What Are The Parts of A Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)

paddle boards on sandy beach

Parts of A Stand Up Paddle Board

You wouldn’t think there are very many parts to a stand up paddle board. Here is a list of 14 parts that will help you get more familiar with each of those parts. Knowing the parts and the purpose of each part will help you understand the differences between all the styles of stand up paddle boards. If you are looking to buy a paddle board, this can also help you know what to look for to get the right paddle board for you and where you will be riding.

parts of stand up paddle board

14 Stand Up Paddle Board Parts

  • Deck
  • Deck Pad
  • Bottom
  • Nose
  • Tail
  • Rails
  • Rocker
  • Layup
  • Core
  • Fins
  • Handle
  • Leash Cup
  • Leash
  • Vent and Vent Plug  


The top part of the paddle board where the rider stands, kneels, or sits. Depending on the model of the board, the deck can be flat, curved, or contoured.

Deck Pad

Usually made out of foam or rubber. The deck pad is on top of the deck to provide traction and cushion while standing, kneeling, or sitting. Deck Pads come in a variety of designs, textures, and styles.


This is pretty straight forward, it is the side you don’t stand on because it should be in the water. Most SUP bottoms are just smooth and flat but some have a convex shape to them.


The very front of the SUP is called the nose or tip. Most paddle boards have a smooth curve to the nose but some are more pointed. The shape of the nose is determined by the purpose of the board.


The back of the SUP is called the tail. The shape of the tail is determined by the purpose of the board. Tails can be rounded, flat, pointy, or fin shaped.


The sides of the paddle board are called the rails. They type and purpose of the board will determine if the rails have smaller or larger volumes.


The curvature or arch of the paddle board (looking from the rails or side) from the nose in the front to the tail in the back is called the rocker. Flatter rockers are designed to go faster while a more curved rocker is designed for better turning.


The outer shell of the stand up paddle board is call the layup. Usually made out of sheets of fiberglass, but other materials are also used to construct the layup such as carbon fiber, ABS sheets, and kevlar.


The inner material of the paddle board is called the core. The core material is dependent on the type of board such as inflatable, soft top, or epoxy. The materials are usually EPS high-density foam or high-density PVC layers.


Fins are located at the bottom tail or back of the paddle board. There can be one, two, three, or even four fins on the board. Fins give the paddle board stability and help it go straight and keep it from sliding out.


The handle is in the middle of the deck and allows you to easily carry the paddle board under your arm. Due to stand up paddle boards being wider than surf boards, the handle is there so you can carry the board without having to reach all the way around the board.

Leash Cup

The small cup-shaped piece located in the tail or back of the paddle board where the leash can attach to the board.


The strap that attaches from the leash cup to the ankle of the rider is called the leash. This helps you stay close to your paddle board when you fall off.

Vent and Vent Plug

A feature that helps paddle boards regulate the internal pressure during varying temperatures is the vent and vent plug. As the materials and foams making up the paddle board heat up and cool down with temperatures in storage, the vent allows air to move in and out preventing damage to the board from pressure buildup.

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