man paddleboard surfing a wave

When you first begin paddleboarding, you’ll be fortunate to remain on your board, so you don’t fret too much about how fast you can go. Paddle boarding is one water sport where speed is not so essential. Paddling across the water is a relaxing activity, and some paddlers choose to move at slower speeds. There are many things you can do on an SUP, such as yoga and touring, which do not require you to go faster than a comfortable pace of a few mph.

Some SUP activities, nevertheless, do require speed, so SUP racers and surfers will always attempt to go as quick as they can. As you advance, it’s difficult to exercise how quick you are going on open water and getting the very best speed from your board will depend on many factors.

Paddle board speeds

Here are a few of the factors that can effect the average speed you find you’ll tend to paddleboard. If you are working on going faster or want to know how fast you can go, take these factors into consideration. You may be able to switch up the stand up paddleboard you use and improve your SUP speed if it is important to you.

1. Physical fitness

It’s no great surprise to hear that the more fit you are, the more you have the ability to paddle hard and so the faster your paddleboard will go.

If you’re brand-new to SUP paddling or slowly developing your physical fitness levels, you will not be going really quickly to begin with, and you may even need to start slow. As you advance in the sport and your fitness and paddling strategy enhances, you’ll discover you have the ability to paddle harder and glide more easily through the water, so your average speed will increase.

When you initially set out on a paddleboard, you’ll see people around you are travelling at a much faster pace than you are. Don’t resent others who appear to be travelling at a high speed – they will have started out as a newbie too and it might have taken them a very long time to be able to power their SUP so rapidly.

2. Board size

The size of your paddleboard can have a huge impact on your speed. If you have the wrong size inflatable board, you will not get the very best motion and this will affect how quick you can go. Calculating the volume of a board and buying the right size will guarantee that you will have the ability to maneuver it much better through the water. The best volume board will mean that the water is displaced at the right level beneath you, and this will help you go at a quicker pace.

If you have one little board, for example, and you’re a big person, you may discover you have problem keeping control, so your speed will be less than it would be.

3. Board type

Some boards are developed to go much faster than others. Flatwater SUPs, while they can be used for touring and racing, tend to be bigger boards so they won’t go quite so fast. As these are frequently used for fishing and yoga, they don’t truly need to be built for speed.

Paddle boards designed for racing and surfing will go the fastest. These are narrower and longer so regarding help the board glide swiftly through the water. Larger boards to tend to be slower ones.

Man standing paddleboarding

4. Inflatable or solid SUP

While inflatable boards can do whatever a solid board can do, there is a distinction when it pertains to speed. The hard material and construction of a solid board make it much easier to navigate through the water than an inflatable, and it can move quicker than an iSUP (inflatable stand-up paddleboard).

While you are on the water, you most likely won’t see a difference between inflatable and solid, but experienced racers will. They are the ones who really appreciate that additional turn of speed from a solid SUP over an inflatable.

5. Weather

The weather condition has a huge influence on all elements of paddleboarding, not just your speed.

On a charming sunny day, the only power you’ll get is from your own paddling, so unless you’re an extremely skilled paddler, you won’t go quite so fast. Downwinders are so called because they paddle with the wind behind them. Certainly this makes them go a few mph quicker than trying to paddle against the wind or being buffeted by a cross wind.

SUP speed records

A lot of races are paddled over 200m, and while the time may appear sluggish, these races on water where the boards are propelled using just the strength of individuals paddling with paddles can be faster than you would think, and it involves strategy. Racing over 200m can offer a false impression of ease that would tempt people to go at top speed, but a fast burst of speed is simpler to keep up than a fast race over numerous miles.

Connor Baxter racing records

The majority of paddleboarding speed records originate from racing, and in 2016, Connor Baxter took the crown for the fastest paddler of the year, by completing 200m in simply 53.12 seconds, which translates to approximately 8.5 mph.

Danny Ching breaking the records

While a lot of paddlers would love to be able to go that quickly, in 2014 Danny Ching went even faster. He finished 200m in simply 46.60 seconds. This converts to approximately 9.34 mph, but whether he might keep that speed for an hour, who knows.

With advances in SUP innovation, and improvements in strategies, SUP speeds are increasing all the time, and some current informal tests performed over 200m have actually averaged as much as 17.7 mph.

woman paddleboard surfing a wave

Average SUP speeds

Some paddlers are discouraged when they see how slow they go on a paddleboard, even though they are the only thing powering it, and reaching a typical speed on an SUP is quite an accomplishment in and of itself. After all, attempting to keep your balance on moving water while attempting to move yourself in a straight line is hard enough, without attempting to add speed to the challenge. Going on your own board won’t be like being a racer, at least not at first. You’ll have to have the right board and may be able to build up speed post-training, but it will take time.

Recreational paddleboarding

A lot of paddlers will move throughout the water at around 3.5 to 4.5 miles per hour, which is a nice, relaxing speed. Beginners will move more gradually to begin, and recreational paddlers and tourers touring may save their energy for longer trips so they might not get tired of having to paddle so hard.

Paddle boards for racing

Racers will go quicker, and for racers, the faster their SUP board is, the better. With the best paddling and racing strategies, they can reach a typical race speed of anything from 5-7 miles per hour. Clearly, if a racer has a current and the wind behind them, and they’ve invested a great deal of time practicing, buying the ideal SUP board, and learning the finest method, they could go even faster.

Finding a fast stand up paddleboard

If you want to get a paddleboard of your own to ride across the water, or you want to see if you can go faster than you currently go on your paddleboard, let us help you find the right paddleboard for you to ride! Under good conditions, you could take your board at speeds so fast you might amaze yourself. If you are using paddleboarding to get fit, you could benefit from having a fast board and catching wind or a wave to go faster for a muti-mile-long distance. Like being in a race, this type of exertion can be good exercise and a great way to push yourself hard. Many an hour going around the lake is time well spent and good for the health.

References and Sources:

Cool of the Wild. SUP Camping: A Paddleboard Camping Guide for Beginners

Fit Day. 7 Unique Ways to Get a Full Body Workout

Goosehill. Top 6 Lakes in North America You Should Go Paddleboarding On

Inflatable Boarder. SUP Racing 101 – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide



ISLE. What is SUP Yoga?

Keeper Sports Products.

REI Co-op. How to Choose a Stand Up Paddleboard

REI Co-op. Stand Up Paddleboarding for Beginners

Safe Boater. Understanding Weather for Boating

Stand Up Paddle the World. Danny Ching: Mental Toughness in Stand Up Paddle Racing

Starboard Innovation Quality. Connor Baxter USA

Yale Environment 360. Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health

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