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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:06 am
Posts: 360
Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
I'm a hard core Hobie fan ( TI and I14T) and now my wife and I are getting really interested in adding some inflatable SUPs to our fleet. She tried out a hard shell fiberglass one this week and was hooked. I'm an old surfer and don't need to try one to know I'll like it. I started researching and found out that not everyone likes the inflatable SUPs. Also noticed a huge range of prices and the typical low-end manufacturers names. Lets face it, some companies give inflatable boats a bad name, no matter whether they make RIBs, kayaks, or probably SUPs. I was also glad to read that Hobie's version is rated highly among the collection. We are outfitting our 41 ft. sailing catamaran ( not a Hobie, sorry) for an extended sail up and down the Bahamas and Central America over the next few years, and want to take some SUPs with us. The inflatables would work very well as far as traveling and storage on the catamaran.

I've noticed that the different SUPs across the board are specifying their displacement in liters. I am assuming this is a measure of positive flotation, and therefore payload i.e. rider weight. I weigh about 230 lbs. Is there a formula somewhere for SUP length vs displacement vs payload? I mean, if you had two models each rated at 245 liters, you would think they would perform the same, but you have to subtract the weight of the board itself from the displacement and there must be some margin over rider weight that makes the board float and perform well? I can see that longer skinnier boards will track better and shorter, wider boards with upturned blunt noses will surf better, even with same displacement. Isn't it easier from an engineering standpoint to make a short, wide board stiffer, pneumatically speaking?
Are long skinny boards wobbly in pitch due to flex?

Glad to see there's a section on the forum for this. I need to find out if Hobie makes a board for big guys. They gotta if they wanna compete in the Hawaiian market, I suspect.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:34 pm
Posts: 192
Location: Hobie Cat: Oceanside, CA
Gringo - The volume is one of the many things that will help direct you towards a board that works best for you. I would start with the style or family of boards that suits your needs and interests. For inflatables, the shorter/wider will be a little stiffer than a longer/narrower of the same volume like you mentioned. Between the drop stitch manufacturing, and the "Stand Up Paddle Stability System", or plates on the deck, they are all pretty rigid for an inflatable board. Thickness also is important and we have increased them about an inch and a half recently to nearly six inches. These won't be the best for surfing though, but I've surfed them and they can do it. There's not really a formula that I know of for finding the right displacement. It's more of a comparison between boards. The inflatables are very high volume and work well with higher loads. They are very stable and easy to learn on as well.

If you can find the space, the other series may be better if you plan on doing more surfing. the ATR is more entry level, all around SUP. The CMLB series is geared more towards surfing and will be a little narrower and thinner to be more maneuverable. The Venture line is better for touring as they are faster, but still have surfboard inspired tails to make them very suitable for riding waves and maintaining control.

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