What Size Paddle Board Do I Need?

“What paddle board size do I need?”

This is a question you’ll hear often, especially from beginners. Having the right size paddle board is key to having a good time on the water. Too wide or long and you may struggle to paddle and maneuver your SUP. Too short and narrow and you may end up in the water more often than you’d like!

The most popular all-around paddle boards are 10′ to 11′ long and 32″ to 34″ wide. If you’re tall or heavier than average, I’d recommend a slightly longer board – 11′ to 12′.

Read on to find out how to choose the perfect SUP size for your weight and height. 

RELATED: Discover the top inflatable paddle boards of 2024.

Stand Up Paddle Board Sizing Basics: Key Dimensions

When it comes to the size of a stand up paddle board, there are four dimensions you should look at. 

Length: this is the measurement of a paddleboard from the nose to the tail. Longer paddle boards track well and tend to be faster. However, they may not be as maneuverable as a short board. 

Width: the distance from one side of the board to the other. Wide SUPs are very stable. They’re good for beginners and activities such as SUP yoga or fishing. Narrow paddle boards are great for speed. They make awesome touring and racing SUPs. 

Thickness: the measurement from the bottom to the top of a SUP. Inflatable SUPs tend to be thicker than solid paddle boards. 

Volume: the buoyancy of a paddle board, given in liters. A paddle board’s volume determines its buoyancy and weight capacity. It is calculated from a board’s length, width, and thickness.

What Size Paddle Board Fits My Height and Weight?

Weight is more important than height when choosing a SUP. This is especially true for paddlers who are on the heavier side and beginners. 

If your weight is too much for a SUP board, it will ride low in the water. You will also find it too slow and unstable. Remember, you have to consider your weight and that of anything or anyone that will be coming with you. If you want to paddle with your dog or child, factor in their weight too. 

The amount of weight a paddle board can hold depends on its volume. Heavier paddlers will want a longer, wider SUP than a light person.

Here’s a guide to the paddle board sizes I’d recommend for beginner and recreational paddlers.

Paddler WeightSUP WidthSUP Length
Under 120 lbs (54 kg)29–32″9’6″–10’6″
120–150 lbs (54–68 kg)30–32″10’0″–11’0″
150–175 lbs (68–79 kg)31–33″10’6″–11’6″
175–200 lbs (79–91 kg)32–34″10’6″–11’6″
200–250 lbs (91–113 kg)32–34″11’0″–12’0″
250–300 lbs (113–136 kg)32–35″11’0″–12’4″
Over 300 lbs (136 kg)32–35″11’0″–12’4″

If you’re an experienced paddle boarder, you’ll be used to balancing on narrower SUPs. You have more flexibility in what you can paddle and can choose a paddle board that’s specifically designed for your favorite SUP activity.

How Thick Should Your Stand Up Paddle Board Be?

Generally, inflatable paddle boards are thicker than epoxy paddle boards. 

Solid paddle boards tend to be 4 to 5 inches thick. Unlike inflatable boards, their thickness is not uniform. They have more rocker and are built for performance.

You may have noticed that most inflatable paddle boards are 6 inches thick. They are more rigid and stable than thinner iSUPs. 

Thin inflatable SUPs (4 to 5 inches) are usually not sturdy enough. They are known to flex, mainly with heavier paddlers. The exception is some compact boards from high-end manufacturers such as Red Paddle. However, these tend to be expensive.

If you’re buying an inflatable SUP, I recommend sticking with a 6-inch paddle board. 

SUP Sizing by Activity Type: What Kind of Paddle Boarding Do You Intend to Do?

Different stand up paddle boarding activities require different size SUPs. If you want to specialize, let’s take a look at what size paddle board you need.

1. All-Around SUP

Some paddlers want one board that can do a bit of everything. If you’re mainly interested in recreational paddling on flatwater, I’d recommend an all-around SUP.

All-around paddle boards are great for pretty much everyone. There are plenty to choose from and they tend to be reasonably priced. 

Get a SUP that is 10’ to 11’ long and 31” to 34” wide. 

Tip: Read our Bote Breeze Aero review – great performance with a beautiful design

2. SUP Yoga

A yoga SUP is perfect for taking your fitness routines to the water. 

As you can imagine, yoga poses on a paddleboard are challenging. I recommend a wide paddle board, between 32 and 36 inches. It should be 10 feet to 11 feet long

These dimensions give you a large, stable platform for your yoga poses. 

3. SUP Racing

Racing paddle boards have to be fast.

Your paddle board should be narrow and long. This gives it a streamlined shape and reduces resistance. It allows it to tear through the water smoothly and with impressive speed. 

Racing SUPs are typically 12’6 to 14’ long and 26” to 30” wide. As you can imagine, these dimensions make them less stable than all-around SUPs. They are best suited for advanced paddlers.

4. SUP Touring

SUP touring involves long trips on your paddle board. You want a board that tracks well and is efficient to paddle.

I recommend looking for a board that’s slightly longer than average and not very wide. Touring paddle boards are usually 11’ to about 14′ long and 30” to 33” wide

5. SUP Surfing

Catching waves on a SUP board is a thrilling experience. To enjoy it, you need the right size stand up paddle board. 

A surf SUP is supposed to be short and narrow. Choose one that is 10’ or shorter and 29” to 32” wide. This size will make it maneuverable and easier to handle.

6. Multi-Person SUP

Multi-person SUPs can carry up to 8 adults! They’re great if you want a SUP for parties or a paddle board that can carry your entire family.

These paddle boards are longer than standard all-around SUPs and much wider. Multi-person paddle boards are 12′ to 15′ long and up to 60″ wide.

Do Stand Up Paddle Boards Have a Weight Capacity?

Every stand up paddle board has a weight limit. This is determined by the construction and volume of the SUP. A stand up paddle board with more volume will have more buoyancy and can hold more weight. 

You can use your weight to calculate the SUP volume that would be appropriate for you. This will let you know whether or not the board you want is right for your weight. 

Manufacturers usually indicate how much weight a paddle board can hold. This is usually termed the “maximum weight capacity”. While most reputable manufacturers are honest about their paddle boards’ capacities, some may exaggerate.

This is especially common with super cheap SUP boards. A paddle board may have a recommended weight limit of 250 lbs. But when you take it out to the water, you will quickly realize that it can’t handle that much. 

To avoid disappointment, always read the feedback from other users and try to buy from reputable companies. 

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What’s the Right Paddle Board Size for Kids?

Most kids’ paddle boards range from 8′ to 9’6″ in length and are 29″ to 32″ wide. They may also be thinner – 4.5″ or 5″ thick – as children don’t need so much buoyancy to support their weight.

Stability is really important to give your kid confidence when they’re starting out paddle boarding. My daughter loves the iRocker Nautical Kids board, which is 9′ long and 32″ wide.

Teens and more experienced paddlers may find a narrower board more fun to paddle in the water. Many kids’ paddle boards have a maximum weight capacity of 100–150 lbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Paddle Board Do I Need for My Weight?

A paddle board’s weight capacity gives a good guide as to what size paddle board you need for your weight. Longer, wider SUPs tend to have a larger weight capacity. For inflatable SUPs, the thickness also affects the volume and capacity. Manufacturers usually indicate a paddle board’s capacity with the other spec.

If you’re planning on carrying heavy gear, such as fishing kit, on your board, you need to account for this in your total weight. I suggest not loading your SUP up to the maximum weight capacity as this can affect its performance, especially if you’re using a super cheap SUP board.

What Size Paddle Board Do I Need for My Height?

Your height doesn’t matter that much when it comes to SUP board sizes. You may find it harder to balance if you’re very tall, because of your high center of gravity, but this depends on your skill level.

If you’re very short, you may find it harder to paddle and maneuver very wide or long boards. However, overall, weight is a more important factor than height when choosing a paddle board.

What Type of Paddle Board Is Best for Beginners?

If you’re a beginner, you want an all-around SUP board that’s at least 32 inches wide. I recommend a length of 10’6 to around 11’. This is long enough to be stable and have a decent weight capacity, while still being easy to maneuver.

Make sure that the maximum weight capacity is higher than your weight and that of your gear and/or passenger.

What Size Paddle Board Should a Woman Use?

Your height, weight, and intended use determine the size of paddle board you need, not your gender. Shorter, lighter paddlers often find slightly narrower boards more stable than taller paddlers. However, if you want a board for SUP yoga, you’ll want a wide board for extra stability.

Is a 10-foot Paddle Board Too Short?

No! Most all-around paddle boards are between 10′ and 11′ long. A 10-foot paddle board will typically have a lower weight capacity than a longer board. It may also feel less stable if you’re very tall. I wouldn’t recommend a 10-foot paddle board for touring, but it’s ideal for recreational use or surfing.

Final Thoughts: What Size Paddle Board Do I Need?

Having the right size paddle board makes your paddling experience enjoyable. You can go years without needing to buy another one. 

Your weight, skill level, and favorite SUP activity will help you find the perfect SUP board size. If you’re just starting, I recommend buying an all-around paddle board that’s 10′ to 11′ long and 31″ to 34″ wide. If you’re tall or heavy, you may want something a little longer.

If you have any questions about paddle board sizing, leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to help you out!