Paddleboarding has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. Whether you prefer an inflatable paddle board, a stand-up paddleboarding (SUPS), or even an inflatable SUPS, it’s a fantastic way to get exercise and enjoy exploring nature on the water.
In order to fully enjoy your paddle board experience, it’s important to understand the rather complex method of how to choose the right sized paddle board and weight capacity for your specific needs. As paddleboards need to float on the water while carrying your bodyweight, choosing the right board has a lot to do with the specific weight capacity each board is designed for. This article will help you better understand paddle board weight limits and help you choose the right sized board for your particular body size and experience level.
SUP Weight Limit Tips
The first thing you need to know about paddle board weight limits is that they are typically written on the side of the board. When examining your paddleboard, you’ll see the length and width dimensions of the board, as well as how thick the board is and how many liters of volume it’s meant to hold.
Now, all of these measurements should be considered when choosing your board because you need to find the perfect size for your bodyweight. This can be a bit tricky because sometimes the thickness measurements are not the same on the front or back of the board as they are in the middle where the measurement is taken. Though this doesn’t have a large effect on the amount of weight the board can hold, it’s certainly something that more advanced paddle boarders may need to consider.
Now that you know where to find the measurements of your board it’s important to get a better understanding of what they mean. Obviously, the length, width, and thickness of the board are rather self-explanatory, the liters of volume the board is designed for is where things can get confusing.
Basically, the board manufacturers are using the metric system to explain the amount of lift and push the board has. As one liter of water weighs one kilogram, when that weight is put on the board, it will create one kilogram of lift through water displacement. Put more simply, one liter of board volume will float one kilogram of weight.
So, if your board is meant to hold 100 liters of volume, then the absolute maximum amount of weight that board can float will be 100 kilograms. In order to understand what your weight is in kilograms, if you’re living in America, for example, you’ll need to convert your weight from pounds to kilograms. An easy way to do this is simply to divide your weight by 2.2, so if you weigh 150 pounds, your weight in kilograms will be around 68 kilograms.
Even though we now have a more concrete idea of what to look for when choosing a paddle board, there is still a few intricacies to go over.
First, the amount of experience and practice you have paddle boarding will play a factor into which size board you’ll want to use. Just because you figured out you weigh 68 kilograms doesn’t mean that a 100-liter volume board will work best for you. Though you’ll certainly float on the board, it still might not be stable enough for your particular skill level. Experts agree that for beginner paddle boarders you’ll want double the liters of volume for your weight. So, as I calculated my weight to be 68 kilograms, I’ll want my board to have a volume of around 140 liters. This will allow you to stand on the board with it floating about halfway underneath the water and adequately support my body weight.
Beginners will also want to have a board that is wider and thicker than the others because this will provide a bit more stability when paddling around.
For more experienced paddle boarders, the weight limit of your board can be determined by taking your body weight and multiplying it by 1.3 to 1.8. This is a bit lower than what is suggested for beginners but you’ll certainly notice a difference.
Also, if you plan on doing a bit of surfing on your paddle board you can take your body weight in kilograms and multiply it by 1.1 to 1.3 to determine the proper amount of volume that works best.
The reason paddle boarders who surf are able to use a board that is equivalent or even lower in volume to their weight in kilograms is that they have such a mastery of movement and control that they are able to keep the board moving without it sinking into the water. This requires a lot of skill and practice, but the more experience you get paddle boarding, the lower volume of board you can use without problems.
Though paddle boarding requires a solid understanding of how the weight limits on paddle boards work, this article hopefully cleared up some of the confusion for you.
Paddle board rental shops usually have experienced individuals there that can help you figure out which board is best for you. You have to consider the paddle board weight limits, as well as which length, width, and thickness levels are best for your particular skill level.
Most paddle board experts will encourage beginners to challenge themselves with a board that is slightly above their skill level because the more you practice balancing on your board the more skilled you’ll become. Many riders see significant improvement in balance and stability after only using the board a handful of times and the more you are forced to practice this on a tougher board, the faster you’ll become more comfortable.
It is important to make sure that you do not get talked into a board that is too small for your size and skill level as you’ll find yourself losing balance and falling over constantly. This will certainly become frustrating which will take all of the fun out of your paddle boarding experience.