Skateboards might look like there’s not a lot to them – they are basically pieces of wood balanced between two metal supports – but these diminutive set-ups can actually withstand an incredible amount of force.
A 150-pound person performing tricks and landing from height can put hundreds of pounds of pressure on a board each time they land, and many skate decks are built to support higher weight skaters than that. (220 or 250 pounds are some common weight limits for quality decks.)
But many skateboard manufacturers don’t list weight limits for their boards.
That’s because how much weight a skateboard can hold is about more than just the board itself.
It’s also about how you ride it.
When it comes to skateboards for big guys and girls, there are plenty out there.
And these aren’t “fat guy skateboards”.
These are standard boards with standard decks that hold a lot more weight than you might think.
But, before we get to all of that, here are some commonly asked questions about overweight skaters and skating we want to put to bed right now.
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Can an overweight person skateboard?
There are a few things overweight skaters might want to consider when it comes to equipment and safety, but there is nothing stopping an overweight skater from grabbing a board and carving it up.
What is the max weight a skateboard can hold?
How much weight a skateboard can hold is heavily dependent on the board.
Quality boards (higher-ply decks, heavy-duty trucks) hold a lot more weight than lower-quality boards with lower-ply decks and weaker trucks.
Well-made composite decks hold even more weight.
Many skateboards and longboards can hold 300+ pounds.
If you want to skate, you can pretty much rest assured there is a board out there that can support your weight.
What skateboards hold the most weight?
Well-designed composites that incorporate carbon fiber or fiberglass hold the most weight.
These boards also have the stiffest flex, which can be good for heavy skaters.
9-ply wood decks also hold substantial weight.
Though, not as much as composites.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk the best skateboards for heavy riders.
Strongest Skateboard Decks: Composites
If you are looking for the strongest skate decks on the market, you are looking for composites.
Skate decks that incorporate carbon fiber or fiberglass are much stronger than standard wooden decks.
These skate decks are also stiffer, which some skaters don’t like, but can prove highly beneficial to overweight skaters for whom too much flex can be an issue.
Depending on the design of the board and materials used, composite decks can hold 275+, 300+, even 400+ pounds.
And these are true popsicle, double-kick skateboards, meant for freestyle and trick riding, which means manufacturers expect you to land or grind on them, so you don’t have to worry that.
Well… you don’t have to worry any more than lower-weight skaters do.
Best Skateboards for Big Guys, Girls, and Heavy Riders
When it comes to the best skate decks for bigger guys and girls, composites are the hands-down winners.
Some of these decks are all but indestructible.
Composites will give you more support when cruising AND more bend when landing tricks, reducing (though, not eliminating) the likelihood your deck will snap.
Here are some specific boards you should look into:
Why we like it: This fiberglass-infused deck is strong – hella strong – earning its reputation as a nearly unbreakable board.
There’s also a lot of variety in deck size within the design.
If you want a deck that’s a little wider, which increases wheelbase and stability, you can get a 9”, 9.3”, even a 9.7” deck (when in stock).
Since it’s built with fiberglass instead of carbon fiber, the Powell Peralta Flight Deck retains a little more flexibility, which can be good or bad for heavier skaters.
The good in a more flexible deck is that it feels more like a traditional skateboard.
The bad in a more flexible deck is that it can have too much flex and bottom out when landing tricks.
That’s highly unlikely with this board, but still something to keep in mind.
Basically, the Powell Peralta Flight Deck has already made a name for itself for good reason.
Why we like it: All Almost Impact decks are built with carbon fiber inserts or discs that make them stronger and give them enhanced pop.
Almost Impact Support decks only have carbon fiber over the trucks, providing greater strength and support while landing.
Almost Impact Light decks have carbon fiber inserts that run the length of the deck, decreasing weight and providing more strength overall.
Since the carbon fiber is distributed in only a single layer or with discs over the stress points, this board retains a bit more flex than a lot of carbon fiber boards with two plies of carbon fiber, though it doesn’t quite match them in strength.
Still, if you want to make sure you retain the flex, this one of the most flexible carbon fiber boards on the market.
Why we like it: Santa Cruz VX decks feature Quad X technology, which is a fancy way of saying they’ve combined fiberglass and carbon fiber in their composite layers.
In a lot of ways, the Santa Cruz VX rides a lot like a Powell Peralta Flight Deck, only a little bit stiffer.
However, when railsliding or landing tricks, the bend in the Quad X kicks in, giving you a lot of flex in the center of the board. Again, this can be a good or bad thing, depending on how much you like your board to bend.
But, overall, it’s a strong board by a brand we trust.
Why we like it: A company that has focused its brand entirely on carbon fiber and fiberglass decks, Lithe is good at what they do.
They have two deck options, the upcoming Slate 3 (carbon fiber) and the Nex (fiberglass), which provide two completely different skating experiences.
The Slate 3 features carbon fiber layers and a mishmash of woods that provide the ultimate support when landing tricks. It also makes this deck very stiff, which might be a turn-off for some skaters, but can provide much-needed support for very heavy riders.
The Nex is Lithe’s fiberglass board. It’s not as strong as the Slate 3 (or as expensive) and retains more flex.
Both Lithe boards are stronger and will last longer than standard wooden boards, so either can be a good option for heavier skaters.
Best Longboards for Heavy Riders
When it comes to longboards for heavy riders, it’s an interesting case.
On one hand, heavier skaters won’t be landing tricks and exerting as much force on their boards (presumably).
On the other, heavier skaters won’t be standing over the trucks on their longboards, which is where any skate set-up is strongest.
That means, on a longboard, the deck alone must be able to support your weight. Not only that, but support your weight comfortably. You don’t want a longboard deck that’s too stiff, because it’s like standing on a hard floor and will become unbearable over time.
The good news is, many quality longboards are already designed for both comfort and to support decent amounts of weight. Even many lower-ply longboards can support 250+ pounds.
If you’re a larger rider and want to make sure you’re well-supported by your skate deck, here are a few boards to consider:
1. Loaded Decks
Why we like it: Loaded combines two strong materials in most of their longboard decks – bamboo and fiberglass. This makes their decks incredibly strong, but also naturally flexy.
While all that flex can be great for cruising and carving, it can be a little too much for heavy skaters.
That’s why Loaded offers three different levels of flex in their longboards, rated by weight, with their stiffest decks supporting riders 270+ pounds.
Their longboard offerings are a combination of drop-throughs, dancers, and fat cruisers.
Why we like it: Sk8King’s Blaster is a carbon fiber composite built for both speed and stability that will get you pumping on your commute.
At 41”(L) x 9.5”(W), it’s a good, comfortable size, and comes in a stiff flex option that reduces the amount of bounce.
You can customize a lot of things on this board, and, if you have any concerns at all about weight limits, just shoot them an email. Sk8Kings builds on demand, so they can help you put together the perfect board.
3. Hi5BER Decks
Why we like it: Hi5BER longboard decks are carbon fiber decks that have all the things carbon fiber decks have going for them: strength, stiffness, and durability.
The company makes a wide range of skate decks, both short and longboards, but they focus on longboards and have an extensive range of longboard designs.
A “Heavy Duty” upgrade is available for riders over 200 lbs., which adds plies and strength to the board.
If you’re looking for lots of seriously sturdy options, this is a good place to start.
Skateboards and Longboards for 300+ Pounds
Most composite skate decks with carbon fiber or fiberglass inserts can hold 300+ pounds (including the boards listed above).
But if you want a skateboard or longboard explicitly tested at over 300 pounds, here are a couple we’ve found with 300+ lb. weights listed:
- Loaded Bhangra V2 (Dancer Longboard): Rated 300+ lbs on Loaded website
- Hi5BER Decks (All): Heavy Duty option tested up to 450 pound according to FAQ
What about bamboo boards for heavy skaters?
While bamboo decks are stronger than maple, they also have considerably more flex.
Too much flex a lot of the time.
We don’t love them for heavier skaters.
Skateboards for Heavy Riders: Building a Sturdy Set-Up
While most of the above companies offer complete boards, with trucks, wheels, and hardware befitting their sturdy decks, not all of them do.
Lithe, for instance, only sells skate decks.
In the case you have to outfit the rest of your skate set-up yourself (or just want to), here are the components you’re going to want as a heavier skater:
Skateboard Trucks for Heavy Riders
Just like you’ll need a stronger, less flexy deck, if you’re a heavier rider you’ll need sturdier trucks.
Independent trucks are some of the strongest, most respected trucks around.
But you’ll also get really sturdy skating from Silver or Caliber.
Just make sure you’re buying the right size trucks for your board.
Skateboard Bushings for Heavy Riders
Once you’ve got your trucks, you’ll need to properly support them.
Heavier skaters need stronger bushings than those that come standard in most trucks.
If your bushings are too soft, your board will “sink” when you ride it, slopping up your steering.
Medium bushings are the default bushings in most trucks and might work well for some overweight skaters, but the heavier you are, the harder the bushings you’ll need.
If you’re 250+ lbs., just keep it simple and get Bones hard bushings at Amazon.
Not only will they make your skating better, they’ll hold up a lot longer.
Skateboard Wheels for Heavy Riders
Like the bushings in trucks, the density of skateboard wheels matters a great deal for overweight skaters.
Heavier skaters will roll best on bigger wheels with higher durometers, which keep their shape more effectively under pressure.
Wheels in the 78a to mid-80a range offer the best combination of speed and stability across a wide range of surfaces.
If you want more traction, stick to the lower end (78a).
If you want more speed, go for something a little higher, like an 86a wheel.
Skateboard Bearings for Heavy Riders
Any bearing that makes your wheel roll will do for heavy riders.
Industry favorite, Bones Red, will work fine for most set-ups.
Bones Swiss are a little faster, a little smoother, and will last longer, but they’re also considerably more expensive.
Other Considerations for Heavy Skaters
Once you have a board that will comfortably, safely support your weight, you can pretty much get rolling.
But as a heavier skater, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind:
Boards do break.
Sounds obvious, I know, but no matter what board you buy, it won’t last forever.
Even the decks skaters like to claim are indestructible, like the Powell Peralta Flight Deck and Lithe Slate, aren’t.
Your board WILL eventually break.
And even if it doesn’t break, it will still encounter the same issues as any skateboard.
At some point, your board will lose its pop and develop issues such as razor tail.
While one of the boards above will certainly last longer than a standard wooden board, it won’t last forever.
You might want to factor that in when deciding how much to spend.
Heavier skaters are more prone to injury on a skateboard, and it has nothing to do with how well or poorly you skate.
It’s simple physics.
Since heavier riders must exert more force to get off the ground for ollies and flips and put more pressure on their boards (and themselves) when they land, they face more risk if they land wrong.
Due to this, heavy skaters have higher incidences of ankle and foot issues, such as tendonitis and bone spurs, and are more likely to suffer sprains and fractures.
Ankle braces and the right footwear can help prevent injuries to some extent, but the more you weigh, the more likely you are to experience a landing injury.
Keep that in mind when trying new tricks.
Because of the way skateboards are designed, heavier riders can sometimes have issues getting up speed on their boards.
The more compressed your wheels are, the squishier and slower you’ll feel.
That’s why it’s essential to choose a higher durometer wheel.
However, the dynamics change once you hit hills.
If you’re a heavier rider, your weight will play with gravity and you can end up going a lot faster than you want to once you start heading downward.
The heavier you are, the harder it also is to stop.
This can create a really bad situation if you’re unprepared for it.
There is no reason heavier skaters can’t downhill skate, but you should be aware of how your weight affects speed on downhill runs.
Extra pressure on a skate deck means extra pressure on nuts and bolts.
More pressure can cause nuts to loosen more quickly.
So, give your trucks and wheels a check before you skate and always carry a skate tool.
This way, you can make sure everything is tightened up and prevent entirely avoidable accidents.
Being a big-bodied person does not bar you from skateboarding.
It can create a few additional hurdles, but most of these are easily overcome on the right deck with the right components.
So, if your weight has been what’s holding you back from hopping on a skateboard, shut that down.
Skating is for people of all sizes, and there are plenty of boards that make it safe, fun, and inclusive.