Surf Features » Fat Surfers – You Don’t Gotta Be Ripped to Rip!

Fat Surfers – You Don’t Gotta Be Ripped to Rip!


A post shared by Rafael Anate (@rafaelanate) on

An artistic tribute to supersized surfers!

Surfing has its stereotypes, tanned blond groms, dreadlocked beach bums, crusty old sea dogs, but one stereotype you wouldn’t usually associate with riding waves is a fat dude. The idea that a guy packing serious pounds can shred just doesn’t ring true, does it? Wrong. All that extra weight doesn’t go to waste out there in the ocean, it throws up more spray, it flies down the line, it steadies in the barrel. If you’re feeling a tad more portly than this time last year never fear, take example from these five fine surfers who haven’t let their extra bulk get in the way of getting shacked.

Shawn Briley


A post shared by Shawn Briley (@shawnbriley) on

A risk-taker of the greatest order, Shawn Briley is a man of size and of skill. Living every part of his life to the most insane limits, he describes the most reckless era of his life quite simply as, “I’d wake up still loaded from the night before, take big bong hits and go surf Pipe.” Now Shawn is on the judging panel for the prestigious Wave of the Winter Award each year, along with select Pipeline aficionados Gerry Lopez, Ross Williams, and Pancho Sullivan.


Jimbo Pellegrine


Perhaps the biggest ever surfer of all time, the physical size of Jimbo Pellegrine is matched by his larger than life persona. Jimbo set up shop in Bali selling silk boxers and soon became the Lost Surfboards dealer on the island. He used to charge Padang Padang and Desert Point, but after busting his knee, being run over, and being struck by lightning, he left and went to Hawaii. There he lost his arm in a car accident, so now Jimbo doesn’t surf so much anymore…

Fat Surfer - Jimbo Pellegrine

Kekoa Bacalso


A post shared by Bam (@kekoabacalso) on

The stocky Hawaiian who notched up a ranking of 17th in his rookie season on the 2008 Championship Tour, it’s Kekoa Bacalso, otherwise known as Bam. He placed ahead of Jeremy Flores and Josh Kerr that year, but by 2010 he had dropped off the circuit. While other guys on tour were training and eating right, Bam told Surfing magazine that his preparation was “drinking five beers the night before my heat.” He never requalified but Rip Curl signed him up again after he crashed a Lexus and lost his part-time job as a valet.

Rip Curl - Surfing is Everything: Kekoa Bacalso

Mark Occhilupo


A post shared by Mark Occhilupo (@markocchilupo) on

Occy’s story is one of the best in sporting comeback history. In a nutshell, Occy got fat, but then he won the word title! The Australian world champ started his Championship Tour career way back in 1983. After quitting surfing and topping out at 245 pounds, he clawed his way back to compete in 1997, ten years after he left the tour. Just two years later he had his first world title and kept competing until he reached 40 years old, retiring from pro surfing in 2007. Of course, there’s so much more to the story, so let the man himself tell you…

Mark Occhilupo ProFile - Surf

Keoni Nozaki


A post shared by burger keoni (@burgerinparadise) on

Nicknamed Cheeseburger, Keoni Nozaki is a North Shore local and buddies from back in the day with Mason Ho. They are the team behind the Burger in Paradise site and still surf together too. Cheeseburger was a jumbo sized kid (just check out his Instagram account profile picture above), and now with the perfect amount of plump he hacks the top off heavy lips with ease. He also has a special affinity for Pipeline, where he screams through big round barrels with the best of them.