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Hollywood depictions of surfing and wakeboarding may bring to mind images of a certain body type, but you don’t have to be thin and muscled to enjoy this sport.
The growing popularity of boardsports such as wakeboarding has paved the way for people of all shapes, sizes, and experience levels to find gear and methods to enjoy boarding.
If you’re a bigger guy, you aren’t beached. There are boards designed to support larger frames and help larger people feel more secure and graceful on the water.
If you’re looking for the best wakeboard for big guys, this article will explain some of the techniques and gear to make your big frame work for you on a wakeboard.
Length considerations for heavier riders
Some wakeboarders believe the best wakeboard for heavier guys is definitely a longer board.
Longer boards are those measuring 140-centimeters or more. A 140-centimeter board will support the average person with no problem, and small riders may gravitate towards even shorter boards, such as a 138.
The longer the board, the more weight it can easily support.
A 144-centimeter board, for example, supports riders weighing as much as 200 pounds or more.
This is a rule of thumb, and some boards will vary by brand and model in the way they support weight and how much weight they support with optimal performance.
But, generally speaking, longer boards are the way to go for bigger guys.
Width and Surface Area of a Wakeboard for larger riders
While board length has a direct link to how much weight a board can hold, wider boards can make riding easier.
Wider boards offer more space and tend to be more comfortable for bigger riders.
Most boards come with their own weight rating, but across the board, here are some recommendations for finding a wakeboard that will work for a larger rider:
- Riders weighing 100 pounds or less should look for a board measuring 130 cm or less in length.
- For riders weighing between 90 and 150 pounds, a board length of 130-134 works best.
- Riders weighing 130 to 180 pounds work well with a board between 135-139 cm.
- Riders weighing in between 170 and 250 pounds need a board measuring 140-144 cm.
- Riders weighing closer to 300 pounds benefit from the added length of a board measuring between 140-144 cm.
Benefits and limitations of longer wakeboards
Longer wakeboards offer advantages beyond their ability to support more weight, but they also have a few limitations to keep in mind.
If you’re new to wakeboarding, longer boards can shorten the learning curve.
Longer wakeboards are usually heavier than the shorter variety. The extra weight equates to a lot more control.
For more experienced riders, though, the extra weight of a longboard also comes with a drawback: this setup may not lend itself to aerial tricks well.
On the other hand, the added control can come in handy as you’re learning tricks, providing a starting board you can later trade in for a shorter board to catch greater air.
Longer boards are great for control, but they have another benefit.
While you’ll enjoy more control on a longer wakeboard, don’t think that your ride will be boring.
The surface area longer wakeboards boast means you’ll generate plenty of speed for a fast, controlled ride.
A bigger guy can leverage this speed for a lot of pop on the wakes.
Once you achieve that pop, that longer wakeboard can come in handy on the landing.
A longer wakeboard is easier on your knees and other joints because these wakeboards provide softer landings after jumps.
Bigger boards spread the force of a jump and landing over more area so there’s less force for your body to absorb.
A board with a bit more flex will also help absorb the force of lading.
Larger surface area also means a larger board will be easier to plane, which can significantly reduce arm fatigue from holding the rope behind the boat.
Benefits of shorter wakeboards
Bigger dudes can still rock shorter wakeboards, but a little experience goes a long way towards mastering advanced techniques.
Shorter boards lack the weight that lends more control on the water, but a larger rider can use balance and positioning on the board to maneuver air spins just like their smaller-boned brethren.
Skill level is the key if you’re considering a shorter wakeboard.
Even if you’re a bigger guy, ,you’ll want to look at the shorter options that will support your frame if you are an intermediate or advanced rider.
Shorter boards will allow you to maneuver the board easier in the air while still allowing you to stick the landing.
If you’re an expert or advanced rider, you’ll want the shortest wakeboard that will support your frame because this board length is best for high performance wakeboarding and aerial tricks.
The bottom line is this: the best wakeboard for heavier guys is likely not the shortest wakeboard on the market, but skill level and riding style should play a role in your decision, too.
Wakeboard binding tips for bigger guys
If you’re a heavier guy or just have a larger body frame, weight isn’t the only consideration to factor into your board choice.
In fact, board choice isn’t the only consideration!
If you’re looking for a board to support your larger frame, you’ll also need to consider bindings.
Bindings are, essentially, wakeboard boots. They are very similar in form and function to snowboard boots – though you can’t use snowboard boots on your wakeboard!
Larger-framed people tend to have larger feet. This can create a challenge when it comes to finding bindings that will fit properly.
Properly fitting bindings play a huge role in how well you can control our board.
Bindings designed for beginners tend to be softer and have more flex, while bindings designed for advanced wakeboarders tend to be stiffer.
Bindings come in different styles.
Open-toe bindings can be a little more forgiving, creating a proper fit for a wider range of shoe sizes.
System bindings are a good option for bigger guys, too, because they allow you to find a specifically designed boot that fits your larger foot to work with your choice of wakeboard, allow you more control to customize your fit to engage your entire leg.
Best Wakeboard for Big Guys
If you’re looking for a good wakeboard for larger guys, there are a number of options that could potentially work for you. Always consult an industry professional before selecting and using a new product.
Hyperlite New 2019 Wakeboard Machete with Destroyer Wakeboard Bindings Fits Most Shoe Sizes
The Hyperlite Machete in this package is paired with Destroyer bindings to create a performance package that works well for dynamic riding.
Inspired by pro riders Shaun Murray and Rusty Malinoski, this board is the union of their pro board designs and offers larger riders an option for performance style riding.
This board offers plenty of stability and control, but it provides explosive pops off the wakes.
Featuring 4 removable fins, this board allows you to customize your ride experience with fin setups to maximize zipping in and out of turns while boasting exceptional control.
Rails feature true step down edges that generate maximum speed towards wakes, making those pops even more explosive.
The destroyer binding system features a degree of rear flex that makes this board more comfortable for larger riders, too.
Padding minimizes abrasion on the rider’s back leg, while the EVA foam board covering makes this board easier on the knees.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product could potentially work for larger guys.
- 4 removable fins for a ride you can customize to match your experience level and style
- Step down edges for generating maximum speed
- Destroyer bindings with plenty of flex and padding
- The softer edges of a true step down design do generate speed, but they can hinder expert performance tricks.
Liquid Force Trip Wakeboard 2019
The 2018 Liquid Force Trip Wakeboard remains a popular model for larger riders.
The largest board in the line measuring 146 cm in length and affords the volume, weight, and design necessary to support riders weighing 260 pounds or more.
This board is built with the comfort of larger riders in mind.
It features a double inside single concave hull that produces softer landings to minimize stress on your body when the wake is popping.
This board also features a continuous rocker that generates speed to produce consistent pop off wakes, a variable edge rail design that optimizes control, and a sturdy polyurethane core.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this board could potentially work for you.
- Length and width produce substantial volume to support riders weighing 260 pounds or more
- DISC hull produces softer landings without sacrificing speed
- Continuous rocker for more consistent pop off the wakes
- Continuous rocker is great for consistent pops, but may excel for dynamic performance riding. This board design is great for bigger guys looking to for speed and control.
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com