Fat Girl Fear Debunked: Kayaking When You’re Overweight

Hello everybody! I’m on my last day in Oregon, and WOW, I needed this vacation! We’ve been super active, hiking, kayaking and biking, but it’s the type of activity where you go at a leisurely pace and ooh and ahh at the scenery, so it doesn’t feel like work. Our second day in Oregon, we decided to go kayaking! I think I had been kayaking once before, but quickly deemed it too hard when my spaghetti-noodle arms failed to get me around fast enough. I was also 17 years old and had that “I hate everything” attitude, so even if kayaking was the coolest thing on Earth, I’d still have rather been in Hot Topic. Thank God that phase of my life is over! The in-laws have two awesome Hobie Pedal / Paddle kayaks, which mean you have the choice of either pedaling with your feet or paddling with the oar.


The whole way to the lake I was plagued the “What if I don’t fit?” in the kayak type thoughts. I imagined climbing in and my round behind plopping down, only to be stuck like a blueberry in a straw, having to stand up and having the whole kayak stick to my rump. In addition to that lovely thought, I was afraid as soon as I sat in it, it would sink down, filling with water and bringing my humility down with it. As soon as we got the kayaks off the car and onto the sandy shore, I had that type of “Well, here we go” type of moment where I decided if my roundness interfered with my kayaking, all I could is laugh it off and know that every day I make efforts to change the shape my body is in. THANKFULLY, I sat in the kayak and 1) my ass fit in the seat just fine and 2) I didn’t sink!. In fact, you could feel that the kayak wasn’t going anywhere except where I directed it. WHEW.

lyssa_kayakOnce I got over those ridiculous fat girl fears, I was able to have FUN – and boy did I have fun! Paddling was a great arm workout, as the resistance of the water got those biceps and triceps movin’, and I’d challenge myself to skim across the water by pedaling like my feet were on fire. The kayak was actually really comfortable, and a little seat even kept my lower back supported as I glided around Lake Suttle. Matt and I were admittedly kayaking pretty leisurely, but after a couple hours, I had burned 500 calories – a great workout! I wish that I could exercise in such an unconventional and gorgeous setting every day! It made me even more excited for the upcoming Fitcation, where I’ll be kayaking Morro Bay. Soooo cool.


Is there any type of exercise or activity that you’ve ever been anxious about because of your weight, size or physical ability? Have you conquered it or is fear keeping you on the sidelines? Dish it — talking it out will help you move on. Have an amazing day! <3

37 thoughts on “Fat Girl Fear Debunked: Kayaking When You’re Overweight

  1. Kayaking is my “too scared to do it because I’m fat” activity. I was at a spa resort a few years ago and a friend and I went out in kayaks several times. Once I got the pictures back, I saw that the front of my kayak was actually out of the water a little bit (I was in the back) and that was enough to keep me out of the water ever since. The sad thing is that I really loved the time we spent kayaking and was going to investigate places at home that rent kayaks so I could keep learning and getting better at it.

    • Denise, I can see that the tip of mine is out of the water a little bit… oh well! I really hope you can go out soon and try it, I think you’ll have a lot of fun 🙂 And thanks for always commenting, you’re awesome!

  2. I’ve been pretty nervous about the kayaking thing (even though I totally want to do it) for the same reasons that you were nervous. I’ll be with you on your next kayaking trip and hope that you’ll come and laugh it off with me if I sink the boat!

    • Kenz, maybe you and I can even go in the kayak together and then if we sink the boat we’ll REALLY have to laugh! lol 🙂 It’s gonna be fine! xoxo

  3. I went kayaking once, and I was really terrible! My arms were too weak to move me anywhere and I had to be towed by the tour guide 🙁 I wish our kayaks had foot pedals, that would have helped! Recently I was afraid of jet skiing at Lake Tahoe because I feared falling off and that I wouldn’t be able to lift myself out of the freezing water. Well, I did fall and I did struggle but managed to pull myself up eventually.

  4. A little nervous about my own adventure in these parts. I’ve kayaked before, but it was some years ago in our inflatables. I just agreed to upgrade, along with my husband. I have a nice new big wide sit on top (Wilderness Tarpon 120) coming next week. I’ve made him promise our first few outtings can be in small, easy, non public areas where I can struggle, fall off, cry and make a fool of myself in relative private. I’m willing to do that to get through it to the fun part. 🙂

    But of course first I had to Google “fat girl kayaking” and was glad I found this resource.:)

  5. Hi Alyssa, Thanks for a great blog. I’m 53 and am lucky enough to live along the Willamette River in Oregon. Those fears you had were exactly mine, but I really wanted to be able to do something on the river that would get me active, be fun and not feel like exercise. I bought two of those Hobie kayaks and LOVE them. I have the pro angler which is really sturdy (more like a boat) has a nice large chair to fit my wide butt, but at 100+lbs it’s heavy to haul in and out of the water. My other one is the revolution 11 and although smaller and narrower, It works great and I can get it in & out of the water with no problem. Like you, I loved that I could pedal when my arms got tired so you get the upper and lower body workout. I get out on the river and lose time because it’s not only fun, but relaxing. I never thought I’d be a kayaker. In fact, when I was test driving them before purchase, my hubby told EVERYONE that I would be in the water since I can be a bit clumsy. Oh..I’m in the water alright, but moving above the water and having fun!! I’m so happy that I got past the fear. That crap sure held me back far too long. Thanks for inspiring others to do this.

    • Cindy,
      Comments like this are the reason I blog! I am so glad you love to kayak and don’t let any insecurities hold you back!!!! I wish you many more wonderful kayak trips 🙂

  6. I really enjoyed reading this Kayaking blog. I’ve been very interested in learning to Kayak, but of course have that weight hold me back problem. I go through phases of being very active and right now is one of those phases and I love the outdoors. I feel like kayaking would be a great workout, something different and very peaceful to do. I just have to get up the courage. I’m one of those people who would rather buy all the stuff and go try it and see if it works or not instead of going somewhere and renting and be completely mortified if something goes wrong (like me not fitting). But the truth is it would be much smarter to go rent at a forest preserve. I’m glad to see there are others who share this same concerns of not fitting in a kayak. I appreciated your blog post!

  7. I am delighted to have read this blog. I’d wanted to go in a kayak for years and finally did it a year ago. we went on a city lake, my friend had done it before and she sat in the rear. It was a low tide and scary getting into the kayak and worse getting out; had to have 2 people help me, quite a struggle, but I made it. I want to go again and have a new goal; to kayak on Mono Lake next summer. pictures & reviews of un-big folks don’t really tell me a thing. but reading of your experience really gives me hope!! thanks to everyone here for their honesty!

  8. I am thrilled to read your post about larger gals kayaking. I’ve found that the sit on top kind of kayak is very forgiving and am trying to get out there and not care what anyone else thinks – it’s just SO fun and I love getting up close to wildlife and birds. My arms and shoulders do get tired, though, and I’m interested in the Hobie kind with the pedals. Is it hard on your knees? Also, they seem very very very pricey! Do you think they are worth what they ask for them? The whole body workout option sounds great to me. You get on with your brave self and maybe we can spread the word to get even more ladies out on the water!

  9. You look incredible in these pictures! I’m supposed to go kayaking for the first time this Saturday.. and I’m terrified. I’m 5’3″ and 230 pounds. Am I going to sink?!?!? Do you weigh a lot less than me?! I’ll be in the Bay of Fundy and it’s only supposed to be 55 degrees. I REALLY do not want to fall in 🙂

  10. I was super freaked about it but it was something I wanted to try with my boyfriend since he got into it last summer. So instead of going all in and buying a “real” one, I got an inflatable and love it! It’s easy to store and transport and it supports my 350lb body with more junk in the trunk than you can believe. I figured if it didn’t work or the boat wouldn’t hold, then I was only out about $120. Give it a try…it’s worth it!

  11. Well gals- my day is today. I’m in Sarasota will some girl friends and it is the activity of the trip. I’ve always wanted to try but must admit I’m terrified! I’m 67 5’6 212. Please tell me I’ll be ok. I’m pretty active but little upper body strength. We will be on a guided tour! Thanks for the blog.

    • I’m happy to report it was a wonderful experience. Our guide Dan was wonderful and although we didn’t see manatees or dolphins, the mangrove tunnels were amazing!! A real triumph!!!

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