One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is about boards suitable for SUP yoga. Therefore, I´ve decided to give my personal thoughts on this, with some information about what kind of board(s) I use.
When someone ask me how to choose a board for SUP yoga, I have a series of questions to help sort out what kind of board will be the best choice. Initially I ask these following questions.
ARE YOU ONLY GOING TO PRACTICE SUP YOGA OR ARE YOU THINKING OF USING THE BOARD IN WAVES AND LONGER PADDLE SESSIONS AS WELL?
This is the most important question to answer. If you´re planning on taking the board into surf, your choice of board will differ from if your main goal is flat water and SUP yoga. Basically, you can bring any board into surf. It comes down to your skills and if you´re aiming for competition, or if your satisfied with a sense of longboard sliding without cut backs and so on. Most people who surf have a specific wave sup for that purpose. When it´s time for flat water cruising and/or SUP yoga, they will also have a specific board for that purpose.
If your main goal is SUP yoga, the best boards for this purpose works perfect for all-round paddling, adventure sessions and family fun as well. These boards are useful for basically anything but racing fast or doing tricks in the surf.
So what about these boards? Well, here you have two options. Inflatable vs solid boards. And the best way of choosing between solid vs inflatables are to ask yourself these questions:
DO YOU HAVE A GARAGE OR OTHER STORAGE UNIT?
You want to store your board properly to ensure that it stays in a good condition. You want your board to work for years to come, right? The board needs to rest where it stays out of sunlight and wind. A place where it doesn´t fall down and get dinged. The fin needs to be kept safe as well. Do you have a place like this at home, or a storage place to rent? If yes, you´re good to go for a solid board. You might even want the board in your living-room, if you´re into the ocean and surfing theme in your house. (Another thing to consider, do you live in an apartment with stairs, or a house? Walking up and down stairs with a solid board can be heavy and the board is at risk to become broken).
DO YOU HAVE A CAR?
Do you have a car? If yes, you can transport a solid board by using car racks. It takes some muscles to get the board up the roof, but once it’s in place it´s a nice feeling driving with your board on your car knowing you´re about to hit the water.
If you don´t have a garage, other storage unit and a car, you want to consider an inflatable board. Even if you have all those things, I would still go for the inflatable when it comes to SUP yoga for one reason. They shine as a platform for yoga. If you choose a good one.
So you´ve answer questions on your purpose with the board, as well as storage and transport. Next thing is to learn some things about solid boards vs inflatables.
SOLID BOARD VS INFLATABLE
For many years I was all in for solid boards. I can´t really give an explanation to this except that I thought solid boards was so much better than inflatable boards. I just haven´t yet found a really good inflatable board to meet up my demands and experience with solid boards.
As a SUP yoga practitioner you want your board to behave like a floating yoga mat. Yes, SUP yoga is about balance and an additional challenge to earth-bound yoga, but you still want your experience to be as good as possible with a board that works best for your purpose. On a fixed yoga mat you can use the whole mat by standing in front or at the back of the mat.
For SUP yoga you want a board that´s wide. You also want high volume. This is where inflatable boards can shine. The volume in inflatable boards are often higher than solid boards. Inflatable boards are also softer, which means they are softer to land on if you fall. You can carry them with you easily in your car, bus, train and flight. Once I went on a small adventure with a Vespa and an inflatable board on my back. That feeling!
Inflatable boards often come with a bag and pump, easy to carry and perfect if you don´t have enough storage.
To sum it up: for SUP yoga I recommend a wide inflatable board with lots of volume.
AIR PRESSURE AND PSI
PSI stands for pounds per square inch. It tells you how much air your board is able to take, as well as how much it needs for optimum performance. For inflatable boards, the PSI can vary from 10-25. The higher PSI, the harder your board is going to be, which means it will be more stable, hold a proper amount of weight and perform well. The worst thing you can experience with an inflatable board is that it will flex in the middle, like a banana! You won´t have a good experience at all when it comes to paddling as well as SUP yoga. It will just be awkward. In order to get the best performance possible – make sure the board is inflated to its proper PSI. And the higher PSI, the better performance.
WHATEVER BOARD YOU CHOOSE – TRY IT OUT!
Crawl back and forth. I have all my SUP yoga teacher trainees do this at the SUP yoga teacher training. And I recommend them to do it with each new board they´ll work with, to find out how the board responds to your movements. How far back can I be without a splash? How much space do I have on the board for my movements? If you crawl back on a wave sup, it doesn´t take long until the nose of the board will be up in the air and you´ll fall off your board.
MY PERSONAL #1 BOARD FOR SUP YOGA
As SUP yoga pioneer in Sweden I´ve had the opportunity to work with different boards. Most of them really good. When I met Black Cat Boards I made a decision to gratefully say yes to using their boards based on a few things.
First of all, the Black Cat board – Dragonfly is by far the best board I´ve ever practiced SUP yoga on. The board responds perfectly to all my movements. Its wide, with high volume and satisfy all my demands when it comes to SUP yoga. I´ve also used to board in small surf which worked out really good. When it´s time for a long paddle session or adventure, again the Dragonfly is my #1 board I use. The only time I don´t use that board is for slightly bigger waves. Then I use my eco-friendly Black Cat wave board.
The Dragonfly has a PSI number of 25! The board feels so solid and resilient that many people believe it´s not an inflatable board. It´s rigid and stable and surprised me so much the first time I tried it out. I often pump it up to 22 PSI and it´s enough for a great experience.
My personal #1 board for SUP yoga is the Black Cat Dragonfly 11
Another thing making the Dragonfly the best board I´ve yet tried for SUP yoga is the deck. It has a soft feel and goes far up to the nose of the board, giving me lots of space to practice my yoga poses. You don´t want your hands to slip, which can happen if the board is wet. And it will be, since you´re in water. Having a deck that covers a large area of the board gives you a chance of using the whole board for yoga.
Since I love this board so much, I´ve created an exclusive deal for the SUP Yoga Pro community! That means you can buy the Dragonfly board for an amazing price including a light weight carbon paddle, bag, pump and leash. Just contact me and we´ll get you an amazing board of your own.