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What do you need to know when choosing the perfect paddleboard? That’s a great question, and at least one of the answers may surprise you. Whether you know it or not, board dimensions are one of the most important factors in picking out a perfect paddleboard.
When I purchased my first SUP, I didn’t know anything about board dimensions. However, I learned quickly that the paddleboard size can mean the difference between a fun day on the water or a horrible time.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about paddleboard sizing. Not only that, but we cover the 3 best SUPs by dimensions. By the time you are finished, you will be a paddleboard sizing pro!
- 1 Paddleboard Sizing
- 2 What are some other important factors?
- 3 The Best Paddleboards in 3 Sizes
- 4 One Last Word about Paddleboard Sizing
The main elements to consider
The longer the paddleboard, the faster and straighter they glide through the water, like the Atoll SUP (described below). However, shorter paddleboards give you the greater workout. Why? It takes a greater amount of paddling to cover the same distance.
Long SUPs are better for more advanced users in certain scenarios because of the skill needed to maneuver them quickly. On the other hand, shorter boards have a smaller turning radius. That means they are perfect for water where there isn’t a lot of space to turn around.
The width of your paddleboard is the most important of all 3 dimensions because it directly affects stability. The wider your board, the more stable it will be. The narrower your board, the more precarious your position will be (but better for racing or efficient paddling)!
We recommend the narrower SUPs for advanced users and those with good balance. Beginners and clumsy people are sure to feel more comfortable and have more fun on wider models! An inch won’t affect speed too much, but generally the wider the board the slower it glides.
The thickness is important because it affects 2 vital specs of your paddleboard: weight capacity and overall volume. You want a high enough weight capacity and overall volume to hold you and your gear higher in the water. That means considering weight limits before you purchase anything!
What are some other important factors?
Your weight affects the SUP you can choose. Some are made for children while others can hold up to 2 adults. When picking out your paddleboard, choose a weight limit that’s at least 30-50 pounds over your weight. This will give you more floating power, also known as buoyancy! Also, you’ll be able to bring some extra gear along.
Remember: If you are using your SUP for a workout, select one based on the weight you are now instead of the size you hope to become. Gaining muscle strength takes a long time, and you want your workout conditions to be perfect in the meantime.
In this video, Chiropractor Dr. Dan Rodrigues explains some health benefits of SUP:
The Best Paddleboards in 3 Sizes
We guarantee you will find the perfect board for you among our top 3 picks. There is one for every size: small, medium, and large. Each have their benefits and drawbacks, so it’s up to you to decide on your own perfect paddleboard!
#1. Best Small SUP: Zray Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard
The best small paddleboard on our list is the Zray Inflatable. At 8 feet long, it is perfect for kids and smaller adults. The length is also great for anyone paddling out on skinny water. Remember, the shorter the board the greater the turn radius!
With a width of 30 inches, this Zray will keep you feeling confident and stable. For anyone still unsure, this product comes with a leash you can tie around your ankle just in case. The whole paddleboard is extremely lightweight, so anyone big enough to ride can carry.
This SUP comes with an adjustable aluminum paddle. You have the choice between 65 inches and 85 inches. It’s also lightweight, which means anyone can use it to get around. At 6 inches thick, this paddleboard has a weight limit of 325 pounds.
#2. Best Medium SUP: SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard
There are a lot of medium paddleboards on the market, but only one can be the best. That honor goes to the SereneLife Inflatable. At 10 feet long, this stand up board is a great middle ground between the smaller and larger sizes. That means you get the best of both worlds!
The deck of this SUP is 30 inches, making it perfect for a beginner or someone not so confident on their feet. It would be hard to fall off of a paddleboard this wide. Also included is a coiled ankle cuff to make the learning process seem a bit less precarious.
This paddleboard has 3 fins, so even though the width will slow you down speed is ultimately on your side. In addition, it only weighs 24 pounds so pretty much anyone can use it. The board itself is 6 inches thick, and it will hold up to 275 pounds.
#3. Best Long SUP: Atoll Inflatable Paddle Stand Up Paddleboard
The 11-foot long Atoll Inflatable is our pick for the best long SUP. The length of this paddleboard makes it perfect for gliding through the water quickly. Even the tracking is good due to tri fin technology.
The width of this paddleboard is a whopping 32 inches. This makes it perfect for anyone that needs to prioritize stability. The thickness of the inflatable is 6 inches, and it has tested up to 350 pounds. Both of these factors make the Atoll great for bringing along your dog or child.
Never lose your board or your paddle ever again! This SUP includes a leash for both, as well as tie downs for any extra gear. You read right! Included is a 10-foot leash for your paddle! This makes the Atoll great for multiple activities such as fishing, workouts, and yoga.
One Last Word about Paddleboard Sizing
Choosing the right size paddleboard can save you a lot of heartache in the long run. In this article, you’ve learned a valuable lesson on how to avoid the mistake I so naively made. Considering the length, weight, and thickness of a SUP before buying!
What is your ideal SUP size? Do you prefer long or short, narrow or wide, thick or thin? Is your favorite paddleboard on our list? Let us know in the comments below!
We hope you enjoyed our article about the importance of paddleboard sizing. If so, don’t forget to share!
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I am an avid adventurer. I have canoed and kayaked through the Southwest, and lately have been on the water in Maine. I am the sole planner of group kayaking trips. As an active woman, I go through clothing and equipment frequently. I am constantly researching and purchasing gear and love to write about my time outside on the water.