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How to choose the size of your paddle board?

How to choose the size of your paddle board? Posted on 28 August 2019Leave a comment

There are a lot of paddle boards on the market. One of the differences between them is the size. So it’s difficult to choose the size of your SUP without knowing what is the difference between those sizes. In fact, this criteria will determine how you will use your board. You won’t choose the same dimensions for a surfing our a touring board.

Dimensions of a paddle board

The length

  • It’s the criteria that will determine the use of your SUP according to your practice. A long board will offer more paddling comfort and will allow a more fluid and sporty glide. On one other hand, the longer the length, the less manoeuvrable and reactive the board will be. On the other hand, the shorter a board is, the less good the glide will be. But a shorter board will have the advantage of being much more manageable and responsive. However, contrary to what one might think, size does not play a decisive role in the stability of the board.

The width

  • It is the criteria that directly affects the stability of the board. The wider the width of a paddle, the more stable it will be. A board with a good width has the advantage of being very stable, but the width “pushes” the water, which slows down the board. The width also depends on the rider’s size, the heavier he is, the wider the board must be in order to have the best possible stability.

The thickness

  • One of the most important criteria because it is related to the rigidity of the board. The thicker the stand up paddle, the stiffer it is, which results in better stability and improved glide. The 2 most common thicknesses in the world of SUP inflatables are:

– 12 cm (5 inches): Often entry-level SUP inflatable boards, for beginners and small sizes.
– 15 cm (6 inches): Often higher end boards with better performance.

  • A thicker board will be more rigid at the same pressure. It is the combination of thickness, pressure, rider weight and construction technology used that will be the key to the right board choice for an inflatable SUP.
paddle fly air
Fly Air iSUP

The size of a paddle depends on the practice:


  • For surfing, it is better to have a shorter board. They are more manoeuvrable with a good width to be more stable. It’s very important if you are a beginner. In general, the dimensions for a surf paddle are between 7’5” and 9’8”.

All-round / Touring

  • To start with small tours, you can choose an all-round paddle board. Those boards are relatively wide to maintain good stability and length. The aim is to have an optimized glide and a good compromise between stability and glide. For sporty or long tours, opt for a Touring SUP. These models are generally long, and not very wide. The slightly reduced width makes it easier to slide and allows you to acquire more speed with less effort. For a touring board, the dimensions generally vary between 10’4” and 11’6”’.


  • This practice is reserved for experienced practitioners, because the boards are extremely narrow and therefore unstable. For this type of use, it is recommended to have a very long board to gain speed and glide. The dimensions of a race board are between 12’6” and 14”.


  • Practicing yoga or fitness on a paddle board becomes more and more popular. For that, you will need a wide board to have a good stability. You will also need a medium length.

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