Flatwater: How to Chose a Stand Up Paddle Board

As we have discussed, the sport of stand up paddle boarding began as necessity. Whether you want to believe that the first boards were in use for hundreds of years by fisherman in such far off places as Peru or were developed by beach boys in the fifties to photograph tourists trying to surf, the SUP experience has without a doubt, evolved. Paddle boards are now designed to give you the best experience no matter which kind of water condition you might encounter.

So I thought today I take a look at one of the most common types of water you will find: the flatwater. The inland paddle boarder has an incredible number of opportunities in which to experience standing on liquid. From lakes to late season rivers, almost anybody anywhere can find flatwater within an hour or so from where they live. To best enjoy this wide selection of opportunities, the right board is important.

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 1.22.12 PMUnlike the boards you might use on vacation in Hawaii for instance, which might be best for the surf or open ocean conditions, flatwater boards have a slightly different design. Surf SUP boards are generally shorter and wider. This allows for better speed and maneuverability. But that application usually means these boards are less stable and more difficult to paddle straight. Open ocean boards are similar to flatwater boards but with a little more in the way of nose rocker to accommodate swells.

Flatwater boards overcome those issue with a displacement design. This type of board uses a longer, narrower construction, enabling you to not only paddle with great efficiency (less exertion) but with less frustration. The concept eliminates the rocker design of surf-type and open ocean SUPs. By making the board flatter, with a nose designed like a bow, the net result is a smoother, knife-like action across surfaces that offer little to no resistance. And that makes for a very quick board that takes less effort to attain incredible speeds.

One of the best boards for this quicker, leaner experience in the 12’ Liquid Shredder Lake SUP. The overall design of this board allows the beginner to develop their skills in less time and allows the experienced boarder some incredible speed. Both levels of experience want the maximum glide and tracking.

A couple of additional thoughts about flatwater. Not all water surfaces are the same. I mentioned late season rivers earlier in part because many of these waterways can be swift in early spring and summer and may not only be turbulent but shallow in some spots that might be exposed later in the season. It’s hard to spot those deep channels when the river is in full action. If you are attempting those types of conditions, get an inflatable board.

Also tell your dealer who will be using the board. They may have some suggestions about overcoming the different weight and skill users and suggest a better fit. Just remember one thing: the board needs to be at least 10 ½ feet long, flat on the bottom and built for your particular kind of use.

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