual-fusion material, which means 2 layers of PVC compressed together using heat, this material is not only durable it's also very rigid.

          The material is a dense drop stitch and the board comes with an action camera mount, deck bungees, a kayak conversion seat and a 4 piece carbon wrapped paddle that converts into a kayak paddle. Once again, with safety in mind, the Pure Art comes with a coiled ankle leash and a Quick Release waist belt as standard with no extra cost.

          The main difference in this board is not just the premium materials, it's also the accessories - large durable wheeled bag that can be carried as a backpack, the carbon wrapped 4 piece paddle and a dual action high pressure hand pump.

          Pure Art Summary 

          • High quality double layer fusion construction
            • Complete kit with 5 year warranty
              • Able to carry a passenger
                • Very stable
                  • Great for heavier riders


                  12'6 Pure Art Tourer Package

                  (Click here for price)

                  The Pure Art Touring board is made from the same material as the 'All Rounder' and comes with the same kit.

                  The main difference in the touring boards - both rigid and inflatable - are their shape. The pointed nose allows the board to track better in the water (paddle in a straight line) and offers less resistance. This means this Touring board is a great Board for covering distance fast.

                  Touring Board Summary

                  • High quality dual layer fusion construction
                    • Complete kit with 5 year warranty
                      • Fast board that tracks well (Stays in straight line)
                        • Can easily carry a passenger & good for heavier riders

                          Inflatable Boards Myths & Misconceptions

                          Military Grade PVC - to this day, we've not found a supplier of our raw materials that can explain this. The boats made for the military are often made from a material called Hypalon. This isn't even PVC, so other than a great piece of sales - we don't know what it means.

                          You Need A 6 Inch Rail For Stiffness - this isn't the case. Often instructors or retailers are either misinformed or they have/use/sell 6" boards. There's a well known brand that make 10'6 all rounder boards with a 4" rail. Reuben and Andy happily tandem paddled a 10'6 x 32 x 4.7" and the board was stable, floated and performed well.

                          "Why don't FatStick make a 4" rail" - sadly, the simple answer is, people are sold the 6"myth and so we hit the middle ground to give people peace of mind. Could we make a 4" as stiff as our 4.7 inch rail - 100% yes!


                          Inflatables Perform The Same As A Hardboard - sadly, and without question, it's just not possible. An inflatable sits you 'on' the water, no matter what the rail size. A lot of time and effort goes into the design of the boards and it requires very different styling, designing and shaping. An inflatable carries a consistent thickness from nose to tail - 4.7" rail - whereas the hardboard has a thinner nose and tail and the rails will be shaped in a different way.

                          As nice as it sounds, it's just not possible.

                          You Need A Lighter Board - this is partially true, but only on hardboards. A light and manoeuvrable hardboard is a joy to paddle, but a lightweight inflatable sits higher in the water and is a lot more susceptible to being caught by the wind. You don't need to aim for an über lightweight inflatable.


                          See a FatStick Paddle Board being made in this video from our recent trip to our factory


                          Hard Paddle Boards

                          (Click here to see prices) 

                          The hardboards offer better performance, simply by their build alone. Inflatables are incredible, but the stability and performance of a hardboard cannot be replicated in an inflatable. It's simply not possible.

                          Our hardboards range from 9'8 to 10'6 all rounders , and 12'6 touring boards. We also have our shorter boards with less volume that are made with the SUP surfers in mind.

                          With differing fin set up, 1, 3 and 5 fin options - the boards are made with adaptability in mind. Allowing you a single fin set up for beautiful straight line paddling to adding side fins if you're playing in the surf.

                          Whether enjoying a leisurely paddle with friends, hitting the distances or searching for waves - our hardboards have you covered.

                          ...and, the All Rounders can be set up for a surf too. The beauty of the 'All Rounder'!

                          Hard Board Summary

                          • Higher performance than inflatable boards
                            • Increased stability & rideability

                              Parts of a Hard  Paddle Board.....

                              Here you can see all the common parts of a modern Paddle Board.

                              Hard Board Factory Visit

                              Where To Paddle

                              Every board can be used on all waters - from rivers and canals to lakes and the sea. The important thing to know is, whenever you finish paddling on any water, you should wash your board down to prevent cross contamination of water courses.

                              FatStick also recommend that you invest in a PFD (Personal Flotation Device). There's lots out there - Baltic, Palm, Restube to name a few.


                              Got more questions? We love them! Send them our way via email, our social channels or over the phone.

                              If you're unsure about board selection, then the best thing you can do is get on a board and try it. If you don't have a hire centre or shop near you, get in touch with the ladies at Tri-Wetsuit Hire. They offer low priced long term hire of FatStick inflatables that will give you the opportunity to try a board before you commit to buy.



                              …and don't forget we plant 1 tree for each board sold!