I see overweight people at the skatepark from time to time and I’ve never wondered “How are they skating!?”.
I’ve personally helped a heavier friend start cruising on a skateboard to lose weight. He never had a problem due to his weight and most skateboards are made from 7-layered maple are rated for 220-350 pounds with a factor of safety.
So can fat people really skate?
Overweight people can still skateboard. Most boards are rated for well over 200 pounds. Wider boards can tolerate even heavier weights. However, if you are doing tricks then an overweight person will be more likely to break a board. This is because the increased force from landing will be much higher than a person’s weight.
Even though overweight people can skateboard, there are some extra considerations that need to be considered as a heavier skateboarder.
Can Fat People Skateboard?
Many people who are overweight and want to skateboard think this. If you go to the skatepark, you might not see a single overweight person. Virtually all professional skaters are healthy weights. There simply is very little representation for overweight skaters.
However, there are no physical reasons that should stop you from skating.
Fat people can skateboard like anyone else. You will need to protect yourself as any other beginner should. Additionally, you might be at risk of more severe ankle and wrist sprains due to the high force of impact when you fall. Your physical health also might limit your progression as you will likely need more frequent breaks and won’t be able to practice for as long.
However, all in all, these are small considerations.
Skating as a heavier person is still a great hobby and a way to stay active.
Just be careful to not become too self-conscious due to your weight. Everyone at the skatepark is just trying their best and are likely not paying any attention to you.
If you want to know about how to get started skateboarding as an adult, check out our guide with a reality check here.
Will Skateboarding Be Harder to Learn Because I’m Overweight?
In a general sense, this is true. However, this is true for almost every physical activity if you are an overweight person.
Carrying too much extra fat puts more stress on your knees and decreases flexibility. It also reduces cardiovascular health. So being a healthy weight is better for learning skateboarding, but you shouldn’t let this stop you.
Plenty of people still enjoy skateboarding while being overweight and some people are skating at an advanced level. Skating is hard in general and sometimes progression will seem slow. Don’t fall for the mental trap of blaming your weight for a lack of progress. If you put in the work then you will see results. This is true for anyone regardless of size.
Do Overweight Skaters Get Hurt More Easily?
Yes and no.
For blunt force injuries such as falling onto the pavement, extra fat can cushion the impact to some extent. Yet, the impact will be harder because of the increased weight. Gravity will cause a skinny and fat skater to fall at the same rate, yet the momentum of the fat skater will be much higher. This results in a higher force of impact for the fat skater.
The fat might have a cushioning factor for most falls. Yet, for some injuries such as sprained ankles, being overweight is more of a risk. Our tendons and ankles are rather delicate and a slightly heavier impact can cause significant damage. It is easy to roll an ankle during skateboarding, and extra fat will not help cushion this type of impact.
You can help mitigate the risks involved with skateboarding by wearing appropriate gear. When you’re a beginner be sure to wear a helmet, knee pads, and wrist guards. Especially as a heavier person, falling onto your hands can cause gnarly wrist sprains.
Additionally, street skating and doing tricks is rough on the knees. This is true for everyone, and especially true for heavier people. Damage to the knees and other joints could cause serious discomfort later in life so it’s best to take care of your joints. For this reason, it might be better to just cruise on the skateboard or skate transition until you lose some weight.
Do Fat Skaters Need a Different Deck Size?
This might be the only real consideration you should take as a heavier person when skateboarding.
If you are a heavier person, then you should opt for a wider board. This is because the size of the board affects how much weight it can tolerate. The impact of a heavier person will create a force much higher than his or her weight. The board needs to be able to handle this or you will likely snap your board.
There are also special boards called fortified boards. These are specially designed decks to withstand incredible forces and stresses. One of the more popular brands is Powell-Peralta. These decks are a bit pricier but will give you more confidence in the durability of your board.
Keep in mind an older board is also much more likely to snap and will do so with less force applied. This has to do with crack propagation inside the skateboard. The skateboard’s fracture toughness decreases are microscopic cracks propagate through the board. These cracks naturally occur and grow with use. So don’t shy away from breaking your board. It happens to everyone at some point, even the skinniest and smallest skaters.
It is recommended for adults to have a deck width of 8 inches or more. The larger you are, the wider your deck should be. Otherwise, you might end up feeling like you’re balancing on a tightrope! Riding and standing on your board should be comfortable.
If your knees hurt after skateboarding check out our reasons and prevention guide here.
Will Skateboarding Help Me Lose Weight?
Skateboarding is great exercise.
According to Harvard’s health department, skateboarding can burn up between 150-210 calories per half an hour. How many calories you burn will depend if you are exerting a lot of energy doing tricks or are just leisurely cruising and your weight. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy exercising in a gym, then skateboarding can be a great opportunity to get physically active while having some fun outside.
Beyond burning calories, skateboarding is a great cardio workout. You will build muscles in you hip flexors, core, and lower back. If you do tricks that require an ollie, then you will build up your glutes and calves as well.
Just remember that while exercise of any kind will burn calories and increase your metabolism, losing weight is achieved through a proper diet. That’s something you’ll need to figure out on your own 😉
Can Fat Skateboarders Do Tricks?
Being overweight can limit your movement and ability to do certain things.
Just does it stop you from popping an Ollie?
Fat skateboarders can do tricks. Often the extra weight makes it more difficult to get the required pop to land certain tricks. Additionally, if you land incorrectly, you will be more likely to break your board. Landing in the center of the board or on the tail can cause it to fracture.
You can find some great examples of heavier skaters who are landing extremely complex tricks in the next section.
Examples of Fat Skaters
There are more thin or healthy weight skaters than fat skaters. Go to any skatepark and you’ll see this firsthand. Some people think that being thin is almost part of the skateboard style, but that is closeminded and against what skateboarding stands for.
Skateboarding is about being inclusive to people of all backgrounds, sizes, and lifestyles. It’s a place where outsiders or anyone who doesn’t fit in can express themselves and make some friends.
Here are some examples of overweight skaters who are killing it.
250 pounds isn’t extremely heavy, but this skater is a great example of a heavier guy doing complex tricks. Even if he isn’t landing clean, he isn’t going to be breaking his board too often at that weight.
This skater weighs in at over 335 pounds and still manages to drop in and do a couple of simple lines at Tony Hawk’s vert ramp.
Who is the Fattest Skateboarder?
There very well be a guy at your local who holds the record for the heaviest skateboarder.
The current heaviest pro-quality skateboarder is Danny Way. Danny Way weighs about 180 pounds which isn’t all that heavy. This is because you need to be physically fit to compete in most sports at a professional level. Try and think of an overweight NBA player for example.
In some ways, his weight might have helped him more than hurt him. It might have helped him get the momentum for the longest skateboard ramp jump of 79 feet. This is still a world record jump.
In conclusion, anyone can skate regardless of weight. Being overweight can make learning how to skate more difficult because of lost flexibility and decreased cardiovascular health. This leads to decreased stamina which means you won’t be able to practice for as long.
Certain injuries, such as sprained ankles, could be made worse from the higher force of impact an overweight skater will have.
Larger decks will likely be most comfortable and I recommend a deck size of 8.25 inches or more. The larger deck width will also be able to withstand more force on impact. However, if you learn to land cleanly on your bolts, then the force of impact will go through your trucks which will not break easily.
Skateboarding can help you lose weight and you will lose between 150-210 calories per half-hour skating. Exercise also increases your metabolism. There are plenty of examples of heavier skaters out there shredding. Just hop on Youtube to get some inspiration.
Honestly, if you want to start skateboarding there should be nothing stopping you. Being overweight might not help you, but it doesn’t make skating impossible. So just go for it. You’ll be happy you got out there and maybe you’ll lose some weight in the process.
Thanks for reading and look out for other articles from Board and Wheels.