Buying your first skateboard as a beginner is exciting. Yet, it can also be intimidating. You want to make sure you choose the right board for your skill level. Owning your first skateboard is like owning your first bike. You choose one that is just right for you to practice on but can grow with you as you progress.
There are so many choices in the market today so that makes it even more confusing to choose. Here is a guide to help you make the right decision.
The style you should go for will depend on where you are planning to use it. Here are some of the more popular styles and what they are used for:
- Shortboard – the shortest of all skateboards, this board is good for street or park skating. Its shape is designed for the air and performing tricks.
- Cruiser – typically mid-length, this board is often fitted with kicktails. They are designed for simply cruising around. They are very versatile and easy to manoeuvre which makes them perfect for cruising the streets.
- Longboard – longboards are designed for downhill cruising. They are also great to push around on for transportation. These boards have a long symmetrical shape that sits closer to the ground with wheel cutouts that allows larger wheels. Longboards are not for doing air tricks. They are simply for cruising around for fun or for transportation.
- Old School Board – they have a flat but wider nose and a kicktail. They are medium-sized asymmetrical boards that are perfect for skating ramps, skating pools, and carving the streets.
When choosing a skateboard deck, the width is the most important consideration, not the length or the wheelbase. In choosing the right width, you will need to consider the following:
- Your shoe size
- Your height
- Your skating style, and
- Personal preferences
Most skateboard decks vary in width from 7.5 inches to 8.25 inches.
Choosing a width that is too big for you can mean exerting too much energy when skating, making your ride difficult. On the other hand, if you choose a skateboard that is too small for you, you will have a problem staying stable and will have trouble balancing.
So aside from taking in all the factors above, go for a test drive before you buy. Take each board for a spin until you find one that you feel comfortable on.
Big or small, every part matters. It is important to know your skateboard back to front so you know what to look out for and how to take care of it. If you are browsing around for your first skateboard, take note of the parts so you know which board is the best for you.
- Griptape – this is the sandpaper-type layer on top of your skateboard deck. This is what gives you traction so you can keep your feet on the board while doing tricks. This helps prevent you from slipping off. Grip Tapes come in different colours and designs. Black griptape gives the most grip and is the most durable of all griptapes.
- Deck – This is the main wooden part of the skateboard (on top of it is the griptape). It is mostly made of thin veneers of maple wood that are glued together using a super high strength epoxy glue. Some decks use nine thin plys of maple wood while some use 7 thin pieces of ply. Cheaper boards use 3 thin pieces of ply. This usually splits and loses its shape quite easily.
- Trucks – these are the metal parts where the wheels are attached and hold the board together. Trucks are mostly made of aluminium alloy. Do not buy boards with plastic trucks, you’ll be throwing away money if you do.
- Bushings – these are the little rubbery cones inside the trucks that flex from side to side to let you turn and maneuver the board when you are riding. Bushings come in different levels of softness (or hardness). The harder the bushings, the more stable your skateboard is but turning will be challenging. The softer the bushings, the easier it is to turn the board. Check the bushings before you buy, make sure they are not made of plastic.
- Hardware – these are the nuts and bolts that hold everything together. They come mostly in philips head or allen key. Allen key hardware usually lasts longer.
- Wheels – Good skateboard wheels are made of polyurethane, a rubbery material that absorbs vibrations and can simply roll over small bits of debris and pebbles. Avoid buying boards with plastic wheels. They break or crack easily when you hit a rock or a sharp object. Wheels also come in different durometre levels. Depending on the type of surface you will skate on, the durometre level required on the wheels vary. But when in doubt, go for the softer wheels.
When buying your first skateboard, do not forget to purchase safety gear as well. Get a proper skateboard helmet that goes further down the back to protect the back of your head in case of accidents. Elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards are also a must. Safety first!
Beachin Surf is a surfer’s and skateboarder’s one-stop-shop. We offer a wide range of essentials for your skateboarding and outdoor needs.
Please feel free to visit us at 262 Maine Road, Toukley, NSW to check out our range. You can also call ahead to make sure we get to assist you properly.
Please call us today on (02) 4396 5159 or feel free to send us an inquiry.