The ride of a stand up paddle board (SUP) is determined by the board's shape, materials, fins and construction methods. In general, there are two types of stand up paddle board construction methods being used with a foam core.
First, you can have a molded (pop out) board construction that injects a foam material into a mold and is covered by layers of fiberglass, resin, extra foam and then PVC plastic that is applied by heat creating the board’s shell. The result can be a durable board with a consistent shape, but this type of construction process produces a very non responsive ride or "dead feeling" as some surfers/paddlers would say, with little-to-no flex for performance.
Second, you can have a hand/machine shaped foam board with a stringer (material that runs through the middle of the foam for support) that is finished with just fiberglass, cloth and extra epoxy resin which gives you some flex movement and helps prevent the board from breakage. This process does give you more of a performance feel but it may not be as durable as the plastic molded shell. Most cheaper boards being produced in large amounts overseas are being fully hand-shaped from start to finish, causing inconsistency when you have multiple people shaping the same board dimensions in a large order. So that board you rented felt good for you the day you tried it, but the one you ordered turned out to be a bit different.
We have experienced both scenarios through paddling/surfing many boards in many conditions and felt a better board could be made. As a result, we use the best materials in our Solace SUP T-flex construction process that gives you a board with a great balance between stiffness and flex, and feels very lively and fun to ride. The vacuum bagged bamboo with fiberglass cloth on both sides creating the strong sandwiched process we talk about on our boards adds durability, allowing it to stick around for many years of paddling.
Our construction consists of the following:
- 1.5lbs EPS foam core
- Polyvinyl Stringer
- .5mm Bamboo thickness which reinforces the deck
- Carbon fiber patch in standing area for extra reinforcement
- Resin research epoxy & High grade cloth
- Reinforced rails, fin boxes and handle areas
- ProBox Hawaii adjustable fin boxes (best you can buy)
- LiftSUP retractable handle
- Maintenance free air vent
First, all of our boards are initially cut from a lightweight 1.5lb EPS foam block with the stringer reinforcement down the middle already in place to our specified rocker or curve. The foam block is then shaped by an advanced AKU SHAPER CNC machine for precise/consistent accuracy with our proven shape dimensions.
The shaped foam is then hand sanded nice and smooth. High density foam blocks are then inserted in the area of all fin boxes and handle placement areas. Furthermore, a sandwich vacuum-bagging technique is used which squeezes high quality epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth and bamboo layers together with the foam core, ensuring all air pockets are eliminated and all layers become one. Carbon fiber cloth patches are placed in the standing area of the deck for extra reinforcement to prevent caving. Our master shaper insists on keeping a few steps of the process to himself. They are trade secrets that took him many years to perfect. In the end, this process is important as it can mean the difference between a board that lasts or falls apart. Just the right amount of resin is used so less is wasted, as any excess is squeezed out from the vacuum suction. We love this because it is ECO friendly and produces less waste than most methods. The carbonized bamboo has great tensile strength, flex and is a sustainable material. Finally, all boards are hand finished with artwork, wet sanding and matte finish coat.
It is always a good idea to look at the details of a stand up paddle board so you can make an educated decision on your purchase. Do you want your SUP board investment to last many years or are you ok with paying a few hundred dollars less for something that falls short of your expectations? It has happened to us before and we have found you end up spending more time and money in the long run. Solace SUP offers consistent, proven shapes in our boards that are strong and light and are constructed properly so you can get the best value to start living the paddle lifestyle. We stand behind our products and are happy to back them with our Solace SUP 1 year warranty & 30 day money back guarantee.