As the sports grows and spreads many disciplines are emerging, all of which are influencing the shapes of the next generation of boards. Visit a local surf shop and you will be looking at Race Boards, Cruisers, and All Around Boards.
Race boards fall into the displacement category of SUP’s, with their long waterlines, widths in the 27-30" range, and bows that look like a souped up kayak. Cruisers are a bit wider with thicker rails than raceboards. Surfing SUP’s are shaped based upon the type of surf conditions. As a norm these are wider (32”-34”) and shorter (8’-10’) with multiple rail shapes and thicknesses.
Lastly, there are the All Around Boards ranging from 10’-12’ which is a good “Everything Board.” They are good in the waves as well as going in a straight line.
Paddle board competitions include: Racing with its 14’ and 12’6 Classes, All Around Regattas and Downwinders, and the Wave Disciplines.
As with boards, paddles have also morphed addressing ergonomic concerns. Paddles now have shorter staffs, smaller blades, and some twisted designs meant to improve water penetration and release.
Racers at this time are moving to shorter paddles due mostly to the paddling stance required to create as much power as possible. Most SUPers will be happy and able to access any body of water on “All Around” boards, but watch out, displacement boards are getting tweaked to handle small waves and choppy conditions including cross and wind chop.
Inflatable SUP’s are starting to pop up everywhere due to the easiness of carrying and storing, hence making them perfect condominium boards.