A racing mal is a type of paddleboard that is propelled using the arms while lying flat or kneeling. Boards are normally ten feet and six inches in length. The volume varies depending on the weight of the rider, generally within a 10 kg range. For example, a particular board might be suitable for a 75-85 kg rider. An incorrectly sized board may provide insufficient flotation, or be harder to control.
A racing mal includes four straps that the rider uses to control the board while catching waves, and while 'popping' or 'rolling' when paddling out. An optional fifth strap, known as a 'running strap' or 'popping strap' may be positioned on the left or right side (the opposite side to the rider's dominant hand). This strap is used for grabbing the board when exiting the water, so as to quickly sprint up the beach during a race. It can also be used to regain control of the board after popping over a wave.
Any racing mal that is used to compete in Surf Life Saving events must adhere to SLSA design specifications. For example, the guidelines state that any new board manufactured after 1st December 2012 must have the first 10 cm of the nose and tail, on the top and bottom of the board, painted in a high-visibility colour.