If you have size 13 feet, you don’t buy size 5 shoes. The same applies to buying a stand up paddle board! If you weigh 250lbs, you don’t buy a paddle board designed for someone that is 125lbs .
If you are a larger guy (or girl!), there is no reason we can’t help you buy a stand up paddle board that will be stable, easy, and fun to paddle! Buying the right size stand up paddle board is the difference between having a lot of fun and being frustrated. No one likes being frustrated, so let’s jump right into what it takes to buy a stand up paddle board for those of use who are larger!
What Is Your Weight?
Things like paddling conditions, experience on a stand up paddle board, and height do play a role in helping select your ideal SUP. However, the very first question we are going to ask you is your weight. We know we just met and that is a pretty personal question, but we can’t help you select the best stand up paddle board for your weight if we don’t know your weight!
This is where we need your total honesty. If you are 280lbs, please don’t tell us you are 240lbs! Giving us the wrong weight might impact the paddle board we suggest, and that suggestion, while ideal for the 240lbs you told us, may not be ideal for the actual 280lb you! If you are 280lbs, but have plans to be 230lbs after a summer of paddle boarding, we want to help you reach that goal! But, we are going to pick a paddle board for you at 280lbs.
If we size for your goal weight, you might find the SUP board too small, not go paddle boarding enough, and not hit your goal. We are all about making sure SUP is as fun and easy as it can be. We are 100% judgement free, all we want to do is get you on the water. If we don’t have a paddle board that we think is a good size for you, we will tell you instead of trying to sell you something that doesn’t work. We will likely even suggest models that would suit, even if we don’t sell them!
What Do You Consider A Larger Person
That is always a bit of a tricky question and for the sake of this article, we are going to call that 240lbs. There are lots of ways to be over 240lbs, and 6’8” and 240lbs is a completely different body shape than someone who is 5’2” and 240lbs. We will likely ask you about your other athletic activities, your balance, and your SUP goals.
I Tried a Small Paddle Board and Kept Falling Off. Can I Not Paddle Board?
This could not be further from the truth. Stand up paddle boarding is actually a relatively easy sport to learn. In calmer waters, and on a properly sized paddle board, nearly anyone of any athletic ability can be paddleboarding in just a few minutes. The key is the proper board sizing. If you are on a SUP board that is too small, a few things happen. First, the paddle board is pushed down to far into the water, which makes it very unstable feeling. That instability leads to a very tipsy feel as you move your upper body to take paddle strokes.
Very few novice paddle boarders will have success on a board that is too small for them. Equipment in sports makes a huge difference to your success, and stand up paddle boarding is no different. If Tiger Woods was to enter a Longest drive contest and showed up the day of the contest with a 9 Iron, while all the others were hitting driver, there is a 0% chance of him winning. Same with SUP. A paddle board that is too small just isn’t the right equipment.
How Does My Weight Affect the Size Board I Should Get?
We have a few more in depth articles here and here about the calculations of paddle board sizing and SUP board volume. We look almost exclusively at how your body weight relates to your new stand up paddle boards volume. Volume is a measurement of how much water a board will displace and is the best way to determine paddleboard stability. The higher the volume of a SUP, the more stable it will feel.
For a novice paddleboarder, we like to take your weight and generate a range of board volumes that will be stable. Generally, we take your weight and use the following:
Lower End Volume = Your Weight x 1
Upper End Volume = Your Weight x 1.25
For example, if you weigh 245lbs, we are going to look at paddle boards between 245L of volume and 305L of volume.
When it comes to board selection, please take us up on our offer to contact us by phone or live chat to help you make your selection. We are more than happy to take the time to get to know you, and then suggest the best board for you.
The Best Stand Up Paddle Boards for Larger Weights
Cruiser SUP Escape 11’4
The 11’4 Escape is a high volume, super stable, and super versatile paddleboard that performs in anything from calm lake water to small surf! With a full wrap deck pad, and lots of bungee attachment points, the Escape is ideal for novice riders up to 250lbs, and more advanced riders all the way to 300lbs.
Cruiser SUP Dura-Maxx 11’4
At 260L, the Dura-Maxx is our highest volume non-inflatable paddle board. With its super durable polycarbonate shell construction and full deck pad, the Dura-Maxx is a incredibly stable paddleboard for riders up to 320lbs and smaller. Designed specifically for maximum stability in non-surf conditions, the Dura-Maxx 11’4 is stable, easy, and for a board as large as it is, very light at only 32lbs!
Cruiser SUP Fusion 11’6
The Fusion is the quintessential all around paddle board. An ultra stiff and durable molded wood carbon construction gives not only exceptional glide, but also exceptional stability. At 255L, any one up to 295lbs and smaller can be stand up paddle boarding with comfort and ease. Year in and year out, the Fusion is one of our best selling models.
Looking for a Single SUP Board Package?
Looking for a Two PaddleBoard Package?
Cruiser SUP Blend 11’6
At 245L of volume, the Blend is not only super stable and easy, but without a doubt, the best looking paddle board on the market. The stunning Paulownia Wood finish is a literal work of art. Factor in the Ultra-Light Wood Carbon construction, and shapes designed to maximize glide speed, stability, and tracking, riders up to 280lbs should give the Blend series consideration.
Shop the Blend in Single SUP Board Packages
Shop the Blend in Two SUP Board Packages
Is Stand Up Paddle Boarding A Good Workout?
You bet it is. It can range a little bit based on the style of paddleboarding you are doing. A leisurely paddle won’t burn as many calories as SUP surfing session; however, all types of stand up paddling are great for your fitness. Recreational paddle boarding can burn in the 300 – 500 calories an hour. Not to mention you are using your big muscle groups like your legs, back and core. We have customers who have reported back to us after a summer and have dropped 25 pounds. Or, they have gone from only being able to paddle board for 10 minutes at a time, to paddling for hours. Check out this article called DOES STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING BURN CALORIES for some more details.
Can a Smaller Person Still Use My Paddleboard?
No problem at all. If you are buying a stand up paddle board for yourself, the main thing you want to consider is that it is sized for you optimally. If you are 260lbs, a SUP board that is sized for your, like the Fusion 11’6 will work for you, and anyone lighter than you. No problem there at all.
It doesn’t really work the other way around. If your wife is 125lbs, and she gets a stand up paddle board sized for her weight, like the Fusion 10’, you will really struggle with that SUP at 260lbs. However, if just getting one SUP board to share, she can use the 11’6 Fusion very easily. Of course, if you prefer not to share, just check out our 2 paddle board package deals.
The general rule is that a lighter person can use a larger paddleboard much easier than a larger person can use a smaller paddleboard!
I Am a Larger Person Now but Have Big Goals. Will This board Still Work If I Lose Weight?
Like we mentioned above, you want to buy a stand up paddle board based on the weight you are right now. Buying for a target weight may make the paddleboard too small now. As you paddle more and more, your weight may start to drop. Congratulations and keep up the good work. Also know that the SUP board you selected based on your starting weight will still be great for you as you start to shrink. Again, a smaller person on a larger paddleboard is always a lot better than a larger person being on a paddleboard that is too small.
The biggest mistake you can make for your first stand up paddle board is buying too small. Too small will be frustrating as you will find it tipsy and hard to balance on. The ultimate effect is that you won’t use it. A paddle board that is stable, comfortable, and easy to paddle will make paddleboarding a ton of fun. I also road bike, and the very first bike I had was a frame size too large. It was uncomfortable, and out right painful to ride I was stretched into a position that caused all sorts of bike fit issues. I barely rode it. Fast forward to a test ride of a bike that actually fit, and I realized that biking didn’t have to hurt, got a properly sized and fit bike, and started putting in the miles.
There is no need to frustrate yourself on a SUP that is too small for your weight. Making this mistake will only make paddleboarding not very enjoyable.
Stand Up Paddle Boards For Larger Paddlers
As you can see, there are tons of options for stand up paddleboarders who are 240lbs or more. There is no need to frustrate yourself on a board that is too small for your weight. Making this mistake will only make paddle boarding unenjoyable. When it comes to buying the best stand up paddle board, take us up on our offer of a personalized consultation with one of our expert staff. We will make sure you get the best SUP for your needs and budget.
Have questions? Want to talk about the best SUP board for you? Just give us a live chat, call, or email at info@paddleboarddirect and we will guide you every step of the way!
About the Author
Glenn Morton is Customer Experience Manager at Paddleboard Direct, as well as chief content creator. Glenn has been stand up paddle boarding and windsurfing over 20 years, and has been with Paddleboard Direct for over 15 years. When not on the water, Glenn can be found on his road bike, a ski hill, or raising his 12 year old daughter Nora. Glenn is an expert in all things paddle boarding including paddle board technique, SUP safety, and all paddle board products. Customers rely on Glenn's expertise to help guide them in their purchase of the best stand up paddle boards for their needs. Glenn helps equip thousands of paddle boarders each year, and is ready and waiting to help you.