Stand up paddle board is still quite new to the sports scene, although it has been around in some form for quite some time since surfing started.

Stand up paddle boards are available in different shapes and sizes to cater the needs and specifications for a wide range of possible customers that also come in different sizes. Some people are on the heavy side and may use the sport to lose the extra weight, while some paddlers may want to bring someone along, a child or a pet, while paddling which adds up to the rider’s own weight.

In general, all paddle boards have the same basic features required in a paddle board like, nose, tail deck, bottom, fins and rails. However, these features can be changed by each manufacturer according to how they want it designed or if they have any improvements they want to add. This is why some paddle boards work better than others.

The amount of weight a stand up paddle board can hold depends on the volume of the board. Board volume should be carefully considered in choosing a paddle board because this will determine the ability of the board to float properly, which is also known as buoyancy, when weight has been added. Usually, a stand-up paddle board’s volume is indicated to give the buyer an idea on its capacity. The higher the volume, the more weight can be supported. Additionally, weight recommendations for the board are usually provided by manufacturers as a guide for buyers.

A board with a higher volume also means that it is more stable, easier and more comfortable for the rider to stand on. Keep in mind that the length of the board does not necessarily affect the weight limit. A short board can still have a high volume if it compensates by being wide and thick, while a long board may have a lower volume if it was designed to be narrow and thin.

Below is an SUP volume chart that you can use as reference:

  • For beginners, touring, race board

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

  • For novice/intermediate skill in harsh water condition

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

  • Advanced

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

  • Expert

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

Although most manufacturers specify the volume of the paddle board, not everyone does. If this is the case, you may use the maximum weight capacity as your guide instead. The maximum weight capacity specifies the heaviest weight the board is designed to be able to support without compromising its function.

Knowing the weight limit of the paddle board you are buying is important if you want to enjoy the sport. For instance, if you are petite and the board you picked was designed to be used by a larger rider, the board may become hard for you to control. On the other hand, if the board you picked is too small for your size, the board will ride too low preventing it from gliding smoothly on the water.

Aside from your own weight, there are other reasons for checking out a stand-up paddle board’s weight limit. Manufacturers may also use the weight limit when they use a rider’s skill level to categorize paddle boards. Like if you are a beginner, choosing a board on the lighter end of the weight spectrum is usually recommended. A paddle board with more volume is more stable on water and will not turn as quickly like a small volume board will do. Starting out with this type of paddle board is safer and more practical since you can always downsize your paddle board as you get more skilled with the sport. For more advanced riders, the weight limit recommended can be somewhere on the top end of the weight spectrum.

On the other hand, if you were to use your paddle board to race, opting for a board on the lower end of the weight spectrum will make you glide faster. Picking a heavy board has the tendency to weigh down a rider while a lighter paddle board will ride higher in the water as well as offer the rider more control of the movements of the board.

When checking out a stand-up paddle board’s weight limit, it’s best to think of it as the added weight the board is able to spare; if the board indicates a weight limit that is just right for your own weight, you may want to choose something a little higher to make an allowance in case you need to carry along with you some extra weight.