Imagine yourself holding your hand out of a car window on a nice warm day. If you turn your hand perpendicular to the ground, you slice through the wind. This is similar to a displacement hull. If you turn it parallel to the ground the wind lifts your hand in the air, and you feel a lot more resistance. This is similar to a planing hull.
Whether or not you get a displacement hull or a planing hull can be one of the biggest considerations when buying a Stand Up paddle Board. In simple terms a displacement hull is like the bow of a ship, it comes to a point and cuts through the water, just like your hand cut through the wind. This is similar to a racing canoe or kayak. On the other hand a planing hull is like the wing of an airplane and as speed increases, it creates lift and rides on top of the water, just like your flat hand lifts in the wind. A good example is a regular surfboard. When you combine paddling and surfing to form stand up paddling there is some crossover that happens. We will take a look at the advantages of each in different paddling situations.
Planing hull SUPs are basically wide, large volume surfboards. Their performance increases as they get up to high speeds. When the energy of a wave pushes the board it rises up on top of the water creating less drag, and thus even more speed. They perform great in the waves. The larger planing hulls are generally quite full in outline too for stability. This is why so many beginner boards are planing hulls. Planing hulls are good for both recreational cruising and playing in the waves. Their versatility makes them a great choice for a first board. Paddling at high cadence with a planing hull in flatwater is an awesome workout, but as humans we don't have enough power to overcome the waters resistance and get on top of it planing. . A bow wave under the nose is created that limits possible speed no matter how strong you are. Planing hull SUP's vary a lot in their flat water performance not only due to their wide full noses, but due to a combination of other factors including outline, rocker and rail profile. The best way to find out the difference from board to board is head to head comparison, which permits quantitative evaluation of each design for speed in flat water. (among other things)
Displacement hulls take their design cues from outrigger canoes, racing canoes and prone paddleboards. The point at the front of the board cuts through the water pushing the water around the nose and routing it along the sides rather than trying to ride on top of the water. This makes displacement hulls far more efficient for flatwater touring and racing by allowing them to deliver higher average speeds with the same level of input . They are a more efficient way to use all of your paddling power. A good comparison is how Olympic divers enter the water with hands and toes both pointed to ensure they disturbing the least amount of water possible. Because displacements want to move the least amount of water possible they are usually longer and narrower. This makes the fast but also more tippy for beginner or recreational paddlers.
For a personal recommendation of whether a planning or displacement hull is right for you give us a call at 1-877-473-1199. And to see all of our displacement and planing hull boards visit paddleboardspecialists.com