Starting your adventure with skateboarding might be a bit complicated as there are different types of boards. When buying your first deck you have to decide what you want to use it for as there are various riding styles.
Shortboard decks are shorter than the other types of boards, they often come with double kicktails to allow you to perform tricks. If you are looking to skate in skateparks and perform tricks that’s the right choice for you. Check our skateboard buying guide!
Longboards are a bit more complicated as they come with various shapes and sizes depending on your riding style. Check our designated longboard guide to find out more!
Skateboard decks width
Width is one of the most important factors while choosing your deck. Depending on your height, shoe size, personal preference and riding style you should choose the right width.
Wider boards are heavier; thus, you need to use more power to perform a trick, however they offer a bit more space to land on.
It should be easier to do a trick on a smaller skateboard due to its weight, but it might be harder to land when you have bigger foot size.
That’s why you have to find the right size, so you can compromise ease of landing tricks and amount of power you need to perform it.
Things to look at while buying skateboard
The most important factor while buying a skateboard is width, but it does not mean that’s the only thing you should look at while choosing your deck. Skateboard decks have various sizes, but the most common ones are 7”-9 wide and 28”-33” length. The other important factor is a material the skateboard is made off – usually they’re made of plywood(Canadian Maple), but nowadays manufacturers use various materials including carbon fiber, fiberglass, resins or plastic.
The most common deck widths for adult skateboarders are between 7.5” and 8.5”. Wider decks are heavier – you need more power to do tricks, which might make it harder for you to successfully land it. Smaller decks are lighter which should allow you to use less force while doing the tricks, however there’s less space to land on. If your shoe size is higher it might be uncomfortable to ride smaller deck.
It is the distance between inner mounting holes of the deck, wheelbase determines the distance between your front and back trucks. The higher wheelbase is the more stable your board will be, however, your board will have higher turning radius.
Usually between 28” and 33”, length is not as important as width and wheelbase and most often won’t affect performance for new skateboarders.
Nose and Tail
Nose is a front part of the skateboard, where tail is at the back. There are slightly different, and it might be hard to tell the difference, usually the nose is slightly wider than the tail. If you’re not able to see the difference, have a look at graphics as they also indicate where the nose and tail are.
Kicktail is a nose or tail that is pointing upward, it’ll allow you to pop your board while doing tricks. If you’re looking to do tricks on your skateboard make sure that your board has them.
Concave is a sideways shape of your deck, there are various concave styles to fit different riding styles and personal preferences. Concave will affect how your feet are placed on a skateboard and also how much control you have while riding. Check our concave guide to see which one will fit you best.
Mounting holes are holes where you mount your trucks to the deck, there are two styles of mounting holes – New School and Old School. Modern trucks are usually coming with both mounting hole layouts, however, make sure that they match before ordering them.
It is not part of the deck, but it’s essential to mount your trucks to the deck. Depending on thickness of your deck, riser pads you use and trucks you need different length of hardware. Check the figure below to see what hardware you need.
Skateboards have various concave options, concave is a sideways shape of your deck. Different concave styles will provide different feel and controllability of the board.
Grip tape is a grainy tape that is being applied on top part of your deck. It allows you to control your board and ensures that your feet won’t be slipping on the board. Despite the style of riding grip tape is a necessity. Most of the skateboard grip tapes are pretty much the same and only slightly vary.
Grip tapes are coming in different colours and some of them might have laser cut-outs.
Grip tapes are coming in various sizes, so make sure that the grip tape you order is big enough to cover your skateboard.
Wheels are important part of your skateboard and there are different styles, diameter and duro ratings. You should think what you are going to use your skateboard for to choose the right wheel for you. The most important factors when choosing the wheels are diameter and durometer – a standard of measuring hardness of wheels and bushings.
Most of the wheels we offer are between 52mm and 83mm, however most of the skateboarders use 50mm-60mm wheels. Bigger wheels are suitable for cruisers and longboards.
Small wheels accelerate much better than big ones, but they are slower than big ones. If you’re going to cruise a lot bigger wheels will behave much better on rough surfaces.
Durometer is a standard of measuring wheel’s hardness. There are two different durometer scales. Most of the manufacturers use A scale – which is a 100-point scale to express wheel hardness. Second scale is B scale which is less popular and is mostly used for harder wheels, B scale measures 20 points lower than A scale, so 100A wheel hardness will be equal to 80B.
Softer wheels are much better for cruising as they have more grip and behave better on rough surfaces.
Harder wheels are good for street, skate park and other smooth surfaces as they offer less grip and slide more.
Skateboard trucks are a metal parts that you attach to bottom of your deck. That’s what hold your wheels, bearings and deck together. Trucks are responsible for turning and come in different styles depending on the riding style.
Trucks are made of multiple parts including:
- Baseplate – a part that is directly attached to your deck.
- Axle – a long metal bar that goes through the hanger, that’s what wheels are attached to.
- Hanger – a triangle shaped part that supports the axle, it is mounted in the baseplate.
- Kingpin – a bolt that holds baseplate and hanger together.
- Bushings – rings made of urethane, they are fitted around kingpin supporting the hanger. There are different durometer options for bushings where soft ones will allow you to do sharper turns.
There are two main factors when choosing trucks for your skateboard – axle width and truck profile. Choosing the right truck size for your deck is really important as it will affect performance of your board. Axle width should be as close as possible to your deck width.
|Axle width||Deck width|
|6″-7.25″||6.5” to 7.25”|
|7.5″||7.25” to 8”|
|7.75″||7.5” to 8”|
|8.0″||8” to 8.5”|
|8.5″||8.5” to 9”|
|9.0”||9” to 10”|
|10.0”||10” wide or more|
Truck profile is a height of your truck. You have to choose the right profile for your wheels. They come in three different types. It is important to choose the right profile to avoid wheel bites – situation where your wheel touches the deck while turning – and ensure proper stability on the board.
Low profile trucks
Due to low centre of mass you will be more stable on the board, low profile trucks are designed for small wheels that don’t exceed 54 mm diameter.
Mid profile trucks
Slightly higher than low profile, is a good compromise for stability, suitable for wheels between 54mm and 57mm.
High profile trucks
The highest trucks, will be a less stable, but will allow you to fit bigger wheels that are sized 57mm and more. Often used in cruisers or longboards.
Metal, round cylinders that are fit inside wheels and slide on axle. All skateboard bearings come in a standard size – 22mm outer diameter, 8mm internal hole diameter and 7mm height.
Skateboard bearings allow your wheels to spin freely. They come in different ABEC ratings. ABEC rating is an industrial standard that specifies manufacturing tolerances of internal parts of bearings. ABEC rating does not consider important factors like load handling, materials or lubrication; thus, ABEC rating is not accurate way of measuring performance. ABEC rating ranges from ABEC 1 to ABEC 11, where ABEC 1 should be the least precise and ABEC 11 the most. Sometimes ABEC 9 bearings manufactured by one company can be slower than ABEC 3 bearings manufactured by another company due to factors mentioned above.
Skateboard building checklist
Buying skateboard can seem complicated in the beginning as there are loads of various parts you need to build it. Below you will find list of parts and tools to successfully build a skateboard.
- Grip tape
- Utility knife aka Stanley knife
- Skate tool (you could use set of wrenches and screwdriver/Allen key, but it’s much easier to use skate tool as it includes all tools you need, and it takes less space)
We highly recommend getting protective gear that includes helmet, elbow and knee pads. If you are unsure which one to get – check our protective gear buying guide.