Which Types of Paddle Boards Are the Fastest?

types of paddle boards

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is one of the most exciting emerging water sports of today.

With a little something for everyone, it’s a fun way to get out on the water, no matter your age or level of experience.

What makes one of these boards truly come alive out on the water, though?

In today’s article, we’ll be looking at the fastest types of paddle boards on the market. We’ll examine everything from size to construction, accessories and paddle build, to find the fastest builds out there.

Ready to hit the water?

Let’s get to it!

 

Racing Pick


The Aqua Marina Race Competitive Inflatable Stand-up Paddle Board is a great racing board. Slices through the water and keeps you moving!

Construction

Fast types of paddle boards have to have the right construction to help them glide through the water.

There are two routes to go in choosing a board:

Solid

Solid paddle boards are made from a variety of materials. This includes everything from plastics to kevlar, fiberglass, foam, and even wood.

These boards are faster, not only out on the water but also in prep time. There’s no inflation required, and you’ll spend less time adjusting for heavy winds.

Inflatable

The construction of an inflatable stand up paddle board (or iSUP, as they’re known) makes it extremely light.

Built with woven strands of PVC between two outer layers, these boards inflate to become sturdy enough to support paddlers.
While these boards are certainly more convenient than a solid board, they typically aren’t as efficient out on the water.

Once you’ve chosen a construction type, there’s also planing and displacement to consider. Displacement hull SUPs are built with pointed bows. These are useful in improving speed, cutting through the water and creating a smoother ride.

Unlike flat planing boards, displacement hulls are almost always used for speedy paddling.

Design

Different types of paddle boards are obviously suited to different styles of boarding. Depending on the design, different SUPs are capable of extremely fast speeds.

Surf

These boards turn easily in the water, cutting through waves like traditional surfboards. Because of their shorter design (typically under nine foot), these are also perfect for kids.

Cruise

Much longer boards, these are designed for keeping their riders up and going for longer periods. These boards are typically stable enough that riders carry cargo on them. Also known as all round boards, these SUP boards are ideal for beginners, with decent speeds and stability.

Some boards also feature a windsurf option.

Racing

These boards are longer and narrower than others, for less resistance in the water. With a sharper nose area for speed and less surface area, these boards can be too difficult for new paddlers. In terms of speed, though, this is the fastest option out there.

A variation on the race design is what’s known as a flatwater board. These are optimized for open ocean paddling as well as (you guessed it) flat water. They are longer than all round boards, and shaped like wider racing boards, with pointed noses to help them travel through water more easily.

Considerations

Dimensions

In the quest for the fastest types of paddle boards on the market, the question of size is an important one.

The width of the board has to be appropriate for your height. You’ll be reaching down to paddle, and the further out you have to reach to get your paddle in the water, the sooner you’ll become tired.

Similarly, every board is designed to hold a specific weight. Make sure to use a board that matches your weight. For beginners, try to choose a board you’re lighter than the recommended weight for.

Fin type and layout

Depending on where you’ll be using your board, the layout of your fins can make a huge difference to the way it handles.

For paddlers out on flat water, such as lakes, fewer fins are fine, as you won’t need much stabilization or tracking.

Three fin setups are typically used for surfing, racing, and faster paddleboarding. Race fins are stiffer than others, making them useful for steering and stabilizing longer boards.

Traction pads

While the size of your traction pad may not affect the speed of your board, it is true that faster boards typically have smaller traction pads.

Paddles

Stand up boarding paddles are made with three components:

Handle

These are available in either ergonomic or straight “T-bar” designs. Ergonomic handles have obvious benefits, but traditionalists sometimes prefer straight handles for power.

Shaft

This part bears a lot of the stress of the paddle’s use. These can be made out of everything from carbon to glass fiber, aluminum, or kevlar. A kevlar or aluminum shaft is heavier, while carbon is more common while being sturdy and light.

Blade

Larger paddle blades displace more water but are harder on your shoulder over time. This is a concern, especially, for beginners, as fatigue sets in.

Smaller blades give less resistance in the water and are useful out in the surf, especially as you pick up speed.

Accessories

Bungee cords are a useful option for paddle boarders who spend a lot of time out on the water. You’ll use these to tie down a dry bag or other waterproof items.

They are most often associated with slower, more stable cruise boards. The added weight and water resistance aren’t appropriate to faster, racing type boards.

Leashes help to tether any board rider to their board. This is especially useful for beginners, who might fall off more often in the beginning stages. Similarly, faster, thinner boards might call for a leash, if for no other reason than being able to hang onto an errant board, after an accident.

Leashes are designed for use in surf, flatwater, and rivers, and each leash is different. You’ll want to make sure you get the right one for the conditions you’ll be out in.

What Are The Fastest Types of Paddle Boards?

Ultimately, the styles of paddle boards that work best for people depend on their own needs.

Aim for a racing board that supports your weight, and is the right width for your height. Solid construction tends to be faster than an inflatable. A thinner, lighter paddle will obviously weigh you down less.

Visit us at Paddle Board Thrills, today, for more pro insights into the fast-moving world of paddle boarding!

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