Paddle boards require balance, which can be challenging amid waves, river currents, and just simple standing. With the right board, though, balance isn’t a problem—and getting up on your paddle board is an easy feat. You just need to make sure that your paddle board is appropriately suited for your weight.
Why Weight Matters for Paddleboard Purchases
Many people assume that SUP boards are just like surfboards. When it comes to stability, this is true: the larger a surfboard and paddle board, the more stability a user has.
Stability is Determined by Three Factors that Weight Can Counteract
Stability is dependent on a SUP board’s length, width, and thickness—and your body weight affects each of these. Your goal in choosing the correct size of board means understanding how your weight will offer more or less stability on a SUP.
Your Goal is Easy Standing and Perfect Balance
To make your SUP experience as stable as possible, you want the perfect amount of displacement. Your weight directly relates to the board’s volume. A heavier rider forces the paddleboard into the water. Your goal is to be above the water for less resistance.
A Paddleboard’s Width is Crucial for Your Stability, and They Come in Two Common Sizes
Width is perhaps the number one factor in determining your stability on a SUP. Paddle boards come in two widths typically: narrow (29 inches to 30 inches) and wide (31 inches and up). However, some go all the way up to 34+ inches. Narrow boards are faster, but they’re also less stable for heavier riders.
Once You’ve Determined Your Width, Factor in Your Body Weight
Now that you have a preferred width, it’s time to consider your exact weight. A board with more volume is better suited for more weight. If you’re a lighter, your board should also be lighter in its weight and its volume to match.
Your Weight Shouldn’t Make a Board Drag or Sink in Water
The most important reason weight matters is staying afloat. If you’re too heavy for your board or your board is too small for you, its tail could dip into the water. It’s difficult to counteract this, so when in doubt always choose a larger board.
Beginners Needs are Different in Addition to Weight
If you’re just stepping into the world of SUP, you’re going to need a different board for your weight. Beginners should choose boards in these ranges:
- 28-30 inches for 120-150 lbs
- 29-32 inches for 160-190 lbs and 200-230 lbs
For an Advanced Paddle Boarder, These Sizes Will Work Perfect For Your Weight
Very familiar with paddle boards and different bodies of water? You can opt for smaller boards if you’re advanced. You’ll want to stick with these widths for your weight:
- 26-26.5 inches for 120-150 lbs
- 27-28 inches for 160-190 lbs
- 28-28.5 inches for 200-230 lbs
Next, It’s Important to Calculate for Your Height
Don’t forget to factor in your height when board shopping. Your height impacts your weight of course but also determines the ease of board use. Shorter paddlers will struggle with a too-wide board; they’ll reach farther to launch the board and may not be able to carry it underarm.
Length Matters, Too, When Considering Your Weight
Your height also determines the length of your board. Shorter boards, such as 8-foot options, are designed for kids and smaller adults and make for easier maneuvering. Longer boards, between 12.5 and 14 feet, track straighter and are easier to ride smoothly.
Some Boards Sizes, Though, are Suitable for Any Paddleboard Adventure
You'll want a board between 9 to 12 feet, or medium board lengths, for those who need a calm, all-around experience board. These boards tend to suit most adult heights, and they’re excellent to ride in flat waters and tougher surf.
The Length of Your Paddle board and Your Height Determine a Board’s Glide
One of the biggest ways in which your height shapes your paddle board experience is in gliding. Although there are many other factors, longer boards are generally better gliders, making for smoother, effortless travel across any water. Taller paddlers will paddle less with longer boards.
How Much Weight Can Paddleboards Hold?
Worried a paddleboard may not be able to tolerate a lot of weight? These sturdy boards can hold all different shapes and sizes. SUP is a sport meant to appeal to all, of any shape or size —and there’s a perfect board for you out there.
Every Paddleboard is Made for Different Weights and Different Paddlers
SUP designers create boards for every possible height, weight, and experience. In fact, some boards can even hold more than one passenger or only one kind of rider; there are SUP models that hold a paddler and dogs, and even extra wide models for those who need more stability.
Does Your Weight Affect the Type of Paddleboard You Must Buy?
Your board also needs to match different water conditions—but that doesn’t mean your weight will make you unable to explore rough water or surf. All traditional size and weight recommendations work in most conditions.
If You’re Having Trouble Balancing on Paddleboards, Try a Bigger Board
So, you’ve found the perfect board for your height and weight. Yet if you find yourself wobbling an awful lot on the water, swap to a wider board for added stability and more volume to evenly distribute your weight on the board.
Don’t Forget to Consider Your Strength if You’re Looking at Larger Boards
Keep not only your weight but also your strength in mind when SUP shopping. You do have to carry your new board to the water! If you can’t physically handle a larger board, you might want to sacrifice an inch of width.
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