How much weight can a paddle board hold? The quick answer is that it can hold about 1 lb of weight per liter of volume. That means a 200 liter board can hold 200 lbs of weight. What size board should you get? What if the manufacturer doesn’t list the volume of their board? Let’s take a look at how much weight a paddle board can hold and how big a board should you get.
1 – How Much Weight Can A Paddle Board Hold?
The volume of a paddleboard determines how much weight it can hold. The more volume in your paddleboard, the more weight it can float. The volume of the board is the length * width * thickness of the board. The board isn’t a perfect rectangle so you have to remove some volume to account for the rounded shape.
The buoyancy of an object is equal to the weight of water displaced by the object. 1 liter of water weighs 2.2 lbs or 1kg. That means that a paddleboard that has 200 liters of volume can float up to 441 lbs or 200 kg of weight. The weight of the paddleboard itself needs to be included in that number. That means that a 200 liter paddleboard that weighs 30 lbs can float 441-30=411 lbs. At 412 lbs it will start sinking. See this article to learn more about buoyancy.
If you weigh a paddleboard up to its bouyancy limit, you will not have a stable enjoyable paddleboard. You will have a paddleboard floating just barely above water that will be very unstable. If the weight isn’t perfectly centered on the board it will capsize.
A good rule of thumb for the weight to volume a board can hold is 1 per pound of paddler per liter of board volume. If a board has 250 liters of volume it is good for up to a 250 lb paddler. This is good for beginners or novice paddleboarders. More experienced paddleboarders with more practice can use boards with less flotation. Any gear, pets, children or other objects your going to take on the board with you also count towards your weight total.
2 – How to figure out the volume of a board?
A lot of paddleboards will list their volume and make this easy. Many of them, especially inflatable paddleboards do not. Here is a good rough estimate you can do to see if the weight limit the manufacturer is giving is worth anything or not. We all know that manufacturers of everything like to embellish their products ability.
Every board will list the length, width and thickness of their board. Use that to start with. Volume = Length * Width * Thickness. Now the board isn’t a perfect rectangle. It has shape and rounded corners. A good estimate is to multiply the volume you just calculated by 0.75 to give you a rough idea.
Let’s take the ROC inflatable paddleboard as an example. It lists it’s dimensions as 10feet x 32inches x 6 inches thick. The volume is 120 inches x 32inches x 6inches = 23040 cubic inches. Take 0.75 * 23040 = 17280 cubic inches for your estimated volume. Convert that to liters. cubic inches * 0.0164 liters. 17280 cubic inches = 283 liters. 283 liters means it can hold 283 lbs. ROC is telling us their board has a weight capacity of 300 lbs. We don’t know the exact volume of the ROC but our estimate tells us that their 300 lb capacity is reasonable.
Everyone hates doing math so below is a paddleboard size chart to help you out.
3 – A wider board is more stable?
Another thing to consider for your paddleboard is the width. A wider board will be much more stable than a narrow board. This is due to something called form stability. A wide flat shape will be more stable than a narrow round shape. A telephone pole floating in the water can float 1000s of pounds of weight. 1 person will have a difficult time standing on it because it isn’t stable and will roll over easily. To learn more about the concept of form stability see this article.
A rectangular paddle board that is 10 feet long x 32 inch wide by 6 inch thick paddleboard will be 377 liters of volume. A 40 foot long x 8 inches wide by 6 inches thick board will also have 377 liters. Almost anyone will be able to stand on the 10 foot by 32 inch wide board. The 40 foot long by 8 inch wide board will be extremely difficult to stand on without rolling.
As a novice paddleboarder, you want a board that is as wide as possible to be stable and easy to stand on. An advanced paddleboarder may want a narrower board that glides with less drag. As a new paddleboarder, look for a board that is at least 30 inches wide. 32 or 33 inches wide is even better.
4 – A longer board will paddle faster?
The max speed your paddleboard can go without planing is determined by it’s length. A longer board can glide faster through the water. Touring boards that are designed to go long distances are always longer and narrower. This makes the most efficient board shape with the least drag. To learn more about hull speed and the max speed a board/boat can go without planing see this article.
The longer a board gets, the heavier it gets. The harder it gets to trnsport and store. If your just looking to go out and have fun on a paddleboard, you don’t need the longest touring board you can find. For most people, a wide stable board of reasonable length (10foot to 12 feet) is good.
You might also like:
- The Best Paddle Boards For Big Guys Helpful Guide
- Can You Sit On A Paddleboard? 8 Fun Easy Ways To Enjoy Your Paddleboard Without Standing
- The Best Inflatable SUP Under $500 Helpful Guide
- The Best Beginner Inflatable Paddle Boards Helpful Guide
About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water. I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions. I decided to start Gear Craver as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.