Skateboarding is a trendy sport that’s loved by plenty. To keep up with the increased demand, multiple different companies have begun manufacturing skateboards and skateboard decks. But what makes each one unique? There are many factors that separate one from the other.
If you are new to skateboarding or looking to upgrade your current skateboard, here are the features that you should look for when buying one.
What Is the Deck Material?
The board or deck (the piece that you stand on) can be made out of different materials, and each material will make it ride differently:
Climbing: Carbon Fiber Decks – Carbon fiber is light and robust but more expensive than other materials.
Riding: Wood Decks – Wood is a classic deck material that’s found on most skateboards.
Cruising: Plastic Decks – Plastic decks are durable and cheap, but they may crack over time.
Vert/Dance: Epoxy – Epoxy boards generally have a grip coating on them, making them good for dancing. However, they are the heaviest boards, meaning that they wouldn’t be a great option when it comes to cruising.
Wheels are a big factor in your skateboard. Not only do they help you with balance, but researchers have found that kids learn to ride faster on wheels of a larger diameter.
To ensure you enjoy the best ride, look for boards with at least a ¼ inch wheel. The larger the wheel, the faster you will be able to go. The downside is that wheels with a larger diameter are often made of harder materials, so they are rougher on your feet.
The durometer number corresponds to how hard the wheels are. A higher number indicates a hard wheel, which means it will roll less smoothly and feel rougher on your feet.
The size of the wheel also determines how much you will be able to lean while riding, which is called “coming.” Most people find that smaller wheels are easier to learn on because it’s typically more difficult to lean when you ride.
Stand-up vs. Cruising
This refers to the deck style. There are two different styles of skateboards: the standard deck, which is used for cruising and longboarding, and the drop-through board. A stand-up deck requires more balance to ride, but it gives you more leverage over your feet, so you can perform maneuvers easier.
A cruising board is lighter than a standard board because it has less material on the deck. It is also easier to carry because the center of gravity is closer to your feet.
The average skateboard weighs around 9 pounds, however, some boards weigh in at only 3 pounds. The lighter the board, the easier it will be for you to control since it’s lighter.
You should also think about the size of the board when considering the weight. A larger board will weigh more because it has more material in it. The good thing about a large one is that you can use it for vert/dance, which means that your feet are farther apart, allowing you to have more stability when riding this type of board.
The Size of the Board
It’s really up to you how long or short, wide or narrow your deck is. But, if you are just starting, be sure to look for boards that are around 32-inches long and 7-8 inches wide, which is standard. If you want a shorter board for commuting on smooth surfaces or sidewalks, opt for a board that’s around 28-inches long.
Comfortable Grip Tape
Grip tape is what you stand on. Some companies now offer replaceable grip tape so that the rider can choose the kind of traction they prefer.
The most common grips are:
Traditional – They are made of PVC and have a rough, textured surface. It lasts quite a while, but it’s not as durable as other types since the grit wears off over time.
Street – These are made of rubber and provide excellent grip with minimal loss of speed.
Grind – Grind is for gripping on coping or vert/dance boards, which allows you to slide your feet along the board without slipping. They are not for cruising or downhill boards since they will slow you down.
Grip pads are also available, which are made of more durable materials, like aluminum oxide.
The bearings are what make it possible for you to roll along smoothly and fast. Each wheel has two ball bearings made of steel, chrome, ceramic, and plastic. The better the quality, the longer they will last.
A standard bearing usually lasts about two to three weeks if you skate every day. If you go on longboarding trips or skate more frequently, you need to replace it at least once a month.
As you can see, many factors go into buying a skateboard. If you’re starting, it’s best to choose materials that will give you the most basic features and performance to help you learn how to ride better. Once you’ve got the hang of it, then you can upgrade parts or switch boards entirely.