What is a race paddle board?
Race paddle boards are designed to be as fast and efficient as possible through the water, this means that by design, they are typically longer and narrower than common all-round cruisers that you would usually see on the water. Racing paddle boards can be broken into 3 classes; 12’6, 14′ and unlimited. The 14′ race paddle board class is the most popular race class and is mostly likely the board size you should consider buying. 12’6 class is typically used as youth or junior racing class and unlimited is used for elite downwind racers.
What type of race paddle board is best?
Race paddle boards can be broken down into 3 categories depending on their use; all-water, flat-water and downwind. Let’s have a look at each of these in a little more detail:
- All-water race paddle board: The most popular design is the wave and all-water race board, thanks to its versatility, a rider only needs one board that they can use in any condition – if this sounds like what you need, then Starboard’s All Star is a great all-round race board. All-water race paddle boards also feature multiple carry handle positions for beach starts/ portages as well as drainage holes for flushing water on the deck after punching through a wave.
- Flatwater race boards: are high-performance specialists that are used more in dams, lakes and rivers where rough ocean conditions are not a factor. They are designed for straight-line speed and maximum efficiency with features like an inverted bow nose to increase waterline and therefore speed. They also commonly feature sharp rails for improved tracking and rail-steer ability. If you’re looking for a flat water speedster, then the Starboard Sprint is the board for you.
- Downwind race paddle board: These boards are designed to handle bumpy ocean conditions and to glide onto swells with ease. They typically have a rounded belly hull, a thin pintail that picks up easily onto swells and ocean waves, and also a dugout deck so that riders have a lower centre of gravity. The worlds most popular downwind paddle board is the Starboard Ace downwinder paddle board.
How to choose a race paddle board?
Knowing what race paddle board to choose can be daunting, especially given the high cost of one of these, so you need definitely need to make an informed purchase decision before buying a race paddleboard. There are a host of factors to consider and this includes what type of racing style you intend to use it for, your ability, your budget and more. Read our beginners guide to buying a race paddle board article to learn more.
Factors to consider when choosing a race paddle board:
Race paddleboards are the fastest and most efficient type of paddleboard, designed for speed and performance. They are typically longer, narrower, and lighter than all-round paddleboards, making them ideal for racing and competitive paddling.
Race paddleboards can reach speeds of up to 20km/h (12.5mph) in the hands of a skilled paddler. However, they can also be more challenging to balance and paddle than other types of paddleboards, so they are best suited for intermediate and advanced paddlers.
If you are interested in racing paddleboards, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a board:
Length: Race paddleboards are typically 12’6″ to 14′ long. Longer boards are faster, but they can also be more difficult to maneuver.
Width: Race paddleboards are typically 22″ to 26″ wide. Narrower boards are faster, but they can also be less stable.
Weight: Race paddleboards are typically made from lightweight materials like carbon fiber and epoxy, making them easy to carry and paddle.
Construction: Race paddleboards are typically constructed using a variety of different materials and technologies. The most expensive race boards are made from carbon fiber, which is the lightest and strongest material available. However, there are also many affordable race boards made from other materials, such as fiberglass and epoxy.
Gear to consider for SUP Racing:
Once you have chosen a race paddleboard, you will need to outfit it with the proper accessories, such as a paddle, fin, and leash. It is also important to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when paddleboarding, especially when racing.
If you are new to paddleboarding, it is a good idea to take a lesson from a qualified instructor before racing. This will help you learn the basics of paddleboarding and how to paddle a race board safely and efficiently.