What Is The Average Speed Of A Paddle Board?

by Kyle
What Is The Average Speed of a Paddle Board?

Paddle boarding is an amazing water activity that attracts people of all levels of fitness and equipment. With that being said, you might be wondering “What is the average speed of a paddle board?”

Well, this actually isn’t the easiest question to answer due to lots of different factors including: paddle boarding experience, type of paddle board, weather conditions among a handful of other things.

With that being said, we will give you everything you need to know about the factors that affect the average speed of a paddle board and a good estimate of what your average speed might be.

What Is The Average Speed Of A Paddle Board?

Like all sports there is a variety in the level of talent and equipment. So, in this section we will talk about the average speed for recreational paddle boarding and paddle board racing.

What Is The Average Speed For Recreational Paddle Boarding?

What Is The Average Speed For Recreational Paddle Boarding?

When it comes to the average speed for recreational paddle boarding it can dramatically vary depending on many factors. But a good estimate for the average speed for a recreational paddle boarder would be between 3 to 4 miles per hour.

What Is The Average Speed For Paddle Board Racing?

What Is The Average Speed For Paddle Board Racing?

Without having to be said, paddle board racers are going to be going much faster due to their equipment, training and experience. But with all that being said, the average speed for paddle board racing is 5 miles per hour to 7 miles per hour.

Factors That Will Affect Your Average Paddle Board Speed

Since paddle boarding is an outdoor activity, there are lots of different factors that come into play when talking about your average speed. With that being said, here are the main factors that will largely impact your average paddle board speed.

Wind Speed

Wind speed is primary and makes a difference in paddling. It can vary between 15 mph humming or over and heading backward. When wind blows against you, it is also against the paddling direction. In this case, the paddler becomes the sail combating against the wind direction. Paddling during these times is great though challenging. With a strong tailwind, you do not need to paddle.

Water Conditions

Calm waters enable you to paddle fast. However, when talking about total paddling speed, big waves behind you would be helpful. Another factor is water debris that can impact your paddling like algae mats, stumps, or floating logs. The loss of depth will slow down the paddle quite rapidly. At low tide, slow paddling is good.

Water Current

Water current hinders or boosts your paddling progress. A tidal change can whip through an inlet. It could be a windblown current or a fast-moving river given in the far-out sea. Current impacts your paddling speed. Fighting it is tough as it only slows you down.

Your Physical Fitness

Your core strength and upper body strength will drive your paddling movement in the water. If you are not fit enough, it can get tiring and tough to go fast. Paddling will make you faster and stronger. Powerful legs for longer standing times and arm strength for repetitive paddling are essential for the handling of the board.

Learn more about paddle board fitness in our blog “What Muscles Does Paddle Boarding Work?”.

The Distance Of Travel

Average time of traveling distances vary. The rate of speed depends on the traveling distance.

Type of Paddle Board

Traditional hardshell paddle boards are outperformed and they are always preferred once with downwind when compared to inflatable paddle boards. While inflatables are lighter and easy to carry.

This, however, doesn’t make them fast. Epoxy paddle boards track straight, are less impacted by wind, and glided far each stroke as compared to inflatables. When compared to the two, a traditional board is a better choice while inflatable ones score a little edge in a downwind breeze. Epoxy boards are considered the speediest with a rate of speed of 6% more as compared to the inflatable ones.

You can reach a paddle speed of 3.96 mph at a casual pace to 5.21 mph average speeds on an epoxy board while 3.78 mph for casual to 4.88 mph average speeds on an inflatable paddle board.

Paddle Board Shape

When it comes to picking a paddle board shape there are typically three main options: surf, touring, and racing.

Of the three, racing paddle boards are faster as it is longer and thinner. Which is best for speed.

While surfing paddle boards are short and provide optimum maneuverability. They do not track straight as racing boards or glide as smooth as a racer board though.

Lastly we have touring boards, these boards have a lot more floatation and are wider. They are created for stability and not for speed primarily. However, it is fast for all-round boarding.

Paddleboarding Experience

Some experience in paddling will enhance your paddling speed. As beginners, paddlers go below 3mph and that is fine. But, with practice, you tend to gain average speed and above gradually. This experience helps in going faster.

Size Of The Paddleboard

The size should be appropriate to your weight and height. When you weigh more, a smaller board can pace quickly. An oversized board for a tiny person can slow down the speed.

How To Go Faster On A Paddleboard

How To Go Faster On A Paddleboard

Follow the tips below to attain a fast speed on your paddle board:

  • Head on a calm day.
  • Use a thinner paddle board.
  • When you start, focus on breathing and get into a fluid rhythm of paddle strokes and gain consistent momentum to efficiently paddle.
  • Remain focused and mindful.


A paddle board paces as fast as you paddle. Some factors influence the speed of a paddle board like wind speed, climate, water current, board type, the board size, material, etc. So, if you ask what is the average speed of a paddle board? The answer varies. For recreational paddle boarders, it is about 4 mph to 5 mph, for beginners it is 3.5 mph to 4.5 mph, for racers it is 7 mph to 9 mph while for advanced racers it could go maximum to 18 mph. However, with practice and appropriate paddling techniques, the speed can be picked up.

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