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Paddle Board Sizing [ Size Chart By Height & Weight ]

Paddleboards come in many shapes and sizes. People can’t just pick a random paddleboard and expect to have fun on it. Depending on the situation, it might not even hold a person afloat if the weight capacity exceeds a certain threshold. I’m sure you are looking for a paddleboard size chart to resolve this confusion before you buy a board yourself.

You can use any paddleboard as long as you are under the board’s weight capacity. However, you will need some specific measurements to excel in some activities. The paddle shapes and sizes are also crucial in that regard.

How big of a paddleboard do I need?” If that is what you were looking for, then you are at the right place. In this article, I’ll explain all the size recommendations for different activities and the importance of getting the right-sized paddle itself.

In short, you will find everything you need to know about paddleboard sizes and measurements.

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Paddle Board Size Chart: General Outline

Different types of paddleboards have slightly different base specs. But the differences are not large enough to affect their performance too much. The primary thing you need to watch out for is not the height or width of a board but the weight capacity.

Weight capacity determines the maximum load a paddleboard can handle. You should try to get a board that has a weight limit of at least 20 lbs higher than your body weight.

The following is a relatively standard chart for the boards, and most manufacturers tend to stay as close to this range as possible:

Weight LimitUp to 150 lbsUp to 200 lbsUp to 250 lbs Up to 280 lbs
Board Thickness5”5-6”5-6”5-6”
Board Height9’5”-11’10’9”-11”10’-11’9”10’-12’8”
Board Width30”-32”31”-33”31”-36”32”-36”

Now, there is another crucial aspect of sizing a paddleboard. That is the volume. Volumes are different for each board, and specific measurements are hard to give.

Most manufacturers will provide the relevant information regarding that. If, for some reason, they do not, you can calculate that yourself with a volume calculator.

Volume is a more specific point to narrow down. And the exact amount suited for a person depends on their body weight, activity type, and skill level.

Volume is closely related to the buoyancy level of the board.

Choosing The Right-Size Paddle Board for Your Needs

The paddleboard size chart is a general chart that does not take activity range into account. Over here, I’ll give an in-depth overview of the specs required for various Paddleboard activities.

All-Round Boards

  • Height range: 9’6” – 10’9”
  • Width range: 30” – 32”
  • Thickness range: 4”-5”

All-round paddle board is the most generic type of board. One can use it for any activity, but it does not particularly excel in any of them. It’s the most casual type of board, so the requirement for it is also fairly low.

Most beginners tend to use these boards, and it’s a fan favorite for family gatherings. The length of these boards starts from around 9’6” and goes up to 10’9”. Slim riders tend to pick the lengths in 9s, while the heavier ones go for 10’ and up.

I have seen people go for 6” boards for all-around, but that generally does not work out for anyone below 6’ in height. Taller people have more options to choose from while buying a paddleboard. 32” is the most popular width for paddleboards. Any narrower and you lose balance, any wider, and it becomes a yoga board.

Surf Paddle Boards

  • Height Range: 10’ – 12’
  • Width Range: 31” – 32”
  • Thickness Range: 4.75” – 6”

Surfing on a paddleboard isn’t anything new. But certain boards are better at it than others. It’s easier to catch the waves on a relatively longer board. That is why most surf paddle boarders love using longer boats. 10’ is generally the smallest board for surfing, and it can reach up to 12’ for taller people.

The special characteristic of the surf paddleboard is the lower volume level. Surf paddle boards can catch the waves and ride, so staying afloat is relatively easier. So the volume level may be lower than average boards compared to the size of the board.

Surf paddle boards don’t care too much about the width, but people generally use one a bit wider than average. The increase is nowhere near as prominent as the length. However, people who weigh a lot should consider getting a wider board for better balance.

Children’s Paddle Board

  • Height Range: 8’ – 9’6”
  • Width Range: 30” – 31”
  • Thickness Range: 4.75” – 6”

There are special paddleboards for children. These are shorter and narrower than the full-sized paddleboards, but they function just as well. Most of these boards are lightweight and are easy to maneuver. Children’s paddleboards can also be tweaked to make them suitable for any activity.

Children’s boards start at the range of 8’ and go up to 9’9”. They are stable and well-balanced for children who are no taller than 5’5”. The one thing that stands out about these boards is their volume. Children’s boards have a much higher volume range compared to regular boards. 

That helps these boards stay afloat much safer. Alternatively, you could give your kid an 11’ long paddleboard with a width of over 34”. They can treat it as a regular boat and have all kinds of fun.

Kids don’t need any specific characteristics to have fun with these things. Just the stability and safety are good enough.

Tour Boards

  • Height Range: 11’ – 12’
  • Width Range: 31” – 32”
  • Thickness Range: 6”

Tour boards are for people with a more adventurous disposition. People take these boards for camping, and trips, so they need to tackle a wide range of water bodies. These boards need to be versatile to deal with various situations, and strong enough to stay undamaged.

People also use tour boards for carrying their spare gear. So, a touring board needs a much larger storage space than regular ones. That directly translates into additional weight. Most touring boards are larger than regular boards and have a higher maximum weight.

Touring boards are longer than others. They start at 11’ and can reach up to 12’ depending on how much storage space one needs. People tend to bring their pets on these boards, so they generally tend to lean towards the longer boards. 

The width is surprisingly small and narrow for such a large board. The width range is around 31-32” because of maneuverability. Tour boards face a wide plethora of situations, so having high maneuverability is a must.

If the width is too much then the board will lose out in this aspect.

Racing Paddle Boards

  • Height Range: 12’ – 14’
  • Width Range: 31” – 32”
  • Thickness Range: 4.75”

Paddleboard racing is a skill-oriented activity, so most beginners are excluded from a serious event. Racing boards need specific characteristics to stay ahead of the competition. Racing paddle boards specialize in a single field, so it is the furthest from all-rounded paddleboards.

Longer paddleboards catch better waves and have more cutting power. That’s why racing boards are some of the tallest paddleboards on the planet. An average racing paddleboard can range anywhere from 12’ to 14’. As always, taller people need larger boards.

Racing boards are surprisingly narrow for their unusual length. The average width of a racing board does not go above 32”. This width range offers the optimum speed to balance ratio.

People also tend to have as low a thickness as possible while keeping a stable volume range.

Yoga Paddle Boards

  • Height Range: 12’ – 14’
  • Width Range: 34” – 36”
  • Thickness Range: 4.75-6”

Yoga boards are obviously for doing yoga on the water. It adds a fun little twist to the mundane act of exercise and can be a fun alternative for exercise during summer trips. Yoga boards are quite different from a regular boards.

For starters, a yoga board is larger. I don’t just mean large, as in, taller or wider; I mean large as a whole.

 They are both taller, wider, and thicker than your traditional board. The extra-wide canvas gives more space for yoga. People often double the yoga boards as all-round boards, but they generally feel clunky while moving.

The width helps provide more balance and stability. The thickness of a board also gives more stiffness and stability, so most yoga boards are generally 6 inches thick.

Most people looking for yoga boards get the largest board they can find on the market. One can also use Yoga boards as whitewater paddleboards.

Does Thickness Matter For Paddle Boards?

Yes, the thickness of a board dictates a lot of its characteristics. Many people have a misconception about the board thickness. They think that all it does is add weight and make things clunky. The truth cannot be any further from it.

Cheap brands advertise their boards as lighter and say they perform better than others. That is a gross misconception. 4-inch-thick boards are considered lightweight. These boards cost less but cannot handle too much weight. 4-inch boards are not particularly fast either.

A thickness of 4.75 is the sweet spot for maximum performance and balance. It offers the boards more stiffness than 4-inch ones. That is the ideal thickness of racing boards because of their maximum speed range. Most all-around boards are also 4.75 inches thick.

6-inch thickness offers maximum stiffness. These are great for touring boards and all-around boards. However, racers would generally avoid this range because of the noticeable drop in speed.

Is The Maximum Weight Capacity Important For a Paddle Board?

Yes, the weight capacity is extremely important for a paddleboard. Most manufacturers will indicate the maximum weight limit of their boards. The boards cannot stay afloat when one places weight surpassing the specified limit on the board.

However, the specified limit is not wholly trustworthy. That is especially true for cheap brands, as they grossly overestimate their board’s capabilities. As a general rule of thumb, always buy a board with a much higher weight capacity than your body weight. Make the difference bigger for cheap brands.

Along with weight, you must also consider your height as a crucial factor. It plays a significant role in the overall performance of the board. People with a taller physique have a higher point of gravity. 

Tall people have trouble maintaining balance on a shorter board. Likewise, shorter people find it hard to maneuver a tall board. That is where the volume comes into play. Taller people generally tend to weigh more than shorter people. So the board needs to have a higher volume range for them to function.

How To Get the Right Paddle Length for Your Paddle Board?

Beginners trying to buy a paddleboard often forget that the paddle is also a significant factor. The boards come in various shapes and sizes depending on their performance range, it is the same with the paddles. Paddle length is also crucial for paddleboard performance.

People often wonder “what size paddleboard should I get?” but not “what size paddles do I need?”. That is a big mistake, as the right paddle length can help you a lot. Paddle length depends on the board size, rider’s height, and the buoyancy level of the board.

Many boarders use the same paddle for different things. It is fine in theory, but the efficiency of such an act is exceedingly low. I know it is unreasonable to have a different paddle for every activity you engage in. So, I advise you to get the paddle that fits your primary objective best.

Mild activity level

Most boarders are just in it for the fun. Paddleboarding is a less competitive sport, so many people just want to get in the water and enjoy the floaty feeling. A longer shaft is better for this kind of activity. 

A longer shaft gives you more reach. You can use it in a relaxed posture. Such shafts are slow, but they can stay in effect longer than shorter ones. That is what you should be looking for in the first place. 

Racing or Competitive activities

Racing boards are lighter compared to regular ones. The activity range is much higher, and so is the skill demand. You need fast paddling speed to make tight maneuvers. A long paddle will only hinder you in this kind of situation.

Racing boards need short and lightweight paddles. Each stroke translates to more maneuverability. However, people tend to get paddles that are too short for their size often. You should avoid doing that. Get a paddle that doesn’t make you feel awkward with every stroke.

Signs That You Paddle Board Is of The Wrong Size

Yes, you can judge if your paddle is too short or too long. Many people get the wrong sizes for their height and suffer from physical problems. One can identify these problems and determine if they have a wrong-sized paddle or not.

The most notable symptom that you are using a paddle too long for your body is shoulder pain. Maneuvering a paddle that goes beyond your body’s capacity will place a lot of burden on your shoulders.

A long paddle will also feel awkward in your hands. It’s too big to swap to the other side comfortably. You will notice that you are losing a lot of momentum from overextending the swap time. Overextending during every stroke will also make your strokes weaker.

The paddle size is also something to consider. A paddle too short can cause serious back issues. You’ll need to bow down every time you stroke with a paddle that’s too short for you. This puts a tremendous amount of strain on your lower back. 

You cannot utilize your stroke to the full extent due to having a too-short paddle. The center of gravity acts against the paddler and the board loses a lot of momentum. Sometimes a person may not fully submerge the paddle blade by mistake. That can cost someone a lot during a competitive activity.

The constant leaning forward can also make you lose balance. Racing boards are narrower and have less balance compared to other boards. So, leaning will shift the center of gravity of the person and make the boat change direction.

Conclusion

I believe, after reading all this you won’t ever have to ask “How big of a paddleboard do I need?”. Paddleboards are far less complicated than you might think.

You don’t need to care about specific calculations to get a decent board. Just focus on the weight limit and activity range to determine what sort of board you need. 

Competitive boards are narrower while casual boats are wider for balance. If you are a beginner, I would suggest sticking to the wider variant till you get the hang of things. Thanks for reading and I hope you are able to choose the perfect paddleboard for yourself after reading this article. Until next time, farewell.  

If you are just starting to look into paddleboarding we have a wide selection of guides to help assist you in finding the best option to suit your needs, check them out here!

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Written by Water Diversions

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