Table of contents1. Does length of paddle board matter
2. Board length by activity type
2.1. Touring & racing boards
2.2. Yoga SUPs
2.3. Surfing boards
2.4. Beginner paddleboards
There are a lot of aspects of a paddle board you should look into when choosing a paddle board. One important factor you shouldn’t overlook is the length of the board. It’s important to choose a board with the right length for its intended use.
Does length of paddle board matter?
Yes, the length of the paddle board matters. The longer and thinner a SUP board is, the faster it is. That’s why all racing SUP boards are at least 12’’ long. All-around boards are a little bit shorter, and a nice balance between speed and maneuverability.
Typically longer boards will have better glide performance and faster speed.
An ideal paddle board would be one that offers enough flotation and stability for your skill and body weight, but paddles fast enough for an enjoyable experience and suits your paddling style. A touring paddle board at 12'' long and 30-32'' wide would be an ideal choice for most people.
- The most common SUP boards for general use are usually 10-11 feet in length and between 32 and 34 inches wide. If you are not confident about your balance, you might want to use a board that is 33-34 inches wide to get a sufficient amount of stability for a comfortable ride.
- If you weigh less than 70kg or want a more maneuverable board, you might want to consider getting a shorter-than-average board, typically in the 9’2 length range. A shorter board also comes with other advantage like being more portable than longer boards and more stable if designed right. But you need to make sure the width is suitable for the length. 30-32 inches would be the ideal thickness range for boards in this length range. But that doesn’t mean wider is better. If the board is wider than 32’’, it will be slower as it will have more drag and is harder to paddle.
- Inflatable SUP boards are typically more stable than hardboards of similar size. Inflatable boards have a uniform thickness from side to side and nose to tail, making them considerably more stable than similarly sized hard boards. Hardboards are optimized for speed and glide performance, but they won’t be able to provide the same amount of stability and buoyancy for recreational riders.
- Board thickness is an important aspect of a board that shouldn’t be ignored. Inflatable paddleboards built for all-around paddling, especially for riders who are still learning how to paddle board, should)If you use your board mostly for all-around paddling or just started to learn how to paddle board, you should probably go with a board that’s 5 inches thick. It’s the most ideal thickness for all-around paddling. But for heavier riders, a 6-inch thick board might be more suitable as they will benefit from the extra volume the board offers.
- If you want a board with fast speed and tracks well, consider a 12’6 touring or race board. A touring board at 32 inches wide would offer enough stability for you to have a comfortable ride. Race boards are typically 28’’ or even 26’’ wide, which makes them very fast but less stable. A 12’6 board at 30’’ wide balances speed and stability nicely and is great for both racing and touring.
Board length by activity type
Touring & racing boards
Touring boards are typically longer than an all-round paddle board to have better glide performance and faster speed. 12’6 is an ideal length for a touring board. If transportability is a priority, consider getting an inflatable touring board as it can be deflated and rolled up when needed. It’s also more stable and comfortable to ride on.
An epoxy board would make a great choice for racing as it’s lightweight, rigid and glides through the water.
Ideal length for a racing SUP: 12’6-14’
If you want to do yoga on a paddle board, you are going to need a board with a wider surface area for additional stability. Since inflatables are more stable than hard boards, inflatables would make a more suitable choice for doing yoga. The key to choosing a suitable yoga SUP board is to look for boards with a comfortable deck pad similar to your yoga mat.
Ideal length for a yoga SUP:10’-12’6
A surfing board is usually shorter than average, about 9-10 feet because shorter boards will have better maneuverability for catching waves.
Although most surfing boards are hard boards, more and more people are surfing with inflatables as they are much easier to transport.
Ideal length for a surf board: 9’ - 10’6
One of the most important factors in choosing a beginner paddle board is probably stability. A stable board would go a long way to helping beginners master the basic paddling skills more quickly. An all-round inflatable SUP board at 10’6 long and 32’’ wide would make a great choice as a beginner paddleboard.
Ideal length for an all-round SUP:10’6
It’s not an easy job to choose a paddle board. You need to know what length, width and thickness that suit you best. But a suitable SUP size would make your paddling experience much more enjoyable. So it’s definitely worth spending some time doing your research before placing the order.