For some, paddle boarding isn’t meant to just be this calming activity you do at the lake or river. Instead, some paddlers want excitement and action and, most of all, speed. So, today I want to focus on speed and answer your questions about how fast you can you go on a stand up paddle board and more! So, let’s not waste any time and instead just dive right in.
How Far Can You Really Go On a Paddle Board In a Day?
If you’re wondering how far you can really go on a SUP in just one day, the answer is that it depends. For beginners, you’re looking at about 6 – 9 miles. On the other hand, advanced paddlers can go about 18 – 30 miles a day. The fitness and experience of a paddler, as well as the weather and wind conditions, do factor into these numbers, though.
How Fast Can You Really Go On a Paddle Board?
The average speed at which paddle boarders can go on a SUP is about 3.5 to 4.5 miles per hour. Paddle board racers can go about 5 – 7 miles per hour. Records suggest that greater speeds are possible, but it requires optimum skill, fitness, water, and weather conditions to achieve.
What Influences Speed?
Several factors can influence paddle boarding speed, such as:
- Fitness levels
- Tail or headwind
- Your board (is it a hard or iSUP? What classification of the board is it? Etc.)
- Width and Length of the board
- Material of the paddle
How To Measure Your Speed
To understand how you’re performing in terms of speed and distance, you’re going to want to use one of these methods to measure yourself:
This is better for shorter distances, but a stopwatch is a simplistic way of approaching and measuring your speed according to your distance.
Sports watches or smart watches are perfect for measuring speeds and distances. Many statistics are available to users to ensure they get the complete picture of their paddle boarding trip.
A SUP GPS might be a perfect investment if you’re looking to measure speeds and distances. You can track your trips and evaluate your speeds thanks to advanced metrics.
Having an app to track your movements on the paddle board will give you a clear picture of how fast and far you’re going. Of course, this has obvious downsides, like having to have your phone on board, but if you’re okay with that (and have a waterproof bag), it’s worth it!
Take a look at my list of some of the best apps every paddle boarder should know about!
How To Improve SUP Speeds
There are several ways you can improve SUP speeds from board type to technique. Let’s take a look at the five best ways to improve SUP speeds:
Fitness does play a role in your paddle boarding speed. Working out your upper body, core, and legs will not only help you achieve a firm and strong stance on the board, but it can help you paddle faster and with more force. This extra force can propel you farther and at a good speed. Additionally, you’ll have better endurance to keep paddling for longer periods of time.
Paddle boarding pros will all tell you the same thing, and that’s to practice, practice, practice. The more you’re on the board, the more you understand it and how it moves with the ocean. Then, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to your advantage to achieve the best speeds possible on your SUP.
Perfecting the paddle boarding technique will save you the energy and power that’s desperately needed when you’re out on the water. Here’s what you should know when it comes to the technique surrounding paddle stroke:
- Take your paddle and dip it into the water as far as possible without splashing. Then, fully extend the front arm while the paddles are in the water.
- You’re going to want to slightly bend your knees and lean forward. Then, be prepared to pull back with your shoulder blade for the arm that’s holding the handle.
- When the paddles are fully submerged to the base of the shaft, you’ll pull it back with force using your entire body.
- When the blade reaches your body, release and pull it out of the water and relax the body before repeating.
There’s never enough emphasis placed on the paddle itself. Paddles are extremely important when it comes to speed. The more oversized bladed paddles will push water away easier but lead to fatigue at a faster rate. This is because of higher resistance and load. Aluminum paddles aren’t ideal, as they can feel uncomfortable after long periods of use.
The best paddle you can get is a lighter, sturdy, high-quality, floating paddle to get you moving at the optimum speed.
Racing & Touring Boards
The most obvious solution to improving your speed is to invest in a racing or touring paddle board. These boards are designed to achieve greater speeds compared to the all-around paddle boards you might be used to.
Racing paddle boards are elongated boards with lightweight construction and narrow design. This makes them easier to cut through the water and glide. They also have streamlined underwater hulls, and this helps even further with the water resistance. As a result, you can achieve higher speeds. Touring boards are similar to racing boards but are not as narrow. They still achieve impressive speeds even if they’re not as narrow as racers. A touring board is better for longer trips as they’re more comfortable.
So there you have it, a somewhat comprehensive look at answering your questions about how fast you can go on a stand up paddle board! There’s a lot to understand about speed and paddle boards but the most important thing, in my opinion, is your fitness, technique, and the type of paddle board you’re using.