Finding The Right Size Paddleboard For Your Weight

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 paddle boards 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 paddle board, 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 paddle board for. Knowing your weight (and the total amount of weight, in pounds, your paddle board 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 paddle board with a weight capacity that can accommodate at least 230 lbs.

You might be checking a chart or guide for sizing of boards. If you plan to be paddle boarding or doing SUP yoga during a pregnancy, you could estimate the amount of weight you will be on average or in the later 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 paddle boards.

Pro Suggestion

We love hearing about clients getting fit and dropping lots of weight thanks to the SUP exercises and yoga. When starting off paddle boarding with your very first paddle board, 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 paddle boarding 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 paddle boards can make a difference in the size of paddle board 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 paddle board 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 paddle board 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 effects 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 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 paddle board size based on length alone.

Pro Suggestion

If you are buying your very first stand-up paddle board, don’t attempt to figure out 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 rider (or rider and pet/kids), these guidelines will provide you a good starting point for how to choose SUPs and inflatable paddle boards.

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:

paddle board length comparison diagram

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 paddle board 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 an 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 paddle board with the correct amount 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 paddle board that is too narrow or too wide. Besides simply changing the volume of the paddle board, how many inches wide boards are effects 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 paddle boarder, 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:

Intermediate SUP

Bodyweight lbs x 0.8 to 1.1. When it comes to intermediate paddle boarding, having a slightly smaller size paddle board 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 paddle board 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.

SUP Yoga

Bodyweight lbs x 1.0 to 1.2. Doing 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.

SUP Fishing

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.

Surfing

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 surf boards need to be for you to use, since you have a stronger ability to remain stable and ride for a long time.

Pro Suggestion

If you are a paddling beginner, extra stability is always an advantage! While you’re still learning, it’s alright to use an 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 paddle board sizing and determining how to find the right board volume with the right weight capacity and the ideal design for your paddle board sport, you’re ready to search for your new paddle board! At Paddle Sesh, we offer some of the most popular SUP boards and best brands around; SUP paddle boards, inflatable paddle boards, 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!

References and Sources:

Cool of the Wild. SUP Camping: A Paddle Board Camping Guide for Beginners https://coolofthewild.com/sup-camping-paddle-board-camping/

First 15. God Speaks in Solitude – Experiencing God https://www.first15.org/03/31/god-speaks-in-solitude/

Fit Day. 7 Unique Ways to Get a Full Body Workout https://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/health/7-unique-ways-to-get-a-full-body-workout.html

Inflatable Boarder. SUP Racing 101 – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide https://www.inflatableboarder.com/sup-racing-guide/

IRocker. https://www.irockersup.com/

ISLE. https://www.islesurfandsup.com/

ISLE. What is SUP Yoga? https://www.islesurfandsup.com/what-is-sup-yoga/

Keeper Sports Products. https://keepersportsproducts.com/

Paddle Camp. Dimensions of a Paddle Board (Why They Matter) https://paddlecamp.com/dimensions-of-a-paddle-board/

REI Co-op. How to Choose a Stand Up Paddleboard https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/how-to-choose-a-stand-up-paddleboard.html

REI Co-op. Stand Up Paddle Boarding for Beginners https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/paddleboarding.html

Safe Boater. Understanding Weather for Boating https://www.safeboater.com/learn-the-rules/weather.html

Yale Environment 360. Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health

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