I think that a quiver of downwind boards is going to be preferable…at least for me and my lack of endurance and paddling skills. I just finished the Coast Guard race this morning which was basically just paddling. There was no wind except for maybe 2 gusts I felt but still under 10 mph. I caught a couple good runners but that was about it for me.
Anyway, here’s my thoughts and opinion after spending the past few months doing downwinders. Obviously, in a few months I am still a beginner although I am getting a good feel for what works for me and what doesn’t. These are my personal opinions and should be taken with a grain of salt. If you are an experienced paddler, feel free to chime in with some comments.
Here’s what I’m thinking…a quiver of 2 distance boards. The first one will be somewhere between 14′ – 16′ and will be for runs where the waves are above waist high. This can be for larger swell days or rougher seas. It will have more rocker so I don’t pearl dive and will probably be more of a planing type hull so I can ride the waves. This board will need to be more stable as it will be harder to balance in rougher seas. This is basically what I have now in the Vortice XP and F-15 custom.
The second board will be designed for flatter conditions with waves waist high or lower. Wind at my back will be a good help but what I really want is more glide. I’m hoping that this can still be fairly stable as I don’t want to spend a lot of energy just trying to stay dry although it won’t need to be as stable as the first board. I’m thinking that this will be closer to a displacement hull and will have lots and lots of glide. I’m just thinking out loud so far but this board will hopefully catch very small waves with ease and stay on them. If you’ve tried something like this, leave a comment and share what your experience is.