One of the most frequently asked questions among new standup paddle boarders as well as seasoned riders is, which SUP shape is right for me? With so many different models and sizes it can be complex at times to find a paddle board specifically for your needs. There is a lot of crossover with boards and usage but we are going to explain the three core overall SUP shape.
THE BEST PADDLE BOARDS FOR CRUISING AND FUN – ALL AROUND SHAPES:
“ALL AROUND SHAPES OFFER THE PERFECT BALANCE FOR FLAT WATER FUN AND SMALL SURF FOR BEGINNERS TO ADVANCED PADDLES AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN, YOU JUST CAN’T GO WRONG WITH AN ALL AROUND SHAPE – OUR #1 BEST SELLING SHAPE AT ISLE!”
Also known as the all-around SUP, these boards are designed much like traditional long board surfboards and work excellent for the beginner in all conditions. They are super wide and stable to accommodate riders of all weights and sizes. The design of these models have a higher volume with a low rocker and a wide stable tail giving it great performance for a flat-water cruise or having a blast in small surf. If you’re not worried about paddling lightning fast on flat water and you want a board for catching some waves and putting the kids/dog on the front then these are the boards for you.
THE BEST PADDLE BOARDS FOR WAVE RIDING – SURFING SHAPES:
“SURFING SUPS TEND TO BE SMALLER IN SIZE FOR WAVE MANEUVERABILITY YET STABLE ENOUGH FOR FLAT WATER PADDLES”
When looking to surf on a standup paddle board you want a higher performance board that allows for some maneuverability in the water. The majority of Surf SUPs are typically around 10 ft and under with performance rails and medium to higher rocker for maneuverability in steeper surf. The boards tend to have a short wide versatile outline which lets them cruise in the flat water if needed. A longer surf paddle board will give you more flotation and get into waves easier while a shorter board will have more maneuverability especially in bigger hollow surf.
THE BEST PADDLE BOARDS FOR DISTANCE AND RACING – DISPLACEMENT HULLS:
“TOURING & RACE MODELS BOTH FEATURE A SLIGHT DISPLACEMENT HULL MAKING THEM BREAK THE WATER AND CARRY MORE SPEED OVER LONG DISTANCE.”
When looking for a race board you want to maximize speed and minimize drag; this means you want a board with lots of efficiency over flat water and in open ocean conditions. Race & Touring boards are classified typically by a displacement hull and very narrow much like the bow of a boat to cut the water in the most efficient manner. A touring flatwater paddleboard is an offshoot of a race style combining the displacement hull with the width and extra volume of an all around shape make it super user friendly for casual distance paddling. The touring or displacement hull offers better glide, performance and tracking. If you are ready to start racing or just want to go faster then you could find yourself between a touring board and a race board.