When it comes to finding the right paddle board for your height, you need to choose a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) that has enough volume (also known as buoyancy) for your weight and experience level.
Generally speaking, most paddleboards are between 10-11 feet in height and 32-34 inches wide. The wider the board, the harder it is to paddle, but the width will also determine how stable your board is.
Boards that are shorter in length are usually used for racing, as these are more easily maneuverable. You should also consider the thickness of the board, as this can also influence how well the board stays atop the water.
You also need to ensure the board adequately accommodates your weight, and most will have a recommended weight range.
While you can’t be too light for a board, you should ensure that your weight doesn’t exceed the board’s capacity, as otherwise the board will ride lower and will drag in the water, meaning it’ll be less efficient to paddle.
Table of Contents
- 1 Things To Consider When Sizing Your Paddleboard
- 2 Finding the right paddleboard for your height
- 2.1 Sizing your paddleboard based on the activity
- 2.2 Sizing your paddleboard according to weight
- 2.3 Different types of paddleboards
- 3 Final Say
Things To Consider When Sizing Your Paddleboard
Paddleboard sizing will differ from person to person, but generally speaking, your paddleboard’s length should be tailored to:
- How tall you are
- Your arm length
- Your paddle board’s height above the water (epoxy, inflatable, soft top)
- The type of paddle boarding you plan on doing (recreational, touring, surfing, racing)
Finding the right paddleboard for your height
The general rule of thumb when it comes to sizing up a paddleboard is that it should be around 9-10 inches taller than your height.
That said, as well as considering your height, you also need to consider your weight, experience level, and the type of paddleboarding you’ll be doing, as these factors all play a role in the type of board you’ll need.
Sizing your paddleboard based on the activity
Touring and racing paddleboards
Paddlers looking for a board for touring and racing purposes generally opt for one that is around 10-12 inches taller than the rider - so slightly longer than your average paddleboard.
Tourers and competitors usually opt for epoxy paddleboards, as these are lightweight, rigid, and tend to glide through the water quickly, which makes them perfect for racing.
They also tend to be narrower in width, which makes them less stable but allows you to gather more speed.
Ideal racing paddleboard length: 12’6 – 14’
Doing yoga on your paddleboard can be a calming and humbling experience, but you need to ensure the board has a wider surface area and is more stable than usual so it can support your weight in various poses.
Ideal yoga SUPs won’t be as long as those intended for racing purposes, but they’ll be wider, and should have a comfortable deck pad similar to a yoga mat.
Ideal yoga paddleboard length: 10’ – 12’6
Paddleboards intended for surfing and catching waves are typically shorter in length as they need to be easily maneuverable. Rather than being 9-10 inches above your height, you should instead look for a board that is 6-7 inches taller than your height.
Most paddle surfers opt for hard boards, though inflatable SUPs are more lightweight and portable, making them a great option for carrying back and forth.
Ideal surf paddleboard length: 9’0 – 10’6
When you’re starting out with paddle boarding, stability should always be your priority.
For this reason, many beginners usually opt for an inflatable paddleboard with a uniform thickness from the nose to tail which facilitates better weight distribution.
Sizing your paddleboard according to weight
Paddleboards differ in weight and capacity depending on their type and model, and like we said previously, different boards suit different types of activities.
You should always ensure your weight is within the board’s capacity, as if you’re too heavy for the board it’ll affect your ability to paddle efficiently and pick up speed.
Weight capacity calculation
Beginner paddleboard calculation
As we said before, if you’re a beginner, stability is your number one priority. You need to find a paddleboard that supports your weight and allows you to balance easily while paddling.
Alongside your weight, always remember to factor in any dogs, kids, or companions who will be on the board with you, as well as any additional gear, food, or water.
Advanced paddleboard calculation
If you’re an intermediate paddleboarder and you’re looking to upgrade your board to something more advanced, you need to consider the type of activity you’ll be using the board for, as well as your height and weight.
Different types of paddleboards
Thin, 4-inch inflatable boards are ideal for children or very lightweight paddlers, but heavier paddlers should steer clear from them.
That said, they’re great for flatwater paddling and are portable and lightweight.
Epoxy paddleboards are also known as rigid boards, and, due to their hard nature, they’re well suited to surfing and touring.
Soft top paddleboards
These are great for beginners and children as they have a soft, spongey top that cushions and protects you if you fall, and because of this they’re also well suited to yoga.
Choosing the correct paddleboard for your height is essential, but as we explained in this article, you not only need to take into consideration your height, but also your weight, the type of paddleboarding you’ll be doing, and your level of experience.
Considering all of these factors will allow you to choose a board that is the right length, thickness, weight, and type for your needs, and this way, you’ll get the most use out of your paddleboard.
You’re also more likely to improve as a paddle boarder, as you’ll have a board that accommodates your body weight, anatomy, and of course your height.
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.