If you are a beginner to skating, it will be inspiring and, at the same time, confusing to choose a skateboard. Skateboard has different parts. So if you do not have a clear picture of what a skateboard is and what its components are, your purchase won’t be of any use for you. You should thoroughly understand the features of each of these parts to get the right product. This article is to help you out in choosing the perfect skateboard for you. So here we begin.
You should have the answer to the question of what you are using your skateboard for. Most of the skateboards are designed in a shape and size that is well suited for the skatepark and for doing tricks. You will need a very different board if your need is to ride around town and never go up a curb. For this use, you will need a cruiser board that is wide and has big soft wheels. For those who are planning to go to the skatepark and do some tricks or ride a mini ramp, choose a more classic shaped skateboard.
From the many different sizes, shapes and styles of skateboards, they can be classified into three major types.
A skateboard that is generally 33 inches or longer can be called a longboard skateboard. They can come in different shapes and sizes. These longboard skateboards can be again classified into twin tip longboards, pintail longboards, swallowtail longboards, drop-through decks, drop decks, etc.
The longboard skateboards provide manoeuvrability and stability for beginners. Its wheel size allows it to go faster. You can have big swooping turns, and on a rough road, this type of skateboard gives a smooth ride even on rough grounds. But they are not a good choice for tricks and flips.
These are shorter keyboards, and so they are easy to transport around. They have a shorter deck length when compared to longboard skateboards. So you will be able to dodge obstacles through tighter turns. They will easily fit in your backpack too.
The sizing of the board is the next important thing to consider. It was not so long back that a sizing feature was added. About 15 years ago, you could not opt for a micro or soft top. Skateboard has become very popular recently, which has made you choose from different options and get the best one that fits you. The sizing is usually based on age, height, and shoe size. When you are confused about the size, it is better to size up because the kids grow very fast. Also, there isn’t much difference between each size.
Full (7.5” or wider)
Height : 5’3” (160cm) or taller
Age: 13 years or older
Shoe Size: 9 or bigger
Mid (7.25”-7.375” wide)
Height : 4’5” -5’2” (130-160cm)
Age : 9-12 years
Shoe Size : 6-8
Mini (7.0” wide)
Height : 3’5”- 4’4” (102-130cm)
Age : 6-8 years
Shoe size : 2-5
Micro (6.5”-6.75” wide)
Height : 3’4” (102cm) or smaller
Age: 5 years or younger
Shoe size: 1 or smaller
7.5”-8.25” is the average width of a skateboard deck. The width is normally determined by the size of the rider and the type of riding. A wider deck will be the right one for bigger riders who would skate on ramps and vert ramps. If you are just a street skater, you will need only a smaller deck.
After choosing the style and size, you should know all the different parts of the skateboard. You should know which part is used for what purpose and what you should look for while choosing them. While purchasing online, these factors have to be considered very carefully.
Griptape is the thing that is similar to sandpaper that goes on the top of a skateboard. It is to give you traction to do tricks. The grip tape also keeps your feet from slipping off the board. You can get it in different designs and colors. But always remember that black grip tape will always be the most grippy and durable than the other bright colored ones as it is made with the highest quality grit.
The main wooden part of the skateboard is called the deck. There are seven thin veneers of maple wood in most of the pro decks. All of them are glued together with super high strength epoxy glue. These plys are then pressed into shape with a nose, tail, and concave. The seven thin veneers of maple wood make the board stiff over time without losing shape, which is very important for doing tricks. There are even decks with nine plys of maple and even decks with glass inserts, which increases the durability of the board. But these boards will be on the expensive side. Cheaper skateboards will have only three plys of wood and a cheaper glue holding them together. This will lead to a loss in shape for the board and the plys to split apart.
The metal parts that hold on to your board are called a truck. They help you to grind and turn. Most skateboard trucks use aluminum alloy. But some brands use other metals and blends. Make sure that the skateboard you choose has metal trucks. Plastic trucks are just waste. You may get it cheaply, but it is of no worth for your money.
The little rubbery pieces inside the truck are the bushings. They are crucial in determining how a skateboard turns. The bushings are small polyurethane cones that will flex from side to side while riding. They let you turn the skateboard. Bushings are available in different shapes and durometers. You will get a stable skateboard with a harder durometer bushing. But they will not let you turn quickly. For natural, smooth turnings, it has to be a smoother bushing. The smaller boards for kids mostly come with soft bushings for the lightweight kids to turn quickly. While buying a cheaper board, you should thoroughly check for the bushings. Many cheaper skateboards use plastic bushings, which are very difficult for the kids to turn.
The hardware consists of the nuts and bolts that hold the deck to trucks and keep everything together. There are a few different lengths in which they are available and come with a Phillips head or Allen key. Allen key is the long-lasting one.
For a beginner, the wheels will be the most prominent part of a skateboard. Hard polyurethane is the material used to make skateboard wheels. This material allows you to absorb small vibrations and roll over small pebbles. Cheap skateboards use hard plastic for wheels. These wheels crack or break if you hit a hard rock. If the ground is rough, they will not absorb any vibrations.
All the wheels come in different durometers. Each durometer is for different styles of riding. Choose a harder wheel if you are buying the skateboard for riding on smooth, hard surfaces like a skatepark because they will roll faster and last longer. But these wheels are challenging to ride on rough surfaces. A softer wheel is better for such surfaces because they absorb more vibrations. You get wheels in different shapes and sizes. If the wheels are bigger, you can go faster while smaller wheels are lightweight and best to do tricks.
Usually skateboard wheels are measured in millimeters (mm). The smaller the wheel, the slower the speed will be. Speed increases with an increase in the diameter of the wheel. For smaller riders who skate on streets, skate parks and bowls, 50-53mm small, slower wheels will be sufficient. Beginners and big riders who race skating street, skate parks, bowls, and vert ramps should have an average size, which is 54-59mm. There are specialty riders who skate on longboards, old-school boards, downhill, and dirt boards. They will need a skateboard that gives speed as well as moves smoothly on rougher surfaces. Such riders should use 60+ mm wheels.
The pieces that are inside the wheels that help your wheels turn are the ball bearings. Ball bearings vary in quality and price. You can get good skateboard bearings at a cheaper price too. They are easy to replace also. So you do not have to break your budget on ball bearings. Steel, Ceramic, and Titanium are the materials commonly used to make the bearings for the skateboard.
Safety gear is essential if you are a beginner. Get a proper skateboard helmet. It will guard the back of your head. It is also useful if you have wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. A comfortable pair of flat bottom shoes is also the right choice. If you feel safer, you will be more confident in getting better at skating.
Now you are almost ready to pick a kind skateboard. The next thing is to take good care of your skateboard. If you keep your skateboard in good condition, it will last longer. For this, make sure of the following things.
Don’t get your skateboard wet. If it gets wet, it will soak the wood on the deck, which makes the wood warp and damaged. Bearings also get damaged as they are made of steel. Water will make them rusty, which will reduce your skating speed.
Keep the skateboard clean. This will not only help the skateboard to last long but also helps you in smooth riding. If there is mud or dirt in your grip tape, it will become less grippy, which makes it harder for you to do tricks.
These are the basic things you should know while choosing your first skateboard. When you start using it, you will get to know them more in-depth. Each of the above points must be in your mind while choosing the skateboard for you. Get the best one and start your practice as soon as possible.