Can You Paddle Board on a Windsurf Board?

It’s your dream to own a stand-up paddleboard or a SUP, but admittedly, your budget doesn’t quite allow for it yet. What you do have is a nice windsurfing board. You want to use this as a makeshift paddleboard, but you’ve heard mixed reviews. Should you go paddleboarding on a windsurfing board or get the proper paddleboard instead?

Can You Paddle Board on a Windsurf Board? You can paddleboard on a windsurfing board, but not just any board is suitable for this activity. You must ensure your windsurfing board has enough buoyancy to support your weight while you ride. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk of sinking.

In this article, we will clearly differentiate between paddleboarding and windsurfing on a board. We’ll even tell you how to make your very own SUP using a windsurf board. Keep reading, as you don’t want to miss it!

RedPaddle Co sells the Wind, a combo board with many available accessories

What Is Stand-up Paddle Boarding?

Let’s begin by talking a bit about stand-up paddleboarding. We will refer to this as SUP throughout the rest of the article. SUP, sometimes also known as stand-up paddle surfing, began in Hawaii. Despite that it may have “surfing” in its name, it’s not really all that much like surfing.

Surfers will sit around some of the time and stand during others. When you SUP, you’re upright the whole time. While a surfer waits for the waves to come to them, you bring yourself to the wave via a paddle you use to push yourself along the water on a paddleboard.

You don’t solely have to go paddleboarding in the ocean, either. You can also ride river rapids (which is known as whitewater SUP) as well as canals, tamer rivers, and lakes. These days, you can even sign up for a yoga class on your paddleboard. Read this complete guide for more on paddle boarding.

Now, this may be a bit confusing, but there’s also an activity known as paddleboarding. With this, you don’t stand, nor do you have a paddle. You would move yourself with your hands while keeping your knees on the board. SUP may have come later.

You can use four types of boards as you SUP. These are:

  • Inflatable boards: An inflatable SUP board often has a PVC base reinforced for durability. You can trust in your inflatable board if riding even white waters and the ocean.
  • SUP board core: Next, you might try a SUP board core. The core of this paddleboard is linked across the layers via a thread. You would inflate SUP board cores somewhat, with the firmness of the drop stitch core indicating how much inflation the board needs.
  • Single-layer SUP board: To make a single-layer SUP board, you start with a drop stitch core. Then, manufacturers attach PVC over it with glue.
  • Double-layer SUP board: That’s why some boarders will opt for a double-layer SUP board. This has more durability, as it boasts twice the glue and twice the PVC. Thus, you get a stable, tough board, but it’s heavier than the other types.

What’s the Difference Between a Paddleboard and a Surfboard?

Paddleboards and surfboards might have some resemblances to the untrained eye, but they’re not the same by far. You use them for two totally different activities, and thus, they won’t share a lot of commonalities in design.

Let’s cover some key differences between SUP boards and surfboards now.

Paddleboards Have More Bulk and Width

If you put a paddleboard and a surfboard together side by side, one thing you’re going to notice is their size and shape is different. For instance, paddleboards have more heft to them. They also possess a greater width than surfboards. This design lends them stability.

Look at a surfboard. It’s not nearly as wide, right? Instead, it’s slim and narrow. This allows for quick motions on the water.

Paddleboards Have a Greater Volume

The construction of the base dictates the volume of the board. With a paddleboard, the base is quite thick and durable. This increases volume, and thus also the width and length of the board’s base.

While it might sound like a more voluminous board would slow you down, that’s just the opposite. In fact, the volume of your paddleboard allows you to quickly reach more waves.

What Is Windsurfing?

Next, let’s talk about windsurfing. This sport takes sailing and traditional surfing and sort of mashes them together. You need a sail to windsurf, something you don’t get with a paddleboard. The sail is part of the rig, which also has a boom and mast.

Windsurfing has existed since 1964, when Pennsylvania resident S. Newman Darby created it. He called it the Darby sailboard back then, a name which didn’t really stick, mostly because of lack of a patent.

Most windsurfing boards are between 6.5 and eight feet in length, sometimes even greater. They’re closer in design to a surfboard than a paddleboard.

Which Is More Fun? Paddle Boarding or Windsurfing?

Which sport would you enjoy more, SUP riding or windsurfing? That’s hard to say, as it all comes down to one’s own personal opinion. If you have a background in surfing, then you might be able to pick up windsurfing relatively quickly. Others like the thrill of paddleboarding more.  

Both have their pros and cons. With paddleboarding, you spend a lot more time riding and less waiting for that perfect wave. However, the activity requires a lot of core body strength to stand on your board, navigate tough waves, and paddle at the same time. If you’re used to surfing, there may be a bit of a learning curve.

With windsurfing, the sail adds an element of excitement, but that’s only when the winds are good. Also, you have to rely on the wind to move you, so on low-wind days, your speed is limited. That’s not so when you SUP.

How to Convert a Windsurf Board into a Stand-up Paddleboard

With their longer board size as well as their attached sails and other components, windsurfing boards are their own animal. If you want to convert yours to a SUP board, it’s going to take some time and effort. In this section, we will explain the necessary steps for doing so.

Step #1: Remove the Sail

Since SUP boards have no sail, that’s the first thing that has to go.

Step #2: Cover the Holes

Your deconstructed windsurfing board will have some holes once you take the components apart. You want to shop around for polyurethane foam to cover these holes. Make sure the kind you get is good for use on polyester resin surfaces. You can find polyurethane foam online or at your local home improvement store.

Step #3: Get an EVA Mat and Size It to the Board

Next, you need an EVA mat. Tracking one down shouldn’t prove too difficult, as you can shop around at camping stores, sporting good stores, or­ again online. If you can’t find EVA padding that’s custom-made, then you’ll have to cut it down to size yourself.

Step #4: Adjust the Rocker

With the windsurfing board almost ready for SUP riding, you next need to adjust the board’s rocker. This is the board’s bottom curve. It extends from your board’s tail to its nose. We already mentioned that paddleboards have a greater width and volume compared to surfboards, a close counterpart of the windsurfing board. Thus, even if you do the above steps, you’d still need to alter your board further for paddleboarding purposes.

To do that, you want to take black plastic and cover the rocker. Then, let the board sit in the sun for a while, preferably a few hours. Now, you want to take some rope, wrap it around the tail and nose, and pull.

After a few moments, untie the ropes, releasing the tension. Then take the plastic off, too. The rocker should more closely resemble a SUP board. This only works if you have a polyethylene windsurfing board.

Is stand-up paddleboard windsurfing a real sport?

Just as standard paddle boarding is a sport, it is indeed possible to go stand-up paddleboard windsurfing. The boards used for this activity typically have a bit more thickness than traditional windsurfing boards, taking more from the paddleboarding aspect of the sport.

Can you buy a paddleboard/windsurfing board hybrid?

This is a great question. You might consider a hybrid SUP/windsurfing board if you can’t modify your current windsurfing board for any reason. For instance, perhaps it’s not made of polyethylene. Combo boards come in all price ranges. The Decathlon Tamahoo inflatable is the best bargain. US customers get free shipping from the UK store.

The House outdoor gear store sells a hybrid paddle and windsurfing board, the Aerotech Progressive Club STS. All have a center fin you can remove. You could also take off the sail if you wanted to go SUP riding.

The Aerotech model is more advanced and pricier, but very versatile. The Tamahoo inflatable windsurf board has a 320-liter volume and a width of 32 inches. That makes its board design closer to a paddleboard than a windsurfing board. It’s buoyant, too, in that it can hold up to 270 pounds. With a tail ring for attaching a leash, it’s a great hybrid without officially being one.

And of course, the RedPaddleCo board is quite expensive, but they are known s one of the best board brands in the world. You can read more about top brands in the 2021 Best Brands Buyer’s Guide.

Final Thoughts

Paddle boarding popularity is rapidly growing because of the numerous options and variations of the sport. Fishing, kayak hybrids, racing, yoga specialty boards are all available. And as shown here, combination paddle boarding/windsurfing boards are also an option.

Whatever you choose to do, stay safe and have fun!


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Carlo Raffa

Carlo Raffa is a blogger, stand-up paddleboard enthusiast, water lover and local to Brighton city in the South of England. Paddle boarding is my escape and this is only the starting point. Being a larger guy at 260lbs I am finding it very good exercise as well, especially for building core muscles. This is something that believe it or not cycling 16 miles a day at 6 miles per hour doesn't seem to be doing. Paddle Boarding allows me to just grab my board and walk right through the busy bar filled beachfront between the two piers in Brighton and head straight out of shore. It's not long before the shouting and cheering of our buzzing beach fade into just the lapping waves and the people to just small dots of the Brighton shoreline.

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