According to river athlete and specialist Brittany Parker, there has been 5 Progressive Changes to River Boards over the Past Decade including:
1. Drop Stitch Thickness - This is specific to inflatable designs. In the beginning inflatables on the river had a 4” drop stitch. Now, almost all river specific inflatables have a 6” drop stitch increasing the boards rigidity and ability to punch through whitewater.
2. Volume - Many ocean SUP boards have an approximate volume anywhere from 90-250 liters where many of the composite river boards are 300 liters with a lot of it in the nose. The extra volume adds buoyancy that helps boards punch through waves and added stability.
3. Durable Composites - There are now impact resistant fibers (i.e. innegra and rhino liner) being integrated into hard board designs to add needed durability to river boards.
4. Rocker Profile - Adding more rocker to the nose allows the board to punch through whitewater instead of getting submerged by retentive river waves.
5. Secondary Stability - This is done with taller rails, a beveled bottom design, or multi-chamber inflatables. Secondary stability allows you to be on your edges while ferrying and entering/exiting eddies without sacrificing stability.
"The river has been a second home to me for five years now. I became part of the whitewater world when I started working on the Colorado River as a raft guide. Once I discovered stand up paddle boarding guiding was put on the back burner. It seemed as though I found the sport that encompassed all the things I love. I come from an athletic background, primarily board sports (snowboarding, wakeboarding, and skateboarding) and SUP was another thing to add to my board arsenal but soon became my main focus and passion. It gives me freedom and allows me to explore and see the river in a new way, taking me places I would have never dreamed of. Surfing river waves is what I love the most about stand up. It's important to me to share the power of river surfing with the world and get as many people on a board as possible. I teach clinics and compete. I've also made a movie revolved entirely around river surfing called 'Can I Surf That', premiering May 22, 2015."