What Size Paddle Board Should I Get: SUP Sizes Explained

You want a SUP that is stable and capable of supporting your weight. But you also want a board that is maneuverable, relatively fast, and able to provide an overall satisfying experience. 

Am I getting that right?

Well, that, my friend, is a tough balance to hit, but it’s not impossible – as long as you know what to look for, that is. 

Your search should start with one simple question: 

What size paddle board should I get?” 

Now, the tricky part is that, while that question is straightforward enough, the answer is anything but. There are many variables and factors that should go into your choice of SUP size, including your weight and height and the intended use. 

But if you stick around, I’ll be sure to guide you through it all! 

Paddle Board Size – Key Takeaways

  • SUP dimensions: The four key paddle board dimensions to consider when selecting the most suitable size are length, width, thickness, and, most importantly, volume.
  • How long is a paddle board? The length of the SUP depends on what it’s designed to do. The average SUP measures 10 to 11 feet in length – but there are boards that will go up to 14 feet, especially those designed for touring and racing.
  • What size paddle board do I need for my height? For paddlers of average height, any standard-sized SUP – measuring 10 to 11 feet in length and 30 to 34 inches in width – will be a suitable choice.
  • What size paddle board do I need for my weight? The SUP’s volume is the key factor to consider when choosing the right size paddle board for your weight. Take your weight (kilograms) and multiply it by your skill level (by 2 for beginners, 1.75 for intermediate-level paddlers, and 1.5 for advanced paddlers) to determine what size board you need.
  • Best SUP size for beginners: Beginners should prioritize stability and ease of use, so a good all-around board – 10.5-11 feet long, 32-34 inches wide and 5 inches thick – would be a great fit for them. 

SUP Dimensions Explained: Length, Width, Volume & More

Stand up paddle boards dimensions

Figuring out what size of paddle board you should get sounds simple enough in theory: 

You should aim for the SUP size that offers stability, can handle your weight with ease, and suits your paddle boarding style and requirements. 

But in practice? 

Well, that’s where things get tricky. You see, there are several stand-up paddle board dimensions that play into how suitable – or unsuitable – a certain SUP size might be for you. 

Don’t worry, though: 

I’ll cover each of the four key paddleboard dimensions – length, width, volume, and thickness – below so that you can be confident about the choices you make. 

Paddle Board Length: Does The Length Of A Paddle Board Matter?  

The standard length range for paddle boards is between 10 and 11 feet – and that’s the length range you’ll typically find in recreational, all-around SUPs. On that note, the board’s length is not directly linked to your weight or skill levels; it’s more about the SUP activities you prefer and how you intend to use the board. 

Of course, if you’re particularly tall or overweight, you’ll have to factor that in and pick a slightly longer board. 

That said, when selecting the right SUP length, be sure not to get carried away. A longer SUP is a lot harder to store and carry around, and it may not be as easy to manage on the water, either – especially if you’re a beginner. 

So, if storage is a concern, a shorter, 10.5 to 11-foot SUP – or better yet, an inflatable – would be a much better choice. 

Paddle Board Width: Does The Width Of A Paddle Board Matter? 

Paddle board width – or, more specifically, the SUP’s side-to-side measurement – can range from 30 to 36 inches

Obviously, a wider SUP will be more stable, which, in turn, would make it more beginner-friendly – so I’d generally recommend the width of 32 to 34 inches for recreational paddle boarding. But if you’re interested in performance and speed, then a narrower SUP – between 29 and 31 inches wide – would be a better fit. 

Do note that, when it comes to choosing the right SUP width, you need to think about more than just your skill level and intended use. Your body type – mainly height and weight – will be a factor here, too.  

Paddle Board Thickness: Does SUP Thickness Matter? 

The third SUP dimension that should be taken into account when choosing the right paddle board size is thickness

There’s one thing you must be aware of from the start: 

When it comes to board thickness, there is a considerable difference between an inflatable SUP and a hard board. Generally speaking, an inflatable board will likely be around six inches thick – while most hard paddle boards tend to be slightly thinner, clocking in at around four inches. 

That’s not all, though: 

Most inflatable paddle boards have a consistent thickness throughout – unlike hard SUPs, which feature a more curved bottom – meaning they often feel more stable than their rigid counterparts. 

So, in case you were wondering if a thicker SUP is more stable, the answer is: 

Yes. Much like length and width, thickness affects the board’s volume – and more often than not, a thicker board will lead to improved stability – making them ideal for activities like SUP Yoga. 

Whereas a board with thinner rails, like those found on surf SUPs, will offer less stability but provide a more responsive feel on the water – perfect for those who want to catch some waves and carve some turns. 

Paddle Board Volume –   What Is It & Why Does It Matter 

The length, width, and thickness are all crucial for determining the performance of the SUP – but when it’s time to pick the right board size, the volume is the main SUP sizing metric to consider. 

Volume – which refers to the board’s buoyancy – is defined by the board’s dimensions, as shown in the formula below: 

SUP Length x Width x Thickness = SUP Volume 

Granted, things are never that simple. Since a SUP isn’t a perfect rectangle, the equation is a bit more complex than that – and you’ll need to shave off roughly 25-30% of that number to account for those differences. 

SUP Board volume explained

You’ll rarely have to manually calculate the board’s volume, though – most manufacturers will list this information in the board’s spec sheet. 

Do note that volume is expressed in liters, where one liter equals one kilogram of weight that the SUP can float. Paddleboard manufacturers typically use the metric system for this, so you might have to do the conversion yourself. 

Oh, and since volume essentially dictates the SUP’s load capacity, I feel like I should remind you that you should never go over the board’s practical weight limit. Stay roughly 25% below the specified maximum capacity. 

In other words: 

Just because the board has a 150-liter volume and can keep 150 kilograms afloat, that does not mean it will perform well under that load. 

How To Determine What Size Paddle Board Do I Need

Couple stand up paddleboarding

There are quite a few variables you’ll need to take into account when choosing a paddle board – including the following: 

  • Intended Use – SUPs come in all shapes and sizes – and things can get pretty confusing if you are not sure what you need. My advice to anyone new to paddle boarding is to start their search by asking themselves where, when, and how they plan on using their SUP. It becomes a lot easier to choose a proper SUP size when you narrow the options down to a particular category. 
  • Body Type & Physical Ability – Your height and weight will be two major factors to keep in mind when picking a SUP because they dictate the volume, length, and width required to support your body type and give you the desired performance. Don’t forget to factor in your current skill level; beginners should always look for wider, more “forgiving” SUPs. 
  • Number Of Paddlers – Obviously, if you will be paddle boarding solo, you can just select a board based on your own requirements. But if you plan on sharing your SUP with a child or pet, for example, then that must be factored in when picking the length, width, and volume of the board. 
  • Transportation & Storage – One of the greatest mistakes you could make when buying a SUP is to overlook how and where you’ll store it and transport it. Obviously, a long and wide SUP will weigh more and be harder to store and handle, so be sure to factor that in – unless you go with an inflatable SUP, of course. 
  • Budget – We should probably talk about your budget, too. It’s not that the cost of a SUP is directly linked to its size; that’s not the point here. Instead, I would like to advise you to choose a SUP based on how well it fits you – both in size and budget – rather than simply going for the cheapest one available. 

What Volume Paddle Board Do I Need? 

SUP volume is maximum weight capacity

Your ideal SUP volume depends not just on your weight – but on your skill level, too. To work out what volume paddle board you need, you’ll need to multiply your body weight (in kilograms) with the number that relates to your skill level. 

Here’s how that looks in practice: 

  • Beginner Paddlers: Body Weight x 2 
  • Intermediate-Level Paddlers: Body Weight x 1.75 
  • Advanced Paddlers: Body Weight x 1.5 

As you can see, more experienced paddlers will typically require a lower-volume SUP – while for a beginner, higher volume is a must. That’s not to say that higher volume automatically means a higher degree of stability; there are instances where it may even hinder the board’s performance and handling. 

It genuinely depends on your skills and paddle boarding style. 

What Size Paddle Board Do I Need For My Weight? 

To get an idea of what size SUP board you need based on your weight, check out the stand-up paddle board size chart below: 

Skill Level
Paddler WeightBeginnerIntermediateAdvanced
40kg80L70L60L
50kg100L88L75L
60kg120L105L90L
70kg140L123L105L
80kg160L140L120L
90kg180L158L135L
100kg200L175L150L

What Size Paddle Board Should I Get For My Height?

What size paddle board do i need for my height

The average SUP board measures about 10-11 feet in length and 30-34 inches in width, and for someone of average height, a standard-sized SUP could be a great choice. “Average height,” in this case, means five-feet-nine for men and five-feet-four for women. 

So, if you fall within that height range, it is safe to assume that a standard-size SUP will be more than suitable. 

But that’s the thing: 

Not all paddlers will fall within that range – and if you happen to ignore the role your height plays in choosing the right SUP size, you’ll find that the board’s performance will suffer. 

Here’s an example: 

Due to having a higher center of gravity, a taller person would find it hard to maintain balance on a short 10-foot SUP. They’d likely need a board between 12 and 14 feet long. And yet, someone with a petite frame would find it virtually impossible to manage a board that long. 

Here’s an equation to help you determine the right SUP size for your height

(Height – 175)/2.4 

I already explained how you could calculate the volume required based on your weight and skill level; that will come in handy here because the number you get from the equation above should then be added to the body-weight-calculated volume: 

  • Beginner Paddlers: (Body Weight x 2) + (Height – 175)/2.4) 
  • Intermediate-Level Paddlers: (Body Weight x 1.75) + (Height – 175)/2.4) 
  • Advanced Paddlers: (Body Weight x 1.5) + (Height – 175)/2.4) 

The number you get is the recommended board volume for your body type and skills

I’m 190 centimeters tall, weigh 105 kilograms, and consider myself an advanced paddler. So, in my case, the numbers would look like this: 

The ideal SUP volume for me is my body weight in kilograms times 1.5 – or 210 liters. Then, due to my height, I need to add 6.25 (based on the “(Height – 175)/2.4” formula shared earlier) to the previously calculated volume. That amounts to 216.25 liters – and that is the most suitable board volume for me. 

I hope that wasn’t too confusing… was it? 

What’s The Best Size Paddle Board For Beginners?

Men paddling in the ocean

One thing you’ll notice is that advanced paddlers prefer to pick their SUPs based on the specific performance characteristics they require. And sure, size- and weight-related factors still matter – but the focus is on the SUP’s overall performance. 

What about beginners, though? 

Well, for someone who is new to paddle boarding, getting a stable, easy-to-ride SUP should be a priority. A good all-around SUP will help you gain some confidence and build up paddleboarding skills – so it’s best to start the search there. 

When it comes to the length and width of your board, you want it to be wider – because the extra width equals more stability – but you don’t want it to be too long. So, I would usually go for a standard paddle board size of 10.5 to 11 feet in length and 32 to 34 inches in width. 

Volume-wise, you should aim for a board that falls somewhere in the 170 to 190-liter range for a hard SUP. If you’re getting an inflatable SUP, though, the volume should be between 220 and 280 liters. 

As for thickness, I generally recommend 5 inches as the average – although you can go ahead and choose a 6-inch board if you’re on the heavier side. 

Special Considerations: What Size Paddle Board Is Best For… 

Things to consider with sup sizing

For Tall People? 

Taller folks have a higher center of gravity – and tend to weigh more than individuals of average height or shorter – and their choice of SUP needs to reflect that. Generally speaking, boards that measure between 12 and 14 feet in length and have a width of 30 to 34 inches are a great fit for paddlers over six feet tall. 

For Short People? 

You are shorter, which automatically implies that you have a lower center of gravity and possibly weigh less. That is definitely something that will affect your choice of SUP; you don’t want to end up with a board that’s too big for you to handle. Aim for an average length of 10 to 11 feet, with a width of 30 to 34 feet – or, in simple terms, a standard-sized SUP. 

For Overweight People? 

Obviously, if you are overweight, the board’s maximum load capacity and volume will be the key factors to consider when choosing a SUP – in addition to the board’s width and length, of course. On that note, if you weigh over 200 pounds, you should generally aim for a SUP that is between 10 and 12.5 feet long and 32 to 34 inches wide. 

For Kids? 

A child-friendly SUP will generally measure between 8 and 10 feet in length and 28 to 32 inches in width, depending on the age of the child. As for thickness, you should look for a thinner board and strive for an average of 4 to 5 inches; anything above that would be too thick for a child and cause the SUP to sit too high on the water. 

SUP Size & Dimensions By Type: Overview

Already have an idea of what type of paddle boarding you’ll be doing? That’s great news – and it will make this whole process a lot easier. 

You see, I’ve already outlined the most common SUP types, their measurements, and their main characteristics below. So, all you need to do now is go through this list and see which of these is the best fit for you. 

Recreational SUPs (All-Around SUP) 

All-Around-SUP

For recreational paddle boarding, you should consider getting an all-around SUP. They’re usually versatile enough for general use and make for excellent beginner-friendly SUPs because they’re stable and relatively easy to maneuver. 

The most common size range for recreational SUPs is: 

  • Length: 10 to 12 feet 
  • Width: 32 to 34 inches 
  • Thickness: 5 to 6 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: up to 400 pounds 

Fishing SUPs 

Fishing SUP

If you intend on fishing, you should aim to get a SUP that’s versatile, stable, stealthy, and able to perform in a range of environments and weather conditions. Plus, it needs to be equipped with a few fishing-specific features, such as bungee rigging, Scotty mounts, and D-ring tie-downs. 

The most common size range for fishing SUPs is: 

  • Length: 10 to 12 feet 
  • Width: 34 to 36 inches 
  • Thickness: 4 to 6 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: up to 450 pounds 

Racing SUPs 

Narrow Racing paddle Board

Racing SUPs are all about performance – although some of them can double as fantastic boards for long-distance paddling, provided that you have the skills and balance to manage such a SUP effectively. 

As you can imagine, these SUPs are characterized by a narrower deck and a sharp nose, which lets them cut through the water and pick up speed more easily. But when it comes to length, it is important that you factor in your height because an extremely long SUP might be hard for you to paddle. 

The most common size range for racing SUPs is: 

  • Length: 11 to 14 feet 
  • Width: 26 to 30 inches 
  • Thickness: 5 to 6 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: up to 350 pounds 

Touring SUPs

Touring SUP in black and blue

If you are interested in exploring remote areas, cruising, and long-distance paddle boarding, then what you need is something longer and sleeker than a regular “all-around” SUP. To be precise, you need a touring paddle board featuring a displacement hull that will slice through the waters – rather than glide on it – and a pointed nose

The additional length and the more streamlined shape make these SUPs particularly efficient for covering longer distances. 

The most common size range for touring SUPs is: 

  • Length: 11 to 14 feet 
  • Width: 30 to 32 inches 
  • Thickness: 5 to 6 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: up to 400 pounds 

Surfing SUPs

SUP SUP Green

If you live near a beach and you’re hoping to catch some waves, you will need a specialized surf paddle board – one that’s designed to handle the waves. On that note, you should aim for a SUP that’s shorter (no more than 10 feet in length), narrower, and has a pointed nose, which all helps the board remain highly maneuverable and ride the waves extremely well. 

The most common size range for surfing SUPs is: 

  • Length: 8 to 10.6 feet 
  • Width: 29 to 32 inches 
  • Thickness: 4 to 5 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: up to 260 pounds 

Yoga SUPs

Yoga Paddle Board

Many people these days are into combining their yoga or fitness routines with paddle boarding – and if you are one of them, hoping to spice up your yoga practice, then you’ll need a SUP that’s cut out for the job. 

More specifically, you need a yoga SUP that’s wide enough to provide stability (remember, you’ll be doing a lot of balancing on this board) – and, at the same time, boasts a long and comfortable deck pad. 

The most common size range for yoga SUPs is: 

  • Length: 10 to 12.6 feet 
  • Width: 34 to 38 inches 
  • Thickness: 4 to 6 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: up to 450 pounds 

Kids SUPs 

Paddle Board for Kids

When it comes to picking the right SUP for kids, you need to consider how your little one will be using it. So, it’s best to ask yourself the following: 

Will they mainly use it for short paddles on a lake, or do they plan on hitting the beach with you? How old is the kid? Are you hoping that the board will last them well into their teenage years – or is it just something they’ll use for a few summers before you sell it? 

You get the idea. 

The most common size range for kids’ SUPs is: 

  • Length: 7.6 to 10 feet 
  • Width: 28 to 32 inches 
  • Thickness: 4 to 5 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: up to 230 pounds 

Inflatable Vs. Hard SUPs 

When deciding between an inflatable and hard SUP, there is no simple answer. Besides, that discussion would be way too lengthy and complex for me to sum up here. 

That’s what this guide is for; I highly suggest you check it out. 

What I can tell you, though, is that there is a definite difference between iSUPs and solid boards when it comes to intended uses, ease of use, storage, and transportation, performance – as well as thickness. 

You see, inflatable boards have a uniform thickness from nose to tail and from side to side, which is why they feel more stable than a similarly sized rigid board. On that note, the average width of an inflatable SUP board is 6 inches

Frequently Asked Questions on Stand Up Paddle Board Sizing

Is a longer or shorter paddle board better? 

The answer is – there’s no right or wrong answer. The length of the board dictates its performance and handling – and should be picked based on the intended use and, to a degree, your body type.

A shorter SUP can be easier to maneuver, sure – but nothing beats a longer SUP when it comes to speed and efficiency. So, it’s just a matter of what you need.


Can a paddle board be too big?

Yes, a paddle board may be too big.

It’s important to find the right size board for your body type and level of experience. A board that is too small will be difficult to balance on, while a board that is too large will be unwieldy and hard to control.

If you’re new to paddle boarding, or if you’re not sure what size board you need, talk to a knowledgeable salesperson at your local surf or paddle board shop.


Summary 

What size paddle board should I get?” There’s definitely more than one way to answer that question – and it generally depends on how you plan on using your SUP, how tall you are, how much you weigh, and how skilled you are as a paddler. 

In other words – there’s no universal, one-size-fits-all answer. 

Start by figuring out what kind of paddle boarding you’re most interested in – be it touring, fishing, or racing, for example – then see if you can find SUP boards that line up with your needs and suit your body type within that category. 

Photo of author

Sam OBrien

As the founder of one of the top-ranking websites in its niche, WaterSportsWhiz.com, Sam has dedicated himself to educating people on water-based activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and diving. When he's not busy writing about water sports or testing out the latest gear, Sam can be found enjoying a good surf or kayak session with friends.