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Can an Overweight Person Paddle Board?

can a overweight person sup featured

Enough of the false advertising! All too often, glossy magazines tend to show petite, fit, and often skinny individuals paddle boarding over picture perfect waters. Well, it’s about time we change that image. 

Heavy, bulky, and yes, overweight individuals can absolutely get on a SUP. In fact, if you’re a heavier person looking to burn more calories, get more exercise and generally improve your health, paddle boarding is an excellent activity to do just that.

When you’re on a paddle board, you will use muscle groups all through your body to stabilize yourself as you paddle through the water. Stand up paddle boarding also requires a fair amount of mental discipline too. 

Today, I’ll share with you my thoughts on why this sport is one of the best ways to work out, whether you’re a heavy person or not!

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Anyone, Any Age, Any Size Can Paddle Board 

It’s a myth to say that a big guy shouldn’t paddle board. 

Anyone, any age, and any size can hop onto an SUP and hit the water. No matter your skill level, and even if you’re a big guy, paddle boarding is a great sport that every person should try out at least once. 

Your size or how much you weigh will not impact the level of enjoyment you have while out paddle boarding. Your size also doesn’t have an impact on whether or not you can get good at the sport. 

Being a skilled paddle boarder is not related to physique but is instead related to whether or not you have the skills to master balancing and maneuvering while on a board.

Instead of focusing on your weight when you’re going out paddle boarding, you should focus on having the right gear instead. Not having the right board for your weight could throw off your overall ability to paddle board.

ALSO READ: Is There a Weight Limit for Paddle Boarding?

Pick the Right SUP Board for your Body Weight

Picking the right stand up paddle board is key to having a good time on the water. There are a few things you need to consider when picking the right SUP board for your weight, height and body type, particularly if you’re a bigger person. Before you part with your hard earned money – take some time to research whether the stand up paddle board is right for you 

Find The Right Board for Your Size  

All boards have a weight limit. The average SUP can hold a capacity of 200 – 300 pounds. However, if your weight combined with gear exceeds 250 to 300 pounds, then there are plenty of paddle boards rated for 500 pound weight capacities

Opt For a Stable Paddle Board


A stable stand up paddle board will feature a wider shape and edges that do not taper off. A larger person should opt for a wider board and usually a longer length – as this will increase the surface area of the platform and therefor the stability. 

The thickness of the board is also important. A stand up paddle board that is 6 inches thick increases your center of gravity. This in turn creates a floating board that feels rather wobbly. Opt instead for a SUP that is 5 inches thick – with good rigidity. 

Larger boards are usually a little heavier than boards with a shorter length or width, so if you have poor upper body strength, be sure to check the weight of the board to ensure it is not too much for you to carry. Paddle boarding itself is not one of the more strenuous activities once you’re on the water, but carrying the gear can be cumbersome.

Forget Your Weight, Understand How to Balance Instead 

It’s easy to get caught up in your weight and whether or not you were too heavy for a stand up paddle board. Forget about being overweight or being a heavy person and instead focus on having the proper posture. The key to paddle boarding is keeping a balanced stance. If you can do that, you’ll be able to boost your confidence in this sport. 

Stand in the Right Position 

Stand in the middle of the board so that your board is flat against the water. Don’t stand with your feet too much on either side so that you don’t accidentally tip yourself over. Keep your knees bent slightly so that you can help stabilize yourself. 

Avoid standing straight up and down as well. Instead, stand In a similar position as you would if you were surfing. Plant your feet, keep your body tilted slightly forward but be careful not to hunch over. As you paddle, don’t look down at your board, instead, keep your eyes focused forward so that you have better spatial awareness. This will also help you to balance. 

Paddle Board in Calm Waters

It’s also important to practice paddling out in calm water. If you’re out on a windy day or on choppy waters, the constant ripples and waves will cause you to lose your balance much easier. Having to fight against these ripples can also be a bit daunting on your leg muscles causing you to feel unstable and wobbly. .

Paddle Boarding Is Great for All Body Types

I can’t emphasize enough how great of a sport paddle boarding is for all body types. Whether you are looking to lose a little extra weight, or simply want to strengthen your muscles, paddle boarding is a great aerobic activity to go with. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from this water sport. 

Great Low Impact Cardio Exercise. 

You’ll be surprised at how much energy paddling takes. The physical act of constantly moving your body translates to a great low impact cardio exercise. Get your heart pumping without worrying about undue stress to your joints.

Build Up Your Core Strength 

Stand up paddle boarding is an excellent way to improve your core strength. Maneuvering while on a board requires superb core strength. The more you practice floating on top of the water, the more you will engage your core.

Improve Your Sense of Balance 

Of course, stand up paddle boarding is a great exercise to help you perfect your balance. Your center of gravity is really tested while on the water and this is a great way to practice proprioception, or how your body moves in space. 

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Don’t let picture perfect images of skinny, small people paddle boarding get the best of you. No matter your size, weight, or body type, stand up paddle boarding is a sport you should check out. Of course, if you have any health issues you should speak to your doctor first, but be assured that overweight individuals can absolutely enjoy SUP! 

I hope my guide has helped inspire you and boost your confidence so that you can head out onto the water with ease!

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