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What Size Paddle Board Should I Buy

While shopping for a paddle board, you will want a board that provides enough flotation and stability for your skill and body weight, but paddles fast enough for a satisfying experience and suits the type of paddling you will be doing.

what size paddle board should i buy

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While there are various factors that influence the ideal length, width, and thickness you should be looking for in a paddle board, the table below should get you in an appropriate range if you are a beginning paddler looking for a board for all-around use:

For more advanced paddlers, the recommended proportions can differ quite a bit depending on any specialized intended uses of the board, but here is a general guide for more experienced paddlers wanting a board for all around use including flat water cruising, light surfing and moderate distance touring:

Keep in mind that advanced riders tend to choose boards based on specific performance characteristics more than size and weight factors, so consider this chart as a starting point for choosing a SUP board that will continue to be a good fit for you as an all-around board as your skills progress.

You may notice that length recommendations do not vary much between beginning and advanced paddlers. This is because, while length is a key element in the performance and intended use of a paddle board, it is less directly related to rider weight and is more affected by other factors such as those below:

Now that you have an idea of what size paddle board you should be looking for, a great place to start looking for your perfect SUP is on our best all-around inflatable paddle board page. These are the boards we have found to be most popular with paddlers who want to get out and have a great time on the water without being limited to one specific paddling activity.

Pumped Up SUP is an online store specializing in high-performance inflatable stand up paddle boards and accessories. We're always happy to answer your questions - just give us a call at 1-877-777-1769.

The hull, or body, of a paddle board plays a major role in determining how the board performs in the water. Most SUPs have either a planing hull or a displacement hull. There are a handful with a hybrid design that combine the best attributes of each design.

Generally, if you're under 200 lbs, any standard paddle board will be able to float you just fine. If you're over 235 lbs, you'll want a board with at least 175 L of volume in order for increased stability. For the over 275 lbs, grab a board with over 240 L of volume. If you're over 300 lbs, choose a board with at least 270 L of volume for the proper stability and control.

Hybrid paddle boards are wider than a typical all around SUP and usually feature a pointed nose. These paddle boards are extra stable for exercise, SUP Yoga, riding with your dog and/or kids. These boards are super versatile and growing in popularity.

Choosing a board size is just the beginning of your SUP journey. Don't buy a board without understanding hull types, fin systems, differences between hard/epoxy and inflatable SUPs, SUP construction, and other unique details. Check out our article on How To Choose A Stand Up Paddle Board for even more info.

At the end of the day, your skill level, weight, and your intended SUP activities will guide you to the right board. Do you have any more questions about choosing the right size paddle board? Ask us in the comments.

One of the most common questions we get at Glide is what size paddle board do I need for my size? And trust me I get it, it's like a Dr. Seuss book when looking online at all the different paddle boards for beginners! Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones, yellow ones and blue ones! So how do I know what the best paddle board for beginners and what size paddle board do I need?

We could get super nerdy about the perfect ratio of volume, length, width, rocker, foil, outline rail shape, etc etc etc, and dial in what I think would be the perfect paddle board for you today, as long as the temperature and humidity remain constant... For a paddle board for beginners that is over complicated and honestly for 99% of everyone paddle boarding that would be information overload, so let's break it down a bit to the info that actually matters. For a more in-depth article on how paddle boards are designed check out this post on how we design stand up paddle boards.

The specs you want to look at when buying your first stand-up paddle board are length, width, thickness, volume, and weight capacity.

For an adult looking for an all-around beginner paddle board, you will want a length between 10' and 12'6" this will give you a good starting place on your hunt for the perfect board. Length will affect how quick the board is and its top speed. The longer the paddle board is the faster it will be. The trade-off for stand up paddle boards is that the longer they are the harder they are to turn or maneuver. For a paddle boarding beginner, I would look for a board that is 10'6" in length. That will give you a perfect balance between speed and maneuverability. So all you need to remember is a longer board is faster but it has trade-offs.

The width of your board determines how stable the paddle board will be on the water while standing still and while paddling. The trade-off with a wider board is that width is the natural enemy of speed. The wider boards are just going to be slower than a narrower sup board, but you are going to be extremely stable with that extra width. So how wide of a paddle board should I be looking for as a beginner paddler? 32"-34" is a great width range to look at for your first paddle board.

Many cheaper boards are 30" wide, or a max of 32" and that is because low-quality drop stitch comes in 30" and 32" width. Drop stitch fabric is what makes inflatable paddle boards stiff and like most things in life, there is a range of quality you can get with drop stitch.

Mass-produced entry-level board use standard low-quality 30" and 32" drop stitch in their paddle boards because it is cheap and easy to source. So if you are looking for a paddle board that is an all-around shape that only comes in 30" or 32" wide drop stitch, there is a good chance it will be on the lower end of the paddle board market.

Ok, I hear you get to the point, what is the width I am looking for when shopping for the best beginner paddle board? 33" is the perfect width for a solid board or inflatable board. It will give you an incredibly stable board to learn on, and with still be fun to paddle as your skill increases.

What board thickness should a board for beginners be? For a hard paddle board for beginners, you will want something around 4.5" to 5" thick. For inflatable paddle boards, you will want a 6" thick board. Hard boards can get a little thicker when you are looking at the width. A displacement hull flat water touring board will be a thicker board than an all-around planing hull paddle board. The amount of virtual trees I would have to kill to get enough virtual paper I would need to go over the pros and cons of the thickness of an eps foam core board is just too much. And you would probably end up hating more for it.

So for now we are just going to focus on inflatable sup for now. Woven Dropstich has been a game changer for inflatable paddle boards, it has made inflatable sups feel like a hard board. The thicknesses of sup boards will help determine how stiff the board is, how much weight capacity and storage space the board will have. The most important thing when looking for an inflatable paddle board for beginners is a woven drop stitch core. It will cost you more upfront but the benefits you get are worth the extra money. The core of the board is well, the core, the board is built around the core. A woven drop stitch core is the newest and most high-tech core you can get on an inflatable paddle board. A board for beginners with an ultra-stiff core will make everything easier and more efficient.

Other beginner paddle boards and other boards brands will throw fancy marketing terms at you like military grade PVC, carbon fiber rails, lightweight board, grooved traction pad ok well maybe not the traction pad, but the rest I guarantee you will see on other brands sites. All the marketing in the world can not change what the core material of the board is made from. As a beginner paddle board having an inflatable paddle board with a woven core will make all the difference and you will enjoy paddle boarding that much more on a stiff and stable board.

I am going to lump volume and weight capacity into one summary as they really go hand in hand. Volume is measured in liters of displacement. A 180L paddle board will displace 180L of water. The best paddle board for beginners will be a high-weight capacity all-around solid or inflatable paddleboard.

So what size paddle board do I need? A rule of thumb I like to follow is to multiply your weight by 1 to 1.4. That will give you the liters you should be looking for in your paddle board. Like all rules of thumb you have to take it all with a grain of salt. A all-around paddle board like the O2 Retro (which is the best paddle board for beginners) that has 290L of volume can not be compared to the 260L Godspeed Mark II. Why not you say? Great question. It has to do with the paddle board's shape. The O2 Retro is an all-around inflatable paddle board shape that is in very basic sense a giant longboard shape. The Godspeed is a carbon fiber hard board.

You have to compare inflatable paddle boards to other inflatable sups good and then hard boards to board rigid. And then you also have to compare the shape of the board, a beginner board all around shape should not be compared against a stand up paddle board used for racing.

So what does volume have to do with weight capacity? They really go hand in hand, the higher the volume paddle boards will hold more weight than lower volume sup boards. And where volume even gets more confusing is longer boards and lighter boards tend to have higher weight capacity than boards half the size, which makes sense right? Where it gets confusing is typically a higher volume board will be more stable and carry more weight and on paper that would make a great beginner paddle board right? Well, not when we are talking about race boards. They are thing of beauty but they are also not the best paddle boards for new paddlers. Stick with an all-around shape or inflatable sup. 041b061a72


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