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Paddleboard Sizing [ Height, Weight, & Other Factors ]

With the recent raging popularity of Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP), more and more people are interested in trying out the sport. But the huge array of various types of paddle boards displayed on a shopfront can be confusing for a beginner.

So if you are wondering, “what size paddle board should I get?” don’t worry. I will explain everything you need to know.

When trying to find the right paddle board for you, you need to consider a few things- how you will use it, how it might fit your body and how you want the board to handle your weight in the water. The perfect board should carry your weight well, provide the right stability and suit your style of paddleboarding without a hitch.

Now that you know what the perfect paddle board should be like, we should get into the details. The right paddleboard size will vary depending on your body weight and, to some extent, your height.

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It also depends on the style of paddle boarding you wish to do and your experience level. To help you reach a decision, I will discuss it all in the rest of the article.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing the Size Of Your SUP

The right paddleboard for a thrilling experience on the water should fit you and all your needs perfectly. It should be able to carry your weight smoothly and provide you with a stable experience. Last but not least, it should also suit the type of activity you love doing without a problem.

You will not be able to choose the right one if you don’t know about the four dimensions of a paddleboard.

You need to keep these in mind when you decide on the size of your board:

  • Volume: The measurement of the buoyancy of your board in liters.
  • Length: The measurement of your board from top to bottom in inches.
  • Width: The measurement of your board from one side to another.
  • Thickness: The distance between the top and the bottom of the board.

What Size Paddle Board is Right for Your Height and Weight?

As a beginner, the most important aspect you need to consider when picking the size of your paddleboard is your weight. Also, consider the weight of your companions, such as a dog, human, or others, if they will be on the board with you. The weight and your skill level come into play when you need to figure out the volume of your SUP.

To determine the weight capacity of a paddleboard, you need to find its volume. The higher your SUP’s volume, the more weight it will be able to support. No one can be underweight for a SUP, iRocker has sizes for all heights and weights here.

But if you weigh more than the weight capacity of a board, your ride will feel long, unstable, and overall unpleasant.

Check out our guide to the best sup paddles on Amazon to find yours today!

For each liter of volume, 1kg of weight can float. Take that into consideration. A board with twice your weight as volume is stable enough to help you float.

So any board with 250L-300L volume will feel stable for most people. The recommended SUP (two types) volume for people of different weight are:

Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP) Volume:

  • People under 200 lbs: Any standard paddleboard is fine.
  • Between 200-235 lbs: 175 L of Volume (At least). 
  • Between 235-300 lbs: 242 L of Volume (At least). 
  • People over 300 lbs: 272 L of Volume (At least). 

Hard or Epoxy Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP) Volume:

  • People under 200 lbs: Any standard paddleboard is fine.
  • Between 200-235 lbs: 175 L of Volume (At least). 
  • Between 235-300 lbs: 272 L of Volume (At least). 
  • People over 300 lbs: 230 L of Volume (At least). 

Many beginners would wonder, “What size paddleboard should I get for my height?” Compared to your weight and gear weight, your height does not contribute much to a board’s functionality.

While it does contribute some, your height mostly influences the length of your paddles.

A paddle should be about 8-10 inches longer than your head. But paddles can be adjusted to about any height. So you won’t need to worry about getting the size of your paddleboard right for your height.

It’s more important to consider your weight and everyone on board.

What Is the Best Paddle Board for Beginners?

Standup Paddleboarding is one of the best watersports out there that lets you enjoy the outdoors to the fullest. But for a beginner, choosing the right SUP can be a hassle. The right choice is to go for the most durable and easy-to-ride one.

The length you should go for should be ideal for your body size and weight. For beginner stand-up paddleboarders, a huge difference comes from choosing a board that will displace the perfect amount of water according to your weight.

As a novice paddleboarder, it’s normal to wonder, “How long of a paddleboard should I get?.” But don’t make the rookie mistake and go for the longer one just to feel more stable.

A longer board also means they are heavier and harder to carry to the water. So when you are just starting, make sure they are of medium length.

Compared to a hard or epoxy SUP, I recommend an inflatable one for a beginner. They are incredibly stable for people of any skill level.

So a beginner can handle it better when they start. The ideal SUP size I would recommend for a beginner are:

Inflatable SUP Size for Beginners:

  • Volume- 220-280L,
  • Length- 10’6 to 11’
  • Width- 31” to 35”

Hard/Epoxy SUP Size for Beginners:

  • Volume- 170-190 L
  • Length- 10’6-11’
  • Width- 32” to 35”

What Is the Best Paddle Board for Intermediate and Advanced Paddlers?

When you become more experienced with your SUP skills, the choice of your board size will depend mostly upon your activity.

Stability is no longer the issue for you. How better you can enjoy the many different SUP activities is the main concern.

Advanced paddlers will go for a board with less volume. But the width is more of a versatile choice, and any size is doable.

However, since narrow boards give more speed, well-versed paddlers choose them for a better thrilling experience.

Inflatable SUP Size for Intermediate/Advanced Paddlers:

  • Volume- 200 – 250 L
  • Length- 10’ – 12.6’
  • Width- 29” – 32”

Hard/Epoxy SUP Size for Intermediate/Advanced Paddlers:

  • Volume- 165-195 L
  • Length- 10’ – 12.6’
  • Width- 29” – 32”

What Length Is Best for Your Paddle Board?

Now you should have some idea about the volume and the maximum weight of your SUP. Next, let’s look at the length of your paddle board.

The length of your SUP is extremely important because it will determine how your board will be able to endure different water conditions.

The length of your SUP is not decided according to your weight or how experienced you are. Rather, you will decide based on what kind of activity you plan to do with it.

A longer board is quite fast; shorter ones are better for control and more responsive.

A shorter board would be a great match for those with a smaller body. They tend to be swifter in choppy waters and more responsive.

So if you are choosing a SUP for a kid, shortboards are your best bet. Longer boards are best for paddling to long distances or for SUP touring.

You can get a more efficient and smoother time paddling longer distances with them.

Let’s take a look at what different size of SUP is best for:

Paddle Boards Within 10 feet

  • Your first pick for SUP surfing.
  • The best at maneuverability and excellent for cutbacks, bottom turns, and catching the waves.
  • Best suited for 13 years olds and younger.
  • They always have a planing hull.

Paddle Boards that Are Within 11 Feet

  • The most popular choice for beginners and experienced.
  • Also, the most popular size (10-11’).
  • It’s excellent for all types of use.
  • Most come with planing hulls. But a few of them can have displacement hulls.
  • Be it recreational paddling, SUP fishing, or SUP yoga, it’s the ideal go-to choice.

Paddle Boards that are 12 feet and Under

  • This choice is best for experienced paddlers.
  • Your best friend for long-distance paddle boarding such as – SUP touring or SUP racing.
  • These longer paddle boards tend to come with a displacement hull.
  • These are faster than all other SUPs and are better for tracking.

How Much Width Is Best for Your Paddle Board?

The width of your paddle board will come to play when you are finding your perfect one. The width of your board should be based on what kind of activity you want to try out and your skill levels. A wider board is the perfect choice for beginners. They tend to have a harder time being stable on the water. So a wide board can help them find their balance without much problem.

Someone with enough experience won’t have a problem with a paddleboard of any width. But for them, the board’s width plays a bigger part in the activity they wish to go for.

It should be on the wider side if they want to go for SUP fishing or SUP yoga and other recreational paddling. But a narrower board is better if the activity is speed-focused like SUB racing or SUB surfing.

You might also want to consider your body size when choosing the width of your board. If you have a taller or heavier body, a wider board helps you balance better.O

n the other hand, for someone with a smaller body and some experience with SUP activities, a narrow board is a much better choice.

The Ideal SUP Width for Beginner Paddler: 31” – 35”

The Ideal SUP Width for Advanced Paddler: 29” – 33”

How Thick Should Your Paddle Board Be?

The thickness of your board depends on your skill as well. Thicker paddle boards are generally more stable, which makes them great for beginners. But, thin boards are easier to handle and great for thrill riding. But, they are best left to experienced riders.

The thickness of your paddleboard is the distance between the board’s top and bottom. The thickness is an important dimension as well.

There’s a big difference in thickness if you compare an inflatable paddleboard to a hard paddle board. In general, all hard SUPs are about 4 inches in thickness.

On the other hand, all inflatable SUPs are about 6 inches thick.

So in nature, an inflatable SUP will be more stable compared to hard ones. They are designed to have a consistent thickness all over.

You will feel as if you are comfortably sitting on top of the water, providing a more stable experience.

The shape of a hard paddleboard is designed to reduce your weight and has more curves on the bottom. This makes it better optimized for performance. When you use this board, you are standing slightly above water and feel less stable.

With the huge popularity of standup paddle boarding, more and more varieties of boards are being sold in the market.

Among so many choices, it’s not hard to come across poorly made ones. You will come across many inflatable paddle boards with thicknesses lower than 6″, so make sure to avoid buying them.

Because of the lesser thickness also lacks the performance quality and stability you expect from a good iSUP.

A 5” board will function only for a short time and can easily cave under if you put much weight. A 4” inflatable SUP is just not usable.

Since hard paddle boards are always 4”-4.5” thick, be careful when buying inflatable ones.

Choose the Size of Your Paddle Board by Your Activity

Now that you know all the details, let’s look at the ideal size of paddleboard you should get for a specific activity:

All Around Paddling

We understand if going for various paddle board activities sounds more fun for you. To try out many recreational SUP activities, you would want an all-around SUP that will be stable and maneuverable while still being versatile.

All-around SUPs excel in water conditions and are the perfect choice for beginners or intermediate paddlers alike. The most common size range for general use is 10 to 11 feet long and 31 to 35 inches wide.

SUP Yoga

For the most stable poses during your SUP yoga session, it’s recommended to go for wide paddle boards.

They will provide the right stability when practicing all those hard yoga poses on water.

Also, remember to get a board with a long and comfortable deck for perfect balance as you work on your warrior pose.

The recommended width would be between 31 to 35 inches and a length of 10 to 11.6 feet.

SUP Fishing

You are not bound to use any particular board size for this activity, but I bet SUP fishing is bound to involve a lot of different gears.

So I recommend going for a paddleboard that has extra width and volume. I bet you won’t be disappointed with the extra stability as you cast and reel in those big catches.

The recommended width for your fishing paddle board would be 32 to 36 inches and a length of 10.6 to 12 feet.

SUP Touring

Long-distance paddling is an activity we all are a fan of. If you are also a fan of the speed, you should go for a board with a longer deck.

Longer ones also tend to have displacement hulls to ensure a smooth journey. The recommended width is between 30 to 33 inches and 11 to 12.6 feet in length.

Surfing Paddle Boards

You can buy a surf SUP if you are more interested in surfing. These are shorter and are more maneuverable when you are riding the waves.

If you are experienced, you will have no problem paddling on flatwater either. The recommended length for your surf SUP is 9 to 10.6 feet, and the width should be 29 to 32 inches long.

River SUPS

River SUPS are a new thrilling way to navigate through your favorite rivers. Whitewater paddling might be even your new favorite activity to try out.

If so, go for an inflatable SUP that is shorter and has a medium width. I would recommend a SUP about 6 to 8 feet long and about 30 to 34 inches wide.

Conclusion

For any beginner interested in stand-up paddleboarding, the many different shapes and sizes they need to choose from is an overwhelming decision.

Most find themselves asking, “what size paddleboard should I get.” To help you reach a decision, I have discussed everything you need to know about choosing the right paddle board size for you. 

The key factors you need to consider are your weight for the ideal SUP volume of the board and the activity you plan on doing. I hope the article has helped you find the perfect size for your new paddle boarding journey.

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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