Choosing a Skateboard
With so many products available on the market, buying a new board is a game of eliminating options. It’s not an easy task, especially if you’re a new boarder, but if you are patient enough to analyze each of the following options, you will surely make the right choice that best suits your needs.
Price is always an important consideration. Skateboards available in online shops are often cheaper than similar products you can find in your local skate shop, but this does not mean you are making the smartest decision. A visit to a local skate shop, getting to see the board for yourself, might change your opinion about a product that looked so appealing in the catalog picture. In addition, by buying from a local shop, you are also supporting the local economy. Read our earlier post, The Scoop on Selecting a Skateboard, to learn more about the benefits of shopping local.
Be careful when buying skateboards from supermarkets because they’re generally of lower quality. If you’re worried about your child hurting themselves or if you’re worried you’ll injure yourself, then do note that poorer quality boards can pose safety hazard because they’re more difficult to ride.
Complete Set or Build Your Own
When you go out in search of a new skateboard for your child, keep in mind that regardless of what you are willing to pay, you will always have two main options: buying a complete skateboard set (called a “complete”) or assembling your ride from pieces. For simplicity, beginners often choose a complete. Pre-assembled skateboards make the decision process much easier and spare you all the technical details. However, what if you plan to expand later? Custom-built skateboards offer an open-door to trade up to higher quality components down the road.
When choosing a skateboard, you should consider the construction of the board. At a local skate shop, the salesperson can help you identify the material. Canadian Maple is the most common. The two other popular materials used to make boards are Bamboo and Baltic Birch plywood. Plastic is another alternative that is much cheaper and durable, and is usually found in penny boards. There are also aluminum and fiberglass decks that provide similar results. The reason Canadian Maple is a lot stronger and more popular is due to the quality of the wood and stability it provides.
There are four main sizes of skateboards decks, all measured by the width of the board: micro, mini, mid size, and full size. Micro boards are 6.5 – 6.75 inches wide and are for kids 5 and under, while mini boards are 7” wide and are ideal for slightly older kids. The most common beginning deck size for kids is mid size, which correspond to shoe sizes 7 and 8. Beginning adults will want a full size board, which are 7.5” or wider. This handy chart from Warehouse Skateboards explains the differences well:
(Photo Credit: Warehouse Skateboards)
Longboards are larger than standard skateboards and are designed for cruising. If you’re planning to cruise around your neighborhood, the beach, or around campus as a college student, a longboard is probably the best option for you. They offer more stability and, because of the wide, flat-edged wheels, can travel much faster than standard size skateboards.
The safest way to make the best choice, especially if buying a board for your child, is to visit a local shop. Inches on your screen can be different than those you carry under your feet. Some shops even allow customers to take boards for a short ‘test ride.’ Remember decks wider than 8 inches offer more stability, while narrow decks offer more flexibility to do tricks.
Shape of Board
The shape of the board is another important thing to consider when choosing a skateboard. Forget your initial idea that all boards are flat, as you will soon discover there are many options to choose. Radial, progressive, w-concave, flat-cave, asymmetric, or convex boards can help the rider perform different tricks and will surely make your head spin. Lengthwise, the board can be built with negative camber, positive camber, or no camber at all. Camber is basically arcs in the board that have a positive or negative slope towards the trucks. As a general advice, beginners and parents wanting their kids to start on the right foot should always go for the simplest option available. There is plenty of room to experiment once the basics are mastered. Read our blog post, The Scoop on Selecting a Skateboard, to show you the differences in shape.
Wheels have a huge influence on speed, stability, and the overall riding experience. Of all components to splurge on, wheels are your best bet. Wheels are usually made of polyurethane and allow a great variety in sizes and features. Larger wheels allow for a steadier ride and can handle irregularities in street surface with ease, while giving comfort and increased safety. Hardness of material is also a parameter to consider when choosing the right set of wheels. Again, professional advice found in shops is recommended, especially for novices.
Trucks are the components that attach the wheels to the board. Choosing the right trucks is an important part of choosing a skateboard. If you choose not to purchase a complete and instead select each part separately, be wary of the length of the trucks. They should not exceed 10 inches. Another point to be noted is that the truck size should equal the width of the board. Therefore, if you an 8 inch wide board, then you’re trucks should 8 inches.
Check out this video for more information on choosing trucks:
Remember, even if the board has a super-cool design, that doesn’t mean it’s a suitable ride for you. Stray away from choosing a board in a radical size or fancy shape. The cliché rings true: don’t judge a book by its cover. Lastly, when you’re choosing your skateboard, wear the shoes that you’ll be riding the board with, so you get the complete experience when you ask for a test ride.
What do you look for when choosing a skateboard? Let us know in the comments below!
About The Author:
Yogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. In the past year, Yogin has worked with several small businesses, including local restaurants, hotels, and personal brands. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, go to YoginPatel.com, or add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.
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