Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to have fun, spend time outside on the water, and get a challenging but low-impact workout.
On the off chance that you get bored of paddle boarding, there’s always SUP yoga and SUP camping to explore. If that almost sounds too good to be true, you’re probably already itching to give stand up paddle boarding a go.
Can you stand up paddle board if you’re overweight? Hell, yes! Whether you’re heavier and happy or you’re looking for a really enjoyable way to burn some extra calories as you’re working on weight loss, paddle boarding is for you!
That’s your question answered. We could just stop writing right here, but as always, there are a few caveats.
Are you ready to join us on a little journey through the steps you should take to make the most of your paddle boarding experience? Good! If fun and safety are your two top priorities, just as they should be, it’s key to choose the right paddle board and to perfect your technique.
- Choosing the Right Stand Up Paddle Board for Your Weight
- Maximize Your Stability
- Consider the Paddle Board’s Weight Limit
- Choosing the Right Paddles
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding When You’re Overweight: Perfecting Your Technique
- Are You A Complete Beginner? Take it Easy!
- What Happens if You’re too Heavy for Your Stand Up Paddle Board?
- Don’t Let Being Overweight Stop You From Enjoying Stand Up Paddle Boarding!
- How to Get into Stand Up Paddle Boarding When You’re Overweight: A Final Word
Choosing the Right Stand Up Paddle Board for Your Weight
Just about anyone who can stand up can paddle board — including kids and dogs. One size definitely doesn’t fit all, though, so if you’re considering investing in your own paddle board, it’s important to know how to pick the right SUP. Your weight definitely isn’t the only thing to think about, but it’s one factor to consider. Let’s take a quick peek at the stuff you should keep in mind when you go SUP shopping.
Maximize Your Stability
Seasoned paddle boarders make stand up paddle boarding look easy, and when you ask them what it’s like on the water, they’ll make it sound that way, too. If you’re new to SUPing — and you are if you’re still asking if it’s for you — stability is one of the most important things to worry about.
How do you achieve that? Your technique plays a role, but so does the board you choose. Keep these guidelines in mind as you shop:
- Stand up paddle boards are typically 10 to 12 feet long. If you’re on the shorter end (say, up to 5’4”), you’ll want to go with a shorter paddle board. If you’re six feet tall, on the other hand, you’ll go with a longer SUP.
- Width is another factor to consider, and the same story holds true here — the wider the rider, the wider the SUP should be.
- The thickness of the board should be taken into account, too, especially if you’re thinking about buying an inflatable stand up paddle board. Thicker boards with a higher volume will offer more stability. In the case of inflatable stand up paddle board, overweight riders will want to look for a thickness of at least five to six inches (13 to 16 centimeters).
- Consider whether you want a rigid SUP or an inflatable SUP. Inflatable SUPs, especially cheaper ones, can “sag” in the center, where you’re standing. You do have a wide variety of inflatable SUPs to choose from, though, and many of the best ones are designed to be able to accommodate heavier riders without any trouble.
Consider the Paddle Board’s Weight Limit
Every stand up paddle board has a weight limit — the maximum weight that can safely be loaded onto the SUP while it’s on the water.
The majority of stand up paddle boards are designed to hold somewhere from 200 to 300 pounds (that’s 90 to 136 kilos), but it’s important to keep in mind that that includes any gear you may be loading onto the SUP.
Make sure that only stand up paddle boards that can accommodate you, all your gear, and even your dog, if you’re interested in SUP-ing with your canine, make it onto your shortlist. For the record, you bet that stand up paddle boards that can handle upward of 500 pounds (226 kilos) are on the market.
To name some examples, Blackfin Model XL, iRocker All Around 11, and Tower Explorer 14 are all SUPs made especially with heavier and bigger riders in mind.
(By the way, before you freak out, when you see “weight” mentioned under manufacturer specifications, that’s about the SUP, not about you — look for “capacity” to find out how much a stand up paddle board can carry.)
Choosing the Right Paddles
It’s easy to forget that your paddles are a key player, too. You may not want to get a bundle, and instead opt to buy paddles separately. Thicker carbon or fiberglass paddles give you more control, which keeps you stable on the water.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding When You’re Overweight: Perfecting Your Technique
Making sure you learn to paddle board the right way will make the sport safer and more enjoyable, so always do your best to:
- Position yourself right in the middle of your board — you know you’re doing it right when your SUP is completely parallel with the water.
- Place your feet slightly apart, but don’t assume a very wide stance.
- Keep your knees slightly bent as you paddle board.
- Keep your back straight!
- Learn to paddle board on calmer waters, and don’t brave whitewater until you’re experienced.
- Paddle more slowly to keep the board stable — the simple fact of the matter is that the heavier the load, the more likely your SUP is to bob up and down significantly as you paddle. Even, controlled, and slow movements counteract this effect.
Are you unsure what you are doing, because you are completely new to this exciting sport? Everyone’s got to start somewhere, and that place should be close to shore, in safe and familiar waters, and ideally in the company of more experienced stand up paddle boarders. They’ll be able to tell you what you are getting right, what you still need to work on, and give you the right tips to make paddle boarding that much more enjoyable.
Are You A Complete Beginner? Take it Easy!
Stand up paddle boarding is a deceptively tough workout, but because it is so much fun, riders may not notice quite how hard they are working themselves until it’s too late.
Anyone who has not been working out regularly or who has low fitness levels should follow the same advice that applies to any other sport or workout. Start slowly. Paddle board for short stretches of time at first, and build your time on the water up gradually.
Again, stay close to the shore and take regular breaks, even if you don’t think you need them — because you will. Give your body a rest before you have another go.
There you go — out of all of these tips, just one was specific to being overweight or heavier. Stand up paddle boarding’s the same for everyone. Everyone needs the right board and the right technique, and every rider needs to remind him- or herself to pay attention to their body while they’re on the paddle board.
What Happens if You’re too Heavy for Your Stand Up Paddle Board?
Just in case, it’s good to know what happens if you are too heavy for your stand up paddle board, or if you have overloaded your SUP so that it’s carrying gear beyond its capacity. Your stand up paddle board will certainly begin to protest, and when it does, that’s a call you’re going to want to pay attention to.
A Low Ride
You want most of your paddle board to ride the water, not to sink into it — and to the contrary, stand up paddle boarding will become a real challenge, because your board won’t slide; it’ll drag. If you like, compare the way your SUP sits on the water with a slender rider on it to the way it slides when you’re standing on it. If your stand up paddle board rides too low, that’s a sure sign that you are too heavy for it.
Paddling Is Hard
Your stand up paddle board should slide through the water with the grace and ease of a dolphin. If it feels more like you’re dragging your feet through the mud, your stand up paddle board may be carrying more weight than it can comfortably handle.
The Taco Effect
Are you riding an inflatable SUP? If you shouldn’t, because the stand up paddle board is designed for much lighter people, it’s going to dip in the middle and arch out at either end — a phenomenon that veteran paddle boarders sometimes call the taco effect. Even if the situation at hand resembles a banana more closely than a taco, pay attention. The stand up paddle board that you are riding is suffering, and it’s likely not the right board for you.
Don’t Let Being Overweight Stop You From Enjoying Stand Up Paddle Boarding!
Folks who are excited about the rise in stand up paddle boarding often celebrate the fact that paddle boarding is for “everyone”, regardless of age, weight, fitness level, or skill level. That’s not quite true; we haven’t seen newborns rocking a SUP yet, and you wouldn’t want to head out onto the water with a broken leg, either.
For that matter, stand up paddle boarding definitely isn’t for you if you can’t swim. SUP is a surprisingly equal-opportunity sport, though, and if you’d like to improve your health and fitness in a gentle way, stand up paddle boarding can definitely help you do that.
Like swimming, stand up paddle boarding works nearly every muscle in your body. Your legs, core, arms, back, and shoulders will all get a mean workout when you SUP, and anyone who is new to stand up paddle boarding can absolutely count on feeling sore the day after.
While stand up paddle boarding is a full body workout, it’s easy on the joints and amazing for overweight people, people who have suffered a sports injury, and even people with mild arthritis.
Stand up paddle boarding will make you stronger over time, if you keep it up. It also offers a wonderful cardio workout that’ll improve every aspect of your health, including your blood pressure. In addition, for all the clumsy people out there, stand up paddle boarding is a great way to improve your balance, which benefits you in all sorts of ways.
Stand up paddle boarding is a whole lot more fun than working those machines at the gym, and the simple act of being out on the water — one with the SUP and one with your paddles — recharges your mental batteries while getting you a much-needed dose of vitamin D.
Don’t let the stock photos fool you. Stand up paddle boarding is perfect for nearly anyone who enjoys it and who’s willing to keep trying until they figure it out. That first journey onto the paddle board can end with whitewater SUPing, with SUP yoga, or with SUP fishing. Whatever floats your… paddle board.
Above all, stand up paddle boarding offers a unique sense of freedom. This versatile sport is exactly what you want it to be, and if anyone tells you that stand up paddle boarding isn’t the right choice for you because you’re heavier, you can show them just how wrong they are.
How to Get into Stand Up Paddle Boarding When You’re Overweight: A Final Word
In conclusion, being overweight doesn’t have to stop anyone from enjoying stand up paddle boarding. If you want it to be, SUPing can be a part of a weight loss journey, and if you’re good where you are, it’s fun, healthy, and challenging.
Just make sure you choose the right stand up paddle board for your needs, and when you have that, follow it up by learning the proper technique. Start small and slow, and venture out on longer trips when you’ve begun to master paddle boarding and you’ve gained some strength. If you enjoy stand up paddle boarding, you may also like SUP fishing and SUP yoga.