To the untrained eye, a yoga SUP board and a traditional stand up paddle board may look the same. However, these boards can differ from one another considerably because they were designed for specific uses.
Today, I’ll share with you some key differences to understand between a traditional stand up paddle board and paddle boards designed for practicing yoga. Read on to learn about what you need to know before you head out on a paddleboard yoga adventure.
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Difference Between a Yoga Paddle Board and a Regular Paddle Board
A yoga SUP is crafted specifically for practicing yoga on the water. Because of this, you can expect to find features including a wider deck and a stubbier nose. This allows the paddle board to have greater surface area so that you can achieve better balance and stability when you’re going through your yoga routine.
Traditional paddle boards however offer a more tapered nose and are not as wide. This is what allows them to be more maneuverable when you’re on the water. With maneuverability of course comes less stability. Understanding this will keep you from using a board that is less than ideal when you’re looking to do SUP yoga.
These two types of paddle boards will also have a unique construction. For example, a paddle board designed specifically for SUP yoga will offer a padded deck that extends longer than a traditional SUP. This padded deck serves as sort of a yoga mat so that you can have more comfort during your yoga practice.
Additional features like grab handles on the side as opposed to the middle of the board along with a greater board thickness can also contribute to the difference between a yoga board and a traditional paddle board.
If you’re looking at different paddle boards for SUP yoga, keep an eye out for these features so that you’re picking the best board to serve your needs.
Epoxy vs. Inflatable Board for SUP Yoga
Now that you know what difference to look for when it comes to paddle boards and boards for SUP yoga, it’s time to consider whether you want a hard shell or inflatable board. Each type offers its own pros and cons, but many SUP yoga lovers, including myself, recommend opting for an inflatable board.
Inflatable boards generally offer more stability than hard-shelled paddle boards due to their thickness, width, and padding. With SUP yoga, stability is crucial because it improves balance and allows you to have greater control in weather conditions that are less than optimal.
Unlike hard boards, inflatable boards also tend to be more comfortable because of the pushback they give. If your board has a little bit of give to it, this can make SUP yoga poses a little more easier to achieve.
Plus, the comfort they offer will allow you to tackle more challenging poses with a higher chance of success.
How Wide Is a Yoga Paddle Board?
The width of a yoga SUP is important because the wider it is, the more stable it will be. Generally, a yoga SUP will be about 34 to 36 in wide. This is just a couple inches wider than traditional paddle boards.
These couple of inches make a huge difference however as they give you a greater sense of stability thanks to the added surface area. An ideal paddle board for SUP yoga would also be one that has a cushion deck that extends the width of the board as well.
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How Long Should a Yoga Paddle Board Be?
Because you’ll be stretching your body on the full length of the board, yoga SUPs are designed to be long. Still, they won’t be as long or longer than tandem paddle boards.
A good length to shop for is a board that is anywhere from 10 to 11 ft long. It’s important to note that the length of a paddle board does not impact the stability the way the width does. However, you do want a paddle board that has a wider nose on either end and not one that tapers off into a narrow design.
Much like the width of a cushioned deck, you should expect the cushioned deck to extend nearly the entire length of the SUP. You likely might not find yourself ever being on either end of the deck, but the cushion is still helpful if you need to stretch out in either direction.
Do I Need Special Gear for Paddle Board Yoga?
Beside the required gear you should take out with you any time you hit the water, the beautiful thing about sup yoga is that you don’t need any additional gear other than your body and your paddle board. You should bring the same gear you would bring to your yoga classes at your yoga studio.
Still, it doesn’t help to bring some added gear with you. Consider bringing the following when you go out into the water.
Your emergency whistle is important to have on hand in the event you find yourself in a dangerous situation. You should keep your emergency whistle on you at all times by securing it to your neck or securing it in a zippered compartment.
Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
It’s important to bring along your personal floatation device or PFD allong with you whenever you go out paddle boarding. You are actually beginning to stretch on your yoga board, you don’t actually have to have your PFD on you as it can get in the way of your poses.
An anchor can be helpful to bring along, especially if you are joining in on an SUP yoga class. A SUP anchor will help keep you stationed in the location you choose and will keep you from drifting away.
Anchors can also come in handy if you need help determining how deep the water is. This will allow you to pick a safe location to practice SUP yoga so that if you do fall in, you do not end up hurting yourself.
Practicing SUP yoga on a warm summer’s day is one of the most relaxing ways to perform yoga. The major downside however is that being out in the sun for an extended period of time can be damaging to your skin. You can help combat this by using sunscreen everytime you go out on your yoga board.
Opt for a waterproof broad spectrum sunscreen that doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily and slippery. It can also help you to bring along a hat that will provide you with facial coverage.
If you plan on going out on your yoga board, it’s important to stay hydrated. Regardless of the temperature outside, hydration is key so that your body can function at its best. Plus if you’re trying to get in a full body workout, you’ll need continual hydration to stay on top of your game.
Waterproof Dry Bag
A waterproof drybag can help you keep all your yoga gear nice and safe when you’re out on the water. It’s also a great place to store snacks and keep your bottle of water too.
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If you are looking for a new challenge, then take your yoga experience from solid ground to a yoga stand up paddle board. Experienced yogis will tell you that there is no greater way to work muscles you didn’t know you had than on a yoga board over the water.
Before you dive in, it’s important to understand what to look for in a yoga stand up paddle board. Knowing the difference between paddle boards will allow you to get the best paddleboard yoga experience possible.