What Type of Paddle Board is Most Stable?
So, you’re shopping for your first paddle board. Maybe your balance isn’t the best and you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. There are hundreds of different paddle board options available. From cheap to expensive and from inflatable to hard boards, the options seem endless. You need a paddle board with great stability. So, what type of paddle board is the most stable?
ALL AROUND PADDLE BOARDS
The most stable style of paddle board is an All Around. This type of paddle board is designed with stability in mind. All around paddle boards are stable and manoeuvrable and are designed to be versatile. From cruising on flat water to touring across the lake and even catching waves, the All-Around style can do it all. That’s why they’re stable.
HOW PADDLE BOARD STABILITY IS CREATED
A major aspect of a paddle board’s stability is its width. The wider a paddle, the more stability it will offer. That’s one of the reasons why the All-Around shape provides the most stability. This style is wider than the other board styles. Usually, All Around paddle boards are 32” wide. Touring styles will be less than 30” in width, and racing boards are closer to 20” wide.
A paddle board’s volume also plays a major role in every paddle board’s stability. Volume determines how much weight the board can support without sinking. The more volume a paddle board has, the more stable it will be. However, there is a trade off with volume. While offering more stability, to much volume will make a board feel slow and oversized.
This is where the paddler’s weight plays a factor with a paddle board’s stability. A paddler’s weight has to be paired with the board’s volume to get the best match for stability and performance. A typical 10.6 All Around paddle board is around 190L in volume. A rider weighing 130 lbs will find the board to be very stable. A rider weighing 230 lbs will experience less stability.
To learn more about matching your weight to volume, please refer to our article:
INFLATABLE PADDLE BOARD INSTABILITY
Shoppers looking for the most stable paddle board should not consider inflatables.
Inflatable paddle boards do not offer the same level of stability as hard paddle boards for two primary reasons. They support the rider with air, and they have flat bottoms.
Board stability is directly related to its rigidity. Inflatable paddle boards are essentially plastic bags that are held rigid with air pressure. If the pressure isn’t sufficient, an inflatable paddle board becomes less rigid and softer. A hard paddle board keeps its rigidity at all times. Standing on a hard paddle board is like standing on a sidewalk. Standing on an under pressured inflatable is like standing on a mattress.
A paddle board’s bottom also plays a role in its stability. Because they’re rigid, hard board bottoms can be shaped to have concaves similar to a catamaran which enables the water to flow easily past the board. Easy water flow improves glide and stability. Inflatable paddle boards can’t provide the stability of concave bottoms. Because they are held stiff by air pressure, it’s impossible to create concave bottoms in inflatables. Their flat bottoms do offer strong stability on calm flat water. Other than that environment, the stability of flat bottoms is inferior to concave shapes.
Shoppers looking for the most stable type of paddle board should consider a hard paddle board in the All-Around style. Just make sure to size the paddle board to your weight and don’t get anything to large for the extra stability. As your paddling skills improve, your balance will too. That oversized All Around board that offered great stability at the beginning might feel too large in a year or two. A properly sized All Around board will keep you happy for many years.
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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