SUP Lingo and Slang

Every sport has its own language, and stand up paddle boarding is no different. While it doesn’t take a genius to understand exactly what someone is referring to when they speak about their SUP board or paddle, some SUP terms may lead to some serious head scratching if you are new to the sport. Let’s take a closer look at some of the slang and lingo used in the stand up paddleboarding community.

Board volume – this is usually expressed in liters. The higher the number, the more weight that particular board can hold. Your board’s volume dictates its weight capacity, which will usually be listed in pounds.

Core material types – the following 5 materials are common for SUP construction:

  • Hollow core
  • PVC exterior inflatables
  • Polyurethane foam
  • EPS foam
  • Wood

Deck – this is where you stand when paddling with proper form. Some boards made specifically for beginners may have a dipped or sunken area to designate where you should stand.

Fins and Fin Box – fins are added to your board for extra stability and control. They are located in the fin box on the bottom of your board, are removable, offer multiple setups can come in various sizes.

Glide – the glide of your board is its motion as you slice through flat water.

Hull – this refers to the physical body of your board. Almost all SUPs can be broken down into 2 hull types:

  • Displacement
  • Planing

When your SEP is made for water displacement, it has a very pointed nose and can slice effectively through the water. A planing hull is made wider and flatter, more like a surfboard. (Planing hulls make great beginner boards because they are more stable and versatile than displacement hulls.)

Kook – this refers to a stand up paddler that it is no fun to be around. They often do not realize that they have terrible form, and are oblivious to paddling and surfing etiquette and the unspoken rules of water sports.

Leash and leash cup – you should always attach yourself to your board. This is accomplished with an SUP leash. The leash cup is where your leash is fastened on your board.

Nose and Tail – these 2 terms refer to the front and rear of your board.

Rocker – this term refers to how curved your board is from front to back. The rocker of your stand up paddleboard is more important when surfing than when simply touring or cruising.

YOLOing – this is another name for stand up paddling. YOLO stands for “you only live once”.