The all-around vs. yoga SUP debate is resolved by figuring what you want as a stand up paddle boarder. These two types of SUPs both have a rounded nose and may look similar to the untrained eye, but there are some key differences that make them stand apart. When trying to decide which board is best for you, it’s these small differences that you should consider. Although they are small tweaks to the design, they play a significant role in determining your experience on the water. Learning about these differences and how they affect your right will help you determine which SUP is best for you.

man walks with Thurso Surf Roller Backpack toward water

No matter what size inflatable SUP you choose they’re all easy to transport.

All-Around vs. Yoga SUP: It’s Not About Pros and Cons

When trying to figure out which stand up paddle board is best for you, don’t think of it solely as a debate between which one is better. They’re both good at what they’re designed for, but they’re designed for different acitivities. So the best thing to do is first think about what you want as a stand up paddle boarder. What do you want to use your SUP for? There’s overlap between all the types of boards, but some are better suited for certain activities than others. So, figuring out what you want to do on the water comes first. Once you make a decision on your preferences it’s easy to find a SUP that suits you. Good paddleboard designers put a lot of time and effort into creating unique SUPs that fit all types of activities. Learn the differences between two of those designs, all-around vs. yoga SUP, below.

All-Around vs. Yoga SUP

One of the first things you’ll notice about an all-around vs. yoga SUP is that both have a rounded nose. You may even think their bodies are identical, but take a second to step back and see the board in it’s entirety from nose to tail. With a stubbier nose and wider body, a yoga SUP is designed to be a stable platform on the water rather than a nimble and manuverable cruiser. The width carries throughout the full length of the board and doesn’t taper nearly as much at the tail as an all-around SUP. While these design differences may be difficult to compare on a phone screen, they translate into a major increase in surface area on deck, volume, and stability on the water. This means you’ll have much more room to perform your yoga routine. The best Yoga SUPs out there go one step further. Not only do they provide you with more deck space, but they include a larger deck pad specifically designed for yoga.

woman does yoga pose on Thurso Surf Tranquility yoga SUP

Enjoy the serenity and challenge of doing yoga on a stand up paddle board.

Yoga Stand Up Paddle Board Shape

Yoga SUPs in general are larger and boxier than the largest all-around SUPs though they are smaller than most tandem or multipurpose SUPs. As you might expect, along with their larger size comes greater drag and a loss of speed and manueverability when compared with more nimble all-around and touring SUP shapes. Of course, it’s exactly their broad dimensions that also make them great for what their designated purpose SUP yoga and on the water fitness.

Yoga Studio vs. The Open Water

Make no mistake, paddle board yoga is more challenging than yoga in the studio, even for advanced practitioners. The presence of water underneath your yoga board forces your body to make tons of micro-adjustments to maintain balance that wouldn’t be necessary on land. This challenges your stabilizer muscles which in turn strengthens practice once you get back to the studio.

It’s normal to take a step back from the most challenging poses you could achieve in the studio and focus on the fundamentals while on the water. A larger and wider deckspace found on a dedicated yoga SUP provides more than enough room for you to complete your flows without having to focus too much on falling in. Not only is there more space for you to move around on the paddle board, the increased dimensions improve the SUP’s overall stability. That means you can concentrate on your poses, breathing and mental state as you practice. That’s not to say doing yoga on a yoga SUP is as easy as doing it on land, but it’s certainly easier than trying the same poses on a narrow touring SUP.

If you’re a dedicated yogi and looking for a stand up paddle board to become part of your practice, also keep an eye out for SUPs with a good deckpad. You’ll notice most SUPs come with a deckpad of some sort. However, all deckpads are not created equally. They differ from brand to brand and board to board. Look for a deckpad that provides full coverage from head to toe during corpse pose. Make sure any grab handles are offset from the central line of the board and cushioned so you don’t have to lay on them or if you do, they’re still comfortable.

woman stands next to Thurso Surf Tranquility Yoga SUP

Notice the wide body of the yoga SUP to allow for a full range of movement.

What Are Yoga SUPs Best For?

  • Yoga!!!
  • Fitness and stretching routines that require a large amount of non-slip deckspace
  • Maximum stability

When Is a Yoga SUP Right for You?

  • You want to take your yoga routine to the water.
  • You’ve been practicing bodyweight exercises and want to increase the difficulty (the additional effort of having to maintain your balance increases the overall workout).
  • The gym is getting redundant and you’re looking for a change in scenery.
Man paddles near seaweed on Thurso Surf Waterwalker all-around SUP

Cruise the open water on an all-around SUP.

All-Around Stand Up Paddle Board Shape

At first glance, the nose on an all-around SUP might seem like the one found on a yoga SUP. Both are rounded but, look closer. The nose on an all-around paddle board will be a sharper parabola. This shape carries through the board, with a lower shoulder of the curve straightening at the middle and then tapering again at the tail for added maneuverability . It’s similar to a yoga SUP, but its lengthened more angular shape cuts drag dramatically. You’ll notice that weight sits best in the middle of the board and becomes less stable further forward or at the rear.

There’s More to It Than Meets the Eye

Although these differences may not seem like much on a screen, they’re noticeable to the trained eye and certainly felt out on the water. The larger a board the slower and less manueverable it will be. Simply put, the larger the surface area of the board, the more friction on the surface of water, otherwise known as drag. However, less glide is not a bad thing if you’re looking for a stable platform to perform yoga.

If you’re not sure how often you’ll use your SUP for yoga, and only want to do so occasionally, an all-around stand up paddle board may be a better choice for you. All-arounders are great paddle boards, especially if you can own just one, and they’re incredibly popular because of their versatility. You can still do yoga on an all-arounder, but it will be slightly less stable and maybe a bit less comfortable depending on the deckpad. This is why all-arounder are great for beginners. They allow you to experiment and figure out what SUP activities you like the most before committing to more specialized gear. You can always upgrade from an all-around SUP to something different once you improve your skills and hone in on what you like. If you choose an all-arounder to do yoga on occasionally, you might consider sizing up for a bit of added stability.

woman stands next to Thurso Surf Waterwalker all-around SUP

All-around SUPs come in different sizes to perfectly fit the paddler perfectly.

What Are All-Around SUPs Designed For?

  • Cruising (leisurely recreational paddling)
  • A wide variety of SUP activities (try SUP yoga, SUP fishing to see if you want to upgrade to a bigger SUP down the road)
  • Learning how to paddleboard and building a foundation of skills

When Is an All-Around SUP Right for You?

  • You’re a recreational paddler just looking for some time out on the water and a leisurely cruise.
  • You want to do it all from fishing, to yoga, to coastal cruising, to surfing.
  • You’re not ready to commit to a particular SUP style. An all-around SUP is a great way to see how you like SUP yoga, SUP fishing, SUP surfing, etc. and then specialize if you find yourself doing yoga more often than not.
woman performs yoga moves on Thurso Surf Tranquility Yoga SUP

Leave the stuffy studio behind for the open water.

All-Around vs. Yoga SUP: Which Is Best for You?

Although sometimes they’re hard to notice, the design differences between an all-around vs. yoga SUP and paddle board shape, have a big impact on your experience on the water. A few centimeters of width translate to many liters in volume that in turn affect stability, manueverability and speed. The shape and size of a board matters, but the opinion that matters most is your own. Choose the board that matches your paddle style and the activities you like best. Once you know how you plan to use your SUP, you can find one that’s perfect for you!

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About the Author: Matt G.

Matt Gelgota is a traveler and all around digital marketing guy. His greatest adventure to date was the Mongol Rally, a 10,000 mile unsupported on and off-road saga from Sweden to Mongolia. He has visited more than 50 countries and has been paddling a Thurso Surf Expedition since 2018. Since then he’s had a chance to paddle board in Nepal, Thailand, Japan, and the US. When he’s not on the road he divides his time between Tokyo and Atlanta, Georgia.

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