Ever wondered how iSUP owners transport their board and how heavy they might be? You might be surprised to know the answer. We go above and beyond answering the question “how much do inflatable paddle boards weigh?”
For those in a rush, Inflatable paddle boards weigh, on average, about 21-30 pounds. But the range of weights is much wider. But the range of weights is much wider. Paddle boards are available from 15 pounds at their lightest up to 40 or 50 pounds at the high end.
In general, the lighter the weight, the pricier and less durable the board. But there are always exceptions!
I remember the first time I saw an inflatable paddle board I was in awe.The owner blew up the board right in front of me and proceeded to paddle into the distance with his dog.
I decided I wanted IN and took action learning everything about it.
Years later I now have over 10 years of experience paddle boarding in the great outdoors of British Columbia. And I’m eager to answer your paddle boarding questions!
This article aims to provide a simple, comprehensive guide for stand-up paddle board weight questions. Here’s a preview of what you’ll find in this article:
- Answers to all your questions about paddle board weights
- Proven insights on which paddle board is right for your weight
- An in-depth look at different paddle board constructions
- An FAQ section to sum up everything you need to know
If you’re ready to learn all about how much paddleboards weigh, let’s get going!
What Size Inflatable Paddle Board Do I Need for My Weight?
I hear this question all the time. It’s something thousands of new paddle boarders ask me when they take the plunge into the exciting world of iSUPs.
Luckily, there are a few easy formulas that you can use to find the perfect inflatable paddle board for your weight.
Paddle Board Size and Volume Basics
First, a quick summary of paddle board sizing.
SUP size is measured in volume in liters (L). Paddle boards with greater volume are generally more rigid and stable on the water. Large volume paddle boards are also wider, a quality that is especially helpful for beginner paddle boarders. The wider the board, the easier it is to balance for most people.
Paddle boards with less volume are, on the other hand are lighter–depending on the construction and the materials used, of course.
Lighter boards also have less drag on the water surface, so they often outpace their heavier counterparts. Plus, there’s portability to account for. Lighter boards can weigh as little as 15 pounds. Heavier ones don’t usually weigh any less than 25.
Choosing The Right iSUP For Your Body Weight
So, that’s it for the basics of iSUP sizing. You have the main pros and cons you should keep in mind when it comes to paddle board weight. But how do you choose the right paddle board for YOU? Good question.
Though skilled paddlers can and do use boards of all shapes and sizes for different purposes. The majority of people should purchase paddle boards to suit their body weight.
Why bodyweight? It may not seem very important to people who haven’t stepped on an iSUP. But your body weight is the deciding factor for a successful paddle boarding experience. The rule of thumb is, heavier people do well with heavier boards. And vice versa for lighter people.
Below, I’ve shared an outline of which paddle board sizes are suitable for your weight. From experience, I’ve found that people stay with paddle boarding if they choose the right board. After that, the rest is easy (to an extent!).
Paddle Board Widths And Lengths
The range of board lengths and widths isn’t very much. Paddle boards are usually 10 or 11 feet in length. For width, they go from 32 inches up to 34 inches. Some boards built for stability can be wider, but the popular brands fall within this range.
- People weighing less than 140 pounds should choose a 10-foot board.
- If you weigh between 140 and 200 pounds, choose a 10’6” to 11 footer.
- Paddlers over 200 pounds should choose 11 feet or longer.
Calculating The Optimal Volume For Your Weight
There’s a handy formula to help determine the right volume iSUP for you. Multiply your weight in pounds by 1.4.
That’s the maximum volume in L you’ll want to choose. The minimum volume is simply your weight.
For example, say you weigh 180 pounds. You’ll want to choose a paddle board with a volume between 180L (the same as your weight) and 252L (your weight x 1.4). Simple as checking your household calculator (or if you live in 2021, phone!).
Special Sizing For Activities
You can dial in your ideal iSUP volume by using your weight, but there are other ways too. Many people choose their board to suit certain types of activity.
Below are the most common weight multipliers for different types of paddle board:
- Surfing: Body weight x 0.5 – 1.0
- Fishing: Body weight plus gear x 1.0 – 1.4
- Yoga: Body weight x 1.0 – 1.2
- Touring/Long Distance: Body weight x 1.0 – 1.1
- Racing/Intermediate: Body weight x 0.8 – 1.1
It’s worthwhile to go the extra mile and calculate the right paddle board volume for your weight. You’ll end up with a range of options that are more stable, more buoyant, and more comfortable than a slapdash selection. Plus, you’ll be safer and have more fun on a board that fits you just right.
Are Inflatable SUPs Heavy To Carry?
One of the great charms of inflatable SUPs is their portability. You can’t transport SUP boards made of solid materials anywhere near as easily. But does that mean inflatable paddle boards are lighter? Yes and no.
The lightest inflatables on the market rarely weigh less than 15 pounds. Fifteen pounds is nothing to scoff at, but it’s like a feather compared to solid boards. However, the average weight of an iSUP is closer to 30 pounds. That’s the same weight as four-gallon jugs of water.
In the long run, inflatable SUPs aren’t as lightweight as novices might think. The weight of PVC coating and multiple layers of drop-stitched fabric add up pretty fast.
However, there are options for making it easier to haul an iSUP. Some of these can lessen the load and make the difference if you have to carry your board for long distances.
Options For Carrying Your Inflatable SUP
- If you choose to carry your board by hand, make sure you do it the safe way. Bend with the legs whenever lifting or dropping it. Stand the board on its side so the nose is forward and the base is at your hip. Take frequent rest breaks on long hauls.
- Use a cart. Select one with a steel or aluminum build and quality tires.
- Tuck the paddle between your arm and the board to free up your other hand.
- Balance the board on your head (the so-called “head carry”) on windy days. This technique reduces wind resistance much more than the shoulder carry.
How Much Do Inflatable Sup Boards Weigh Based On Construction?
You might be thinking now, “Ok. I’ve picked out a board with the right length, width, and volume. But I still don’t know exactly what kind of board is right for me. Which should I choose?”.
Obviously, not all inflatable stand-up paddle boards look the same. But there’s much more than graphics, shape, and fin types that differ between boards—namely, their construction.
We have an article that answers what are paddle boards made of here.
Types Of Construction In Inflatable SUPs
Most mass-produced inflatable paddle boards today make use of a technology called drop stitching for their build. Drop stitching is a method of connecting thousands of tiny filaments or threads in the board’s fabric. The number of layers in the fabric, as well as the type of fabric material, play a big part in the rigidity and weight of paddle boards.
Generally speaking, you have the choice between single-layer drop stitch boards and multi-layer drop stitch boards. The difference? The multi-layer (or “dual-layer”) boards laminate the entire bladder with an additional layer of fabric coated with PVC.
This technology produces some of the finest iSUPs on the market. They offer a durable and rigid design that is darn near impossible to puncture.
Single or multiple layers of drop stitching hold the board and the inflatable bladder together. But the fabric isn’t the only part of the board that contributes to its weight. The PVC coating which surrounds virtually every paddle board on the market also adds considerable weight.
The more plastic coatings you have on your board, the more rigid and heavier it will be.
There are other methods that SUP designers use to bond the board together. Besides drop stitching, some manufacturers fuse synthetic fibers together to make a strong bond. Fusion construction produces extra-rigid boards with a good balance of weight and rigidity.
As you can see, each time you increase rigidity in a paddle board, you sacrifice lightness. But lightness isn’t always a good thing. For one, lighter types of inflatable paddle boards are more prone to tipping, and they require a paddler with the skill to use them well.
Light or heavy, construction and materials are the biggest contributors to your paddle board’s weight. Below, I’ve drawn up a basic outline for determining how heavy each construction method can be.
Keep in mind that these are averages. Most manufacturers will offer a range of paddle boards in a given construction, all with varying weights. You certainly won’t run out of options. The iSUP industry is packed to the gills with all kinds of boards to try out yourself!
Single Layer Drop Stitch
Single-layer paddle boards are, as you might expect, some of the lightest boards available. The one layer of fabric is coated with PVC, and the number of coatings increases the board’s weight dramatically.
These boards weigh in the range of 12 to 45 pounds, depending on the coating.
Experts commonly say that a single-layer drop stitch board does not significantly improve rigidity after one or two PVC coats. Manufacturers often claim that 4 or 5 PVC coats provide better buoyancy and structural integrity. It’s more often the case that the extra layers just add excess weight. We estimate that one layer of PVC adds three to five pounds to a board.
Multiple Layer Drop Stitch
Multi-layer (or “dual-layer”) paddle boards take the formula of single-layer stand-up models and add an extra plastic coating to the bladder, a layer of adhesive, then more plastic coating. The weight is considerably higher than single stitch boards, as you can imagine.
The average weight of a multi-layer drop stitch board is 20-50 pounds.
Each layer of PVC coating weighs about three to four pounds. So, any estimate of a multi-layer paddle board’s weight will depend on the number of coatings.
Fusion Layer Drop Stitch
Fusion layered iSUPs are technically a variety of multi-layer board. But the fusion technology effectively cancels out the need for extra PVC coatings on the bladder. The result? Lower weight with similar rigidity. A true win-win.
These boards weigh anywhere between 20-45 pounds, with most close to 25 pounds.
A good rule of thumb: fused fabric boards generally fall between the weights of single and multi-layer boards. However, the fusion technology allows designers to create paddle boards with impressive thicknesses and widths, so their weight range varies widely.
What About Weight Limits?
Part of being an informed paddle board consumer is understanding weight limits. Just as you wouldn’t jump on a rollercoaster if you were too short. It’s smart to observe the limits set by iSUP manufacturers. But how do we find out weight limits, and how do we ensure we’re following them?
Paddle boards can only carry a certain weight before their buoyancy fails. We measure weight limits by volume. The higher the volume, the more weight the board can support safely.
We don’t only calculate weight limits with volume in liters. Most manufacturers also publish their paddle board’s weight limit with a weight rating in pounds or kilograms. The next time you visit a paddle board outfitter, you should see a weight rating (for example, 200 lbs) displayed alongside the SUP.
It’s important not to forget the added weight of any gear, animals, or extra paddlers you might carry on your SUP.
Alone, you and your 180 lbs might be perfect for your 200 lb rated board, but a big fishing trip might mean you add 30 extra pounds. At that point, you know you’ve outgrown your paddle board!
Most inflatable stand-up paddle boards have a maximum capacity range instead of a single weight rating. Maximum capacity ranges are a helpful way to gauge your lightest and heaviest expected loads and plan accordingly.
Now that we’ve touched on the basics of paddle board weights, let’s round out the article with some answers to questions I commonly hear from fellow paddlers.
Which Type Of Paddle Board Is Best For Beginners?
SUPs with wider boards and heavier constructions are best for beginners.
It may be a little harder to paddle these types of boards, but wide heavy models are the best way to maximize stability and reduce the chance of tipping.
Should I Purchase An Inflatable SUP With A Higher Or Lower Weight Limit?
If given a choice, I would opt for a paddle board with a higher weight limit. As long as your expected weight falls within a board’s maximum capacity range, any board will be safe. But the heavier the board, the safer it will be for beginners.
How Long Does It Take To Stand Up Paddle Board?
It depends on the person, but stand-up paddle boarding is a sport that’s quick to learn and hard to master. Many beginners can paddle proficiently in less than a few hours!
It took me about a half hour before I was brave enough to stand on one! A big factor is water conditions. If it’s wavy, stay on your knees or sit! Believe me on this one!
What Are The Lightest Paddle Boards?
Fusion technology has come a long way since its inception a few years ago. Fusion boards are quickly nearing the weight of single-layer fabric boards. Still, the lightest paddle board on the market today is still the super lightweight single-layer model.
So.. How Much Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Weigh?
It’s time to return to the question we asked at the beginning! The average stand-up paddle board weight is 24-30 pounds. The range, however, is anywhere between 15 pounds to 50 pounds and beyond.
We’ve covered all the answers to “what size paddle board for my weight is best?” in this article. I hope some of this information has been useful to you. What type of weight range do you prefer for your paddle boards? Feel free to discuss below!
Good luck in all your paddle boarding adventures! Safe paddling!