race paddleboards for racing

Introduction to Racing/Race Paddleboards

As the name reveals, race SUPs are designed for paddleboard competitions.

Mainly used for racing, exercise, fitness, while having the capability to get some touring done as well – this type is hands down the #1 fastest board out there. Along with other disciplines that premium SUP manufacturers produce –

– it is the making of a racing SUP that every brand has set their goal to master, to produce their flagship paddle board.

Therefore, we are given the opportunity to choose between so many different, top-of-the-line models, and in this review, we are going to overlook the three main disciplines of SUP race boards:

  • What is a race paddleboard?
  • What are race paddleboards categorized as?
  • What size race board to get?
  • What brands make the best race SUPs?

 

All-around / Touring & Adventure / Yoga & Cruising / Fishing & Expedition / RACE & PERFORMANCE / Tandem / Multi-person / Youth & Kids’ / Whitewater & River / Surfing / Kayak SUP

Types of Paddleboards SUP
Explained – 13 Types of SUPs

 

What is a race paddle board?

Maximum efficiency and speed, long-distance paddleboard races, ultimate performance – this is where these bullet-shaped 12’6″ to 14′ boards thrive.

Different types

  • All-water race – For oceans, waves, all-water.
    Drainage holes for flushing water off the deck, this type usually has a noticeable square tail.
  • Downwind race – For oceans. Main features – dugout deck, rounded hull, pintail.
  • Flatwater race – For lakes, dams, estuaries & calm waters. Best for going in a straight line to achieve the maximum speed efficiency.

 

What are the main SUP race classes?

  • 12’6″
  • 14′
  • Unlimited

 

What are the good average race SUP speeds?

  • Average – 3.5 to 4.5miles per hour
  • Good – 5 to 7 miles per hour

 

 

Main features


Available in solid and inflatable form – race boards are distinguished by the extra volume on the nose area, and a narrow (under 27″ wide), bullet-shaped outline. The main difference between the types is also the overall length, tail width, thickness, hull type, and some features on the deck.

The longer the board – the straighter it tracks

Longer boards are faster than shorter boards

Longer boards = more buoyancy = great for heavier paddlers

Shorter boards have better maneuverability

Shorter boards are easier to surf waves with

Key features

  • Deck pad
  • Leash
  • Bungee cords – for easy-access storage.
  • Handles – For easy carrying.
  • Tailpad – For increased maneuverability.
  • Mounts – for GPS / GoPro.

aqua marina race SUP 9 features

HULL TYPES

Displacement & planing

Displacement (Round)

Ideal for flatwater racing / long-distance touring.

  • Pointed nose – cuts through water more easily.
  • Longer distances at faster speeds.
  • Not as maneuverable.

Planing (V-shaped)

Maneuverability over straight-line speed.

  • Flat or convex vee-shaped bottom contour.
  • Rides high, on top of the water.
  • Flat tails.
  • Great for technical riding.

FINS

Chosen by:

  • Rider preference.
  • Race discipline.
  • Conditions.

Longer & deeper fin offers better stability and tracking. Great for open oceans with currents and waves.

A shorter fin is used for technical riding. The benefit of a shallower fin is also the minimized chance of hitting the bottom and breaking the fin. You don’t get tangled up on the seaweed as easily too.

The 2 types of fin bases are US Standard & US Surf.


PADDLES

Compared to 3-piece SUP paddles used on almost all the other paddleboarding disciplines, a race-specific paddle plays a more important role regards performance.

Almost all race SUP paddles have either a one- or a two-piece handle, made of carbon fiber. The size of the paddle blade is also slightly smaller than the average due to the increased number of overall strokes during the average ride is making.

  • Competition paddles are extremely lightweight and durable, often made of carbon fiber.

 

Inflatable vs Hard Racing SUP

Convenience vs performance = Inflatable vs Rigid.

solid vs inflatable sup

 

What’s the average pressure in inflatable race SUPs?

18PSI and sometimes higher.

 

What’s the average race SUP weight?

An average race SUP weighs 25lbs / 11kg. Although quite the average, these boards often use different technologies compared to other similar disciplines.

 

Is race paddleboard great for beginners?

  • Are you fit?
  • Are you thinking of getting fit?
  • Are you planning to get extremely fit?
  • Do you want to use one for touring?

If you’ve set your mind to gain maximum performance – you are definitely going to need a fast paddleboard for that. The long and narrow design is designed for the best paddling optimization like no other board out there. Although you can use a race SUP for touring, bear in mind that these boards perform at their best with constant speed. They might not be the best option for slow-pace explorations as where one would need extra stability.

 

What’s the closest discipline to a race SUP?

Among the 13 main types in total, the racing paddleboard is closest to a touring SUP. They both share a somewhat similar outline – a square tail and a sharp, pointy nose. Although touring paddleboards are way thicker and wider, a majority of the boards stay in the same length between 12’4″ to 14′.

touring stand up paddle board guide
Touring boards have often similar outlines to race SUPs

 

What are the different racing disciplines?

Race / Racing / Speed / Downwind / Touring / Sprint – there are many features and modifications on eash racing discipline.

 

Best Racing Paddle Board Brands

  • Sic Maui – Race SUP specific
  • Starboard – 3x rigid / 2x inflatable
  • Naish – 2x solid / 2x inflatable
  • Aqua Marina – 3 x inflatable
  • RED – 3x inflatable
  • Hala – 3x inflatable

41 best paddleboard brands

 

Where are the most popular paddle SUP races held all around the world?


The most known paddleboard race takes place in Hawaii, a home to believably the best surfers and paddleboarders in the world.

Hawaii
– Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championships
51km (32mi)

USA
– Catalina Classic, California
51km race (32mi)

United Kingdom
– Trent 100
100km (62mi)

Australia
– Hamilton Island Cup
8km (5mi)

 

Need to know where are the upcoming races, or why not start your own?

Check out Paddleguru Races for more.


 

 

SUP race board sizes


The average racing paddleboard size averages between 12’6 to 14′ while there are also a few inflatable multi-person race SUPs that go up to 22′ in length.

Let’s have a look at the average SUP race board sizes:

INFLATABLE


  • Aqua Marina

  • 12’6″ x 27″ x 6″ – Volume 320L / Max load 330lbs
  • 14’0 x 27″ x 6″ – Volume 360L / Max load 352lbs
  • 14’0″ x 25″ x 6″ – Volume 330L / Max load 330lbs

14-foot inflatable paddle board 


  • RED

  • 12’6″
  • 14′
  • 22′

  • Naish

  • 14’0″ x 25″ x 6″ – Volume 330L
  • 14’0″ x 27″ x 6″ – Volume 357L

  • Hala

  • 10’11” x 30″ x 4.75″
  • 12’6″ x 30″ x 6″
  • 14’0″ x 28″ x 4.75″

  • Starboard

  • 12’6″ x 27″ x 6″ – Volume 307L (Tail width – 16.3″)
  • 12’6″ x 25.5″ x 6″ – Volume 294L (Tail width – 16.4″)
  • 14’0″ x 28″ x 6″ – Volume 367L (Tail width – 18″)
  • 14’0″ x 26″ x 6″ – Volume 332L (Tail width – 14″)
  • 14’0″ x 24.5″ x 6″ – Volume 310L (Tail width – 14.6″)

  • SicMaui

  • 11’0″ x 24″
  • 12’6″ x 29″
  • 14’0″ x 26″
  • 14’0″ x 28″
  • 14’0″ x 30″
  • 17’4″

RIGID


  • Starboard

  • 14’0″ x 28″ x 8.5″ – Volume 331L (Tail width – 16’1″)
  • 14’0″ x 26″ x 10.5″ – Volume 340L (Tail width – 15.2″)
  • 14’0″ x 24.5″ x 10.5 – Volume 324L (Tail width – 14.5″)
  • 14’0″ x 23″ x 10.6″ – Volume 303L (Tail width – 14″)
  • 14’0″ x 21.75″ x 10.7″ – Volume 278L (Tail width – 13.5″)

  • Naish

  • 14’0″ x 22″ x 9-3/8″ – Volume 256L / Capacity 190lbs
  • 14’0″ x 24″ x 9-3/8″ – Volume 280L / Capacity 220lbs
  • 14’0″ x 23″ x 7-1/2″ – Volume 242L / Capacity 190lbs
  • 14’0″ x 26″ x 7-1/2″ – Volume 242L / Capacity 190lbs
  • 14’0″ x 26″ x 7-1/2″ – Volume 273L / Capacity 210lbs
  • 140’0″ x 28″ x 7-1/2″ – Volume 295L / Capacity 230lbs

  • SicMaui

  • 14’0″ x 26″
  • 14’0″ x 24″
  • 14’0″ x 22″
  • 12’6″ x 30″
  • 14’0″ x 21.5″
  • 12’6″ x 22″
  • 14’0″ x 21.5″
  • 14’0″ x 23″ / 14’0″ x 24.5″ / 14’0″ x 26″
  • 14’0″ x 20″

paddleboard size chart
Read more – SUP size guide

Did we miss anything important? Let us & others know about it in the comments section.

 

Read next

How to Choose a SUP?

What to wear to paddleboarding?

The 45 Best SUP Brands in the world

About the author

Ermo Joeleht

I created Nulltuul to share my experience, knowledge, and analysis with other surf enthusiasts out there. If I'm not surfing on my travels, I like to photograph waves, surfers, and the surf lifestyle in general.

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