The Best Paddle Boards For Big Guys Of 2020


best paddle boards for big guys

Stand up paddleboards or SUP’s are great fun that can be enjoyed by anyone. You don’t have to be super fit or in shape to enjoy stand up paddle boarding. If you are a larger person like me, you need to find the right paddle board to make paddle boarding fun. If you weigh 300 lbs, there is no reason you can’t paddle board. If you have size 14 shoes, a size 10 shoe won’t fit. If you are 300 lbs you can’t use a paddle board meant for a 150 lb person. Let’s look at the best paddle boards for big guys. 

Below are our top choices if you’re in a hurry. If you want to know more about each one and detailed guide to the best paddle boards for big guys please see below.

Best Inflatable SUP

Goosehill Sailor 10’6″ Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Best Rigid SUP

South Bay Board Co. Premium Anima Paddle Board

Best Value SUP

MaxKare SUP Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

The Top 5 Best Paddle Boards For Big Guys

We examined several of the most popular paddle boards for large paddlers available today.  Here are our reviews of the 5 best options available today.  We considered both price, options, and customer reviews in our selections of the best paddle boards for big guys.

Best Inflatable Paddle Board

Goosehill Sailor 10’6″ Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board


Summary

The Goosehill Sailor 10’6″ Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board has a capacity of 440 lbs. This makes it a good choice for big guy paddle boarders. Any manufacturer stated rating should be taken with caution. It features Goosehill SCE lamination technology that creates a stiffer paddle board. It has one removable fin making it perfect for the ocean, lake, or river use. It is 32 inches wide making it stable even for novice paddlers. The performance of this board and Goosehill’s good customer service make it our top choice for inflatable paddle board for big guys.

Setup up and going for a paddle

The paddle board comes as a complete package including the paddle board, a pump, paddle, and bag. The paddle is 3 pieces and the length is adjustable. The double action pump makes inflation quick although the pump takes some strength. To get to 15psi you will need to put some oomph into it. Setup or takedown takes 5 to 10 minutes.

The board is very stable and tracks well with the fin attached. It has plenty of flotation for a large adult or several smaller people or children. It is lightweight for its size and easy to carry after inflating it.

Goosehill has been providing excellent customer service for people who have had problems. Several paddlers reported getting new boards within a week.

What’s Included

  • Inflatable paddle board
  • Removeable fin
  • Safety leash
  • Carrying bag
  • Double Action Handpump
  • 3 piece adjustable paddle (89-250cm)
  • Repair kit

Paddle Board Specifications Specifications

  • Paddle Board Dimensions (L x W x H): 10’6″ (ft.) x 32’’ x 6’’ (-inflated)
  • Max Weight Capacity: 440 lbs
  • Paddle-Board Weight: 20.5 lbs
  • Construction: SCE Laminated PVC with EVA padded deck
What We Liked
✔️ Large stable paddle board
✔️ Complete package that fits in the included carrying bag
✔️ Very responsive customer service
What We Didn’t Like
The hand pump takes a lot of effort
The paddle broke for some paddlers

Best Rigid Paddle Board

South Bay Board Co. Premium Anima Paddle Board




Summary

The South Bay Board Co. Premium Anima Paddle Board has a stated capacity of 350 lbs. This is a rigid paddle board with an all around use shape. It can float a novice paddler up to 300 lbs but it is at its limit.

This board is constructed of 6 oz fiberglass weave with a foam core. It has an IXPE foam deck pad. There are pre-installed D-rings that can be used for attaching a kayak seat. The board has 3 removable fins. The center fin is attached by a screw through the board requiring tools.

This board is from a South California based company with a US presence. Owners have gotten good customer service when they have had issues.

This is a solid performing board for anyone large from a paddle board company with a solid reputation. This makes it our top choice for best rigid stand up paddle board for big guys.

Setup up and going for a paddle

The paddle board comes as a complete package including a board bag, paddle and leash. The board bag is a nice touch for keeping the board clean and protected when it’s on top of your car or truck.

The SUP board is easy to setup. A tool is needed to attach the center fin. It doesn’t snap in without tools like the other boards in this review.

Once you are on the water this is a very well behaved paddle board. The width makes it very stable. The 3 fins give it good tracking for a board of this length. This board shape is best for flat water use.

What’s Included

  • Paddle board
  • Removable fin and side fins
  • Safety leash
  • Carrying bag
  • 2 piece paddle

Paddle Board Specifications Specifications

  • Paddle Board Dimensions (L x W x H): 10’4″ (ft.) x 32’’ x 5’’
  • Max Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Paddle-Board Weight: 40 lbs
  • Construction: 6oz fiberglass with closed-cell EPS foam core with IXPE deck pad
What We Liked
✔️ Southern California based company with great customer service
✔️ High quality fiberglass and foam core construction
✔️ Installed D-Rings and bungees for attaching accessories
What We Didn’t Like
Heavier and harder to transport than an inflatable SUP
Can be dinged easily

Best Value Paddle Board

MaxKare SUP Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board


Summary

The MaxKare SUP Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board has a stated capacity of 370 lbs. It will float a 300 lb big guy without troubles. It features Military Grade PVC construction with an EVA deck pad. It has one removable fin and 2 small permanent fins. It is 32 inches wide giving it good stability even with larger paddlers.

This board is from a generic Chinese manufacturer with no standalone web presence. Owners reported very good customer service when they have had issues. They claim a 24 hour response time to any inquiries.

The low cost and solid customer service as well as good performing paddle board make this our top choice for best value in stand up paddle boards for large men and women.

Setup up and going for a paddle

The paddle board comes as a complete package including a dual action pump, 2-piece paddle, and bag. The included pump can easily inflate the board in less than 10 minutes. Some users received pumps with pressure gages that didn’t work. MaxKare customer service corrected the issues. The paddle is an adjustable 2 piece design that can go from 65 to 85 inches.

This SUP board has good tracking thanks to it’s 3 fin design. It is stable with 300 lb paddlers although the board flexes a bit with anyone heavier than 250 lbs. The MaxKare board is a well made, good performing paddle board suitable for large adult users.

What’s Included

  • Inflatable paddle board
  • Removable fin
  • Safety leash
  • Carrying bag
  • Dual action handpump
  • 2 piece adjustable paddle (65-85inches)
  • Repair kit

Paddle Board Specifications Specifications

  • Paddle Board Dimensions (L x W x H): 10’6″ (ft.) x 32’’ x 6’’ (-inflated)
  • Max Weight Capacity: 370 lbs
  • Paddle-Board Weight: 17.6 lbs
  • Construction: Military-grade PVC with EVA deck pad
What We Liked
✔️ Low cost, good value
✔️ Well made durable paddleboard
✔️ Good customer service
What We Didn’t Like
Pumps have problems with pressure gages that don’t work
The board flexes a bit with higher weight (>250 lb) paddlers

Best Beginner Paddle Board

XYLOVE CO 11’×33″×6″ SUP


Summary

The XYLOVE CO 11’×33″×6″ SUP Board has a stated capacity of 350 lbs. Due to it’s longer length and width it will easily handle 300 lb paddlers. It has Military Grade PVC construction with a textured EVA deck pad. It has one, snap in, removable fin and 2 small permanent fins. It measures 33 inches wide making it stable for the most novice paddlers.

This SUP board is from a generic Chinese manufacturer with average construction. XYLOVE CO has no standalone web presence outside of their Amazon store. Customers seem to have few complaints so far about customer service. Some users have had issues with the paddle and leash breaking but the paddle boards hold up very well.

Setup up and going for a paddle

The paddle board comes as a complete package including the board, a pump, 2 piece paddle, and bag. The paddle board is easily inflated in 5 to 10 minutes. Children and less strong adults had no trouble inflating it. The extra length and width of this board make it very stable even with larger paddlers or 2 or 3 smaller paddlers. The 3 fin design makes it track well.

What’s Included

  • Inflatable paddle board
  • Removable fin
  • Safety leash
  • Carrying bag
  • Handpump
  • Collapsible aluminum paddle

Paddle Board Specifications Specifications

  • Paddle Board Dimensions (L x W x H): 11’0″ (ft.) x 33’’ x 6’’ (-inflated)
  • Max Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Paddle-Board Weight: 19 lbs
  • Construction: Military-grade PVC with textured EVA deck pad
What We Liked
✔️ Extra length and width make for a very stable board
✔️ High quality military grade materials
✔️ Easily floats a 300 lb person
What We Didn’t Like
Single action pump can’t be used to deflate the board
Durability of accessories (leash and pump)

Best Touring Paddle Board

Bluefin Sprint SUP Paddle Board


Summary

The Bluefin Sprint SUP Paddle Board doesn’t have a stated weight limit. It is a touring paddle board that is 14 feet long with a lot of volume. It will easily handle a 300 lb paddler. It has Military Grade PVC construction. It has one, snap in, removable fin, and 2 small permanent fins. It is only 28 inches wide making it the narrowest paddle board in this review.

This SUP board is from Bluefin SUP, a well known board producer from the UK. Customer service from this vendor has gotten mixed reviews. Most users reported no problems with their board or service if they needed it.

Setup up and going for a paddle

The paddle board comes as a package including a pump, 3 piece paddle, and a bag. The paddle board can be inflated in 5 to 10 minutes. The 3 piece paddle has an adjustable length fiberglass shaft. The long length touring design makes this paddle board track extremely well. It can cover a lot of ground in a short time.

Heavier 300 lb paddlers will have no trouble standing on this board. It is not as stable as some of the wider boards in this review.

What’s Included

  • Inflatable paddle board
  • Removable fin
  • Safety leash
  • Carrying bag
  • Dual action handpump
  • Adjustable 3 piece fiberglass paddle
  • Repair kit

Paddle Board Specifications Specifications

  • Paddle Board Dimensions (L x W x H): 14’0″ (ft.) x 30’’ x 6’’ (-inflated)
  • Max Weight Capacity: Approx 300 lbs
  • Paddle-Board Weight: 28 lbs
  • Construction: Military-grade PVC
What We Liked
✔️ Very good tracking and speed
✔️ High quality military grade construction
✔️ Produced by reputable UK based paddle board maker
What We Didn’t Like
Narrow width is not as stable as wider boards
Backpack is not as well made as the rest of the package
group of big guys on paddle boards

How To Choose The Best Paddle Board For Big Guys – Buying Guide

There is plenty of paddle boards available today suitable for large paddlers. Paddle boards are not one size fits all. We are here to help you find the best paddle board for you.

When it comes to Stand Up Paddle Boards and paddler weight, the biggest factor to consider is volume. The larger the volume of the board, the bigger the paddler it can float. Ideally you want a volume of at least 1 liter per pound of paddler. Most inflatable SUPs don’t publish their volume so we are left to depend on their rated capacity.

The below video gives a quick guide to selecting a stand up paddle board.

There are a few factors to consider when looking at a stand up paddle board.

1 – Volume

When it comes to making a paddle board float more weight, there is no substitute for more volume. More volume equals more float. In an ideal world we would like at least 1 liter of volume for every pound of rider weight. More is better. Once you get used to standing on a stand up paddle board you can use a lot less volume.

Standing on a surf board or paddle board is not that easy. Even with the floatiest of boards, it can still be difficult to stand up. It takes practice. Even if you buy the biggest most floaty board you will still fall in the water a bunch of times. Don’t be discouraged by falling in the water. Everyone falls off their paddle board no matter how big or small they are.

2 – Width

The wider a board is, the most stable it will be. You can have a 300 liter board that is the same length as it is wide and it will be very stable. If you make a similar volume board that is 20 feet long but 2 inches wide it will be extremely unstable.

For a novice big guy paddle boarder, you want to find a good compromise between length and width. Look for boards that are over 30 inches in width. 32 or 33 inches wide would be even better.

3 – Length

The longer a board is, the better it will track, and the faster it can be paddled. A boat or boards gliding speed is proportional to its length. A 14 foot touring SUP board will coast much better than a 10 foot long board. The downside is a longer board will be less maneuverable. Longer equals harder to turn.

4 – Board Type

Flat Water or All Around boards

Boards designed for use on flat water or light surf. These boards are a good compromise of length and width so they track okay and they are easy to turn. They usually have a rounded nose and padded decks. These are the best boards for beginner SUP paddlers.

Touring boards

Touring SUP boards are longer and made for speed and gliding efficiency. They are usually longer than 12 feet. They are stable and an okay choice for beginner paddlers. They can be a little narrower than flatwater boards but longer than SUP surf boards. They have a pointed nose for cutting through waves and chop.

Yoga boards

Yoga paddle boards are designed to be stable on flat water. They are wider than all around or flat water boards. They have deck padding covering the entire deck. They make a very good choice for a beginner paddle board for large people due to their stability.

Surf boards

Surfing SUP boards are for more advanced paddlers. They are narrower and shorter so that they are more maneuverable. They have less volume than flat water boards. They made for riding waves in surf and not paddling long distances on flat water.

5 – Inflatable vs Rigid

There are 2 main types of paddle board construction. rigid and inflatable. Rigid is the traditional SUP board that you see most of the time made of some form of plastic, wood or fiberglass. Inflatable stand up paddle boards are what they sound like. They are constructed of PVC drop stitch and roll up for storage.

Rigid Stand Up Paddle Board

Rigid paddleboards are made from plastic, wood or fiberglass. The advantages of a rigid paddle board are that it is ready to go when you want to use it. You don’t need to spend time inflating it. Drop it in the water and go.

Rigid SUP boards give you more control. They don’t flex like an inflatable so they are more precise and can track better. They can cut through or go over waves. They don’t flex and conform to the wave.

Rigid Paddle boards need more maintenance then inflatables. Scratches and gouges are a lot more difficult to repair. You can’t just slap on a repair patch. You can drop an inflatable SUP with little to know damage no matter how high you let it go from. If you drop a rigid paddle board you will very likely damage it.

Rigid SUPs don’t have air valves that can wear out and they are more resilient to long term sunlight exposure. You can leave a rigid paddle board sitting outside in the sun for years and still use it. You can’t do this with an inflatable.

Transportation and storage are the biggest drawbacks for rigid paddle boards. Almost anyone has some space in the closet or basement to store an inflatable. Not everyone has a garage or large area to store a rigid paddle board. You have to have a car with a roof rack or trailer to transport a rigid paddle board. With an inflatable, you can just toss it in the trunk or back seat in its carry bag.

Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards

An inflatable paddle board solves the transportation problem. You can carry throw it in the trunk of your car and keep it at home in your closet, basement or garage.  This makes them a lot more convenient than a traditional rigid paddle board.

Inflatable SUPs are an ideal solution for anyone living somewhere without a garage. They are great for anyone who doesn’t have access to a car or truck with a roof rack.

Inflatable paddle boards have air valves that can wear out over time. Some are replaceable. Some are not.
UV rays can degrade almost any inflatable over time. It is important to find a storage place for them out of the sun.

Inflatable SUP boards are more flexible and may not handle with the control that a rigid board can have. That is a trade off to the design. Modern drop-stitch construction makes inflatable SUPs almost as stiff as rigid boards.

How to use an SUP Board (stand up paddle board)

Below is a quick video showing the basics of how to use a Stand Up Paddle Board.

big guy on a paddle board

Paddle Boards For Large Adults FAQ

Q: How Much do SUPs Cost?

An SUP package for a large volume board (board, pump and paddle) can run anywhere from $350 to well above $1500.  Many good options are available in the $350 to $600 price range.  Don’t feel you need to buy a $1000 SUP to enjoy the sport.  Many people have a lot of fun on low cost boards.  Some features that come on high end boards include carbon paddles and lightweight materials. Sure a carbon paddle is nice but it definitely is not at all essential.  Focus on finding an affordable board with enough volume for the weight you need it to carry.

Q: How heavy a person can use a stand up paddle board?

There are oversized, tandem and multi person stand up paddle boards that are rated over 800 lbs. If you are able to sit or stand and paddle, there is a paddle board out there that can hold you.

Q: How Do I Inflate An SUP Board?

You hook up a handpump to the board and pump it up to the specified pressure (Usually 10-15 psi).  Most pumps have a pressure meter on them so you can tell how much air to put into it. Dual action pumps (They pump air in on the up and down stroke) make pumping up your SUP a lot faster.  The below video shows an example of how to setup and inflate an SUP.

Q: How Do I Paddle A Paddle Board?

SUPs are paddled in a similar manner to a kayak or canoe.  You paddle on one side to steer the opposite direction.  You have to keep switching sides to go straight.  You can back paddle as well.  It is easy to get the hang of with a little practice.  For those without great balance you can start by kneeling on the board instead of standing. See the below video for a quick tutorial on paddling on a standup paddle board.

Q: How Hard Is It To Stand On An SUP?

I’m not going to lie.  It can take a bit of practice to be able to stand up on an SUP board.  The lighter you are relative to the board volume and width, the easier it will be.  If you have trouble standing at first you can start out by kneeling.  After you get used to it then try standing up.  It’s important to stay centered on the board when you try to stand on it or you may immediately tip it over. Below is a video with some good tips for beginner paddle boarders.

Q: Do I need To Wear A PFD While Using An SUP?

That one is up to you and what you are comfortable with. I personally almost always wear one. According to the US Coast Guard SUPs are classified as “Vessels” meaning that there should be a USCG-approved life jacket also known as Personal Floatation Device (PFD, Type III) for each person, a sound signaling device (whistle), visual distress signal and navigation light (flashlight). For more information click here.

Q: How Long Do Inflatable SUPs Last?

If well cared for an inflatable SUP board can last for many years.  The key is keeping it dry and clean and out of UV light when not in use. 

Q: Are Inflatable SUPs Durable?

An inflatable SUP can be more durable than a rigid SUP board because they can bump into rocks or branches without getting a permanent dent.  They can be cut if you hit them hard enough with a sharp enough object.  They are much more durable to small impacts.  If properly cared for the PVC material can last for years. 

Q: How Do I Find A Leak In My Inflatable SUP?

If you have a leak in your board, the easiest way to find it is to inflate the board and hold it under water and then look for where air is bubbling out. If you inflate the board on shore and then put it into cold water, the board will appear to lose air as it cools down.  Changes in temperature from the water to air can make the board feel like it has gained or lost air pressure during the day.    

Q: How Do I Patch An Inflatable SUP?

Use a repair kit designed for a PVC inflatable.  Most Inflatable SUPs come with a repair kit for patching small holes or cracks. The general process is applying adhesive sealant around the crack or hole and covering with a piece of patching material and let dry.      

Q: How To Dry An Inflatable SUP?

You can let your SUP air dry if you have enough time.  If not you can use a towel and then let it air dry the rest of the way.  If it is a windy day remember to secure the SUP board as they can blow away.  If you are in a rush and don’t have time for it to dry before going home, you can lay the SUP out inside your home or on your lawn and let it finish drying there.        

Q: How To Clean An Inflatable SUP Board?

The best thing to use for cleaning and inflatable SUP is fresh water.  Always hose the SUP down with freshwater after using it in saltwater.  Saltwater can degrade the PVC material and seams over time.  If more is needed you can use a biodegradable cleaner meant for PVC inflatable boats.  Rinse with freshwater after using cleaner before putting it away.

Q: How To Fold An Inflatable SUP?

Folding an inflatable SUP is super easy.  You simply deflate it.  Then roll it from the opposite end as the air valves.  Roll it lengthwise as squeeze the air out as your roll it.  Then put it back in it’s carry bag.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water.  I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions.  I decided to start this Gear Craver as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.

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