The Stand Up Paddle Board
Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) have gained in popularity in recent years and given us all reason to head to the water on even the flattest of days. The rapid development of Stand Up Paddle Boarding makes this a very interesting time in shaping as many of the sport’s more well known shapers are turning their attention to this design. In the short amount of time the SUP has been back in the lime light, it has progressed far beyond the days when the 1960s Beach Boys of Waikiki would stand on their boards and paddle out to take pictures of tourists learning to surf. Not surprisingly, the sport can be traced back to the early days of Polynesia.
Stand Up Paddle Board shapes are changing and becoming more varied. Length of the SUP is a derivative of the board’s other characteristics such as width, thickness, and purpose. As a result SUPs vary in length from 8’ fish shapes all the way up to 14’ cruisers built for speed. They are usually a minimum of 26” wide and 4” thick. A more parallel outline will help the rider maintain a straight line when paddling, while an outline with more curve will produce a yawing effect. This makes it harder to hold a straight line in the paddle dig, but skilled SUP riders can use this to their advantage in the surf. Thickness depends on the rider’s weight because a light board will float better and paddle easier. Ideally, you can plane on top of the water while paddling and still be able to bury the rail through turns.
Most Stand Up Paddle Boards utilize a very low rocker to traverse calm, glassy waters along the coastline. Longer SUPs may have a little nose rocker, but not too much or they will push water. SUPs offer a higher vantage point, allowing the rider to get a better view of what is under the surface and also see what sort of waves are on the horizon. The health benefits attract professional surfers, fitness buffs, actors, and weekend warriors of all skill levels.