What size paddle board is right ?

O ver the last few years, the stand-up paddle boarding has increased rapidly in popularity. It is a great water sport that offers something for everyone. Nowadays, more and more people discover the joy of being out of the water. However, let’s face it, finding a good paddleboard can be an exciting yet daunting task, especially for those people who are new in this industry. Therefore, if you are on the hunt for a stand-up paddle board, here is what you need to consider.

What kind of stand up paddle boarding do you plan to do?

If you are planning to purchase a SUP, think about on how you intend to use it. As it was mentioned before, there are hundreds of models on the market, that is quite difficult to find the right model for your needs. However, if you are a professional paddler you already know what model to choose. For paddle boarding surf zone you need a shortboard with tail section and narrower nose. While for yoga and fitness stability is an important factor (31” up to 33” width), for touring longer distances, most riders opt for a longer and narrower board as it maintains its course better than other boards. If you are new in this industry, it’s recommended to choose an all-around board. These models are somewhere between 9’6” and 11” in length and 30”or 32” in width. They have a round nose and tail section.

What is the maximum weight capacity?

If you intend to buy a paddle board have a look at its maximum weight capacity. Some models are able to support riders up to 220 lbs. while others can only carry about 180 lbs. Unfortunately, many manufacturers are too optimistic as regards some lower priced boards. Some models are rated with a maximum weight capacity of 220lbs, but in reality, it wouldn’t support riders up to 200 lbs. If the paddle board cannot carry your weight, you will feel unstable and insecure. The maximum weight capacity is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a board. It is one of those elements of whether or not a SUP is suitable for you.

On the other hand, if the manufacturer won’t provide you with the maximum weight capacity of the board, don’t worry. With a simple formula and the indicated volume of the board, you can calculate if the board is suitable for you. You just have to multiply your body weight by a number (it depends on your experience level). For example, if you are a beginner who weighs 90 lbs. you need to choose a board with the volume between 90 and 126 (90 x 1.4 = 126 liters). Furthermore, for an advanced rider who weighs 110 lbs, a SUP with the volume between 88 and 110 liters will be a good choice (110 x 0.8 = 88 liters).

What should be the right length of your paddleboard?

As you probably might think, taller people have a higher point of gravity than shorter people so it is a bit difficult to maintain their balance and control on a paddleboard. Plus, they can also weigh more than shorter people so you need to focus more on right model for your length and weight since these two indicators are extremely important.

  • SUP surfing board

    If you are a surf enthusiast and you want to ride the waves in the surf zone, choose a shorter board (max 10′), narrower with a tail and pointier nose.

  • All around paddleboards

    If you are looking to purchase a board for all kind of conditions, have a look at the all around boards. They measure between 10′ and 12′ in length and 29”, 32” in width. They are ideal for beginners and intermediate paddlers.

  • Touring paddleboards

    If you are planning to buy a longer and narrower paddle board, the touring models are exactly what you are looking for. They measure approximately 12’6” or even 14′ in length. They come with a pointy nose and are better at maintaining course. They are specially designed for flatwater paddling.

  • Yoga and fitness SUP

    Yoga and fitness SUPs are 32” to 36” wide. Featuring an ergonomic design, this model is much more stable than many other boards available on the market.

As outlined above, there are hundreds of stand up paddle boards on the market, today. They come in a wide range of sizes and shapes to accommodate different size riders. Generally speaking, the length and width of a board are two important factors. But, you need to consider the thickness of the SUP as well. It can add volume to a stand-up paddle board without being necessary to add extra width or length. More than that there are a lot of features and elements you need to consider before making a purchase.

  • Tail shape
    The tail shape helps you handle the board when you start catching waves. The science behind its design is that an angular shape will provide sharper turns, while a rounded shape will give you smoother and more progressive turns. The round (pin) tail provides stability, helping you hold the water longer while a square (angular) tail will release water.
  • Nose shape
    There are two main categories of nose shapes, such as the wide and narrow nose. The narrow nose cut through the water, while the wide nose helps you catch waves, being extremely useful if you plan to carry gear.
  • Fins
    Some boards are equipped with one, two, three and sometimes even five fins. If you intend to use the board on flat water, you can confidently choose a single fin as it works well. Two or three find works great on the calm water. Keep in mind that the more fins it has, the more surf oriented it is.
Hannah Boyd
Hannah Boyd
I grew up in San Diego, California and have always taken an interest in beach life. I worked at a surfboard and SUP rental for 2 years and gathered knowledge about what makes a quality board. I am passionate about writing as well and want to combine my experience with watersports with my writing talent to help others have the best experience possible when they paddleboard.