There are endless options when it comes to choosing a paddleboard. You need to choose the right height, length, thickness, and width for you. This article will help you understand the uses for different lengths of paddleboards by comparing 10’, 11’, and 12’ paddleboards. By the end of this article, you'll know what board length is best for you.
A general rule of thumb is that the longer and narrower the board, the faster it can go. This means that a 12’ board might be better for someone who is looking for speed, while a beginner would be more suited with a shorter, wider board. Below, we will dive deeper into the differences between three common board lengths.
Planing vs Displacement Hulls
To understand the differences between lengths of paddle boards, you have to understand the two different kinds of paddle board hulls. Shorter boards have mostly planning hulls while longer boards often have displacement hulls. If you choose a hull shape not suited for your desired paddle board activity, you might get frustrated by not getting the right board.
Planing hulls: These hulls are relatively flat with a slight taper near the edges. Boards with planning hulls are wider and easier to balance on.
Displacement Hulls: Displacement hulls are designed to cut through the water. The nose of the board comes to a point, similar to a canoe. Longer paddle boards for racing, touring, and any longer-distance paddle will have these types of hulls.
The 10' Paddle Board
10’ paddle boards are good all-around boards for beginners. These boards can be used for activities like surfing, fishing, and exploring. They are also the most popular choice for beginner paddle boarders because they are more stable than longer boards and are easier to maneuver.
These boards are great for children because they are easy to balance on while still being very maneuverable. Even smaller children can turn and paddle the board without overexerting themselves.
10’ boards are also wider, which makes them more stable and there is less risk of tipping over. This is great for those learning to balance on a paddle board.
Additionally, 10’ boards are a common choice for surfers. With this size, the board can get into a wave and make critical turns and drops with ease.
They are also useful for paddling in places like a river where you need to get around tight corners and avoid obstacles. They also work well for fishing—you can have enough balance to cast and reel in small fish without worrying about balance as much.
10’ boards are a solid choice for beginners or anyone looking into any of the activities above.
The 11' Paddle Board
11’ paddle boards offer more speed and are better for longer distances than 10’ boards. They are a good choice for those looking to do some touring or racing. If you want to paddle in a straight line for a long time, a 11’ board is a smart choice.
However, these boards can be more difficult to maneuver than shorter boards, so paddlers need to be confident in their skills before using a 11’paddle board. They are also less stable than 10’ boards, so it's important to stay aware of your surroundings as you paddle a 11’ board.
One of the most popular activities for these boards is touring, which is exploring waterways on a paddle board. This can be done on rivers, lakes, or oceans. Since these boards are longer, they go faster and are easier to paddle long straight distances. They are maneuverable, but not as maneuverable as ten-foot boards.
11’ boards make great step-up boards for a beginner that is ready to start racing or paddling further. Since 11’ is one of the most common sizes for paddle boards, you can find them in displacement or planing hulls.
11’ and 10’ paddle boards that have planing hulls are used for things like yoga. These boards are wide enough to make balancing easier for those who want to take their yoga practice to the water.
On the other hand, 11’ boards with displacement hulls are better suited for long paddles where the paddle boarder wants to go fast.
11’ boards are widely available for paddle boarders looking for a board that’s catered to their specific paddle boarding interests.
The 12' Paddle Board
12’ paddle boards are the longest boards on this list and, as such, they are ideal for long-distance paddling, touring, and racing. These boards offer the most speed compared to 10’ and 11’ boards. Paddle boards that are 12 feet and over commonly have displacement hulls, so they can go much faster.
On the downside, these boards can be more difficult to balance on and maneuver than shorter boards, so it's important for paddlers to be at an advanced skill level before using a twelve-foot, displacement hull paddle board. What makes them more difficult to balance is the fact that they are narrower than shorter boards. The narrow design helps the board move through the water more effectively but does not provide as much stability.
The 12' boards are for serious paddlers than want to go fast and far. These boards are frequently used for paddle board races that are 10-30 miles long. The paddlers in these races are usually concerned with going straight through open water with minimal turns.
12’ boards are not the best boards for beginners due to the difficulty of balancing and maneuvering. If you're looking for an all-purpose paddle board that you can use for anything from practicing yoga to fishing, it is best to stick with a shorter, wider model.
However, if you want to paddle for miles without wearing yourself out and feel confident in your paddle boarding abilities, a 12'+ paddled board will be best for you.
All in all, the twelve-foot paddle board is a great choice for advanced paddle boarders looking to do some touring or long trips with a paddle board. Just know if they have a displacement hull, they are less stable and more difficult to maneuver than shorter boards.
With these longer boards, make sure to remember that the longer the board, the heavier it will be. While these longer boards can take you farther, faster, they are not as portable when compared to shorter options.
SurfStar: Options for All Abilities and Skill Levels
Before you buy, rent, or use a paddleboard, ask yourself two questions: what do I want to do on my paddle board, and what is my skill level? There are different paddle boards for different purposes, and it's important to know which board is best for you before investing in one.
SurfStar offers affordable options for various styles and lengths of paddle boards--from 10' beginner boards to 12' long-distance paddle boards used by professionals. They will have exactly what you need to reach your stand up paddleboarding goals.