If you’re new to skateboarding, you may have several questions regarding the limitations of skateboards. One of the commonly asked questions, especially if you have a larger frame, will be ‘is there a weight limit for skateboarding?’.
There’s no official skateboarding weight limit, but the quality of the board you buy will affect how much weight it can bear before it gives way. A well-made maple skateboard deck may hold around 220 lbs, but it is still likely to snap if you land incorrectly. Also, some of the most highly durable skateboard trucks have weight limits of 250 lbs.
The Risk of Injury
While snapping a skateboard deck is a relatively common occurrence, it’s more likely to happen if you weigh more and land incorrectly. If you’re obese and happen to roll your ankle while doing a kickflip, you’re far more likely to do serious damage.
Ankle sprains and foot injuries are common for skateboarders. Other common conditions include plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, fractures, and Achilles tendonitis. While some of the risks can be offset by protective gear and proper shoe support, it cannot be eliminated (source).
Skateboarding requires a great deal of coordination and will always involve some level of risk. Of course, that’s exactly why many people love it.
Who is the Heaviest Pro Skateboarder?
Professional skateboarders usually weigh less than the average adult at 195 lbs. For example, Steve Caballero stands at 5’ 3” and weighs only 134 lbs. Tony Hawk is a relatively tall 6” 3” but weighs only about 171 lbs.
There are, however, some heavyweights in the field of professional skateboarding such as Big Ben Schroeder, Stu Graham, and Sean Sheffey (source). While the weights of many skateboarders are not easy to find, Big Ben Schroeder is listed at an impressive 6’ 6” and 230 lbs (source).
Big Ben Schroeder’s career was brought to an abrupt end in 2011 when he collided with a car that ran a stop sign as he was going downhill at about 40 miles per hour. He ended up with a broken tibia.
Does Weight Affect Skateboarding?
One of the advantages of being a heavier skateboarder is that you can build greater momentum going downhill. This is also one of the greatest disadvantages of being a heavier skateboarder since that momentum easily translates into more severe injury.
Lighter skateboarders will accelerate faster but will not generate the same amount of momentum as a heavier skateboarder when going down ramps.
Professional skateboarder Danny Way has set several world records, and he weighs in at a modest 180 lbs. This is still more than most skateboarders, and it undoubtedly helped him to gain the momentum necessary to set the Guinness World Record for the longest skateboard ramp jump of 79 feet during the X Games in 2004 (source).
Some of you may have seen the popular YouTube video of a 330 lb skateboarder doing kickflips and other tricks on a Derek Lam board. This is possible with proper foot placement and knee bending, but there is still a high risk of injury.
It would be extremely dangerous if he were jumping off of rails or from any significant height. The deck would almost certainly snap, and the trucks could give way.
That being said, even lightweight professional skateboarders snap boards all the time. All it takes is for the skateboarder to distribute their weight anywhere other than on the wheel trucks of the board as they land.
The Importance of Deck Width
The Derek Lam skateboard used in the video is made of 7-ply Canadian maple with a deck length of 31 inches and a width of 8 inches (source). The deck width is one of the most important factors in choosing a skateboard for beginners and larger individuals because it provides better support and stability.
The size range for a skateboard deck normally goes from 7 inches to 10 inches, although micro versions are even smaller. Heavier individuals will usually want something 8.25 inches wide or more to help distribute their weight. The downside to having a wider deck is that it can make doing tricks a lot harder.
As far as the length is concerned, most skateboards are 32 inches long or under with anything over normally considered to be a longboard. The length of the deck can be an important consideration for taller skateboarders. Then again, everyone has their preference.
Skateboard Weight Chart
|Size||Micro||Mini||Small||Mid Size||Full Size|
|Age||5 and under||8 and under||9-12||13 and over||Adult|
|Average Weight||45lbs||59 lbs and under||63-89 lbs||102 lbs-152 lbs||195 lbs|
|Height||3’4”||3’5”-4”4”||4’5”-5’2”||5’3”-5’6”||5’7” and over|
Skateboards tend to be more concave and are better suited to performing technical tricks. Flat boards and longboards have greater length and tend to have tapered ends rather than concave ones since they’re geared more towards transportation.
The Construction of the Deck
The construction of the board deck determines the board’s strength. The materials used on skateboards range from laminated maple wood to carbon fiber, bamboo, and plastic. Each has its particular strengths and weaknesses.
The most common skateboard deck material is laminated maple wood. This might be something like 7-ply or 9-ply, and a well-constructed maple board can hold around 220 lbs. Not all manufacturers list the weight limits of their products though.
Many skateboards and longboards are made of maple wood, and these included youth and beginner models. The Kryptonics Recruit is 31 inches by 7.5 inches with a listed weight limit of 110 lbs. Playwheels offers a 28 inch by 7.5 inch skateboard as well as 21 inch by 6 inch cruisers. Note that these aren’t great boards!
Professional grade skateboard companies like Powell-Peralta, Birdhouse, Zero, Element, and Plan B use maple in the construction of their full-size boards. The Powell-Peralta Flight deck is nearly indestructible, but this contains a thin layer of carbon fiber.
Carbon Fiber and other Composites
Some of the strongest boards have a carbon fiber deck, like the Revdeck produced by Revolution Enterprises, and they’re also much lighter (source). However, these are known to splinter badly when they do snap, and many skateboarders complain that they feel nothing like wooden boards.
Perhaps the strongest skateboard deck on the market, the Lithe Slate 2 Deck is made of a composite of light woods, Canadian maple, and carbon fiber. They boast that, unlike other carbon fiber boards, their boards do not splinter (source).
Lib-Tech skateboards are an interesting composite of a fiberglass spine, a birch wood outer rail, and a poppy wood core coated in epoxy resin (source). Some composites contain layers of both maple and bamboo.
Penny Board decks are made of vinyl plastic, and they come in several sizes from small skateboards to longer cruisers. While they are relatively strong, they are only intended for transportation use and not for performing tricks.
The Penny Skateboards company does not list the weight limit of its products, although this is often assumed to be around 220 lbs. KaZAM Balance Bikes lists the weight limit of its plastic youth skateboard at 180 lbs (source).
Aside from the skateboard deck, the durability of the skateboard trucks can become a concern for heavier skateboarders. Some of the strongest trucks are made of 356.0 T6 aluminum, and these usually have a maximum support weight of 250 lbs.
During a proper landing, the bulk of your weight should be distributed on the trucks of the skateboard. If you’re 250 lbs or over, you could be taking a serious risk by doing the sort of tricks seen in the previously mentioned YouTube video.
Be aware heavier skaters should ride harder bushings, Check out my bushings guide to find the specific hardness that is compatible with your weight. It makes a huge difference.
If your main goal is to use a skateboard for transportation, then a longboard will be better suited to your needs. Longboards tend to be narrower at each end and are designed to be more stable and comfortable to ride. They are not designed for tricks, and they have higher trucks and longer wheelbases for a smoother ride.
Longboards are also made of maple wood, but they can be made of plastic, carbon fiber, and even bamboo. The skateboard company Aluminati makes cruiser boards out of recycled aluminum, and there are 32 inch plastic Penny Board cruisers.
Longboards are typically 32 inches to 42 inches long, but there are smaller youth versions described as “cruisers,” like the Playwheels 28 inch by 7.5 inch with a maple wood deck. The Tomshoo cruiser has a plastic polypropylene deck with a weight limit of 165 lbs (source).
Electric skateboards or motorized longboards intended for cruising are listed with weight limits of 200 to 330 lbs, depending on the model.
While there is no official weight limit for skateboarding, there is a greater risk for injury if you’re over 220 lbs. Even if you’re only doing ollies or kickflips, you run the risk of rolling your ankle and potentially doing irreparable damage.
If you need a board for transportation, there are several highly durable longboards on the market, including several electric skateboards with weight limits up to 330 lbs. In any case, you should always wear protective gear such as a helmet and pads for your own safety.