What Does Stand Up Paddle Board Stability Mean?

Picking a Stable SUP

The Bounce SUP Super Cruiser 11’6” Touring Paddle Board is considered one of the most stable boards on the market. But what does that mean? How stability is measured differs from sport to sport. It means one thing for surfers and another for stand up paddle boards. Surfers use stability as a person’s ability to get up on the board. In stand up paddleboarding, it actually accounts for your experience, your weight, your skill level and how the SUP is constructed. Let’s find out what this means when trying to pick a stable SUP.

The Bounce SUP Super Cruiser 11'4" Touring Paddle Board

The Bounce SUP Super Cruiser 11’4″ Touring Paddle Board received an SOL rating of 13 on their stability measurement making it perfect for beginners.

How is stability measured?

Looking back at the first attempts to gauge a board’s stability, surfers understood that numerous factors came into play. So to create a baseline for their measurements, they gave a rating of one to a board that experienced no motion in flat water with an average sized man on its deck. So a 150 pound man on a board that didn’t move created stability on one. But we all know that is not how boards are used.

Does stability ratings have anything to do with how the board is made?

To a degree, surfers adjusted ratings based on fins, rails, and even motion. Adding these factors would add the creation of dynamic stability ratings, further confusing the ability of the average person to grasp what they meant. According to surfscience.com, the stability of a board is directly correlated to its width, suggesting that the broader the base, the greater the stability. But this does not mean the board is more maneuverable.

Are SUP stability measures different?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Not only is the construction of the board, its dynamic measure the same for both sports, stand up paddle boards consider volume, length and the thickness of the board. Fins and rails and rocker design all play a role in the initial rating. But for stand up paddle boards, it is not the ease of popping up on the board as it is begins its ride, it is the action of the person on the board, the skill level of that paddler that adds the next measure of SUP stability.

Is there a uniform measure of SUP stability?

Depending on the vendor you choose, you might get a generic definition of which board is best for a boarder. For instance, some rely solely on weight suggesting that the bigger the board, the better the match. Some will even suggest a bigger board is the best all around choice for beginners, regardless of weight. This would be more the big box store style of matching a board to the paddler.

One vendor of note, Stand on Liquid uses a unique measure of board stability that captures numerous factors that will help you match your skill level to the right board. Consider the Bounce SUP Super Cruiser 11’6” Touring Paddle Board. It has a stability rating of 13. Using 8 as the baseline for their rating system, the higher the number, the more likely beginners will find the board that fits best. This board has one feature that makes it better than similar boards, adding more stability for those still working on their stroke: a step down deck. This board also employs a Thermal Construction Technology that, along with its displacement hull, gives the beginning paddler the confidence they need.

Keep in mind, each time a board gets narrower, lighter, or longer, your skill level must increase as well. The SOL rating system will give a stand up paddle boarder a more accurate match to your specific needs. It might even be considered as a fun index.

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