Today's topic: YOGA BOARDS.
SUP yoga has grown rapidly within the last few years. On nice summer days, seasoned yogi's and beginners alike are opting to practice outside on the water- offering an additional challenge in balance and a chance to appreciate the beauty outside the classroom.
But as with almost every case, it can be hard to choose the correct board for you. So, let me give you a few pointers- highlighting the positives and negatives of each board, what to expect when practicing on them, and how they perform outside the realm of yoga- because, let's face it, we can't all buy a new board for each occasion.
Let's get to it:
1. Evolve "Roots" Board 10'6''x32''
This 10'6''x32'' board offers a flatter, thicker deck to increased balance, interchangeable nose plug for holding a go-pro or anchor- whichever you desire, smooth styling, and a personal touch logo of a yogi in tree-pose. Comes in pink/lime and a blue/lime for men and women.
Evolve comes in first with their model for various reasons but to put it in one word terms: functionality- this board has it. It's a paddle board which happens to be great for yoga as well. It's smooth in the water, glides easy, and tracks really well. Not only that, but the shape of the board, not being too long and wide, combined with the added bit of rocker, makes this board a blast in the surf on a small day as well.
But how does it perform for yoga?
Great! As mentioned earlier, the flat deck gives it the added stability and feel of practicing on a platform instead of a rounded board. The mat reaches farther up the board than most other brands which makes practicing sitting postures and downward dog a lot easier as you are able to remain centered. Not to mention the added benefit of the Yoloha Yoga cork mat option. The cork adds grip when wet, is anti-microbial, anti-fungal, is a natural product- meaning it isn't filled with chemicals and harmful by-products found in foam, is completely sustainable, and looks awesome on the board!! The Yoloha mat definitely gives the Evolve a unique touch which sets it apart from the other competitors.
Added benefits include a tri-fin setup and a spot for bungee ties on the front of the board. "W" style deep handle makes carrying to and from your secret spot easy.
Functional as a yoga board or regular paddle board/can also be surfed!
Size: Not as big as other boards- which can be a pro or a con!- can make practicing difficult poses, well, you know...difficult.
2. Boga Yoga Board 11'x32''
A large deck pad combined with a wide, flat deck creates the feel of a floating yoga mat in the water. This combination allows for the practice of much more difficult poses with a much more forgiving style than the other boards mentioned here. If you are into doing head stands, scorpion pose or any other balancing pose, this may be the board for you!
The board also performs quite well in the flat water. It paddles well, tracks straight, and can take a head wind on easily during those days where Mother Nature does not want to cooperate.
The style is fresh- as Boga is now offering a bamboo model as well. The gender neutral colors make it ideal for both men and women.
Given the size and the shallow handle though, it can be tough to maneuver outside of the water, carrying it to and fro, as well as storing it in either the garage, outdoors, or trying to heave it up onto a roof rack. Because of this, we glide it into our #2 spot.
Wide, flat deck
Hard foam mat
Big, slightly heavier
3. Boardworks Joyride 9'11''
This little board packs a lot of function and fun!
This board features a pop-out handle for easy carrying, a rounded nose, a small amount of rocker, single fin setup, places for tie-downs on the front as well as the back, a uniquely styled foam mat which reaches almost the length of the board.
For its smaller size the Flow paddles decent in flat water. Most short boards lose a lot of glide the smaller they get and while this board may not paddle as well as the Evolve or Boga, it holds up well on its own.
Now, speaking in obvious terms, small female yogis looking to get out on the water will have a great time on this board. The pad is just big enough, and the easy to grip handle combined with the shorter/lighter construction of the board make it ideal for the petite paddler not looking for a huge hulking board to use and store.
As mentioned earlier, the style is unique in that it features a brightly colored mat featuring a design of what has become known to be the "Flower of Life"- which is a geometric pattern consisting of overlapping circles- not that you needed to know that. But, still, it's kind of cool...I guess. It looks cool- that I can definitely tell you.
But that is where the positives involving the mat end. Unfortunately, the materials used in the construction of the mat are of the foam variety- and more specifically the hard foam variety. Now to be fair, when the mat is wet, it works well. It sticks and doesn't slide. However, it is missing that 'softness' factor. When laying down on the board as well as paddling under your feet the mat tends to be not be very forgiving. Normally this would not bother us but given this is a yoga board, the mat is very important.
But if the styling and size fit your criteria, this board is definitely worth a go!
Size (could be viewed as a Pro or Con. You lose the paddling factor but gain maneuverability and storage)
4. Starboard Yoga Dashama 10'0"X35"
The only inflatable on the list to crack the top 5! (But look out for Evolve's coming out soon- the Starboard may have competition!)
What this board loses in paddling ability it gains twice fold in storage, ease of use, and maneuverability outside of the water!
Coming in at 10' it does not have the same glide the first two boards have. The short structure combined with the void of density being that it is filled with air can make it a chore to paddle in a strong wind.
However, when it comes to yoga it might be the comfiest board on the list. If you can find a quiet spot outside of the elements, practicing poses on this board are akin to sleeping on an air mattress, placed on top of a water bed. Yeah, something like that. It's nice. That's what I'm trying to say.
The pad reaches the length of the board making for a comfortable spot no matter where you end up- unless you're in the water. Then you may need to rethink your yoga abilities. Features include tie-down straps on the front and back, easy to grip side handles, pump and bag.
Easy to carry
Easy to store
Full length pad
Can be difficult to paddle in wind
Does not glide like a hard board
Have to blow it up!! (which can be positive if you're looking for an extra workout)
5. Riviera Mat 9'6''x32'' and 10'x32''
Rounding out the top 5: The Riviera Mat.
I completely take back the fact that the Evolve Roots board is aptly named. This board is by far the most aptly named of the bunch. Riviera wasn't kidding when they called it the "mat". Shaped just as it sounds, this board works solely as a yoga board. Paddling the mat is not very fun nor does it look very cool either. And while it does feature a full length mat on top of the board, the overall style leaves a little to be desired.
But it's not all bad! The small length makes it easy to carry and store. When practicing poses the shape works great in that it holds the rails really well (won't tip), it's very evenly balanced, and it makes practicing yoga comparable to that of a mat in a studio.
So if you are looking for a board which closely mimics that of a yoga mat, this is the one for you! And while it may not paddle as well as the other boards, it does exactly what it was designed to do- practice yoga on the water.
Most comparable to practicing on a mat in the studio
Full length mat
Easy to maneuver
Easy to store
Does not paddle the best
Thanks! And get out there!