Stand up paddle boarding in Swansea & Gower
Tel : 01792 446511

Volume vs stability in stand up paddleboards

Buying the best board for your progression is just as important for your wallet as it is for your personal enjoyment of SUP.
Determining the stability factors on SUP boards these days is getting more difficult with so many varying shapes in production, the Glassy vs Bumpy (windy) conditions pay a huge factor in determining this.
In my opinion, width is one of the primary factors in stability. Length from 9’0 to 10’6 is much less significant. Bottom contour or flatness will stabilize a board, but if you want the board to perform in waves the shape is very important.
On average most boards will be 29” in today’s market if you are looking for easy cruising, look at our 29”- 31” wide boards. If you are an experienced paddle boarder, and seeking more of a challenge the 27”- 28” wide stand up paddle boards may be better in waves. The narrower the board is, especially in the tail the harder it is to stabilize, but it will allow for more maneuverability. The boards nose width is also important let’s take a customer who first bought a 10’8 from us.
Pete was happy with his 10’8 at first with its 170Litres but 3 months into his progression he tried a 9’2 with 150Litres and this changed Pete’s mind completely. ”Wave riding and flat water paddling to an extent is so much easier” he commented.

So, with this in mind what was maybe a simple choice of ‘I like that colour’ becomes a serious decision which may effect your ability to do what you want on your SUP.

GONG 10'8 x 31 x 170 Litres

Drops 9’2 x 29” x 152 Litres

The other super important factor for stability is VOLUME.
Most beginner stand up paddlers will want a ratio of twice their body weight [in kg] to volume, ie a 86kg person should pick a board around 172Litres (86 x 2) give or take 10Litres either side
An intermediate can go to 1.75 times their weight (86kg x 1.75= 150Litres) and an expert in smooth conditions will enjoy a 1.5 ratio or below. (120Litres)

See this spreadsheet as an example it works better for the heavier rider ,the lighter rider will probably want to add 15Litres on top of the recommendation, its also biased towards fit individuals Stand up paddleboard Weight Volume

Some others will disclose this method for figuring out your  Boards minimum volume

Clothed rider weight + board weight + paddle weight + 20 L = minimum volume

This is food for thought as various people have their own views on this. I was suprised how stable The Nitro 8’5 coreban was at 28” wide and 112.3Litres in flat water, but wobbled and fell in  13mph windchop versus the stability of a Gong 6’6 Fatal round 31” & 113Litres in choppy conditions and flatwater wobble , probably down to the board sitting deeper in the water: weird………it must have been the curry !

Unfortunately manufacturers have not yet made a board used in all conditions, so there has to be a compromise in design. One SUP board cannot permit 100% in all SUP disciplines.
If you are choosing and looking for advice on what Stand up paddle board to buy for the first time, learn as much as possible from the internet and then go test some boards at a sup school or shop and have some fun !

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Mumbles Trailer - SA34EE
Langland - SA3 4SQ
Three Cliffs - SA3 2EH
Phone: 01792 446511
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About Sup Gower

Here at SUP Gower We offer SUP & eFOIL Lessons, Hire & Clinics. Our showroom is stocked with boards, paddles, and all the gear you need to get on the water. Starboard, Fanatic, Jp Australia, Naish, Red Paddle Co, NSP , BIC & much more.
Call us on 01792 446511 to discuss your paddle or board requirements.

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