Paddling and wave catching

I was reading a sailing magazine and came across a reference to the “dreaded” wetted surface. I got me thinking. I searched the archives but didn’t find any definitve answer so here’s the question-

In sailboats wetted surface creates the principle drag/resistance factor, especially at low speeds. Paddling a surfboard is very low speed. So wouldn’t a longboard- long, wide and with flatter rocker have the most wetted surface and thus be slower paddling?

Swaylock regulars will probably recognize that I am still meditating on a gun vs. longboard for the Palos Verdes Cove. Going by the wetted surface theory the gun would paddle faster and thus catch waves better, but I know that’s not the whole story.

Your thoughts?;search_string=planing%20speed;guest=3885086#199114

Your body in the water causes more drag than the longboard would, therefore longboards are capable of more paddling speed because they get your body completely out of the water, compared to a smaller gun that would leave you dragging. Also, with light weight like that, planing speed is relatively low, and you could reach subplaning speeds just by paddling.


You can cruise paddle faster on a log.

You can sprint paddle faster on the same length gun.

Log picks up waves earlier, but can get hung up when it’s big and offshore winds.

Guns pick up later, but penetrate right down despite offshore winds or big wave sizing needing more speed.

Once riding, if the wave is fast and steep, guns move faster and can be turned quickly easier.

Once riding, on slower waves, logs can maintain speed even on the shoulder, and provide enough resistance to match turns with wave speed.

Nothing here based on theory. Everything based on practical experience.

so many factors that you’re completely ignoring…most of which have a far greater effect than the amount of drag created by the wetted surface. consider the total picture.

I think you are talking about drag (I could be wrong). TomBloke and I had some interesting discussions about this here. You might want to read that.

Increased wetted area is of less concern than you might think! “True area of contact” on the other hand…