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If you grew up in the 2000s and loved surfing, chances are you knew Rocket Power, a Nickelodeon show all about kids who loved to do extreme sports. In one episode, a stockier member of our main quartet, Sam, is frustrated by the fact he can’t balance on a surfboard. He tries and fails repeatedly until Tito, himself a heavyset guy, gives some sage advice: “Big fellas need big boards!” Sam gets a longboard, hits the waves, and everyone lives happily (and surfing) ever after.
The same idea holds true for paddleboards. If you’re on the bigger side as a guy (or gal) you need a board that can support you.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what makes a good paddleboard for bigger guys, review a few options, and determine which is the best paddleboard for big guys and gals alike.
We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Paddleboard
One of the most important things to take into consideration when considering any paddleboard is its weight capacity. The last thing you want to do is get out on the water and capsize, sink, or split your board because you’re too heavy. To spare yourself that expense (and embarrassment) you should always check the weight capacity of each paddleboard.
How much weight can the average paddleboard take? That depends on its purpose and construction. If you’re looking for a paddleboard that is designed to support a single rider, chances are it will have a lower weight capacity than something designed for group paddleboarding. Don’t forget to count your luggage against the weight capacity, as this will contribute toward it, too.
In addition to weight capacity, it’s good to remember that an item’s volume and its floating ability are often closely connected. You, thus, want to look at a paddleboard’s volume and make sure that it is in keeping with the standards you need.
Another factor helping to set those standards is the material from which the paddleboard is made. While to outsiders they may look like they are all the same, paddleboards are made from different materials, ranging from foam and fiberglass to inflatables and plastic. While different models boast different levels of floatability, inflatable options tend to have “more float” than composite boards.
Finally, you’ll want to consider touring boards. These are paddleboards designed for long-distance paddling as well as larger riders.
Taking those factors into consideration, let’s take a look at some of the best paddleboards for big guys (and gals) on the market today.
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There is a lot to like about this big board, starting with the fact that it does not come with a big price tag attached – just around $700, which isn’t a lot to ask for all you get with it.
This is one of many options on this list where the size is right there in the title, measuring 11 ft long, 30 in. wide, and 6 in. thick. There are other great Thurso Max options for bigger riders that can support up to 370 lbs. This version itself can support a pretty respectable 330 lbs, making it a good board for bigger riders in its own right.
The benefits don’t stop there. Though this board may be constructed with larger riders in mind, it is also built for speed. The bottom of the body, once inflated, glides atop the water at fantastic speeds. Meanwhile, the nose allows for greater maneuverability, as do three removable fins.
The reinforced PVC layering is extremely durable.
All of this makes it an ideal choice for those looking to paddle and achieve faster speeds and go on longer trips.
Once again this is an example of a SUP that gives its length right in the title. The board is 11 ft long, 31 in. wide, and 6 in. thick, about standard for a paddleboard. That said, it has a weight capacity of 385 lbs, so it can support even more weight than a standard paddleboard. This makes it a good board for larger riders, and can even carry a couple slimmer ones at a time.
In addition, this is another board that is inflatable, and when fully inflated it fills to a pressure of around 15 psi. What’s more, this paddleboard makes use of carbon in its paddle. While this board is made of carbon instead of aluminum, this makes it that much more lightweight, in contrast to how much weight it can support. All of this makes sure that this makes for a paddleboard that can be used like a kayak, and indeed you can buy a kayak blade for this model separately.
You get quite a lot in the way of accessories with this model, starting with a dual chamber hand pump. In addition, you get a pressure gauge to help with the inflation process, all of which makes it that much easier to inflate and deflate this model. It is also easy to keep your valuables with you as you paddle along with a big cargo area, which can be attached with four D-rings and a bungee cord. All of this makes it that much easier to take things along for the ride, though you’ll want to remember to count your cargo when considering the weight capacity.
All of this makes this an ideal board to consider for riders on the heavier side.
This model is slightly on the smaller side, both in terms of size and weight capacity. In the former case, as indicated by the title, this board measures 10.5 ft long, which is a bit smaller than you would expect from a paddle board for big riders. That is in keeping with a weight capacity of “just” 300 lbs. All of this makes this option one for “slimmer” heftier riders. Most paddleboarders still aren’t going to crack the 300 lb mark, but if you do broach that NFL Offensive Lineman mark, you’re going to need one of the bigger paddleboards for bigger riders on this list.
The tradeoff of all of this is that this paddleboard is able to remain quite maneuverable and thus versatile, and can therefore be used in a variety of activities. In addition to just paddleboarding itself, it can be used for everything from yoga on the water to fishing and everything in between.
One of the most important elements of this unit is the thermal-molded technology that makes this epoxy board both extra durable and uber-lightweight. For the 300 lb mark, the board can be inflated to a maximum weight of 32.2 lbs, which is of medium height and positively lightweight among the boards for heavier guys and gals here. It can be filled to 216 liters of volume, giving it a good amount of floatability.
The paddle itself is also quite adjustable, capable of being changed from 65 in to 86in. In terms of accessories, this board also comes with a nylon blade, center fin, and an 8ft leash.
Right off the bat you can tell that this model is on the larger side, measuring 14 ft long, far longer than the last model. This is also reflected in its thickness, 8 in., which is more than the standard 6 in. All of this belies the fact that this is one of the true behemoths among paddleboards for bigger guys with a whopping 800 lbs in terms of weight capacity. You definitely aren’t breaking this one, and chances are you could ride with one or two more heavier riders and they wouldn’t break it, either.
This is a board that is built for big guys all the way. Even so, it moves very quickly across the water, especially for such a large boat. All in all, this is a great option for larger riders who still want to speed across the water. This is probably one of the best paddleboards for big guys!
This board is a bit wider than normal at 32 in., while being a bit shorter than most paddleboards at under 10 ft. All of this gives it a different shape than many of the other paddleboards on this list, helping set it apart. It has a good, thick PVC drop-stitch construction, so this isn’t a board that will crack or break easily. On the other hand, this material can be on the heavier side, though this model itself weighs only 25 lbs.
The model comes with a single large fin on the bottom, which can help the boat steer along and cut across the water with ease. In addition, you get a high-pressure pump, a hand hold strap, and a grooved deck for keeping your balance.
All of this makes this a good board for those looking for a stable ride.
There is a lot that’s different about this paddleboard, starting with the fact that this board is made from wood when many of the other options here are made from inflatable material. If you are looking for the best paddleboard for big guys made from wood, it’s hard to beat this one.
Ten foot eight inches is not a common length for a paddleboard. Two hundred and seventy-five pounds is an uncommon weight capacity, too, stuck between the 250 lbs and under and 300 lbs and over sets. The board itself weighs 27 lbs.
Because it is made out of wood and soft serve foam, it is far more rigid than the inflatable ones. On the flip side, this means really good stability once you’re out on the waves.
This model comes with a wide range of different features, including an adjustment paddle, a carrying handle, a surf leash, and a removable fin.
Red Paddle Co 12’6
Here we have another board that is on the more rigid side of the spectrum, and once again the title gives away the measurements. This board measures 12 ft long and 6 ft thick. However, as it is rigid, it can be heavier than some of the inflatables at that size. All of this can combine to make for a ride that is far steadier than you might expect on some other options for heavier riders.
It has a weight capacity of 330 lbs, which is pretty good. It means that you might still be able to take a small child out with you on the waves, especially given the 12 ft length. This model makes use of a cargo system that attaches at six separate points and another that attaches at four points, allowing you to take your gear with you wherever you go.
This unit comes with a pump, a fin, a waterproof cellphone case (a unique feature among these here), a repair kit, carrying handles, and a wheeled backpack.
All of this makes this model an intriguing choice for those looking for heavier paddleboards.
This is a very basic paddleboard from an established maker. You can typically trust Vilano for a solid paddleboard, and that’s what they deliver here with this no-frills option.
It has a 300 lbs weight capacity, measures 11 ft long, and is 6 in. thick, all average enough for heavier riders, though some of the other units on this list are far more forgiving and have far higher weight capacities if you want or need them.
In terms of add-ons, this unit comes with a pump, pressure gauge, an adjustable paddle, removable fin, a shoulder strap, and a backpack.
Sifting through the Best Paddleboards for Big Guys (and Gals)
Finding the right paddleboard for bigger riders means knowing what it takes to keep your balance and take advantage of it. Some of these boards offer high-end weight capacity, which is among the biggest things you want to look for when searching for a paddleboard for big riders. In addition, like Sam on Rocket Power, you may want to seek out a longer board and see if that helps with the weight distribution.
By doing this, you can find the right board for you and enjoy your time paddleboarding like never before, washing away your worst fears in favor of great times to come.
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