Can a Windsurf Board Be Used as a SUP Board?

Although using a windsurf board as a makeshift stand-up paddle board is certainly not ideal, it can usually be done. Often, beginners to the sport of stand-up paddling don’t yet want to invest in all the necessary gear because they’re not yet sure whether or not the sport will be up their alley. If they like paddleboarding, they figure, they’ll invest in the proper gear later.

Are Windsurf Boards Stable Enough To Use As A SUP?

When it comes to the topic of converting your old windsurf board into an SUP board, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that many windsurf boards are suitable for SUP purposes and, in a pinch, can get you started in this exciting and enjoyable sport. The bad news is that a large amount of windsurf boards are entirely unsuitable for SUP use and will give you a terrible time if you try to force things, much like trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

If you have recently discovered the joys and thrills that paddleboarding can hold, have gotten your hands on an old windsurf board, and can’t wait to try it out, by all means, do. Don’t let any ranting predictions of doom dissuade you. Do understand, however, that if the windsurf board is unsuitable for SUP use, you may have an extremely hard time. If you do have a hard time, though, don’t let that dissuade you either. Just get right back up and invest in an actual stand-up paddle board, and all your troubles will be behind you.

Points To Consider When Thinking About A Windsurf Board As a SUP

Here are a few issues that you should be aware of when trying to use a windsurf board as a stand-up paddle board. Some of these potential problems have solutions and others are not so easy to solve.

The biggest problem that most people face when trying to convert an old windsurf board into a stand-up paddle board is the problem of incorrect width. Most good windsurf boards have the tendency to be extremely narrow. This is essential to the sport of windsurfing as it allows for greater maneuverability. For SUP purposes, however, boards that are too narrow are usually too wobbly to be able to properly balance on while paddling standing up.

Any board that measures less than 76 centimetres across will cause some serious wobbling problems if used for paddleboarding. Unfortunately, most long boards used for windsurfing fall right into the ‘too narrow’ category.

Then there’s the opposite problem of the board being too wide. Most wide-style training boards used by beginning windsurfers are too wide to give a smooth SUP ride. Besides this, windsurf training boards tend to have planshapes that are far too rounded for the sport of paddleboarding. These rounded boards deliver a terrible rowing effect when used for paddleboarding, and the paddleboarder tends to merely go around in circles. Since paddleboarding is all about getting places, using a makeshift stand-up paddle board that is too wide, too heavy in the water, or too rounded to really go anywhere will seriously hamper the fun that could be had if a regular board was used.

Customising a Windsurf Board To Be Useful As A SUP

A problem that can be solved is the presence of footstraps on the deck of the board. Many windsurf boards come with a whole slew of straps designed to keep the board attached to the surfer in the face of huge jumps and powerful gusts of air. These straps, however, only tend to get in the way when the board is used for stand-up paddling. Footstraps can be easily cut off, as can mast track and any other unnecessary debris that may be present on the face of the board. Just be sure that you won’t need your makeshift stand-up paddle board for windsurfing again in the near future, as the straps can be next to impossible to reattach.

There are plenty of windsurf boards that can be used for paddleboarding with very few modifications, and if you happen to have one of these that features the correct length, width, and consistency, kudos to you! Have fun paddleboarding!

Photo source: Ross Tucknott


  1. Leave the after-most foot strap in situ. It’s not in your way, and you can tie things to it, e.g. your wet-suit if you get too hot and need to take it off. Keep some handy lengths of cord on it. If your windsurfer board has a sliding mast track with traveller, you might be able to tie things to that also, i.e. picnic lunch in a waterproof bag. Improvise with whatever of the furniture isn’t in your way.
    You don’t need footstraps anyway under about a force 3, so you can still sail your board much of the time. Best of both worlds!

  2. I have recently discovered a usage for our old 1970’s Fanatic windsurfing board. I, too, have begun to use it as a stand-up paddle board, and it works pretty well. I removed some of the old components that were attached with screws, including the foot straps and the mast. I use an old broken kayak paddle for maneuvering, and often alternate which side I use the paddle.
    All I need is a traction pad for the board and a handle for the paddle.

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