Selecting SUP Size By Your Height & Weight

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Choosing a paddle board is a far more complicated process than you might think. You’re not just considering wicked designs or what it’s made of. You’re also considering your height, your weight, your SUP intentions, and more.

So how do you determine which board is the right board for you? Well, that’s what we’re going to explore. We’re going to have a look at the ins and outs of determining the right board for you based on your weight and height to ensure you’re not left sinking or struggling to paddle board the right way. Nobody wants to go out onto the water and find they’ve made a grave error in judgement!

So let’s not waste any time, and instead, dive right in!

What Defines SUP Board Weight?

Several factors go into the determination of overall board weight. For example, length, width, thickness combined is known as the volume of the board. These elements are contributors to the weight of the board overall. The most important, however, is the material used. An epoxy or iSUP will have different weights and, therefore, can handle different weight classes.

Why It Matters

When you use a SUP board that isn’t right for your weight class, you end up struggling to paddle board efficiently. While you’re never going to be too light for a paddle board, you can be too heavy. When you’re too heavy for a paddle board, it rides low and drags in the water, making it more challenging to get the most out of your SUP experience.

There are three main points you need to focus on when deciding on a board size for you;

  1. Your weight.
  2. Your experience.
  3. Your paddle boarding intentions.

Max Capacity

It is essential that you’re aware of the max capacity of any SUP board you’re considering. Almost all SUP boards sold have a max capacity listed so it’s easy to see what boards are completely ruled out early on in the decision-making process.

Be careful when determining this, and try to give yourself some room to work with. You don’t want to fall victim to a brand’s potentially overly optimistic weight capacities.

If the board can’t carry your weight or the combined weight of you and your pet, or you and a partner, then DON’T get it. You’ll end up riding low and having a rotten time on the water. You’ll find yourself struggling to keep balance and even potentially keeping afloat.

In most cases, a maximum weight capacity is a good enough indicator if a board will or will not work for you.


The board’s length can have a profound effect on the board’s overall weight. It depends on the overall design as a lengthy board can still be significant in width, but more often than not, this isn’t the case. Longer boards are usually for racing, and racing boards are inherently narrower.

Recommended SUP Size Per Paddle Boarding Type

Recommended SUP Size Per Paddle Boarding Type

There’s a really common guideline when it comes to picking out a SUP board that works for your height. Simply add 9 – 10 inches to your height. Furthermore, determine intention and weight, and then you’ll be able to accurately assume the necessary measures the board in question should meet.

Here are some of the more accurate guidelines based on SUP intent.


Yoga SUPs are meant to be comfortable boards considering you’ll be doing a physically demanding activity on the board. Therefore, you need a wide board with comfortable padding with a desired size of 10’ – 12’6 inches.

Touring & Racing

Touring and racing boards are relatively long, so the ‘add 9 – 10 inches’ rule doesn’t apply here. Instead, you’ll be looking at 10 – 12 taller than your height. Furthermore, racing boards are extremely narrow. So you need to ensure the calibration of your height and weight is on point, so you don’t fall off every time you hit the water.

The ideal size for a racing SUP board is 12’6 – 14’ inches.


Surfing requires a high level of maneuverability, and therefore you’ll need a somewhat shorter board. The ideal size for a surfing SUP is 9’0 – 10’6 inches.

Recommended SUP Size Per Weight Category

LBS Paddle Board Length
50 – 125 lbs 9’ – 10’6 or 10’6 – 11’6
125 – 150 lbs 10’6 – 11’6
150 – 175 lbs 10’6’ – 11’6’ or 11’6 – 12’6
175 – 200 lbs 11’6 – 12’6
200 – 225 lbs 11’6 – 12’6 or 12’6+
225 – 250 lbs 12’6+
250 – 275 lbs 12’6+

Inflatable Vs. Epoxy

There are two kinds of SUP boards; hard or soft, better known as inflatables (iSUP) and epoxy boards. iSUPs are used for leisure more often than epoxy boards which are primarily used for racing and surfing. I’ll just give you a quick overview of the two real quick.

Inflatables (iSUPs)

  • Easier to repair than epoxy.
  • Easy to transport.
  • More stable and slow-paced (not always), making them ideal for leisure.
  • The consistent thickness helps with stability.


  • It can be more expensive to repair.
  • Difficult to transport and store as they can’t be deflated and packed away.
  • Better performance than iSUPs due to their shape.
  • They’re designed to reduce weight thanks to a curved bottom, which can add instability.

Getting the right size board can make paddle boarding easier and achieve your desired SUP style more manageable. A correctly sized epoxy board means you can easily glide through the water.

What If There’s No Listed Max Weight Capacity?

In the rare case that a manufacturer hasn’t included a max weight capacity, don’t stress. Instead, you’ll need to use a simple formula to calculate if the SUP board you’re considering is still a good fit by using Volume as the standard.

Beginner or Balance Challenged (Touring/Racing)

Body weight (lbs) x (1 to 1.4)
= Approximate Volume (L)

Novice or Intermediate (Rough Conditions)

Body weight (lbs) x (0.8 to 1)
= Approximate Volume (L)

Advanced Surfing

Body weight (lbs) x (0.6 to 0.8)
= Approximate Volume (L)

Expert Surfing or Pro

Body weight (lbs) x (0.5 to 0.6)
= Approximate Volume (L)

It’s simple. All you need to do is multiply your body weight by the numbers listed per experience/type, and then you’ll get the approximate volume.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, now you’ve got a clearer understanding of how to make the right decisions when it comes to choosing a SUP board that works for your height and weight.

If you’re still confused, be sure to check out this convenient tool to help make determining the right SUP board size easy.

Be sure to share this article with any friends or family members who might be underestimating how difficult this decision can truly be. Give them the tools they need to succeed when deciding on a SUP suited for their height and weight.


Paddleboarding has been one of the few activities that's allowed me to take a mental break from life and just be in the moment. Whether you're looking for an outlet, a method for physical fitness, or even just a way to meet new people, paddle boarding can put you on a path to achieving all these goals. Every article I post on this site is made with the intention to spread sup love and get more people to stand up and paddle!

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