Can Fat People Surf? - Green Iguana Surf Camp

Can Fat People Surf?

Fat people are often burdened with a stereotype of being inactive, but that isn’t always true! Overweight people can crush fitness goals like any other person, even if they are a beginner to exercise. This may ring true at the gym, but what about surfing? 

Surfing needs the ability to swim well, enough body strength, and good balance. Fat people may find these a little more difficult than lighter people, but as long as they have these abilities, they can still surf!

Can Fat People Surf

Some famous surfers like James Mitchell and Shawn Briley are overweight, but they’re some of the best surfers in the world. 

If you’re overweight and are considering taking up surfing, you need to know a few important things first. We’ll cover these points below, so read this article carefully before you decide to buy a surfboard! 

They’ll Need A Special Board

Standard surfing boards aren’t made for heavier people. Even if you’re close to 200 pounds, this is still too heavy a weight for surfboards. 

Keep in mind that a lot of surfboards are marketed for teens and young adults, as this demographic surfs the most. This explains why most surfboards aren’t suitable for heavier people. 

Most heavy people are above 200 pounds, so if this includes you, here are some tips on selecting the correct board for your size. 

Larger Volume For Larger Folks

A surfboard’s volume is how much water the board displaces, along with how much buoyancy it gives the person riding. Most shortboards have a 30-liter volume. Experts agree that beginner surfers should match their board’s volume to their weight in kilograms. If you don’t know your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. 

For example, a person that weighs 300 pounds weighs 136 kilograms, so they’ll need to find a board with a 136 volume. This is much more than a standard shortboard volume of 30 liters! 

If you’re heavy, don’t be tempted to choose a board with a lower volume to compensate, as it won’t be able to keep you afloat on the water. 

Choosing The Right Board

Fat people won’t need a shortboard, so don’t even look in their direction. As the name suggests, longboards are longer, so they’ll have a greater volume. In most cases, longboards have a 60-100 liter volume. This may be enough for slightly overweight individuals, but not enough for heavier people. 

The best option for fat people is to go for a SUP board. Known as stand-up paddleboards, these boards can handle over 250 liters. When you convert this into kilograms, that means these boards can hold over 500 pounds. These boards are great for heavy beginners that need more buoyancy to ride a few waves. 

If you know you’re going to be surfing for a while, you may want to pay to get a custom board built. You can do this by talking with a shaper, a person that makes surfboards, and asking them to make a board with more volume-increasing foam. 

Wave Size Matters

Larger boards are better for bigger people, but they should practice with larger waves too. Small waves won’t have enough power to get you moving. Skilled surfers who are light or heavy may handle smaller waves better, but beginners (especially heavy ones) will need more momentum. 

Can Fat People Surf

Try to go to locations where the water is known for big waves, as these are large enough to hold you and your surfboard. Waves that barely reach knee height just won’t cut it. 

Is Balancing More Difficult For Fat People?

Overweight people have a higher center of gravity, which naturally makes it harder for them to balance. While this may indicate that heavier people will struggle balancing on the water, this isn’t always the case. 

Balancing on a surfboard is nothing like balancing on dry ground. If you skateboard, ride bikes, or snowboard regularly, you may believe that you’ll find it easier to balance, but this isn’t true. Water has a unique rhythm that affects the whole experience. Beginners will have to activate new muscles as they learn how to balance on the water. 

So, fat people won’t find it harder to balance compared to other people, as staying balanced takes a huge learning curve to master. A tip that can help is to check that you’re always standing right on the board. The correct form can make surfing a lot easier, which can make you a better surfer in the process. 

Try to ensure that you correct any mistakes in your form as you go. Mistakes that go unchecked can lead to bad habits, which can be hard to correct later down the line. 

Surfing Features That Are Easier For Fat People 

As long as a heavy person has a good board beneath them, there aren’t many things that are harder or easier for them to do than lighter people. 

Some might say that fat people float in the water easier, as muscle is more dense than fat. However, this isn’t a big advantage as surfers always have their board for support as they wait for a wave. 

Unless they’re particularly strong, smaller people are more likely to get tossed around hurled about during strong waves. This gives fat people one advantage, as they’re more likely to hold steady in colossal waters. 

Surfing Features That Are Harder For Fat People 

We’ve covered why finding a board is harder for heavy people, but another huge challenge is trying to gain enough upper body strength to lift themselves up. This doesn’t involve pull-ups, but you need to shift from being on your front quickly onto your feet. 

Fat people may find at-home workouts helpful alongside their surfing lessons. These workouts will develop your strength, but they’ll also shift between movements quickly. Over time, you should find shifting onto your feet easier than before. 

In Summary

Fat people may have a longer learning period, but they can still surf and become great at the sport! Heavy beginners should make sure that their board is big enough to hold their weight, as well as ensure that they have large enough waves to handle their frame. They may also find an exercise routine beneficial to develop the strength needed to lift themselves onto a surfboard. 

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