Stand Up Boards and Paddles

As the sport continues to develop and grow, so do the number of boards, paddles and accessories to compliment the various disciplines of SUP’ing.  This will help you figure out which type of board and paddle you’ll want to put on your roof rack and ultimately, get the most out of your purchase.  Until you expand your quiver of boards, you’ll want to get a board that you can use for the types of paddling you plan to do (or have access to do) – A board that satisfies 85% or more of where you’ll be using it.

Most SUP boards can be surfed – But if you don’t plan on surfing, then you can look at a number of boards more specifically designed for flatwater cruising and downwinders on lakes, rivers and the ocean.  They typically have less ‘rocker’ on the nose and tail allowing them to track (glide) better on flatter types of water.

Two types of shapes – Which one is best for you?

Planing Hull(Surfboard style shape) – The owe their shapes and design to the modern surf longboard with added volume, length, width and thickness.  They are very versitile and good for all types of paddling including surfing, flatwater cruising and river running.  Their advantage comes when the board reaches higher speeds and ‘planes’ across the water, maximizing performance – Something easier to achieve while surfing rather than just flatwater paddling.  They come in a wide variety of sizes, many geared to the first-time user and are offered in a growing range of constructions.  If you are looking for something faster and more efficient for flatwater cruising, racing our touring, then you should look for a ‘Displacement Hull’ board to get the most out of your efforts.

Displacement Hull (Thicker, pointed nose) – Displacement hull SUP’s share their design with outriggers,  canoes and prone paddleboards. The nose of the board cuts through the water forcing the water around the nose,  around the sides rather than riding on top of the water like the Planing Hull. They are more efficient for flatwater touring and racing allowing the paddler to get up to, and maintain faster speeds consistently.  Most brands now offer an 11’6 length (fast and easier to carry than 12’6 and up), 12’6″, 14″ and longer.  The most common length is 12’6″ which can be used in the 12’6 & Under stock class for racing as well.

Is longer faster? – Almost always but with the length comes portability and storage challenges.