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HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow What Makes a Stand Up Paddle Surfboard Stable?
What Makes a Stand Up Paddle Surfboard Stable? PDF Print E-mail
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine   
Sunday, 04 January 2009
    One of the first questions that stand up paddlers frequently ask when they are on the hunt for a new board is, “How stable is this one?” This tend to be particularly important to those who are having their first experiences with the sport. While it’s true that after paying your dues with plenty of water time most boards will feel reasonably stable in almost any conditions, many new paddlers are looking for something that will be stable and fun from day one. The hunt for the ultimate combination of stability and performance begins here as we explore some of the elements that may add to the stability your stand up paddle board.






   Volume: Without enough volume, you’re sunk. For anyone up to about 200 pounds, almost any one-stick-quiver type board on the market will most likely have enough volume to float that person reasonably well. For the 200+ crew, you’ll want to look for something noticeably beefier than the average board. Talk to you shaper or the local surf shop for help picking out a big-boys board if that applies to you. Most women can jump on anything without a problem. Not only will the board have enough volume but they’ve got more finesse and pick up the sport more quickly than men.

    Thickness: You’ll be going nowhere fast if your canoe is swamped. Your board need to be thick enough to heep you afloat. However, the thicker the board, the higher you will be above that water, and the higher you are above the surface of the water, the tippier you will feel on your board. To compensate for this, some boards now feature a slightly concave deck to help keep your center of gravity closer to the water while maintaining thickness in the rails for stability. The average thickness for a stand up paddle board is about 4 ½ inches thick.

    Width: Many top shapers will agree that width may be the most determining factor for board stability. A wide board translates into more contact with the surface of the water. With more surface area, the board has more to push against to counteract the jiggles and jolts that come with taking your board out in the waves and rough.

    Bottom Contour: Flat bottoms, scooped out noses and double concaves seems to lend themselves well to a stable board design. If it’s flat or slightly concave in areas, there the water is being forced to stay under the board. Boards with vee bottoms will be more tippy since they direct the water to come up and toward the rails of the board. The vee makes for easy rail to rail transitions in the surf but reduces overall stability in other conditions.

    The ultimate combination of overall volume, thickness, width, and bottom contour is the quest that every shaper finds himself on every day. The delicate balance between stability and performance is what keeps stand up paddle surfers on a perpetual mission to find the ultimate stable high performance stick. This simultaneous journey that both shapers and surfers are constantly on together is part of the romance that makes stand up paddle surfing the dynamic sport that it is. Best of luck on your search for that perfect combination.

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