What Size Paddle board do I Need?

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The length of most paddleboards fall between 10 and 11 feet with an average width of about 32 inches. If stability is something that you need, a paddleboard that is 34 inches wide may be best. A wider board will be more difficult to paddle, so stick to the standard width before moving to a more specialized design.

When you are new to paddleboarding finding the right board can be a challenge. Your weight, your skill level, and the type of board all need to be considered during the selection process. As you can see in the below video, one of the key features to consider when purchasing a new board is the volume. This will determine how low the board floats with you on it in the water, and if it lacks volume, a heavier individual will not be able to paddle in the water like they desire.

How to Calculate the Capacity You Need

To get a paddleboard with the perfect volume, you are going to need to calculate the exact amount of buoyancy that the board needs to keep you afloat. Make sure that you have the correct measurements before settling on a board that you would like to purchase. It is vital to take both the height and the weight of the paddler into consideration.

Paddler’s Height

Though your height may not seem to be vital when it comes to selecting a board, it is almost as important as your weight because your height affects where your center of gravity is located. Taller individuals have a higher center of gravity, so they may not be able to balance as well on the same board as a shorter person. Realistically, a taller person is going to weigh more than a shorter individual, but this is not always the case. If you are having trouble maintaining your balance on a board that lacks length, try your skills on a longer paddleboard.

Paddler’s Weight

The next thing that you need to consider when selecting your board is your weight. Not just your weight alone, but the weight of anything or anyone that will be on the board with you. This includes any food or drinks that you are carrying with you, and your dog’s weight if you take them to the beach with you a lot. Do you plan on taking your child with you? If so, then their weight needs to be added to yours to make sure that the paddleboard is buoyant enough to hold you both.

Length of the Paddleboard Based on the Paddler’s Weight

  • 50 – 125 pounds: 9 to 11.6 feet
  • 125 – 150 pounds: 10.6 to 11.6 feet
  • 150 – 175 pounds: 10.6 to 12.6 feet
  • 175 – 200 pounds: 11.6 to 12.6 feet
  • 200 – 225 pounds: 11.6 to more than 12.6 feet
  • 225 – 275 pounds: more than 12.6 feet

What Paddleboard Do I Need for My Height?

When considering which paddleboard is best for your needs, make sure that you take a look at all of your options. There are inflatable options as well as hard shell boards that may make traveling to the water easier to manage. With that being said, let’s take a look at both options to discuss some of the reasons that you would want to consider one over the other.

Inflatable Paddleboards

man looking into horizon on paddle board

Most inflatable paddleboards are designed with a PCV exterior that is very strong. It has a double stitched construction that will prevent leaks from happening and will create a strong core to hold the air so that you can enjoy paddling on the water. These types of boards are easy to carry when you are traveling, and most come with a travel bag as well as a pump that can be used to inflate it. Most models will need to be inflated to about 12 to 15 psi, but make sure that you check the manual for the specific paddleboard to make sure that over-inflation does not occur.

Inflatable paddleboards are great for when you:

  • Are taking a long road trip, and the car is limited when it comes to space.
  • Are traveling on an airplane.
  • Have limited storage space at your residence.
  • Are traveling to a destination that requires you to hike for a while.
  • Are planning on taking the paddleboard in white water.
  • Are attempting to learn how to do yoga on the water.

Hard Paddleboards

A solid board is designed to be ready to use whenever you get to the water. It has a solid core that is made of a foam material that will last. The core is covered in fiberglass or epoxy, which are two durable options that will ensure that the board can take a bit of abuse. It’s also reasonably lightweight, so even though the board takes up a lot of space, it can easily be carried to your destination. Certain plastic materials will be heavier than others, and this can hinder your performance on the water. However, these materials are used because they are cheaper, so they may be a consideration for some.

Hard paddleboards are great to use when you:

  • Are looking for optimal performance.
  • Need a faster speed on the water.
  • Are looking for a finely tuned shape for a specific fit.
  • Are looking for a board that offers a lot of stability.
  • Have ample space to store the board.
  • Have a large vehicle that can easily transport a board that does not break down.

What are the Best Sized Paddleboards for Beginners?

As a beginner, you most likely are not sure what type of paddleboarding you are going to be taking part in, so you will want an all-around board that has some versatility. This is a type of board that will have a rounder nose instead of a pointed one. These are paddleboards that are roughly 9 to 11 feet in length, and they have a width of about 30 to 32 inches. This will offer a good amount of stability for a beginner.

In addition, an inflatable option is also a good choice for a beginner because it’s more durable. It will not be damaged if it gets roughed up by a few rocks under the water and will allow you to get used to the board without spending a lot of money investing in a paddleboard.

Which Type Should I Choose?

Once you have calculated the amount of buoyancy that you need your paddleboard to have, it is time to figure out the ideal size for the paddleboard based on the type of activity that you will be doing most. Let’s take a look at each type of paddleboard that you may be interested in purchasing.


This is a type of paddleboard that will work for all water activities. It works for all of them, but it only works reasonably for each, whereas a type of board that is designed for a specific activity will perform much better. Basically, getting an all-around board is like getting a Swiss army knife instead of a toolbox.

  • This is an excellent option for beginners.
  • Versatile enough to work in flat or choppy water.
  • This is the best option to use with a dog.



The touring paddle board is a type of board that is specifically designed for paddling long distances. It has optimal stability and speed, which makes it ideal for moving in the water. Typically, this is a longer board that is about 12 to 13 feet in length. The deck also has plenty of space for camping gear and additional passengers.

  • It’s great for working out on the water.
  • It’s constructed to provide a lot of glide.
  • This board is stable, which makes it great for beginners.


best sup yoga boards
Photo by: Surfertoday.com

A yoga paddleboard provides a good amount of stability and width. The top of the board is designed to be a bit on the softer side so that you will not get hurt if you fall. They are ideal for slow paddling on the water, and they typically have a wide nose that is great for dogs to relax on while you are paddling.

  • They are designed to be used in calm water.
  • The board is shaped with fitness in mind.
  • It’s easy to balance on this type of board.


This is a type of paddleboard that is typically shorter than most. It has a pointed nose that can travel through the surf with ease, and it will allow you more freedom in choppy water than most other boards. This board is ideal for intermediate paddlers or someone who has some experience in the water.

  • It provides less stability.
  • It’s easy to maneuver.
  • It gives you more action in the waves.


Racing paddleboards are very similar to touring boards, but they are designed to be much narrower. This narrowness makes it a board that is not very stable to ride on, so you will need to be experienced to be able to race. In most cases, these boards are about 24 to 27 inches wide.

  • They are designed for flatwater racing.
  • The length and the width make it glide along the water longer.
  • This board can be very challenging for beginners.



Fishing is a recreational activity that some like to enjoy on their paddleboards. Fishing can be done on any type of board that has high stability, but one that is designed for fishing will have features to accommodate your fishing gear. This is a slow board that has a wide deck so that your equipment stays in place. It can be either a hard, epoxy board or an inflatable one.

  • It makes an excellent alternative for anglers that don’t have a boat.
  • It has a high amount of volume so that you’re out of the water.
  • Mounts can be added to these to secure your rod.

Final Thoughts

So, do you feel like you know more about how to select the best paddleboard? Make sure that you take your weight into account, along with your height and the type of paddleboarding that you plan on doing in the water. If you are looking for stability, then an inflatable board may be best for you. If you are looking for performance, then consider a harder board, especially if you have some skills on the water.

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