When you buy a paddleboard, you should think about how much weight it will hold and if you’re planning on riding with your kiddos or pups, you’ll want to make sure that your board is able to handle your weight, plus any others that may join you.

It may seem like a weird thing to think about, especially if you’re a tiny person, but making sure that your board has the right capacity for you and your passengers will ensure that your board always stays high enough in the water so that you can properly maneuver your board.

In this article we’ll talk about why it’s important that you pick the right capacity board, and give you some helpful information about how paddleboards are sized for carrying capacity.

How much weight can a paddleboard hold?

The basic answer to this question is that the weight capacity of a stand-up paddle board is related to its size. As you are shopping for your paddle board you’ll quickly learn that there are many different sizes, and each is intended to carry a particular amount of weight.

As you’re looking at stand-up paddle boards the most important feature that you should consider is the weight capacity of the board. And you should know if you are going to be using the board on your own, or if you will be transporting passengers like your friends, children or dogs.

Most boards will come with a maximum weight that they can hold. Some are made for smaller people, some are made for larger riders, and some are constructed specifically for holding multiple people.

The construction of the paddle board determines the weight capacity. The width, thickness and length are all important in determining how much a paddle board can carry.

With all of that said, in our research on weight limits for paddle boards, we found some interesting information. On average, paddle boards are made to hold between 200 and 300 pounds.

This is a pretty standard weight limit for most single rider boards. There are however boards that we found that can support 500 or more pounds, which are great for supporting more people.

Do keep in mind that boards that are made for heavier loads, will also be heavier. Most boards weigh 15 to 40 pounds, so if you’re getting a board that is rated for more weight, you should expect to be carrying a board that is closer to the 40-pound range.

If you don’t know what size paddleboard you should buy, we’ve written an entire guide to paddleboard sizes.

Do paddleboards have weight limits?

Yes, stand-up paddle boards do have a weight limit. This limit is the maximum amount of weight that the board can support before it tips or sinks.

Paddle board manufacturers set the weight limits for their boards, using data and testing of prototypes. This may mean that as you are shopping for a paddle board, you may find similar boards from different manufacturers with different weight limits.

In general however, a paddle board that is longer, wider and with a thicker profile should hold more weight.

To determine the proper paddle board for you you’ll need to calculate the total amount of weight that you expect to put on the board. This will include:

  • The weight of the paddle board
  • The weight of all of your gear including paddles and life vests
  • The weight of you, the paddler, or the weight of the person you are buying the board for
  • The weight of your passengers (kids, dogs, your spouse, etc…)

How are the weight limits for paddleboards measured?

Riding a Tower inflatable paddle board.
Photo by Tower Paddle Boards / Unsplash

IT seems simple enough to figure out how much weight your paddle board will carry, but you might be surprised to find that paddle board manufactures don’t always use the same kind of measurement to state the weight capacity of their boards. There are, however, only two ways that you’ll see on most paddle boards.

The first is the maximum weight limit in pounds or kilograms – this value is the total amount of weight that your paddle board can support on the water without sinking, tipping or becoming unsafe to use.

The second is the volume of the paddle board in cubic liters – this value indicates the level of buoyancy of the board. Buoyancy is directly related to the amount of weight that your SUP will hold.

While these are both ways to tell you the maximum weight a paddle board can carry, they mean very different things. It’s helpful to know how paddle board manufacturers come to the determination of maximum weight.

When constructing a paddle board, design engineers think a lot about the thickness, width and length of the boards that they are designing. These three factors, when combined are the volume of the paddle board. And the single most important measurement when determining maximum weight is the width of the board.

Some manufacturers will list the maximum weight allowed based on the size of the board and some will list the SUP volume. Both are relevant and will allow you to select the board that is right for your needs.

It is important to note that you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight limits of your paddle board. These limits are developed as a safety measure for you and your passengers. Putting too much weight on your paddle board can cause it to sink, or tip over, which won’t be a fun way to spend your day.

Additionally, too much weight can make your paddle board difficult to maneuver and will feel more like you’re paddling a cruise ship, than a paddle board.

What are the weight limits for inflatable paddleboards?

Paddle boarding with a dog.
Photo by Tower Paddle Boards / Unsplash

You might be surprised to learn that inflatable paddle boards often have higher weight limits than standard, solid construction paddle boards. And, inflatable paddle boards are considerably lighter than traditional boards as well.

While the standard hardboard will hold between 200 and 300 pounds, your standard inflatable SUP can hold 400-pounds or more. We’ve even seen inflatable boards that are rated with a maximum weight capacity of over 1,000-pounds. This makes inflatable SUPs great for larger riders.

Besides being lightweight and capable of holding more weight than a hardboard, inflatable stand-up paddle boards are also more stable and easier to balance on. This is due to thicker rails that provide added stability to the board.

We’ve written an article covering the average cost of an inflatable paddleboard if you’re considering getting your hands on one.

Maximum vs. performance paddleboard weight limits

Many paddle board manufacturers will pair the maximum weight limit of their board with the performance weight limit. Both of these weights are important to consider when shopping for a paddle board.

First, you need to know that just because your board can carry the stated maximum weight, that doesn’t mean that it will actually perform in a way that you want it to. That is where the performance weight limit comes into play. This limit is the maximum amount of weight the board can carry, and still handle the way that it is designed to handle.

A general rule of thumb about maximum weight versus performance weight is that the best performance of your board will be achieved with no more than 75% of the stated maximum weight.

For instance if your board has a maximum weight of 200 pounds, you’ll achieve the best performance from your board if you do not put more than 150-pounds of weight on the board.

In order to support more weight, a paddle board needs to be constructed wider and longer. The wider and longer your board gets the harder it becomes to maneuver.

The added width provides more stability for heavier weights, but it also slows down the board. The wide body and heavier weight can bog down the board, which can seem disappointing if you are looking for speed.

Remember, if you want a board that will move easily through the water, a smaller, lighter board is best, but they also are not made to handle more than one person.

So, if you want to carry more gear and are going to be including a passenger, you’ll have to sacrifice better stability (and safety) and weight capacity for speed and performance.

Final thoughts

When it comes to choosing the best paddle board for your needs, it is really important to carefully consider the weight limits that are provided for your board.

These limits are intended to improve the performance and safety of your paddle board. So remember, never overload your stand-up paddle board.

Not only does this slow down your board and make it difficult to paddle, but it can also be really unsafe. For the safety and enjoyment of your passengers and for you, make sure to follow the maximum weight limits.

We hope that this article has given you helpful information on how to select the proper board weight for your needs, so that every day on the water is a great day.