How Thick Should a Paddle Board Be? 4 or 6 Inches?

What should you buy between 4 inch or 6 inch paddle board?

When you are buying a SUP board, you will find that apart from choosing between solid vs. inflatable paddleboard types, the width, length, and thickness of the board matter quite a lot.

You may also include the 5-inch thick paddle board here. Actually, 5-inch boards are the most common.

So, which is the most appropriate paddle board thickness for you? How thick should a paddle board be? That is what we will find out here.

First, you might want to try using a SUP Board Size Calculator instead of buying your board blindly. If you have been asking: what size paddle board should I get for my height, the paddle board size calculator can help you.

To cut to the chase, a 6-inch thick paddle board handles more weight better. A 4-inch paddle board handles less weight.

However, buying a stand-up paddle board requires you to consider much more than just thickness.

4 inch or 6 inch paddle board: Which to choose?

4 inch or 6 inch paddle board
Note the low profile of the board in water. More weight and the water gets over the deck

Thickness is among the most important paddle board dimensions. Since the choice usually comes down to 4 inch or 6 inch, it is best to find out what is best for your height.

Instead of going with a blanket choice of 6-inch thickness or 4 inches, it is best to find out what is most suitable for your weight and height.

In the SUP market, the paddle boards might look the same, but there is no one size fit all for all people. Use a SUP board size calculator to find out what board suits you most.

Usually, the thickness depends on the weight of the user. For instance, if you weigh 175 pounds, the SUP thickness should be 5 inches.

If you weigh less than 175 pounds, you can use a board with a 4-inch thickness. This is probably the right thickness for teenagers boards, children and women.

If you weigh 200 pounds, the SUP width changes to 33 inches. The thickness remains the same at 5 inch thick SUP boards.

If you weigh more than 225 pounds, you will need a board that has a thickness of 6 inches.

SUP board length and width sizes are also different. For instance, the length starts at 9 feet and some can be as long as 14 feet.

The stand up paddle board lengths start at 26 inches, while some are as wide as 34 inches. The shorter and broader paddle boards are best for beginners because they enhance balance and stability.

On the other hand, the longer and narrower paddle boards are for racing.

Does paddle board thickness matter?

When you check any paddle board size guide, you will realize that thickness matters quite a lot. For instance, if you are using an inflatable paddle board, you need more thickness if you have more weight.

If you are more on the light side of weight, you can try the thinner paddle boards. The SUP 4 or 5 paddle board will be good for you. Overall, the recommended board size for a regular user (not for racing), is 5 inches thick, 33 inches wide and 10 to 12 feet long.

Shorter but wider cannot build speed when you paddle. They are slow. Longer but narrower paddle boards are the perfect racers. They can build speeds of up to 8 Knots.

How wide should a paddle board be?

The issue is not to know how thick should a paddle board be alone. You also need to know how wide it should be.

You see, if you make your board too wide, it means you have to reach further to paddle. However, such a board is also good for white water paddling where you need more stability. For flat water paddling, though, it will be too slow for you.

If you have a racing SUP board, its width will probably be between 26 and 28 inches. However, what you are getting in speed, you will miss in stability.

Narrower boards are not very stable. Even if you know how to get back on a paddleboard after falling, using such boards can be hectic for a beginner.

Which is the most popular board size for paddleboarding?

While it is impossible to have a perfect board, a near perfect size is 10 to 11 feet long, 32 to 34 inches wide and 5 inches thick.

If it is shorter than 10 feet, it will not be too slow, especially if it is wide.

Based on the information that we have reviewed here, you can see that your needs also determine the kind of board that you buy.

If you want a racing board, you should get a long and narrow one. If you want a regular board, you should get a wide board.

If you do wild water paddleboarding, you should get a 34-inch wide inflatable paddle board because it is wider and more stable.

Are 4 inch paddle boards any good?

The most important thing about thickness is the weight support. You can paddle board even when you are on the heavy side of weight, but being fitter helps a lot.

A 4-inch SUP board can be good, if you are not above the weight it is rated for. For instance, if it is rated for 250 pounds, and you weigh 150 pounds, you can use it without a problem. However, if a SUP is rated for 200 pounds, and you weigh 170 pounds, well, it might not support you well.

While the 4-inch iSUP will not necessarily be cheaper than a 6-inch one, it weighs less, obviously, because of the less material used.

If the board is short, say, 10 feet or shorter, and it has a bigger width of about 33 inches, it is perfect for beginners and children. It will be slow but stable, making balancing on a paddle board easier.

Is a SUP board supposed to be 4.75 or 6?

A 4.75 inch thick paddle board is definitely thicker than a 4-inch flat one. Therefore, it can support more weight. In fact, such a board can support the same weight, and have almost the same features, that a 6-inch paddle board has.

Once again, it all comes down to your weight. If you weigh more, you need a thicker paddle board. A board with a thinner profile is going to sink more in the water.

As a result, more of its surface area is in contact with the water, which creates more drag. This affects the speed, and it will make you spend more energy to paddle.

The best board for high weight rating and for speed is a 6 inch. However, even a 5, or a 5.5 inch solid or inflatable paddle board is very useful.

A 4.75 inch is perfect for a board that you will use alone, especially if you weigh below 260 pounds. If the SUP’s thickness is below 4.75 inches, it is best for people who weigh below 210 pounds.

What should you buy between 4 or 6 inch board?

Both paddle boards are good for you, but the one you go with depends on a few things. Here are some of the factors to consider:

The intended use of the paddle board

If you intend to go fishing from the paddle board, well, it needs to be thick. It needs to be 6 inches because you will be carrying your fishing gear on it.

If you intend going paddle boarding alone, well, you can go with a 4-inch, or a 4.75-inch SUP board. However, if you intend to bring your spouse or child with you, you need a thicker board, because you will be carrying more weight. The same applies if you will go paddle boarding with a dog.

The weight of the user

We have already discussed this many times over. The more you weigh, the thicker the board should be. You don’t want the board to go so low down in the water that it starts fetching water on the deck.

If you weigh less than 200 pounds, a thinner board is okay. If you weigh more than that, go for a board that is between 4.75 and 6 inches thick.

The age of the user

There is no paddle boarding age limit. Kids can start learning this water sport from a young age. That is why the market has small and big boards.

Most of the 4-inch SUP boards are also shorter, and broader. They are best for children, and youths. They are more stable, and the weight rating fits such demographics.

Best 4 or 6 Inch Paddle Boards

There are so many 6 inch paddle boards in the market, and not as many 4 inch ones. If you would like the extra thickness for more stability, you can order the SereneLife Inflatable Anti-slip paddle board from It comes with all accessories, including a carry bag, pump and SUP paddle.




So, what should you choose between the 4 inch or 6 inch paddle board? Well, we have seen that the most popular SUP board is 32 inches wide, 5 inches thick and 10 to 12 feet long.

However, consider your weight, your paddling needs and other factors before you can buy a paddle board. Once you get started in stand-up paddleboarding, you will go through different types of boards.

Start with wide and long for more stability and then as you gain more skill, you can graduate to thinner and narrower SUPs for speed.

If you can spare the money, get the stunning Easy Eddy 3-Piece Modular Paddle Board. It is a 5.5-inches thick solid paddleboard that does not disappoint. It is detachable for easier transport. Besides, it can last a lifetime.

Please also check my past articles on:

How to make SUP paddle float

How much do surfboards cost?

Are inflatable surfboards any good?

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