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Ultimate Guide to Big Guy Surfboards

Skinny dudes throw airs, and big dudes throw buckets. A little weight on the body won't stop you from ripping, not even in the slightest, and big guy surfboards cater perfectly to the heavier set shredders in the lineup.

To help you paddle effortlessly into waves and to stay locked into that sweet spot in the pocket, come check out the line of Surfboards for Big Guys at Boardcave so that your surf sessions are filled with nothing but joyous fun, and say goodbye to pissed off insults to a wave passed by uncaught.

What are Big Guy Surfboards?

In terms of shape and available board designs, big guys' surfboards are no different from any other type of surfboard; they're just a little harder to come by as these dimensions will require utmost specification. Including shortboards, fun shapes, foamies, and logs, the defining characteristics of surfboards for heavier guys are simple:

They are shaped with more volume to help the buoyancy compensate for a few extra lbs weighing down the board, both when paddling and standing on a wave, and sometimes with a little less rocker also to promote easy paddling.

The volume is added through an increase of rail thickness and board width, a touch of length, and may also be added through wider noses and tails. The key in finding a big surfboard that still rips is to find the perfect trade-off of a surfboard that allows you to effortlessly paddle into waves without hindering performance on the face.

To do this, you first must determine your surfing abilities, style of surfing, and what you seek out of a surfboard so that you can nail down the overall shape of the board you desire. In essence, do you want to hack and smack a big guy shortboard, do you want to cruise and noseride on a mellow log, or do you want to find a nice balance of simplicity and rippability with a fun shape?

Popular Big Guy Boards

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super brand Clay Marzo the ultimate big guy riding theSuperbrand Pig DogPhoto: Ada, Kelvin

Types of Big Guy Surfboards

Once you've determined the type of board you want, a great place to start is to look at the currently available shapes for smaller surfers. After reading the descriptions and board characteristics and finding something that sparks your interest, you then have to step back and determine if this shape can be adjusted with an overall increase in volume while still maintaining the desired performance of the shape.

Although most shapers don't keep stock of boards catering to the bigger or larger surfers, and unfortunately, it is pretty much guaranteed you cannot find what you need off the rack at a surf shop (we know, the surf industry needs to step it up for the big dudes!), fear not. A little customization of an existing shape or using a current design as inspiration for a hand-shaped custom surfboard, and you'll get exactly what you're looking for based on your exact height and weight.

Big Guy Shortboards

High volume surfboards for big guys still allow for progressive maneuvers down the line- it's just a matter of being able to paddle into the wave and keep speed while pumping.

When looking at big guy shortboards, foam is your best friend. But because it is a shortboard, you don't want this extra foam added through a significant increase in length. A couple of inches longer than the ideal length for your height is okay, but you're not necessarily trying to turn a 7'8 into a shortboard.

Instead, the best surfboards for big guys will blend and disguise volume into the board without hindering performance. A wider tail, for example, such as a big square/squash tail, will give you a little extra volume that isn't too noticeable when riding (as square tails are great for tight turns), and will help you to ride past mushy sections, keep your speed, and paddle into waves nice and early for controlled takeoffs.

A slight increase of thickness won't hold you back much either, as your weight will easily allow you to maintain complete board control and initiate turns, and is one of the best ways to take a standard shortboard shape and turn it into a big guy shortboard.

Wider noses and surfboard decks also offer an increase in volume that helps paddling, and shortboards with a little less rocker aren't the worst idea if you're not surfing huge, steep waves. With this, some of the favorite big guy shortboards are nice and round, such as a performance egg shape, as this width will keep you stable during weight transitions.

When looking at shortboards, also keep in mind the fin set up. Quads help to compensate for lack of speed, and thrusters are always a go-to for performance. In general, big guy surfboards do best with fins a little bigger and a little more stiff than average.

Occy Occy riding his signature model from JS IndustriesThe Raging Bull Photo: Andrew Sheild

Big Guy Longboards

A big guy log is a bit easier to nail down the perfect dimensions. Longboards aren't quite as intricate in performance-oriented design compared to shortboards, and because there is already plenty of foam, buoyancy isn't much of an issue. Regardless, as more weight will make catching smaller waves difficult, a log is an essential part of a quiver to keep you busy during those small summer months.

When looking into longboards, you will be presented with two options: classic noseriding logs and performance-oriented logs.

A noserider is great as they are extremely floaty, and who doesn't love spending time perched on the nose. But if you want to move the board around a little for some classic cutbacks and stylish carves and catch slightly larger waves, you might lean more towards a performance log.

To get the dimensions right, go for the bigger variations of standard logs. Again, even though there's already plenty of volume, you might need a little more length, thickness, and width to form a perfect big guy surfboard that keeps you locked into the pocket and hanging 10 without sinking.

 nose riding Thomas Bexon toes on the nose. Photo: Hunter Vercoe.

Big Guy Funshapes

In the end, some big dudes surf nothing but fun shapes. And why?

It's because fun shapes allow for the perfect balance of easy paddling, wave catching ability, and performance. You might not throw an air reverse, but you can rip a funshape similar to a shortboard by utilizing the floaty shape with your weight and power.

Fun shapes are already defined as big surfboards when compared to shorties, and for the heavier set guys, this allows for versatility in surfing many wave conditions, as a fun shape is apt for both small waves and larger waves alike when you know how to ride them.

When looking at funshapes, you can go towards the smaller end of the spectrum for a fun shape that is almost in itself a big guy shortboard due to the increase in volume should you already know what you're doing. The more volume you add through length, thickness, and width along the deck and the nose/tail, the more conducive the board shape will be for smaller waves.

Whether you're a ripper or a new surfer, a funshape is one of the best high volume surfboards for big guys.

js big baron The JS Industries Big Baron. the perfect fun board for all surfer

Ideal Conditions for Big Guy Surfboards

When riding a shortboard, big guys need power behind the wave. With this, you'll need to surf bigger conditions with steeper faces and juicy pockets so that paddling in isn't an issue, and to avoid mushy sections that slow you down.

For smaller to medium-sized waves and more gutless conditions, a funshape is the perfect mix of buoyancy and rippability; a go-to for nearly any wave type, a way to make surfing for heavier guys simple, fun, and as enjoyable as it gets.

For the tiny knee-high days and hamburger waves, unless you want to fight and scramble for waves the entire session, don't try and get fancy. Instead, keep things straightforward and classic with a longboard that cares not about size- both of the wave and yourself!

Big Guy Surfboards Buying Guide

As we said, surfboards for heavier guys don't line the shelves of surf shops and aren't stocked to the same consistency as shortboards for small dudes, so you'll have to get a little creative.

Watch some videos of the heavier power surfers, see what they ride, and take notes on what seems to be working for them.

You can go for a custom surfboard once you feel as though you've found a shape you like, and the shaper can help to tweak the dimensions to compensate for a little extra weight on the belly.

Luckily for you, Boardcave gives customers the ability to fully customize the world's best surfboards, whether it's more length or extra thickness. Take a look at some options like the Phantom XL by Pyzel Surfboards or the Solution by Chemistry Surfboards, or check out some popular big guy surfboards, below.

You can also use Boardcave's patent-pending Board Engine to find out your ideal Volume size automatically selected in the most suitable shapes for you. Chat Live on for assistance finding surfboards designed for the bigger surfers. Our Big Guy Surfboards are all shaped by some of America's leading surfboard shapers. Don't settle for the wrong board. Find what you need, customize it today, and have it safely delivered to your door.