Lately there has been a big trend towards going narrower and also in going to a dugout model type race board, These boards are great - if you can comfortably balance on them like the Pro's........but if you can't, narrow dugouts are very limiting and you'll find yourself spending more time in the water and less time catching bumps.
Flatwater racing (in lakes, rives, creeks) is very different to paddling in the Ocean and you need to be sure you are getting the right board for the right type of conditions and also for your own level of paddling.
The other advantage in getting a board made for Ocean downinding like the Bump Rider Series of boards is they surf great. So it's quite easy to train on them in the surf and prepare for an Ocean downwind race or just get out there and catch a lot more waves.
The video attached to this blog post was shot on a downwind run from Sandy Beach to Waikiki. We have three very experienced Ocean downwind paddlers - Jeff Chang, Robert Stehlik and Tyler Jaggers who have all completed the Molokai to Oahu Race and on many occassions. They are all on 14' Bump Rider models - Jeff Chang is on a 30" wide version, Tyler Jaggers on a 28" wide one and Robert Stehlik on a 27" wide board. The advantages of Jeff's wider board are apparent in this video - when in doubt, use a wider board in rough conditions and you will most likely be faster and in a lot more control.