How to buy skateboards
A skateboard buying guide
Skateboarding is a fun activity that can be enjoyed any time the weather permits. Both adults and children enjoying pushing themselves around town or doing tricks at a skate park. Skateboarding continues to increase in popularity, and many people are interested in learning how to buy skateboards, so they can have their own equipment at home.
>> Consider your use
Before you decide which skateboard to buy, consider why you want to start skateboarding. Skateboarding is an activity that adults and kids can have fun doing together, and the boards are very portable for travel and vacations. Because skateboards are made in all shapes and skateboard sizes, a whole family can buy skateboards and enjoy the activity together.
Skateboarding is a sport that you can do on city streets, down country roads, in skate parks designed for tricks and jumps, in parking lots and even at home in your own driveway. Which skateboard you ultimately buy will depend on where you plan on skateboarding, so keep that in mind as you consider how to buy skateboards.
Skateboarding is an aerobic activity that burns a good amount of calories, keeping you fit and healthy. It's also an ideal crossover sports for those who are interested in learning snowboarding, surfing or wake boarding. The motions of skateboarding, including turning your board and stopping, are very similar to motions in these other board sports.
>> Consider the skater's age
Skateboarding is a great sport for both kids and adults. When thinking about which skateboard to buy, look for one suited to your age. Skateboarding is a sport that many younger children enjoy as early as five years old. At any age, it's important to have the proper safety equipment and a board that fits you well.
>> Consider your experience level
Whether you're just learning to skateboard or you've been skateboarding for years, deciding which skateboard to buy depends a lot on your experience level. Your skateboard's design should be directly related to your experience level. While those just starting out don't need professional skateboards, you can still find a good beginner package that will grow with you as your skill level increases.
>> Consider types of skateboards
As you learn how to buy skateboards, you'll find that short board and longboards are the most common skateboard designs. Each has its role in a skateboarder's life.
Short boards are a standard skateboard size and length. Because they're short, they can be used for street skating, tricks, ramps and pipes. Short boards are usually what you'll find when looking for starter skateboards.
As the name implies, longboards are significantly longer than short boards. Longboards are used for downhill racing or cruising for longer distances around town. Most longboards are 35-60 inches in length, and they have bigger wheels than a standard skateboard.
A caster board, also called a ripstick, is a great skateboard design for kids just starting out. These boards have two pivoting decks and 360-degree inclined caster trucks, which offer a snowboard-like carving ability. A simple weight transfer lets you turn or accelerate without pushing, just like when you're carving down the ski slopes. Learning to skate on a caster board teaches young children the movements of skateboarding at a young age. These boards are flexible, lightweight and simple to master for beginning skaters. Kids who enjoy bikes and riding toys might like getting into skateboarding with a caster board.
>> Are you looking for a pre-assembled skateboard?
If you're new to the sport of skateboarding and considering which skateboard to buy, you might want to look into something prepackaged or pre-made. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of shopping for a skateboard, because the packages have been designed with the new skateboarder in mind. These types of skateboards are cost-effective, and you can feel confident knowing that the components have been chosen by experts in the industry.
>> Consider skateboard components
While skateboard designs and sizes vary, all boards have the same basic components. The better you understand these parts and pieces, the more confident you can feel knowing how to buy skateboards.
Deck: The deck is the "board" part of a skateboard. You can easily find decks in a myriad of fun designs and colors. While you shouldn't base your entire decision of which skateboard to buy on color, look for a deck design that represents you as an individual.
Trucks: A truck sounds like something that belongs on the road, but a truck is an important part of a skateboard. Trucks are the metal, "T"-shaped piece mounted to the bottom of your skateboard's deck. Truck width should match the width of your skateboard deck. Trucks come in low-, mid- and high-profiles. Their heights relate directly to skateboard sizes.
Wheels: Skateboard wheels keep your board rolling along. As you think about how to buy skateboards, consider that different wheels have different widths (diameter) and hardness (durometer). Harder wheels are better for indoor surfaces or heavier riders, while softer wheels are better for outdoor surfaces or lighter-weight riders. Smaller wheels are slower, while bigger wheels can help you roll along surfaces faster. As you consider which skateboard to buy, know that you can swap out your wheels as your skills progress or your needs change.
Bearings: Bearings are little round balls that fit inside your wheels. Bearings are rated by an ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) standard. The higher a bearing is rated, the more precise and fast your wheels will be.
>> Consider skateboard sizes
Skateboards come in various lengths to suit all heights. The general rule is that children need a standard skateboard that is 29" long or shorter, while the tallest adults over 6'1" should look for skateboards over 32.4" long. The following chart can offer guidelines on buying skateboards based on height.
|Under 4' ||29" or smaller |
|4' - 4' 10" ||29" - 30" |
|4' 10" - 5' 3" ||30.5" - 31.5" |
|5' 3" - 5' 8" ||31.5" - 32" |
|5' 8" - 6 '1" ||32" - 32.5" |
|Over 6' 1" ||32.6" and up |
>> Choosing skateboard designs
As you learn how to buy skateboards, the wide variety of skateboard designs mean you're likely to find one that suits your style. If you don't find a stock design you like, consider decorating a basic skateboard yourself with custom paint accents and designs. As you think about which skateboard to buy, find or modify one so that it reflects who you are.
>> Consider skateboard accessories
Skateboard accessories are important for keeping a rider safe in the event of a fall or crash. A helmet protects your head from trauma in case of a fall. Knee pads are commonly used by trick and park riders to absorb impact and protect their kneecaps. Elbow pads offer additional protection from spills on hard surfaces. Wrist guards, with both cushioning and hard plastic covers, protect another delicate area against sprains and breaks.