Dugout vs Flat Deck SUPs: What’s the Difference?

dugout, flat deck, sup, standup paddlboard, infinity downtown, paddlexaminer, dave boehne
Infinity Downtown - Flat deck (top), dugout (bottom)

Hi PaddleXaminer,

I’m started to look at new boards and the dugout shape caught my eye.  any shot you will write an article about the pros & cons of each board type?  It’d be great to read about the differences.

Thanks,

Eric

Response

Hi Eric,

Great question! The number of dugout standup paddleboards is on the rise presenting paddlers with some interesting options. Dugout shapes are all about lowering your center of gravity to increase stability. This is why many SUPs with a dugout shape are designed for rough water and downwind paddling.

Shapers have incorporated a recessed standing area to lower your center of gravity and increase stability into SUPs for many years. The dugout shapes simply take that design concept to the next level. In terms of pros and cons, dugout shapes are pretty specific to racing and fitness paddling. They have a true cockpit and you will feel a bit enclosed. Once you get past the idea that you’re paddling a bathtub, the dugout shapes are capable of performing exceedingly well in rough water due to the paddler’s lower center of gravity. Some paddle athletes swear by them, other’s prefer to keep it traditional and stick with a flat deck.

The increased stability gained by lowering your center of gravity has the knock on effect of enabling you to paddle a narrower board. A narrower board is a faster board, assuming of course you can stand on it! As a result, there are a few flatwater SUPs, the Infinity Whiplash comes to mind, that are available in a dugout variant for elite racers. So, if you really want to make the most of lowering your center of gravity and paddling a narrow board, choose a dugout shape.

If you prefer the fluidity of being able to move around on the deck, would like to add accessories such as a deck bag to your SUP, paddle with a pet or other family members, then a traditional flat deck SUP is probably a better option. My personal board is a flat deck Infinity Downtown. I tested the dugout version, and while it was cool, I felt the versatility of a flat deck was a better option for me.

I hope this helps!

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Matt Chebatoris
About Matt Chebatoris 230 Articles
Matt is a former national security professional and lifelong adventurer. He has published material on a variety of topics in the foreign policy arena and created PaddleXaminer™ as a platform to share his enjoyment of paddling with others. When not on the water, Matt can be found hiking along rugged mountain trails in the California wilderness. Matt resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, California.

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