Standup Paddleboard Technical Specifications

Advanced Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) improves by understanding the differences in the board designs. Advanced riders pay particular attention to the gear they use. There is a huge difference between boards design for cruising, ocean surfing, and river riding.

Here Are Some Considerations For Surf and Cruising Paddle Boards:

  • Performance Boards – Performance boards are able to execute larger turns effectively and make special moves like roundhouse cutbacks, helicopters, and floaters. They are shorter than beginner and intermediate boards, yet they are a bit wider. While beginner boards are up to twelve feet, and intermediate boards are around eleven feet, the advanced performance board is ten feet long. Stability comes from having the board width at 29 inches instead of the narrower 27 inches for intermediate boards.
  • Water Displacement and Planed Hulls – A planed hull rises up out of the water as speed increases making it good for use in waves. On flatter water, boards with greater displacement cut through water with reduced drag without having to rise out of the water.
  • Rocker – This is the amount of bend that a particular board has in the front (nose rocker) or at the back (tail rocker). A banana board has a lot of rocker. On flat surface water, rocker slows the board down, making it more difficult to paddle forward. When surfing on a paddleboard, nose rocker helps keep the tip from going under water and throwing the person off the board. The intended use of the board determines how to choose the rocker amount.
  • Fins – The choice and placement of fin(s) affects the boards’ stability and maneuverability. Big volume boards made for cruising have one large centered-mounted fin. Surf paddleboards designed for maneuverability have either a three fin or a four (quad) fin setup.

Here Are Some Considerations For Whitewater River Paddle Boards:

  • Board Materials – Unlike ocean boards, river boards are best made of polyurethane in a large volume that is hollow inside. They are designed to be used with either very short fins or no fins at all. Fins are problematic in whitewater SUP because they get caught or break on the rocks. The unique hollow design of these boards also creates a waterproof storage area to take along supplies, sleeping bags, or camping gear.
  • Weight – River SUP boards are lightweight. Some are made of inflatable materials. Paddling these boards is more often about guidance and maneuverability, than having to propel the board forward by paddling.


Choosing the right board for the type of SUP is an important part of the sport. Advanced riders choose their boards carefully depending on the types of water they will be in and the kinds of maneuvers they wish to perform.