If you are new to paddleboarding, or know little about it, you might have many questions about the sport. One of the questions we hear a lot is, “Would a longer paddle board be better?”, and this is an interesting question to answer. Because the answer depends on what you class as “better”. So in this guide we will cover the different sizes of SUPS that are available, and whether a longer paddle board would be suited to you.
There is no one size fits all rule when it comes to paddle boards
The perfect paddleboard is one that has a great balance of length and width; which allows you as the paddleboarder to float comfortably and move with stability, whilst also cutting through the water and reaching the speeds you want to. For this reason, paddleboards come in a variety of lengths and widths. Some grant more stability, so are “better” for those who are new to the sport, and others are “better” for those who want a board that is designed for speed.
When trying to work out which length will be best for you, there is a wide range of paddleboards for you to choose from. To simplify things, we will use the sort of “classes” that most major providers have within certain size ranges.
Here we will use Aquaplanet’s range of paddle boards as a representative of the industry.
An all round board
A longer paddle board won’t be better for most users, especially if you are starting out. Most paddle boards used by beginners or those who enjoy the sport but aren’t looking for an ultra specialised board, are around 10-11 feet long and about 32 inches wide.
Board for better movement
Conversely, if you want your paddleboard to be able to manoeuvre more smoothly on the open water, a shorter board might actually be better for you. These shorter boards typically come in a range between 9 and 10 feet long.
Racing and Touring
Where a longer board would be more suitable, would be if you wanted to prioritise speed. There are a wide variety of longer paddle boards available on the market. These larger sizes include boards that are geared towards racing, such as a 14ft board, and others that are more designed for fast touring, such as a 12’6 ft board. As previously mentioned, these longer sizes aren’t for everyone, and are more suitable for more advanced users who have specific needs.
Size isn’t everything
Whilst the questions people have asked have been about whether a longer paddle board is “better”, and we have explored how different size boards might suit consumers, size isn’t everything. There are other features such as the paddleboard’s shape, the way it is constructed and what fin system the board has; which affect how suitable it is for your needs. You can look these up when exploring paddle board ranges and their features. This can help you understand how SUPs work and which one suits you most.
Not all boards are created equal. The right board for you isn’t just the longest one you can find; it depends on your height and reach, how you want to use the board, how far you will be paddling and the conditions you will be facing in the water.