When deciding what size paddle board you need, there are a few factors to consider such as your height and weight, whether you are a beginner or not, and what you plan to use the paddle board for.
If you are planning on using the paddle board for racing, you will need a different size than if you are just using it for leisurely paddling. The same goes for children. They will need a smaller paddle board than an adult. And if you plan on fishing from your paddle board, you will need a larger one that can accommodate all of your gear.
Here is a breakdown of what size paddle board you need for each of these scenarios:
What size paddle board do I need for my height and weight?
What size paddleboard do I need for my height?
To get the most enjoyment from stand up paddleboarding you need a SUP board that is appropriate for your size. SUP Boards are not one size fits all.
If you are taller than 6 feet, you may want to consider a paddle board length of 11 to 12 feet long. If you are paddle boarder between 6 feet and 5 feet 6 inches you should look at 10’6″ boards. If you are between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet look at 10 foot boards. If you are shorter than 5 feet, you may want to consider a paddleboard that is less than 9-10 feet long. Children should look at boards around 9 feet.
What size paddleboard do I need for my weight?
Volume is the most important paddle board size factor for supporting weight. Volume is typically measured in liters. For beginners you want at least 1 liter of volume for every pound of body weight. If the board maker only gives you a maximum weight capacity, make sure it is well above your weight.
People who are 100 to 150 lbs should look at 10′ x 30″ board. People who are 150 to 200 lbs should look at a 10’6″ x 32″ board. If you are 200 to 250 lbs look for a board that is 11′ x 32″. If you are 250 to 300 lbs look for a board that is 11’6″ x 33″.
If you are a larger paddler above 250 lbs, board construction also becomes a big factor. You need an extra large 11’6″ board with very stiff construction. We have found that dual chamber boards with extra air chamber side walls under your feet help a lot.
ALSO READ: Best Stand Up Paddle Boards For Big Guys
Do I need a different size for an inflatable vs rigid paddleboard?
Inflatable paddle boards tend to be thicker than rigid paddleboards. Because of this you are an inch or 2 higher above the water which makes the board less stable. You will need an inflatable board that is 1-2 inches wider than a rigid board to get the same level of stability.
What are the downsides of having a paddleboard that is too big?
The main downside of having a paddleboard that is too big is that it will be more difficult to maneuver and control. You will feel like you have a lot of board to push under your feet and it will be slow. It will take more effort to push that big board through chop and waves. It will also be heavier and more difficult to transport.
What are the downsides of having a paddleboard that is too small?
The main downside of having a paddleboard that is too small is that it will be less stable and you will be more likely to fall off. It will also be more difficult to paddle in choppy water. A shorter board will not glide as well as a longer board so you will need more paddle strokes to get where you are going.
How thick should my paddleboard be?
The board thickness of your SUP board will depend on the type of board you have. 99% of inflatable paddleboards out there are 6 inches thick so you don’t have to worry about this number too much. You can find an occasional 4 or 5 inch inflatable paddle board.
For a hard paddle board, the thickness can range from 4 to 6 inches. There are a lot more hard paddle boards available with different thicknesses. The thicker the board, the more volume it will have making it more stable. It also means you are standing higher above the water which reduces stability as well. A thicker boards need more width to go with it.
Paddleboard Size Chart – Height and Weight
Stand Up Paddle Board Size Chart - Height and Weight
30" to 32"
Under 150 lbs
30" to 32"
9'6" to 10'
150 - 200 lbs
5' to 5'5"
32" to 33"
10' to 10'6"
200 - 250 lbs
5' 5" to 6'
32" to 33"
10'6" to 11'
Over 250 lbs
33" to 34"
11' to 12'
What size paddle board should a beginner get?
For those who are new to paddle boarding, it is recommended that you get a paddle board that is on the wider size for your height and weight. This will give you enough stability and balance as you are learning how to paddleboard.
If you start out on an inflatable paddleboard, you need to get one that is at least 32 inches wide and preferably 34 inches wide. If you know your balance skills aren’t great go for the widest board you can find. There is no shame in showing up at the lake with a 36 inch wide board if that is what you need.
Paddleboards for different activities
Stand up paddleboards are not a one size fits all item. If you want to do something specific with your board such as racing or fishing, you need a board that will work well. All around boards can do everything okay. They aren’t great for specialized uses. A race board needs to be long and narrow. A yoga board needs to be as wide as possible with a clean deck. Lets take a look at what size paddle board you need for these activities.
What size paddle board is good for racing?
Racing paddleboards tend to be long and narrow. If you are planning on using your paddle board for racing, you will need a paddle board that is 12-14 feet long and as narrow as possible. Race boards can go down as low as 20 inches wide. This size will give you the speed and maneuverability you need to compete in races. You will need advanced paddling and balance skills to use one.
What size paddle board is good for children?
Children will need a smaller paddle board than adults. It is recommended that you get a paddle board that is 8-10 feet long and 28 inches wide for children. This will give them enough stability and balance as they are learning how to paddleboard.
What size paddleboard is good for fishing?
If you plan on going SUP fishing, you will need a larger board that can accommodate all of your gear. You need a wider board that is stable enough that you can stand while fishing and access your gear. It is recommended that you get a paddle board that is 11 to 12 feet long and 32 to 34 inches wide. This size will give you the space you need to store your fishing gear and bait and give you enough stability to fish.
What size paddleboard do I need for paddling with a dog?
If you plan on taking your dog paddle boarding with you, you will need a stand up paddle board that has enough space for you and your dog. If you have a small dog like a Cocker Spaniel they do not need that much extra space. If you have a larger dog like a Golden Retriever you need to take their size into account.
You need a board with enough weight capacity for you, your dog, and any other gear you are bringing. You need enough stability that you won’t fall in if your dog decides to move around. I recommend going for a board that is at least 10’6″ long for a small dog. Go at least 11 feet long if you have a larger dog. Stick to boards at least 32 inches wide or wider.
What size touring paddleboard do I need?
If you are planning on using your paddleboard for touring, you will need a touring board that is stable and can hold all of your gear. Longer paddleboards have better glide. If you want to cover more distance you need a longer board. 12’6″ x 32″ boards are a great size that gives you good glide and still give good stability.
If you are an advanced paddler and want all out speed, you can reduce the width to 30″ or less. A narrower board will have less drag and be faster. Touring boards can be found with widths as low as 26 inches. There are touring boards out there as long as 14′ to get the ultimate in flat water glide but it comes at the cost of maneuverability.
What size paddleboard do I need for SUP Surfing?
Most SUP surfing boards are 10′ long or shorter with a planing hull (rounded noses) and narrow. No more than 30 inches. If you want to surf SUP you need a board that can turn easily in the surf.
What size paddleboard do I need for SUP yoga?
For those who are looking for a paddle board to do yoga on, it is recommended that you get a paddle board that is at least 10 feet long and 34 inches wide. This size will give you the stability and balance you need to do yoga on the paddle board. Wider is better. A 35-36 inch wide board will give you the stability you need for more challenging postures such as inversions and headstands.
Paddle Board Size Chart – Activity or Discipline
Stand Up Paddle Board Size Chart - Activity or Discipline
Recreation or All Around
30" to 34"
10' to 12'
28" to 32"
11'6 to 14'
20" to 26"
12'6' to 14'
32" to 36"
10' to 12'
33" to 34"
10'6" to 11'6"
Paddling with dog
32" to 36"
10' to 12'6"
What size SUP paddle do I need?
After looking through a bunch of paddleboards, you may be wondering now what about the paddle? A good starter length for a SUP paddle is about 10 inches longer than your height. If you are 5’6″ tall, you want a paddle that is 66 inches + 10 inches = 76 inches. That will get you in the right neighborhood. Most SUP paddles are adjustable. Find one with an adjustment range that is a few inches longer and shorter than your ideal length. See this article from REI for more information about SUP paddle length.
About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.