The Elite SUP Boards for Racing

Understanding How Design Can Help Make You a SUP Race Winner

Last time we talked about SUP racing we focused on several of the factors that enter into the race. And in that post we discussed water, balance, and the muscles you’ll need to compete. We also discussed the Morrelli & Melvin 12’6” SUP Race Paddle Board, albeit briefly. In this article, we’ll take another look at that board and another paddleboard that will not only tell your competition you came to win but quite possibly give you the distinct advantage you need to defeat the field handily, the YOLO Orange Crush 14’ Race SUP.

YOLO Orange Crush SUP Racer

YOLO Orange Crush SUP Racer has a semi plumb bow, low continuous rocker, low sharp tail rail, fine entry and quiet exit on every wave on the course.

What makes a racing SUP a racer?
You are basically looking for four things in a good stand up racing paddle board. When looking at these paddle boards, you’ll need to consider the design of the bow, the rocker, the deck and the tail.

What should you know about the SUP racing bow?
The bow or nose of the SUP is where the wave meets the racer. So we’ll discuss this first. The Morrelli & Melvin SUP borrows technology found in sailboats to cut the water like a warm knife through butter. The Orange Crush uses a semi-plumb bow. This sort of bow is designed for racing, pushing the water away from the vessel in dramatic fashion but at the same time, moves the water from stem to stern with the least amount of buoyancy loss. In other words, the paddle board stays on top of the wave as opposed to submarining into the next wave as the stern reacts.

How important is the rocker line in SUP racing?
The second piece of a race efficient SUP paddle board is the rocker line. You are looking for the rocker to provide the best board glide for each paddle stroke. In the Morrelli & Melvin SUP, this is the result of numerous shape tests over the years. Those years of testing has created an energetic stroke-to-glide ratio. The Orange Crush uses a rocker design that stays low, offering a clean release that can be felt in the motion forward, almost exploding into the next wave.

Are SUP racing decks designed differently?
In a racing situation, you want a water-shed deck. In both boards, the swale is recessed with dedicated foot placement, essential over long distances. Having a rounded deck, pushing each wave away from you gives the tail a chance to react without limiting or slowing your entry and exit into the next wave.

How important is the SUP tail design in a racing SUP?
The last comparable element of these two boards is the tail. The Morrelli & Melvin has a wider tail than the YOLO Orange Crush which can help in open ocean situations, giving it a quick release. But the Orange Crush might be the better paddle board when it comes to the tightest turn. Both boards have excellent float but the Orange Crush seems to be just a little bit stiffer, giving the less experienced racer a distinct advantage.

Both of these paddle boards will create an exciting race situation, distributing the paddler’s stroke in the most efficient fashion to achieve the most distance through a variety of wave conditions. Both of these boards, while designed for racing, will give you a great overall SUP touring board experience along coastal waterways, waves of not. One thing for sure: Even if you didn’t set out to race either of these boards, the temptation to do so will be overwhelming. And when you do, these boards will level the playing field.

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