Is a Longer Paddle Board Better?
If you’re buying your first paddle board, you may have you ever asked yourself “Is a longer paddle board better?” Let’s answer the question.
A paddle board’s length is determined by two factors: Its volume and its function.
For first time buyers the paddle board’s volume will determine the length of the SUP you should purchase.
Volume or displacement is measured in Liters (L). An example of this would be 190L. The greater the volume/displacement a paddle board has, the more weight it can carry without sinking. Generally, longer paddle boards will have more volume.
Greater volume adds to a board’s stability. For first time riders’ the solution seems simple. Getting a long paddle board with lots of volume will be super stable and fun. Unfortunately, the trade off is if you get a paddle board that is too long and has too much volume, you will be paddling a board that is bigger then you need. Once your skill set develops, the extra balance provided by the additional length and volume will become unwanted.
No, a longer paddle board isn’t better for first time buyers. It is better for first-time buyers to purchase a SUP that has the proper volume for their weight.
When it comes to a paddle board’s function, length plays a major factor.
Shorter boards are more agile and less stable. In paddle boarding, boards under 10’ long are usually designed for surfing. On the opposite end of the spectrum are open ocean boards designed for downwind paddling. Long and narrow, these paddle boards are designed to ride from the top of one swell to another. These boards can be more then 14’ long!
All around paddle boards come in between these two extremes. They range from 10’-11’.6” in length.
Touring, racing and open will be longer than an All Around styles. These boards are designed to slice through the water like a knife and move with speed at ease. They are great at going in a straight line, but are not as maneuverable as a shorter SUP.
Yes, longer paddle boards are better if you want to travel in a straight line, and slice through the water with greater speed and less effort.
Rather than asking if longer paddle boards are better, a first-time paddle board buyer would be better served to ask if the paddle board is the proper volume for their weight. Once buyers start matching boards to their weights, the length takes care of itself. All that’s left is to decide what style of board to get. Buying a paddle board that is designed for your activities and matched to your weight will surely be a satisfying purchase.
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
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