When you're choosing a skateboard, there are things you'll have to consider--things like your budget, your body, and the quality of the wheels, trucks, and board material.
But there are other things to take into account, too. How experienced are you? What kind of riding do you plan to do? And which brand names should you trust?
Ask these questions, and you'll definitely find your skateboard-soulmate.
Your experience level is crucial in figuring out what kind of skateboard is best for you. You wouldn't buy a super-custom guitar when you don't even know a C chord, and you wouldn't buy a cheap fly-fishing rod when you know it doesn't work with your casting style.
If you're a beginner, you've got enough to worry about without trying to customize your board, too. Instead, get yourself an affordable (NOT CHEAP) "complete" skateboard, longboard, or penny board, depending on the type of riding you plan to do. ("Complete" means that you buy the board fully assembled, rather than assembling it yourself at home.)
If you're an intermediate rider--that is, you're comfortable on your board and just starting to work on some tricks--then start customizing your trucks or wheels and see how you like it. If you're stuck, find a trusted skate shop with people who have actually tested the products and ask them for advice.
If you're an expert rider, you're good enough that you can customize everything to your needs, from the grip tape to the bearings.
If you're planning to do any kind of trick-skating, you'll need a standard-shaped board--unless you're focusing mostly on vert skating, which lives in pools and bowls and is all about the height. If you're a vert skater, you should look for a wider board with a more unique shape.
If you're just looking for transportation and you KNOW you're not going to be doing tricks in a skatepark anytime soon, your best bet is a longboard or a pennyboard--two board shapes made for cruising.
For a better idea of what these boards look like and the differences between them, read our blog post, The Scoop On Selecting A Board.
So let's say you're a beginner looking for a standard-shaped board--you're mainly looking for transportation, but you wouldn't mind landing an ollie here and there. That's great, but which brand names should you trust?
This isn't an exhaustive list, but skaters have voted these brands as the top ten:
If you find a board by a different brand name at a skate shop and it feels like it's good-quality, you're free to try it out--just know that with these brand names, you're generally safe.
To learn more about assessing the quality of a board, check out this guide on avoiding cheap skateboards.
For a great skateboarding experience, you'll want to make sure you have a good-quality board that fits your needs--so don't rush through your board-selection process! Take your time, and you'll be much happier in the long run.
Experienced skaters--how do you choose a board? Let us know in the comments!