How to Pick a Paddle Board for my Dog and I?

golden retriever and owner on sup paddleboard from suppups.com

A few months back, I was just like you.


I had discovered how much fun paddle boarding with Belle was. We rented paddle boards a few times. I was at this point where I wanted to get mine. But there's so much to consider... first, price point, inflatable or not, etc.


So here it is, how to pick the best paddle board for you and your pup, step by step.


Or you can skip to the best board according to our community.

Step 1: Determine if you want an inflatable board or a hard one. 

First, you need to determine if you want an inflatable board or a hard one. 


Btw, if you want to look like a pro, inflatable boards often go by iSUP. Ohh and I almost forgot, SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle Board. You guessed it, iSUP is for Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board. 


ok, back to picking the board.


Many people, including me, are worried that their dog might puncture the inflatable paddle board with their nail. You don't have to worry about this. The inflatable paddle boards are very durable for dogs.


Here's a few factors that can help you decide if you should go for an iSUP or a standard board. 

Are you living by the water?

If you're not, the inflatable paddle board is in the lead right away. 

Why? 

Well,  hard boards are usually heavier than inflatable ones. If you live by the water and you need to walk 30 to 100ft with your board, that's not too bad. But if you have a 15mins drive to go to the water, the hard board is much harder to carry than the inflatable one.


Also, if you want to carry it, you will need a pick up truck or a roof rack on your car. With an inflatable one, you just need to inflate it once you're at the water. Here's a short video to show you how to inflate an iSUP.


Therefore not living by the water favors the inflatable SUP.

paddle board on top of honda civic

Do you have a roof rack or a pick up?

If you plan on getting a hard board and you're not living by the water, you must have something to carry the board.


If you don't want to get one, then the inflatable one is a better option for you.

A lot of storage space

Finally, hard boards take up a lot of space. If you have ample room in your garage or in your house, then a hard board is a fine choice.


Here's a table to help you decide:

Why getting a hard board

Performance is your priority

Hard boards offer the best performance on the water. They travel faster, smoother and with less effort than an inflatable. If paddling fast and far are your priorities, a solid SUP is for you.

For a perfect fit

Hard SUPs are available in a larger variety of sizes and finely tuned shapes than inflatable SUPs, so you’re more likely to find one that fits you just right.

Stability is important

A hard board is a tad more rigid than an inflatable board, which can provide a more stable feel, especially when riding waves. Solid boards also tend to ride lower in the water, which can also create a more stable feel.

You have a place to store it

Hard SUPs can take up a lot of space. If you have ample room in your garage and a vehicle that can transport it, then a solid SUP is a fine choice.

Why getting a inflatable board

You have limited storage space

If you live in a small house, condo or apartment, you may not have room for a large solid board. Inflatable SUPs are compact when deflated and can easily be stowed in small spaces, like a closet or the trunk of a car.

You’re traveling

If you’re taking a road trip or hopping on a plane, you can bring along your inflatable SUP and do some paddling when you reach your destination. Packed away in its storage bag, an inflatable can be checked on an airplane or stowed in a train, bus or car. Most storage bags have backpack straps for easy carrying.

You’re hiking to a lake

If you’re headed to an alpine lake and want to paddle, you certainly cannot carry a solid board. An inflatable stowed in its storage bag is still heavy, but it’s pretty much your only option.

This table is from Rei (link in sources)

Step 2: Choose a shape

Now you need to decide the shape of the board. Once again, it's a question about performance. What kind of outing do you want with your pup?


Let me tell you, in most cases, if you go paddle with your pup the goal is to have fun. Therefore a planing hull (round nose) would be better.


We found these two images from REi website that sum up the major differences between board shapes:

paddle board for dog for fun and leisure

Rights reserved to REI

paddle board for dog for performance and fitness

Rights reserved to REI

Therefore, a good overall paddle board for stability with your pup would be a round nose shape (planing hull).

Step 3: Choose a size

different sizes of paddle boards for different purposes

Rights reserved to REI

This image sums it up really well. As an average paddler looking for a board to bring your pup, a medium size would be the ideal board for you.

Step 4: Check weight recommendation

Depending on your weight, on your pup's weight, your requirements might be different.

If you're thinking about bringing your Newfie vs your Chihuahua, you will need to confirm the weight capacity of the board.

When calculating the weight capacity you need, make sure to include any accessories or gear you want to bring with you (food, water, etc.).

Step 4: Check weight recommendation

Depending on your weight, on your pup's weight, your requirements might be different.

If you're thinking about bringing your Newfie vs your Chihuahua, you will need to confirm the weight capacity of the board.

When calculating the weight capacity you need, make sure to include any accessories or gear you want to bring with you (food, water, etc.).

Step 5: Choosing your fin setup and more advanced features.

For 95% of people, the basic setup of the board will do just fine.

However, if you're an advanced paddler and want to pick your SUP according to it's thickness, it's fin setup and more, go to How to Choose a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)

Step 6: Check the amount of traction pad

By traction pad, we mean the padding that's on the board. Whether it's an iSUP or a regular hard board, both decks are quite slippery. 

That's why there's this traction pad, similar to a yoga mat, under your feet, to prevent you from slipping. 

Now all the board have the amount of grip you need. But not all of them have the grip at the front (where your dog will most likely be.

Let's take these two boards from Body Glove:
body glove performer 11 feet with red square delitiming the grip zone

Body Glove Performer 11' Inflatable Stand Up

body glove oasis 10 feet with red square delitiming the grip zone

Body Glove Oasis 10' Inflatable Stand Up

These two boards are good, affordable options.

But if you had to pick one for your pup, you should pick the one on the right (the Oasis 10). 

Why?

Well, the red square on each board shows the part of the deck that is covered with grip/mat/traction pad. This is the area where your dog will be able to comfortably hang out.

As you can see, that space is significantly bigger on the right board than on the left. 

Can I buy aftermarket traction pad for my dog on my paddle board?

Yes, some extra traction pad can be bought if you already have a paddle board and need that extra padding for your dog. It's called a pup deck

But keep in mind that this pad will never look as good as the original. So if you haven't got a paddle board yet, all other things being equal, get the one with the most traction pad area.

The Best overall paddle board for you and your dog is...

We asked in our Paddling with Dogs community what was the best paddle board to bring your dog with you. 

The answer is:

Body Glove Oasis 10' Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Package

Body Glove Oasis 10' Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Package
Why is it a great board?
First, the price.

Most of us do paddle board as a hobby and we don't need the top-of-the-line carbon fiber board that costs an arm and weights a feather. The body glove is one of the few options under $500. You can click on the image to see the board on Costco.

Second, it's inflatable. Which means you need a garage to store it or a roof rack to carry it.
Deflated it will fit in a closet and can be easily put in the trunk of a car.

Third, the amount of traction pad is insane. Well, it's simple. The whole board is covered with it. That means your dog can lie down at the front or can move around pretty safely. 

Lastly, the board's shape is a planing hull which increases the stability of the board. Trust us, stability is what you want when you're starting to SUP with your pup.

In summary

If performance is what you're looking for with your pup (going further and faster), then you might consider smaller and narrower boards. 

But if you're relatively new to the sport with your pup, an inflatable wider and more buoyant paddle board is a great pick. 

Enjoy your first outing with your new board!

P.S. The best way to develop that passion is to be surrounded with other dog owners who love SUP. Check out our community below.
the french brigade breaking the world record for most dogs on paddle board

Our Community

Join a community of dog owners who loves to paddle board with their pups.


Sources:

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