Understanding body weight and board volume when buying a stand up paddleboard

Choosing a stand up paddleboard is an exciting time. The most important factors when choosing a board is your weight and the size of the board.

Buying too small of a board is one of the most common mistakes many beginners make.

The primary measure for the size of a stand up paddleboard is the volume, this is what provides the buoyancy. A higher volume creates a more stable board. The less volume in the board the less stable the board is.

The factors to consider when shopping are:

  1. your experience
  2. the type of conditions you will be paddling in
  3. your weight
  4. volume / buoyancy

Max Weight Capacity Comparison Chart


How much volume do I need?

1 liter of volume supports 2 lbs of weight.

An 180 lb rider will need at least 85 liters of volume just to stay afloat. 85 liters may be great for a pro in the surf, but for a beginner paddling in a lake, that would be an awful experience.

Buoyancy is what creates the stability in the board. A beginner around 180 lbs. will want to double the figure, so in this case a board around 200 liters of volume would be great.

Note: You can always ride a board with too much volume. It’s when you ride a board with too little volume that the degree of difficulty increases. Be reasonable about your ability when choosing board size.