Explore Michigan's Other Half
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Grand Haven: 616-844-3388
Traverse City: 231-929-3388
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Questions? Call us
Grand Haven: 616-844-3388
Traverse City: 231-929-3388
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Home > Stand Up Paddle Information


Stand Up Paddle Boarding has seen a tremendous increase in popularity in recent years thanks to many top surfers bringing the ancient Hawaiian practice into the mainstream. SUP'ing can be done in waves, flat water, rivers, inland lakes or oceans; making it accessible to just about anyone interested in taking up the sport. Besides being able to SUP just about anywhere unlike regular surfing, it's also fairly easy to learn, fun and a great core work-out!

If you’re interested in Stand Up Paddle boarding, and need some help deciding which board is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will provide insight into how to pick the best SUP boards for your needs.

Stand Up Paddle boards are different from traditional surfboards in both shape and size. Below we offer some insight as to how these variables will effect performance.


Generally speaking, toss aside most of what you may have heard about the length of a board. As far as stability goes, we really focus on the width and thickness of a board. Length obviously plays a role in the overall volume of a board and thus stability, but how much the board tips side to side in the water and how high it floats out of the water will both be determined primarily by the width and the thickness. Aside from those factors, there are many things to consider when deciding on a board shape/size. Is it for you or for your whole family also? Who will the primary user be? What are your purposes: recreational, surfing, touring, etc. The best thing to do to help narrow down your search is talk to a local shop owner and let them guide you through the process.


What you consider the best SUP board to buy will vary depending on where you plan to use it. Stand Up Paddle boarding is fun in a variety of water conditions from lakes and rivers to open ocean and surf zones. An important variable to consider is the amount of rocker a board has. Rocker refers to a board’s upward curve from nose to tail when viewed from profile. This curve has a huge impact on the performance of SUP surfboards. A lot of rocker, or dramatic curve, will turn well in the surf, but it will be slower in flat water. Flatter boards, without much rocker, glide well in flat water but may be hard to turn and easier to nosedive in waves.

In short, if you plan to use your SUP in calm waters or inland lakes, a longer board with less rocker will track (hold a line) and glide better, and be more efficient during your paddle sessions.

If you're looking to surf waves you will want a board with slightly more rocker. This will enable you to turn on the wave easier and also reduce the chance of nosediving while dropping into the wave.


The wider the board, the more stable it will feel. The downside is you may lose efficiency and your SUP will be a little less maneuverable (if performance in the surf is important). Although, if you are looking for a good all-around board that the whole family can enjoy the wider/thicker boards are generally the way to go.


Touring or race SUP's are generally longer and have a pointed front with a V-shaped bottom through the front of the board that then tapers off to a flat bottom toward the middle to back of the board. The purpose of this SUP design is decrease the resistance of paddling and increase the tracking ability and speed. Although slightly narrower and thus tippier side to side, and not great for surfing, touring and race paddle boards are a blast for flat water distance. They allow you to cover much more distance and track easily in a straight line without switching sides too often with your paddle. The possible downside of a touring or race board is that they're typically more expensive than a regular 'all-around' SUP since they involve a slightly more complicated construction process. The up side of a touring or race board is the ability to cover large amounts of distance with relatively low physical exertion compared to a traditional SUP. A good analogy would be a mountain bike vs a road bike. Touring/race SUP's are the road bikes of the water. With racing becoming more and more popular and widespread this style of board will increasingly become more prevalent.


When it comes to puchasing a stand up paddle board, there's no substitute for getting friendly and professional in-store advice. So please give us a call or stop in to our Grand Haven or Traverse City location if you have further questions about the exciting and fast growing sport known as Stand Up Paddle!

101 N Park St. Traverse City, MI 49684 - 231-929-3388

301 N Harbor St. Grand Haven, MI 49417 - 616-844-3388

Happy paddling from the Wet Mitten Crew!

Welcome To Our Store

Welcome to Wet Mitten, we are Michigan's premier surf shop! The Wet Mitten Surf Shop is a locally owned Michigan based company, specializing in stand-up paddle (SUP), surf, kiteboard and skate/longboard gear. A wide variety of rental and lesson services are also available throughout the year.

Our mission is to share our love for the outdoors and water sports in particular through the promotion of stand-up paddle, surf and kiteboarding. Surrounded by a freshwater ocean and home to thousands of inland lakes and rivers, Michigan is a water sport enthusiasts paradise. If you've ever been lucky enough to surf a glassy northwest swell in Grand Haven, kitesurf Little Sable Point on a breezy south wind, stand-up paddle the pristine waters of East or West Bay in Traverse City, brave the chilly waters of Lake Superior to surf the perfect wave, or anything in between, you understand how truly unique and amazing Michigan is. Our goal at the Wet Mitten is to help make those stand-up paddle, kiteboard and surf experiences and adventures accessible to everyone through the gear that we sell and the lessons and rentals that we offer.

We at Wet Mitten Surf Shop invite you to get out on the water and "Explore Michigan's other half"

Now serving two locations:

Grand Haven location 301 N Harbor, suite B-3 Grand Haven, MI 49417 (616) 844-3388

Traverse City location 101 N Park, suite 2-A Traverse City, MI 49684 (231) 929-3388

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