SUP Design, width vs. thickness, what really works?


The stand up board designers all understand that the volume of a SUP board is key to whether the rider will be able to comfortably paddle a board or not. After all it’s called “Stand Up” paddling isn’t it? The key to SUP board design is Virtual Volume*, the perfect blend of width (wide point*) and thickness*, which provides sufficient stability and still a loose maneuvering ride. Only a few designers in the world have developed the knowledge and have the ability to bring the SUP world these designs, Ed Angulo is certainly one of these designers, with 45 years of surf, windsurf, and most recently SUP board building experience, lets see some of what Ed has learned.

“Volumetrics“* is a concept that was introduced to me about 18 years ago by a good friend and waterman, Whitney Guild. Basically he came up with a formula that matches the volume of the board to the experience and size of the rider. Although it is not an exact science, it is a GU’d guide line. Now this is only a starting point, which must be matched with “Virtual Volume“*. This is a theory that explores how the volume is distributed on a design. Check out these definitions, and see if you can get a pulse on these concepts;

Thickness – The measurement from the bottom to the deck. Usually measured at several points to determine foam flow Volumetrics – Whitney guilds concept of volume in relation to size and ability of the rider. A guideline to be used in conjunction with “Virtual Volume” Formula: weight in KILOS (#s / 2.2 = Kg) x 2 for beginners, x 1.5for expert. Numbers can be adjusted +or – according to desire and athleticism. Virtual Volume – using the above formula, shape and design of the board must be considered. For example a ball of 100 liters certainly would not be as stable as a door of 100 liters. A wider thinner board of equal volume of a narrower thicker board will be more stable. Wide point – the width across the bottom usually around the center of the board. Important to stability of the board … are you confused yet? Here’s the bottom line…

Real Gu’d boards have enough width for a loose outline which also produces an easy riding yet excellent performing SUP board. Too narrow, with a straight outline causes stiffness, and instability it’s your choice “Real Gu’d” or good enough?