When choosing boards for SUP sports, knowing the right size to go with (whether you’re beginner-level or advanced) is very important. Having a chart or guide to determine the board you need based on your weight and intended use for SUPs and paddleboards can put you on the right track as you look around. Before you get started, find out how much you weigh, as well as how much anyone or anything else you plan to put on your board with you will weigh.
Your Weight and Activity Type
When it comes to choosing the right paddleboard, there are so many factors to consider. More than anything else, two different considerations should be made when choosing the right SUP size for you or for anyone you’re choosing a paddleboard for. Knowing your weight (and the total amount of weight, in pounds, your paddleboard will need to bear) is the most important, and knowing the type of paddle boarding activity (and do you plan to use inflatable or non-inflatable SUPs) you’ll be focusing on is a significant secondary consideration.
What’s your Weight?
Sounds easy enough, get on the scale and see what it says. Some factors you’ll want to take into account are if you will be sharing the new SUP board with others who may be heavier, if you have kids or family pets who will ride along with you as well, you will need to factor their weight into your selection process.
A Basic Rule of Thumb
Our best guidance is to pick SUP board sizing based upon the largest total weight of whoever may be paddling and riding the board around the water. For instance, if you are 150 lbs and your child is 80 lbs, you actually want to be sure to have a paddleboard with a weight capacity that can accommodate at least 230 lbs.
You might be checking a chart or guide for the sizing of boards. If you plan to be paddleboarding or doing SUP yoga during pregnancy, you could estimate the amount of weight you will be on average or in the latter part of your pregnancy (as long as you plan to continue paddle boarding or doing SUP yoga) to determine the weight you’ll want to shop for when choosing paddleboards.
We love hearing about clients getting fit and dropping lots of weight thanks to SUP exercises and yoga. When starting off paddleboarding with your very first paddleboard, choose it based on the weight you are now (in pounds), not the weight you will become. Getting a new board that is too little will only make things more difficult than they need to be when you’re in the water.
What Activities do you Like?
Whether you plan on simply stand-up paddleboarding peacefully around a lake or ocean side, competing in some SUP racing, trying out SUP yoga, finding a sport to stay active while pregnant, taking up SUP surfing, paddleboarding at nighttime, SUP camping trips with your dog, or even just having a simple preference of an inflatable SUP board over solid stand-up paddleboards can make a difference in the size of paddleboard you will want to look for, and the volume your board will need to be to bear the weight correctly.
Determining Paddle Board Size
When it comes to stand-up paddleboard sizing, knowing the volume of your board will give you a good idea of its weight capacity and how ideal it will be for the amount of weight (in pounds) you have to carry. It is the most important factor you’ll want to take into account when you are going through the process of paddleboard sizing. It is the main consideration you’ll need to think about, especially if you are a beginner to paddle boards and SUP board sports.
What is Board Volume?
The volume is a part of what affects the weight capacity, or the ability of the board to float with weight on it, and typically the higher the volume, the more stable the board is. Looking at length may get you a board that is far too small, as there are 11′ boards that are 38 inches wide and would have a very high volume, or boards that are only 24 inches wide that would have a very low volume.
Why it Works
Keep in mind that the volume of the board is found by multiplying the length, width, and thickness of the board, not simply looking at the board length (a typical formula for volume is multiplying the length, width, and height). This makes sense, as boards can be a wide variety of lengths, but with different widths and thicknesses, their actual volume and weight capacity may vary less or more than you would expect if you were to judge paddleboard size based on length alone.
If you are buying your very first stand-up paddleboard, don’t attempt to figure out the perfect SUP size and weight capacity all on your own. As numerous as guidelines connected to board sizing and paddling are, there are just as many exceptions! We specialize in SUPs, so let us assist you like we have assisted thousands of other SUP consumers since 2007.
What Stand Paddle Board Size Should I Buy for My Weight?
Typically speaking, as soon as you know the highest weight of the rider (or rider and pet/kids), these guidelines will provide you a good starting point for how to choose SUPs and inflatable paddleboards.
Formula to Size Paddle Board for Volume
For novices and those who want to keep SUP as simple as possible, multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 1, and add to that 1.4 to add a few pounds of margin to provide you a volume range to search for. You can take other factors into consideration as you become more advanced in paddling, but for most activities like touring, yoga, or other SUP activities, these general guidelines should suffice.
Example of Formula Applied
I am 150 lbs, my child is 70 lbs, and she will ride on the front of the board with me. Combined, we are 220 lbs. With the formula above applied:
220 lbs x 1 = 220 lbs
220 lbs x 1.4 = 308 lbs
Make sure you don’t forget to account for any significant source of weight that will be on your board frequently, such as a dog (especially multiple dogs), or another person. Consider the length, width, and thickness of your paddleboard before you choose it.
Choosing the Correct Length
The range of volumes I ought to be looking at would be in between 220 lbs and 308 lbs. Our personal preference at Paddle Sesh for beginners is to choose SUPs anywhere between bodyweight lbs x 1 to 1.2. This would mean that something like the ISLE Classic Stand-Up Paddle Board 11′ 4, or iRocker Triple Layer Military Grade Inflatable SUP Board 11 or 11′ 6 would be ideal boards as they have volume within this range!
Considering Paddle Board Thickness
While choosing the correct length may be the most significant factor you’ll need to consider for choosing a SUP size (at least as a beginner), thinking about the width and hull thickness are important as well. A type of board that has too much hull thickness will be difficult to move through the water if you are a small person, while SUPs with too little hull thickness could be unstable and difficult for a larger person to use.
Finding the Right Paddle Board Width
Making sure to choose a paddleboard with the correct amount of inches of width of deck pad makes a difference, especially when it comes to the type of SUP activity you’ll be doing. Beginner paddle boarders may not be aware that they are touring or surfing with a width of paddleboard that is too narrow or too wide. Besides simply changing the volume of the paddleboard, how many inches wide boards affect the speed and agility with which you can travel through water. Narrower SUPs are faster but trickier to control. Wide SUPs will be more stable but can be hard to move for smaller riders paddling it around.
SUP Paddle Board Body Weight Capacity
Figuring out the weight capacity you need can depend on the type of paddling you’ll be doing primarily. Different activities can require a variety of weight capacity options. If you a more advanced paddleboarder, make sure to pick the one from the chart below that best applies and use it as your formula to discover the right board volume and SUP size you’ll want to look around for:
Bodyweight lbs x 0.8 to 1.1. When it comes to intermediate paddle boarding, having a slightly smaller size paddleboard can give you a better ability to maneuver and get speed through the water. These boards tend to be a little more challenging to use, however, because of the lesser weight capacity and stability that come with it.
Stand-Up Paddle Board Touring
Bodyweight lbs x 1.0 to 1.1. Although it is a slight weight difference, SUP touring uses a larger size paddleboard that offers significantly more stability with its weight capacity. This makes it less strenuous to spend long periods of time on the water, so you can see the sights and explore without tiring yourself out too quickly.
Bodyweight lbs x 1.0 to 1.2. Doing an exercise or a sport like yoga on a paddleboard requires even more stability. The more you build up strength and balance for this sport over a long period of time, the lower volume a board you might be able to use.
Bodyweight + All Equipment lbs x 1.0 to 1.4. The weight of the equipment you plan to bring while fishing can make a difference depending on how much you bring. Be sure to account for this weight difference if the weight is significant because trying to fish from a board with a weight capacity that is too low will be unnecessarily challenging. You don’t want to risk letting your belongings fall off and losing everything. Also, fishing requires being on the water for a long time. You cannot exhaust yourself too quickly having to balance on a narrow, lightweight board and expect to have a pleasant fishing or camping trip.
Bodyweight lbs x 0.5 to 1.0 (heavily based on conditions and skill level!). Unfortunately, it’s difficult to give a clear guideline about the right size board for surfing. The more agile you are and the quicker you plan to move, the lower volume SUPs and surfboards need to be for you to use since you have a stronger ability to remain stable and ride for a long time.
If you are a paddling beginner, extra stability is always an advantage! While you’re still learning, it’s alright to use a SUP size on the higher side of the size range and progress to smaller size SUP boards over time.
Ready to Find your SUP Board?
After looking at paddleboard sizing and determining how to find the right board volume with the right weight capacity and the ideal design for your paddleboard sport, you’re ready to search for your new paddleboard! At Paddle Sesh, we offer some of the most popular SUP boards and best brands around; SUP paddleboards, inflatable paddleboards, and surfboards. Whether you are doing racing, SUP surfing, or just hitting the water for some refreshing, leisurely paddling on an inflatable SUP board, we can offer a chart or guide to help you find the ideal board for you. Let’s get outside and get on the water!
Finding The Right Size Paddleboard For Your Weight Video
References and Sources:
Keeper Sports Products. https://keepersportsproducts.com/
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