Two persons paddling on the same board in good conditions of performance and safety is a real puzzle. Most of the stand up paddle are designed for one person: whether for reasons of weight distribution on the board, excessive on-board weight that can cause the SUP to age or simply so as not to lose too much when gliding. It is not recommended to practice the paddle with two people on one board.
This is especially true for iSUPs. However, some boards are developped to support two people. They are generally over 400 litres in size and are manufactured with adapted reinforcements. Those reinforcements are judiciously placed by the designers to support two distinct loads.
In general, it is not problematic to ride with two people on a rigid board as long as the buoyancy of the board allows it. The boards are strong and the risk of damaging it due to overweight or improperly distributed load is low. Stand up paddles are generally designed to support a single load, not two separate loads supporting at two distinct points. The only problem is that rigid boards are generally less voluminous than inflatable ones. It limits the buoyancy of the boards, and therefore the maximum weight that can be loaded on board.
A board that is too loaded will sink too deep into the water. It will increase friction under and around the SUP, limiting the quality of the glide. If you want to practice stand up paddling with two people on a rigid board, it is therefore advisable to choose a very large one (from 350 to 400 L. However, these boards are particularly rare on the market.)
The best solution is to go to the nearest shaper to have a board made that meets your needs. And even then, there is no guarantee that the latter can find a foam bar large enough to cut the board of your dreams… On the other hand, if you find a shaper capable of making your board, what a pleasure to glide with someone.
But this solution, often quite expensive because of the specificity of the demand, and for which storage is often problematic because of the size of the adapted boards, remains complicated to set up! So there remains the solution of choosing an iSUP.
Here again, the first thing to consider before considering the 2-person ride is the buoyancy of the board. Can it support the weight of two people without sinking excessively into the water? It generally takes more than 400 litres for a board to support the weight of two people without too much impact on the glide. And even so, it must be ensured that the board has been designed for this purpose.
Understanding the construction
To understand better, we must look at the construction of an iSUP. These boards are based on Dropstitch technology. It consists of connecting the upper and lower walls of the boards by thousands of nylon or polyester threads that give the board its shape once it is put under pressure. Without these threads, the board wouldn’t have this flat shape.
These threads have the function of distributing the load imposed by the rider’s weight. Each wire taken separately could not withstand the load imposed by a person’s weight. However, working together thanks to the internal pressure of the SUP, they perform their function without problem and allow the boards to support a person’s weight.
Application to the 2 persons SUP
The problem becomes much more complicated when you want to ride a board with someone else. When two riders get on a stand up paddle, the loads being at two different points on the board, the threads can no longer distribute the load correctly. And without a suitable design, it is frequent that the boards do not resist: we then have cases of twisted or even totally deformed boards: one broken thread, then two, then three… and it is the chain reaction! In a few seconds the board, which was rather flat, turns into a balloon shape and is no longer usable! Of course this is the worst-case scenario. It does not happen systematically, fortunately, but there are still enough cases to avoid taking the risk!
If you plan to do paddle regularly with someone, you should therefore choose an inflatable board designed for this purpose. The construction then integrates judiciously placed reinforcements that contribute to the distribution of forces over the entire dropstitch. Thus ensuring perfect holding despite the loads imposed at several points on the board.
Paddle boards designed for two people usually turn 13 to 16 feet and exceed 400 litres.