Curious which type of board is faster in comparable sizes? Granted you would have to take into account paddler and certain factors of board width etc. But a general question as to which you would think is faster a SUP or prone board in the same length? Thanks! I am trying to decide if I want to do a long distance race( Chattajack) with my 12’6 SUP or my 14″ prone. I guess It will depend on how I am feeling strength wise at the end of the summer.
Without deep diving into nitty gritty including, board width, shape, paddler ability, etc, and leaving ourselves a big wide hole for criticism (we are sure this post will generate at least some discussion) as a general rule, in our experience, in calm wind SUP is faster, in a headwind prone is faster, downwind SUP is faster. Getting a little more granular and addressing the situations we are most commonly asked about:
All of that said, we are not sure if you asked the right question. Even if a prone is faster in a headwind that doesn’t mean you will be faster on a prone board in a race like Chattajack. Think of it this way – a Greyhound is faster than a Labrador for a minute but who do you want with you if you are hiking the grand canyon? The Greyhound will fall over dead, hide, or just turnaround and go home about 20 minutes into your trip. Faster and how fast you can go over the course of 7 hours are two entirely different things.
Since that analogy probably made no sense at all, let us take another stab at this. With SUP you are standing in a comfortable position and you have a paddle to help you move. You are also using your core and back and arms and shoulders and legs to get you moving. With prone paddling, when you are prone you are using your little teeny tiny shoulder muscles (and upper back) and when you are knee paddling you are in a God awful position using your back, glutes and hamstrings. This position can be excruciating over the course of 6+ hours.
What we are saying is that you need to pick and option that is fastest for you over the long haul. Many paddlers find that they can SUP for longer than they can prone paddle. If you are going to go this distance prone paddling you are going to need to train for it.
Sorry, SUP’ers prone paddling is harder. There is just no rest or hiding or going easy when you are paddling prone. That is why they call it the suffer stick. Once your arms and back and neck are blown, the game is over. Everything hurts. Everything.
Bottom line: don’t focus on what board is theoretically faster. Focus on what you are going to be able to paddle the fastest given your experience, your training, and your ability.
Shameless plug: if you are going to go it prone, don’t forget to pick up our meteoric new video . No matter what you do if you are paddling a long race like Chattajack you should also consider our long distance training programs