What's the Scoop with Dugout Stand Up Paddle Boards?

My name is Jonathan and I have raced dugout Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boards for the past two seasons and I've experienced many diverse water conditions in both racing and training settings.

I can say that I thoroughly enjoy using dugouts for my style of paddling. The funniest comment I get from people is "That's a weird looking Kayak”. Then they see me stand up and paddle away and their wonderment goes into overdrive.

jonathan bischof nsp dugout
Jonathan Bischof race training in Aruba on his 2018 NSP Sonic 14'

The more voluminous nose and higher rails than traditional boards are the most distinct visual characteristics that you'll notice whether it's an NSP, Starboard, ECS, or other dugout styled board. The higher rails offer a very secure feeling while paddling and creates a cockpit like effect which I thoroughly enjoy.

the 2018 nsp sonic 14'
The 2018 NSP Sonic 14'

All dugout SUPs have built in drains/scuppers to direct the water out of the standing area. As with many race board designs, the bulbous bow area enables you to ride over waves and chop without going below the plane of the water. This design feature aids in flat water to maintain a smooth and consistent glide. The recessed lower deck dramatically improved my overall stability compared to a traditional deck. This became evident during rough water conditions, following seas, and wind swept down-winders.

titouan puyo nsp dugout race board
Titouan Puyo on his way to a 1st place win at the 2017 Carolina SUP Cup 13.2 Mile Graveyard Elite Race

The dugout design is very well suited for a sup racer or fitness performance paddler who is a technical rider and enjoys training for there sport. At the first pro race of 2018; the 12 Towers Race in Gold Coast, AU, dugouts were very prevalent taking mens elite 1st and 2nd by Michael Booth and Titouan Puyo.

With the countless benefits a dugout offers for all riders, you may be asking yourself "what's the catch"? I would say the one area that takes getting used to is getting back on your board. I found I fall in much less than a traditional race board deck, but when you do fall in a revised technique to overcome the high side rails is required. I found sliding your body onto the center of the deck from the stern of your boat will yield the best results. In this scenario you'd place your paddle inside the deck before sliding back in. If you do fall in, remember you must clear the side rails to avoid damage to yourself and your board. I automatically have conditioned myself to throw myself away from the board during any fall.

jonathan bischof nsp dugout raceboard
Jonathan Bischof race training in Aruba on his 2018 NSP Sonic 14'

It's been a learning and riding experience for me as an athlete, SUP racer and SUP coach to use a dugout stand up paddle racing and fitness board. Please feel free to reach out to me with a call +1-802-258-0282 or email if you ever want to ask questions. I would love to hear about your dugout experiences.

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