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Relatively new to mainstream water sports, stand-up paddleboarding allows you to have intimate interaction with the water while working muscles throughout your body. Your weight and the weight of the paddleboard can make a difference on how the board handles and how fast you can go, so decide on how you plan to use the board before you shop.
There's not a one-size-fits-all paddleboard, so check the weight recommendations for the board before you buy. A board designed for a larger person will be hard to control if you're petite. Conversely, if you're too heavy for the board, you'll have trouble keeping it moving smoothly on the water because it will ride too low. In most cases, longer boards can handle more weight than shorter boards. If you plan to take supplies with you, such as for a picnic or camera gear, estimate the weight of your gear and add it to yours when choosing a board -- many boards have clips for bungee cords to make it easier to carry items with you.
Paddleboards typically have a recommended weight range. Stick to the lighter end of the range if you're just starting out with the sport. Some manufacturers break down their ranges by skill level, which makes it easier for you to see what board is right for you. For example, a 10-foot-10-inch board might have recommended maximum weights of 205 for beginners, 244 for intermediate skill levels and 317 for advanced paddleboarders. Although you might not weigh nearly 244, think about how much gear you might be carrying. Also, that's the top end of the spectrum -- try to stick at a weight somewhere between 205 and 244 for that particular board if you're at the intermediate level.
How you plan to use the board makes a difference when you're shopping. If your main goal is take a leisurely paddle down a river, you have the flexibility to pick a board where you're at the top end of the weight recommendation. However, if your goal is to race on the board, you're likely to go faster if you are closer to the lower end of the weight spectrum.
Your weight isn't the only weight to consider when shopping for paddleboards. The boards aren't always light, often weighing between 21 and 33 pounds. Consider the board's weight when you buy, because you'll have to carry the unwieldy equipment to the water. Also, heavy boards can weigh you down if you're going for high maneuverability, such as when you're paddleboarding in heavy surf. Lighter boards ride higher in the water and tend to offer you more control.