The regulation length for competition level shuffleboard tables is now 22 feet. The length has developed over time and varies for non-regulation tables (normally much shorter). The width of 20 inches is consistent for regulation shuffleboard tables as well as for most home versions.
Roots of the Shuffleboard Table
Shuffleboard, or as it was called at the time, shoveboard or shovelboard tables, were much larger than the tables of today. The tables used in England from the 16th century (the earliest recorded game was in 1532) to the 19th century were normally about 30 feet long.
The length remained the same over the centuries, including the early American tables, when shuffleboard came to the United States around the time of the Civil War.
The standard length at the beginning of the 20th century was 32 feet through the pre-Prohibition glory days of the game. Shuffleboard popularity dropped dramatically during Prohibition and only really recovered after World War II.
During the post-World War II shuffleboard boom, mass production of shuffleboard tables and the nationwide shipment of these tables led manufacturers to reduce the length to 28 and later to 22 feet, the length which has become standard.
Home Table Sizes
Shuffleboard tables today are found in many homes, bars and other private spaces. Many of these places do not have the length available to handle the regulation length shuffleboard tables. Because of spatial limitations, there is a market for much shorter tables.
The most common tables found today are between 9 and 14 feet long. It is on these much smaller size shuffleboard tables that many of us have been introduced to the game.
The only common places today to see the longer shuffleboard playing surfaces of the past are on shuffleboard courts of deck shuffleboard. The regulation deck shuffleboard court size is 39 feet by 6 feet. These courts, stereotypically present in retirement communities in Florida and on cruise ships, give the feel of the longer shuffleboard table sizes of the past.
Regulation Tables Today
Though most games of table shuffleboard are played on the shorter tables located in homes and bars, the regulation length for competition level shuffleboard tables is now 22 feet by 20 inches. The height at the shuffleboard wax (which is not wax but silicone) coated playing surface is 30 inches.