Getting the right stand up paddle board for your weight is key to making sure SUP is fun and easy. However, things like length, width, thickness, and volume can really make buying a stand up paddle board confusing.
Very often we will have a customer say “someone who is a very good stand up paddle boarder told me I need an 11ft board”. What most that are new to buying a stand up paddle board may not realize is that the length of the board actually factors only slightly into paddle board sizing. Body weight of the riders, and board volume are where we want to put most of our focus when selecting a new stand up paddle board. Let us guide you through the process of selecting the right size paddle board for your weight.
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What is your weight?
Sounds simple enough, jump on the scale and see what it says. However, factors to take into account are if you will be sharing the board with others who may be heavier, if you have kids or pets who will ride along with you as we need to factor their weight into your selection process. Our best advice is to select board sizing based on the largest total weight that may use the board. For example, if you are 150lbs and your son is 80lbs, you really want to be sure to have a board that can accommodate at least 230lbs.
Pro Tip – We love hearing about customer getting fit and dropping a ton of weight thanks to the SUP workouts. However, when starting off with your first board, select it based on the weight you are now, not the weight you will become. Getting a board that is too small will only make things harder than they need to be.
What is Board Volume?
The length, width, and thickness of a SUP, with the help of a little mathematics, can be used to calculate the volume of a paddle board. The volume is a measure of the ability of the board to float with weight on it and generally the higher the volume, the more stable the board is. Volume is really the measurement you want to look at most – as it factors in all the other dimensions of the board. Looking at length may get you a board that is far to small as there are 11’ boards that are 38” wide and would have a very high volume, or boards that are only 24” wide that would have a very low volume.
Pro Tip – If you are buying your first stand up paddle board, don’t try to figure it all out on your own as for as many generalizations related to board sizing that exist, there are just as many exceptions! All we do is SUP, so let us help you like we have helped thousands of other customer since 2007.
What Volume Stand Up Paddle Board Should I Buy for My Weight?
Generally speaking, once you know the highest weight of rider (or rider and pet/kids), these guidelines will give you starting point.
For Novices and those who want to ensure SUP is as easy as possible, multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 1, and then 1.4 to give you a volume range to look for.
I am 150lbs, my daughter is 70lbs and she will ride on the front of the board with me. Combined we are 220lbs. With the formula above applied:
220lbs x 1 = 220L
220lbs x 1.4 = 308L
The range of volumes I should be looking at would be between 220 and 308L. Our personal preference at Paddleboard Direct, for novices, is to aim for somewhere between body weight x 1 to 1.2. This would suggest that something like the Dura-Maxx 11’4, or Fusion 11 or 11’6 would be ideal boards as they have volume right in this range!
If you aren’t a novice paddle boarder, pick the one below that applies best and use as your equation to find volume:
Intermediate – Body weight x .8 to 1.1
Touring – Body Weight x 1.0 to 1.1
Yoga – Body Weight x 1.0 to 1.2
SUP Fishing – Body Weight + All Gear x 1.0 to 1.4
Surf – anywhere from Body Weight x .5 to 1.0 (heavily based on conditions and skill level!
Pro Tip – if you are a novice, extra stability is always a good thing!
Some Our Best Sellers and Their Capacities
Most of the models we sell come in a few different sizes, however, product will have a very detailed specification chart with the volumes, as well as suggest rider sizing for each size. When it doubt, we are only live chat, phone call, or email away! A few examples are:
- The Dura-Maxx 11'4 is suitable for anyone up to 325, and the 10'6 for anyone up to 250.
- The Fusion series comes in 10'0", 10'6", 11'0", and 11'6" and can accommodate all the way up to 300lbs depending on the board size.
- The women specific Bliss has sizing options to accommodate up to 230lbs, and comes in 10'0", 10'6", and 11'0"
- The Escape Series with full wrap deck pad comes in sizes from 7'11" through 11'4" and can accommodate all the way up to 250lbs depending on the size.
- The super portable Crossover Air has sizing to handle all the way up to 300lbs and comes in 9'8", 10'2", 10'8", and 11'6".
Don't forget, SUP is always more fun with a friend, and we have all of these boards in our 2 Board Packages!
Now that you know the main factors that impact which stand up paddle board to buy, you can start to narrow down your selection. Getting the right size paddle board for your weight is key to making sure SUP is fun and easy for yourself, friends, and family!
Still not sure which size paddle board to buy? Contact email@example.com and I will be more than happy to help!
About the Author
Glenn Morton is Customer Experience Manager at Paddleboard Direct, as well as chief content creator. Glenn has been stand up paddle boarding and windsurfing over 20 years, and has been with Paddleboard Direct for over 15 years. When not on the water, Glenn can be found on his road bike, a ski hill, or raising his 12 year old daughter Nora. Glenn is an expert in all things paddle boarding including paddle board technique, SUP safety, and all paddle board products. Customers rely on Glenn's expertise to help guide them in their purchase of the best stand up paddle boards for their needs. Glenn helps equip thousands of paddle boarders each year, and is ready and waiting to help you!