What Size Paddle Board Should I Get? | Maddle

How to hold a Paddle for Paddleboard

Paddle boarding has exploded in popularity over the last decade and will only get more popular as time goes on.

If you are reading this, you are likely a beginner trying to figure out how to purchase the correct sized paddle board. Don’t worry, we have your back. 

What To Consider When Choosing Your Paddle Board Size 

There are several things that you should consider when choosing a paddle board. Each of these can and will impact your enjoyment  on the water.

Before we dive into the sizing of both solid boards and inflatable SUPs let’s talk about what the length, width and thickness of a board are.

Length: The length of a paddle board is the distance from the nose (tip of the board) to the tail (bottom of the board).

Width: The width of a paddle board is the diameter taken from the widest portion of the board.

Thickness: The thickness of a paddle board is the distance between the top of the board (where you stand) and the water.

1. Board Thickness

Most inflatable paddle boards have a thickness of between 4 to 6 inches.

A 5-inch board has less volume (the amount of air it can hold) which can reduce the amount of time required to inflate the board. The reduced volume can lower a paddler’s center of gravity making them feel more stable on the board and make it slightly easier to hop back on if you fall off! 

A 6-inch board has more volume allowing it to provide more support, stability, and rigidity on the water. This extra volume gives you the option of paddle boarding with more than one person, a furry friend and provides extra stability. This extra stability is great when you are first learning or taking the board into windy, choppy conditions!  

Ultimately, board thickness is a personal choice, and you can’t go wrong with either but a 6-inch board gives you more piece of mind when you want a stable paddling platform. 

2. Board Width

A paddle board’s width also  determines how stable it is for the paddler. The width of a paddle board is broken into two categories which will impact its performance and primary function.

Narrow Paddle Boards

A board is considered narrow if it is smaller than 31 inches. Thinner inflatable SUPs have less drag which allows them to glide more efficiently and have better maneuverability in the water. All of which can equal more speed. However, getting somewhere fast is not always the goal. But if you are looking to race, a thinner board is the way to go. 

The biggest  tradeoff with a narrow board is that it will feel less stable so they are often a better option for more experienced paddlers. 

Wide Paddle Boards 

A board is considered wide if it’s bigger than 31 inches. 

Wide paddle boards provide more stability as they have a larger surface area for riders to stand on. They also have more volume which allows for better weight distribution which makes losing your balance and falling into the water much harder to do!

A wider board is a  great all rounder,  perfect for beginners and intermediates looking to paddle on flatwater. 

3. Board Length

Most paddle board brands make boards between 10 to 12 feet, which is perfect for an all round SUP. Some boards can also be as short as 7 feet for high performance paddling and surfing, and some can be as long as 15 feet, made mostly for SUP touring and racing.

Paddle Boards Under 10 Feet

  • The best option for children 

  • A great option if you want a more responsive size for performance paddling such as SUP surfing

Paddle Boards Between 10-11 Feet

  • The most popular size 

  • Ideal for recreational use such as yoga, cruising, and general paddling

Paddle Boards Longer Than 11 Feet

  • A longer board provides more glide which makes it built for speed 

  • Ideal for racing, touring and long distance paddle boarding

4. Experience Level

When you’re just starting out, spend less time worrying about the features your board has and more time on the water. You can’t ever go wrong with a high quality all around board.

Our recommendation is to get a 10’6’’ board as it will have all the features you would need for a fun day on the water! 

The features of an SUP board are highly personal  but  as you start to develop more experience then so will your need  for certain characteristics.

If you find yourself getting interested in racing, whitewater paddling, surfing or long distance touring then you can look for a board to add to your quiver that has performance  features for the activities you want to do!

Read More: Learn How To Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) - For Beginners

5. Weight Capacity

If you are a beginner be sure to consider all the fun things you can carry on your board when out on the water for the day such as:

  • Food if you plan on having a picnic in the water

  • Your dog or other furry friends joining you

  • A cooler with all your favourite drinks

  • Your significant other, friends or children joining you

If you ever happen to go over the weight capacity of the board, which most people will never even come close to doing, paddle boards will pretty much never sink! It will just make it more difficult to paddle as the board will drag in the water. 

The result is you may end up feeling a bit sore the next day.

6. Inflatable vs Solid Board

There are two types of paddle boards, inflatable and solid. The difference between the two is that an inflatable SUP board utilizes an air core that you inflate prior to using it while a  solid board is ready to be thrown out on the water immediately.

Advantages Of Inflatable SUPs

  • Easier to store/transport

  • Softer deck surface

  • Extremely stable

 Disadvantages Of Inflatable SUPs

  • Not as rigid as a hard board

  • If not pumped up correctly they can have a lot of flex

  • Less responsive and maneuverable

While it may seem like extra effort to inflate an SUP, the benefit is that it is easier to store them, transport them and they have a softer deck surface!

Read More: Inflatable Board vs Solid Board - Choosing The Right SUP

Ideal Size Guidelines For Beginner Paddlers

When purchasing an SUP you should consider the total weight you plan to put on the board as the weight capacity of an SUP is determined by the length, width and thickness of the board.

The total volume of the board will determine how much total weight it can carry.

Total WeightSUP WidthSUP LengthSUP Thickness
Under 100 lbs31 - 32 inches9 - 10 feet5 - 6 inches
100 - 125 lbs31 - 32 inches10 - 11 feet5 - 6 inches
125 - 150 lbs31 - 33 inches10 - 11 feet5 - 6 inches
150 - 175 lbs32 - 34 inches10 - 11 feet5 - 6 inches
175 - 200 lbs32 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet6 inches
200 - 225 lbs32 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet6 inches
Over 225 lbs32 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet6 inches

What Do You Want To Do?

  • Cruising

  • Yoga

  • Workout

  • Picnic 

  • Surfing

  • Exploring

Ideal Size Guidelines For Intermediate/Advanced Paddlers

For more advanced paddlers, the recommendations will differ quite a bit based on specific features the rider is looking for as well as the intended uses of the board. 

If the rider is looking for speed we recommend a thinner and longer board. On the other hand, if you are looking for stability during surfing or whitewater paddling  we recommend a wider and slightly shorter board.

Total WeightSUP WidthSUP LengthSUP Thickness
Under 100 lbs29 - 32 inches9 - 11 feet4 - 6 inches
100 - 125 lbs29 - 32 inches9 - 11 feet4 - 6 inches
125 - 150 lbs30 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet5 - 6 inches
150 - 175 lbs30 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet5 - 6 inches
175 - 200 lbs30 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet5 - 6 inches
200 - 225 lbs30 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet5 - 6 inches
Over 225 lbs30 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet6 inches

What Do You Want To Do?

  • Racing

  • Long Distance Touring

  • Whitewater riding

  • Surfing

Our Verdict

Choosing the right size paddle board can seem very difficult given the large number of options on the market. However, as a beginner or intermediate paddler, your decision should be quite easy. 

Maddle recommends: 

Length: 10’6’’

Width: 32’’

Thickness: 6’’

Check out Maddles’ collection of high quality inflatable boards. Each of our boards are made for all-round paddling fun while also providing good paddling performance for people of all experience levels looking to have a great day on the water with friends and family.

Just In Case We Didn’t Answer Your Questions

What size paddle board should I get for my height?

In general, these are the dimensions you should consider purchasing a paddle board based on your height:

Height Of RiderLength Of Paddle BoardThickness Of Paddle BoardWidth Of Paddle Board
4 - 5 feet8 - 10 feet5 - 6 inches28 - 32 inches
4 - 6 feet10 - 11 feet5 - 6 inches30 - 34 inches
6 - 7 feet12 - 14 feet5 - 6 inches30 - 34 inches

What size paddle board do I need for my height and weight?

Weight is the more important factor to consider over height as paddle boards are built to for a certain weight capacity. Additionally, your height will directly affect your weight. 

In general, these are the dimensions you should consider when purchasing a paddle board based on your weight:

WeightEstimated HeightSUP WidthSUP LengthSUP Thickness
Under 125 lbsUnder 5 feet31 - 32 inches9 - 10 feet5 - 6 inches
125 - 175 lbs5 - 6 feet31 - 34 inches10 - 11 feet5 - 6 inches
175 - 225 lbs6 feet - 6’4 inches32 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet6 inches
Over 225 lbsOver 6’4 inches32 - 34 inches10 - 12 feet6 inches

How do I know what size paddle board I need? 

In general a paddle board between 10 - 11 feet long and 30 - 34 inches wide will suit anyone. 

If you are a more experienced paddler, and are looking for a board that prioritizes speed then you should look for a board 12 - 14 inches long and 20-23 inches wide.

Is a longer or shorter paddle board better?

Longer paddle boards are typically faster and can hold more volume which allows for better weight distribution in front of and behind the rider, but shorter paddle boards have better mobility and maneuverability. 

However, the height and weight of the rider must be heavily considered when purchasing a longer or shorter paddle board. 

What is the best size paddle board for beginners?

The best sized paddle board for beginners has the following dimensions:

Length: 10’6’’

Width: 32’’

Thickness: 6’’

Fin Type: 3 fin

Inflatable Board or Solid Board: Inflatable

woman standing on beach with paddle board

Camille Brodeur

Driven by the intersection of lifestyle and fitness, Camille's mission is to inspire others to integrate elements of beauty and aesthetic into their outdoor activities. Her depth of experience in the paddle boarding world allows her to inform and motivate others to get out on the water in the safest and most fun ways possible. Whether it be through her work at Maddle or elsewhere, Camille continuously strives to expand the public consciousness surrounding SUPs.


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