Best Skateboard Setup for Heavy Riders


skateboard setup for heavy riders

Whether you’re a tall guy, heavy boned or a bit overweight, skateboarding is always an option. If you’re a bit on the heavy side, you probably need a bit of a different setup. No worries I’m here to help. In general, you just need a bit of a wider board, good quality trucks, and bushings that can handle your weight.

The best skateboard setup for heavy riders should consist of the following components:

  • A wider deck about 8.5 inches wide
  • Harder bushings that can carry your weight without getting crushed
  • Quality trucks that can deal with impacts

That’s basically all there’s to it but let’s dive a bit into the why and how. There are a couple of deck brands and technologies to choose from so let’s see what’s out there currently.

Note: this page contains links that earn me a commission at no additional cost to you.

Skateboard Decks for Heavyweights

I used to skate 7.5 to 7.75 decks back in the day, anything beyond that seemed ludicrous. Nowadays, 8.0″/8.25 is the standard but as a heavy rider, you want something that can take a punch. Go with an 8.5″ or 8.25″deck, this is (in my opinion), the best choice for tall skateboarders or heavy riders.

Do you break decks every other week, or too often that it hurts your wallet? Go with a fortified deck. You have a couple of options here but there’s only one that really stands out, it comes at a price though. 

There are a couple of brands that have stronger decks and prices vary a lot. The most expensive one goes for around $200 and the cheapest is about $80. I’ll list a few here and explain why they are stronger than average.

Many of them have an extra layer of fiberglass to support extra weight. This has a few advantages but also some rather unpleasant side effects. Fiberglass can irritate the skin once it starts to wear. Splinters get under your skin which is rather annoying. Anyway, let’s see what’s out there.

Powell-Peralta Flight Deck

powell peralta flight deck construction in different angles

Probably one of the better-known decks that can take a punch. The Powell Peralta Flight deck consists of 7 layers, 5 maple wood, and 2 fiberglass composite layers. They have great pop and are surprisingly light-weight. The epoxy infusion adds an extra dimension of quality and performance, you will have a hard time breaking this deck.

Features:

  • A very lightweight and thin deck
  • Last up to 8 times longer
  • Great rebound, snap and pop

Powell peralta complete skateboard

Update: I talked to the guys over at Stoked Ride Shop and now they offer a Powell-Peralta Flight deck setup with Independent trucks. I work with them and they now can get you the setup you guys actually need!

Stoked offers a complete setup with independent trucks for about 160 bucks. Perfect for heavy riders and they offer 8.0″, 8.25″, and 8.5″ setups. Yes, it’s ‘expensive’ but it’s a very durable setup that will outlast those cheap boards for a long time.

This is your board and you won’t find it anywhere else. 8.0″ for those with smaller feet, 8.25″ for street and transition, and 8.5″ for those who want maximum stability. The stock is limited so I’ll make sure to update this post regularly.

 Here’s a link to this complete, seriously something to consider as a heavy rider, and no other shop offers this stuff. Make sure to pick the Indy trucks instead of the Paris trucks when you order your board! Limited stock.

Just looking for a deck? Check here for prices

If not available, I got you covered. Check out the Amazon table further down, it has all the components you need. If you’re using an adblocker, you probably are missing out (and so am I).

Santa Cruz VX

Santa Cruz VX skateboard deck

Not too long ago Santa Cruz released their new VX boards that also consist of 5 layers of maple and 2 layers of fiberglass. These boards are very strong, a bit more flexy than average, and a great choice for big guys/girls.

I really love the designs and it’s one of my favorite boards to ride currently. I picked up a 9.0 and got some wider indy trucks to mainly ride bowls and mini ramps. Not really what it was intended for but hey, I just love the looks so why not?

If you like to ride parks, pop ollies and flips, boardslides, or anything that might snap your board the Santa Cruz VX decks are up for the task. They are a bit more expensive obviously but if you’re a board snapper you’ll earn back the extra investment.

Cheaper than the Flight deck but just as durable. They might be available at Amazon.

Lib Tech Skateboard

Lib Tech offers decks with a mix of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and maple wood. What I like about these boards is how they make the sidewalls and tails stronger by applying birch. The center (or core) is laminated vertically and reinforced by fiberglass. Skaters seem to be pretty content and confirm the longevity and surprisingly long-lasting pop.  This is a good option for heavy or tall skaters.

Emillion Fibertech

Another winner, this fiberglass enhanced deck is probably one of the strongest decks available. Now I haven’t been able to test this one out myself but the (real skateboarder) reviews are promising.

It has a medium concave deck and might feel a bit stiff at the beginning, but this will go away once you break it in after a few hours. Like the other decks mentioned it has great prolonged pop, after a month of intense use it still performs at peak efficiency according to the reviews.

The biggest pro of this deck is its price, it’s about $50, which is way cheaper than the previously mentioned decks. Its tail and nose don’t chip as much as other decks, still, it can’t beat the Lithe slate 2 or the flight deck in durability.

P2 Technology

P2 decks consist of a thin maple core and are reinforced with Aramid Fiber which is inserted on top. This results in a stiffer and stronger nose and tail and longer-lasting pops.  Some don’t like the shape of the nose as it deviated from the standard. Don’t expect miracles, the tail can still chip and the board isn’t unbreakable. I have not tested this technology so it’s hard to say if they last longer.

There are a couple of brands that use P2 technology:

  • Creature
  • Flip
  • Plan B
  • Santa Cruz.

Dwindle Impact

Setup for heavy skateboarders

Dwindle Impact is another creative technology. Dwindle (woodshop) reinforces the area where you attach your trucks. The basic impact version has two carbon discs at the bottom of the deck which helps to absorb impacts more efficiently. It is a bit heavier due to the 8 layers of maple wood, regular boards have 7 so this might take some time to get used to.

The light version consists of the regular 7-ply maple wood construction. Another trick to make it stronger is the die-cut carbon fiber laminate which is inserted on top of the deck. The example above is an impact light deck.

Almost impact skateboard deck

Impact plus is reinforces using the carbon fiber discs and an extra carbon fiber layer on top of the deck. It might be worth checking out.

Impact plus features 8-ply of North American Maple and 2 carbon fiber discs at the bottom. The plus has to do with the extra Die-cut carbon fiber laminate inlay top of the deck. Dwindle decks are totally worth it if you’re a deck breaker. We skated this board for over 100 hours without chips or pressure cracks, great pop by the way!

Brands that use this tech:

  • Almost
  • Dwindle
  • Enjoi (link to Amazon)

Lithe Slate

This is the winner and I already did a piece about this a while ago. The Lithe Slate skateboard deck is the best board for heavy riders that break decks occasionally. It has about everything you want from a deck. Unfortunately, production is delayed and they aren’t available right now.

  • Razor tail resistant
  • almost unbreakable board
  • No chipping
  • Extremely responsive

Lithe Skateboards uses a unique inlay construction which keeps the deck strong and prevents the (unique blend of) carbon composite from fraying.

No skin irritation or splinters! This keeps the boards strong, but also eliminates sharp dangerous fraying that all other composites boards get. This deck is unmatched but it comes at a price (almost 200 bucks). Keep an eye out because I’m going to review this board soon.

Capsule Skateboards

capsule skateboard deck

Want something indestructible? Capsule Skateboards offer a deck that you can’t snap. Despite its weight it still performs great but the pop feels a bit soggy compared to a 7-ply maple deck.

It’s a bit of a trade off, if you need something that can handle a lot of weight it’s a decent option. The construction makes it very durable, as far as I can see it consist of carbon fiber, plastic, and some wood in the core.

It’s heavier than your average deck and the shape is a but unusual, still you can ollie and kickflip this deck without problems, you just need to pop the deck a bit harder.

Wheels For Heavy Skateboarders

spitfire formula four conicall full skateboard wheels

If there is a set of wheels that is great for everything I have to admit, it’s not Bones. Spitfire Classics and Spitfire Full Conicals are about the best wheels you can get, especially for heavy riders. They perform well in parks, bowls, and street as long as you get the 99A wheels.

Are you a bowl rider? Go with 56mm 99a Full Conical wheels (link to Amazon). They have a large contact patch for extra stability and really can take a punch. Looking for park and street wheels? Go with the 53-54 mm 99A version. They will not let you down and are the best wheels you can possibly get.

Super fast, grippy, and forgiving. Even though they are 99A they don’t feel like hard wheels. I can’t really explain this other than Spitfire produces quality wheels and they got their plastic formula down. I’m still testing the classics right now to give you a fair comparison but the Full Conical’s are a great choice! They may not always be in stock.

Hard Bushings 

hard bushings and quality skateboard trucks

Stock bushings are fine in most cases. When you are a bit heavier you need a set that can handle your weight. The polyurethane can get damaged if it suffers a lot of impacts or just feels very loose even though you tightened your trucks to the max. Check out this table below to see the hardness you need according to your weight:

Bushings hardness for heavyweights
Weight pounds Weight KG Flexy Medium Stiff
175 80 87a 90a 90a
200 91 90a 90-93a 93a
225 102 93a 93-95a 95a
250 113 95a 95-97a 97a
275 125 97a 97a 100a

Trucks for Heavy Riders

Stick with known brands like Independent, Thunder, Venture, Tensor and Grind King. Cheap trucks won’t last long, especially when you’re a bit heavier than your average skater. Replace the bushings if they feel too loose, but break them in first to be sure.

Everyone prefers their own brand so I’m not going to recommend anything here, just stay away from the cheap stuff!

Recommended Setups

Deck size truck axle width Bearings Wheels size Suggested setup (affiliate links)
8.0″ 139mm bones reds 52mm – 54mm Independent 139 or Thunder 147, Bones or Spitfire Wheels, Bones bearings, and any pro 8.0″ deck you like + griptape
8.25″ 149mm bones reds 52mm – 54mm Independent 144 or Thunder 148, Bones or Spitfire Wheels, Bones bearings, and any pro 8.25″ deck + griptape
8.5″ 159mm bones reds 52mm – 54mm Indy 149, Thunder 149, Bones or Spitfire Wheels, Bones bearings, and any pro 8.5″ deck + griptape

I’ve selected a setup with parts that can take a beating, note that you can swap components around, this is just a suggestion. First of all, I recommend going for a Powell Flight deck, as mentioned before these decks are very strong and won’t snap easily. If you’re bigger or heavier than average this will be the perfect deck.

I picked 53mm, 99A Spitfire Wheels which are great for street and also allow for transition skateboarding. Standard Bones bearings which every skateboarder prefers (including spacers) and Independent trucks which are about the toughest trucks on the market. All components are compatible.

[amazon table=”4980″]

Trucks brands sizes and matching deck width
Deck width (Inches) 8.0″ – 8.49″ 8.5″ – 8.99″
CCS Trucks 139, 144 149, 159
Independent Trucks 139, 144 149, 159
Thunder Trucks 147, 148 149, 151
Tensor Trucks 5.35, 5.5 5.75
Venture Trucks 5.2 5.8

Cruiser Skateboards for Heavy Riders

Globe Big Blazer cruiser

In case you’re not looking for a regular skateboard I got a few more boards I can recommend. Personally tested, but not always available.

Let’s start with the beginners. If you are new to skateboarding and just want to ride I can recommend the perfect board. It’s boring, predictable, and forgiving. Just what you need!

Globe Cruiser Longboard from different angles

The Globe Blazer is your guy. Why is it boring? It lacks concave so no weird shapes that make you feel uncomfortable when you first step on this board. The deck is pretty flat and predictable, but it won’t do anything unexpected. When you get a taste for riding you can actually get some speed. Check out my Globe Big blazer review.

By that time you want something else though, for those who want something more aggressive but still something that feels stable.

Arbor Oso Foundation bottom view

I can really recommend the Arbor Oso, but it’s really hard to get. Somehow these boards are always sold out. Such a shame because it’s not only a great board to look at, it really is a super fun ride! Check out my Arbor Oso review if you want to learn more

Landyachtz Tugboat from different angles

The only alternative is the Landyachts Tugboat Captain, but that one has a lot of concave, just look at the shape. Still a pretty sweet board and lots of room for your feet. Less of a comfy ride but great for those who want to get back into skateboarding without all the technical stuff. I like this board for it’s aggressive shape, check out my Landyachtz Tugboat review.

Conclusion

Heavyweight skateboarders should pay extra attention to the quality and technology used in decks and the hardness of bushings. There’s just one thing you suffer more than those lightweights, it’s called gravity. The heavier you are, the harder you fall. You don’t need a really expensive board, check out my recommended best skateboards if you don’t want to assemble one yourself.

If you’re a beginner consider wearing some protective gear that deals with the impact instead of your body. A hard slam can mean the end of your skateboarding career or at least sitting on the couch for a couple of weeks.

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Ruben Vee

I'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can.

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