Paddle Board Size

Everything You Need To Know On Choosing the Right Paddle Board Size

Welcome to the world of paddle boarding. If you are just starting out and you’ve been wondering “what size paddle board do I need?“, you’ve come to the right place! Today we’re talking all about paddle board sizes.

If you want to learn to paddle board well, you need to choose the right paddle board dimensions based on your height, weight, and build, but also on the activities you’re planning on using it for. The right paddle board should have enough flotation and stability, but those should not get in the way of fast and smooth paddling.

With that said, let’s go into some paddle board sizing and valid information you can use.

Bluefin-Cruise-Carbon-Girl
A 12′ long board is great for touring on the water

What paddle board size should I get?

The paddle board size largely depends on you, and the activities you want it for. However, as a general rule of thumb, your board should be from 304 cm to 335 cm long with a width of 81 cm to 86 cm. If you are entirely new to paddle boarding, I would suggest choosing a wider board somewhere closer to the 86 cm range for added stability. But, don’t go too wide because that will affect the speed and might feel a bit sluggish overall.

While the above-mentioned paddle board dimensions are most often used, if you are a thin person with a smaller build, you would want to opt for something shorter for easier control. So, what size paddle board do I need for my height, you may ask. Well, if you are below 67 kg or if you are looking for a board that’s easier to transport and maneuver in the water, then a 292 cm board is the right pick for you.

For excellent stability, a width of 76 cm to 81 cm is great because at that length, if you choose something wider, it will be too slow to paddle. And where’s the fun in that, right?

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A bit wider board offers some extra balance to your paddling adventures

Now, for those adventurers who want some speed and straight tracking right from the start, a 384 cm long paddle board with 81 cm width is the optimal choice. You can even go down to a 71 cm width, but that would be quite unstable for someone who’s just starting out and needs stability above all. These boards are big and stable but also offer some speed, which makes them very suited for longer tours on the water.

I would like to point to one issue, though. If you go for the 384 cm long board, you might find it lots of fun, but you do need to ask yourself whether you have space for it. But if you go for an inflatable board, that will make things easier. High-quality inflatable paddle boards still offer excellent performance without the fuss of storage. And that’s basically the main difference between the inflatable boards and the solid boards.

MOAI-SUP-Collection Paddle Board Sizes
Which paddle board size do you prefer for your paddling adventures?

Paddle board sizes by specific uses

If you thought that was enough information about paddle board sizes, I’m not letting you go so quickly! After all, the more you inform yourself, the better decision you’ll make when buying your first paddle board.

Now, if you’ll be whitewater paddling or running rapids, a 91 cm wide board would be suitable, however, for a general paddling that would be too wide. You will have to reach far just to keep a vertical stroke, and it’ll be slower than it should be.

If you want a board designed for surfing, then a shorter board of around 274 cm would be great. However, keep in mind that the shorter and thinner the board is, the more unstable it will be for general paddling.

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Can you imagine surfing the waves on your paddle board? (Picture of the Fanaftic Fly Air)

The stability of inflatable vs. solid boards

Based on the construction, there is a slight advantage to inflatable boards over hardboards when it comes to stability. Being inflated, these boards gain a uniform thickness from side to side and nose to tail. This makes them more stable even when compared to the same-sized solid boards, which makes inflatable paddle boards especially more interesting for beginners.

You see, the solid boards have their weight reduced in order to optimize them for speed and surfing activities. While they provide higher performance for the experienced paddlers, they aren’t as stable when it comes to being used by beginners.

You can read more about the main differences between the inflatable vs. the solid boards here.

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How much more stable could an inflatable paddle board possibly get!? (Picture of the Isle Megalodon)

Another aspect of the stability and performance of boards is the thickness. Most paddlers should go for boards that are 5-inch or 6-inch thick board. However, if you are above 100 kg, you should consider opting for a
6-inch board because it carries more volume overall, and it will be more stable on the water.

Now, many variables affect the performance of a board apart from the length, width, or the additional gear you add. However, I’ve constructed a general table that will guide you through the process of buying your first board and not making a mistake in the process.

Use these paddle board sizing ranges for an all-around board that will be stable and reliable so you can learn to paddle easily. As time goes by, and you master the techniques, you can upgrade your existing board with some additional gear, or you can buy a new one that will be focused on performance rather than just stability.

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As a beginner you can also just sit down and paddle to make sure you stay balanced

General paddle board size ranges for beginners

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While this table provides good overall ranges for all-around paddle boards for those just starting out with paddle boarding, there’s some difference if you are an experienced paddler. In that case, I would like you to follow the paddle board dimensions below:

General paddle board size ranges for intermediate to advanced paddlers

paddle-board-sizing-advanced

As you become more and more experienced with paddle boarding, even the second table might become obsolete for you because pro paddlers choose boards based on specific performance characteristics instead of based on metrics.

So, while the second table is suitable for experienced paddlers, it refers to the all-around paddle board sizing instead of specific performance. For instance, if you’d like to surf or go for whitewater paddling, the paddle board sizes might be different.

With that said, when comparing the two tables, you might notice how length does not change between rookies and experienced paddlers. Instead of associating length with paddler’s weight, this metric mainly depends on:

  • The specific activity you intend on doing with your paddle board
  • The conditions in which you’ll be using your board (range of water and wind)
  • Your height and reach
  • Whether you’ll be paddling alone or bring your child/pets on board
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Paddling together with a dog on the Blackfin Model X

Conclusion paddle board sizes

While this information gave you a basic understanding and you might not be as confused when wondering what size paddle board do I need, there’s still additional info to know like accessories and gear and other performance-based metrics that might narrow down your purchase options.

You can find everything you need to know in other posts for paddle boards and paddling in general, so feel free to look around since you’re already here. Also, if you have any additional questions or doubts regarding paddle board dimensions or paddling in general, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to help.

And speaking of reaching out, don’t forget to visit my Facebook and Instagram account for more cool tips and recommendations on paddle boards and accessories.

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Review written by: Tom

Hi! My name is Tom. During the year I try to be on a paddle board as much as possible. By reading this blog you'll stay updated on everything I test on the water :)