I’ve had several inquiries lately about purchasing a beginner Stand Up Paddle board for Colorado. My first question is always what do you plan to do with it? Are you looking to cruise the lake or do you want to attempt some rapids? For beginners the answer has always been cruise the lake and maybe attempt some yoga or exercises on the board. For those of you out there looking for that beginner board for Colorado lakes here are my recommendations:
My absolute favorite board is an Isle inflatable SUP. This is a very solid all around board. The price is good for a well built board. I’ve owned my Isle for going on 4 years now and I haven’t had a single problem with it! It’s a great length and width for beginners and perfect for practicing yoga on! Price - $700 - $750 depending on sales
If that price tag is a bit high for you, check out the following from Amazon. This is in the 10ft range with a wide base that will help with balance. Also make sure to check the weight capacity of the board to ensure it's a proper fit. Not too many ladies will need or want an 11ft board, but you may need to go up to that size depending on height and weight. Price - $529 - $599
Another option from Amazon would be the one. There is only the one fin on this one that can change your turning and maneuverability but is a solid board for the price. Price - $299
I'm adding one to this list that I missed on my original post I made on FaceBook. Hala Boards are a local Colorado company and they offer amazing boards and an incredible selection, whether you are going for a race board, all around or touring and fishing. They are also my go to for a White Water SUP. For a beginner all around lake board, I would suggest the Rival. They are expensive, so make sure to find a retailer like Confluence Kayaks to demo the board before making that kind of investment. Also keep in mind you are only getting the board for that price, you will still need to purchase a paddle and pump at the very least. However if you have the money you will not regret a Hala Board AND you are supporting a local CO company! Price - $1099
Whatever you do...spend the extra to get a pump! The manual pump in great if you are hiking to your paddle location but for most of us women we are not strong enough nor do we weigh enough to get the board up to the recommended PSI. I own two of these and have tried a couple others that always break. The price is great and they have an auto shut off when they hit the PSI you set. I can tell you to be meticulously careful with the tube on this pump...if it gets a hole or crack there is no replacement tube, you have to buy a whole new pump. That would be my only complaint on this pump.
Also, you will need to have a life vest on any lake in CO or they will kick you off the water. It just has to be on the board, you don't have to actually wear it, but if you want a smaller profile one these are great to wear around your waist. Although if you are new to the sport or are not a strong swimmer, please wear the life jacket at all times while on your board.
There are several other “nice to haves” that I can recommend as well. Once you get past the simple floating and get into more advanced moves you will want a leash. I have spent many a summer night chasing my board while practicing pivot turns until I invested in a leash. Also, an anchor is great if you plan to do yoga or just want to chill and not drift into rocks. A small cooler than can rest on your board for snacks, drinks etc is always nice as well! See below for my list of add-on's. You can find all of these on Amazon for relatively cheap!
So many tips! Please let me know if you have any questions or need advice on where to shop locally!