Every skater uses different parts on his/her skateboard. The deciding factors for each differ vastly depending on the physique, preference, and individual riding style.
While there are always current trends (thanks to recent innovations), many stick to what they know and the parts that work best for them.
As a beginner, you could get a skateboard virtually everywhere. Like most products, however, the quality of the product will be different, also depending on where you purchase from. Skateboards bought from a place like a supermarket will most likely be of terrible quality. The term "Supermarket Board" has become more common in recent years, because amateur and professional skateboarders alike have been doing YouTube-Videos showcasing their terrible quality.
Knowing that, it should be worth it for you to get some qualified advice from an actual skate shop and spend a little more money on your stick, as it will provide pro-level quality, making sure that it won't be the board itself holding you and your progression down.
Skateboards and Longboards may seem like the same thing to the uneducated eye, and while the rules of physics apply similarly to both, they don't have much in common beyond that.
But what exactly is the difference between a longboard and a skateboard?
Longboards have risen in global popularity in the early 2010s. People in urban areas were looking for new and cool ways to get from point A to B in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. They were fed up with ultra-crowded public transports, parking space problems, and sometimes also with the bulky nature of a bike. Having a portable vehicle that didn't require fuel, a driving license, and a parking spot but yet very easy to learn, was the perfect solution to the mentioned problems.
So the longboard hype began, and that is where they shine. While you can do tricks on them, just like on a skateboard, they're usually primarily made for cruising around town. Their soft wheels are able to eat through rough asphalt, numbing most vibrations, and their length and width give your feet more space to stand comfortably on.
Still, as it always happens when a product has wide success, people start getting crazy with it, and to experiment. And that’s how nowadays we have different kinds of disciplines in longboarding: from freestyle tricks derived from other boardsports, to the elegant and chilled-out “dancing”, to radical slides and steep downhill rides wearing a motorcycle suit.
A different kind of cruiser skates, but also a perfect training machine for surfers, surfskates are surf-shaped decks mounting specific trucks that simulate the surfboard behavior while riding waves.
If you want to get to know more, we talked about surfskates extensively in the article “What are Surfskates, and why everybody loves them”.
Skateboards, on the other hand, are a different beast.
The contemporary symmetrical shape of freestyle skates is the same since the ‘90s. People who buy skateboards want to perform tricks and maneuvers in skateparks or at street spots. This being its use, a skateboard deck is usually much stiffer, more resistant, shorter, and ideally physically balanced. On the other hand, cruising around and using a freestyle skateboard as a vehicle will require way more effort, and much more vibrations will go through, as its wheels are usually harder and not made to dampen rough surfaces.
Nowadays many established skateboard brands offer quality pre-assembled skateboards, known as “completes”. So, when asked what skateboard to buy for beginners, we normally suggest going for one of those.
Their price is their most significant selling point compared to an individually assembled skate. A do it your self skateboard bought in loose parts will cost averagely 20% more. The downside is that some parts could lack individuality, and that you won’t have a “pro-level” product.
As a beginner, complete skateboards will keep up with everything you throw at them, but as you get more advanced, you should start buying the pieces separately, learn how to assemble them, and try different setups until you find the one that works best for you.
Skate decks come in various sizes and shapes. Wider boards are usually more stable, while smaller boards perform better when executing tricks. Bowl and Vert riders, who like to go BIG, also tend to ride wider boards.
As a beginner, all you should think about is the width. Thinner boards are more nimble and easier to flip, thanks to their lighter weight. But a wider deck will provide you with more space to land on, and you typically stand more stable on them.
Skateboard decks can go from 7.25 to 8.75 inches (about 18cm to 22cm), with adults boards being 8.0 inches (20cm) and above. Radical street skaters could also decide to go for a narrower setup of 7.75 inches or less.
You can refer to the size chart below to see the suggested width according to the rider's age.
|Skate Type||SUPER MICRO||MICRO||MINI||MIDFULL||FULL||LARGE|
|Length in inches||7.25'||7.50'||7.75'||7.8'||8.0'||8.25'|
|Age Range||4-7||3-6||6-10||8-12||10-14 + smaller adults||14+|
Shoe size doesn't quite correlate to deck sizes. Some skaters have larger feet yet ride slimmer decks and vice versa. Mostly, it all comes down to their personal preference and what they do.
Santa Cruz Seeker by Eric Dressen
How long is a skateboard in inches?
Measuring from nose to tail, Skate decks normally go from 28" to 33" in length (that's about 71 to 82cm). Most 8.0” decks are 31.75” long.
Once again, if you're not a super technical rider, the length of the deck won't influence the physics and feel of your board that much, and you definitely won't notice it as much as for the width.
Another measure in a skate deck is the wheelbase, which is the distance from one of the mounting holes, calculated from the inner pairs. The average wheelbase is 13″-15”. You might develop a preference after trying different setups, but this is another measure skaters tend to don't notice.
The best advice to find out what board size you should opt for is to go to a crowded skatepark and ask the local skaters to try and stand on their boards, and then determine which size feels best. Skaters are an inclusive community, so you shouldn’t be shy but, if that is not an option for you, going with a 8.0 or 8.25 inches, the most popular deck sizes, might be the easiest way to go.
The concave is the curvature of the deck, which can give the rider many advantages:
According to its shape, the concave can be Low, Mellow, Medium, and High.
To make sure that your stick will be of good quality and durable, staying with you for a reasonable amount of time, make sure to always purchase products of established skateboard brands from professional skate shops.
The life of a skateboard will depend a lot on how often you ride it and also on your riding style. A board could last just a couple of weeks if you are an aggressive street skater, or a few months if you just ride on ramps. With mid-to-frequent use at the park, skateboard decks last about one or two months on average.
You're probably already aware that on the top of your skateboard deck there also has to be some grip tape. At the beginning, any skateboard grip tape will do just fine. You may start to develop a preference for a specific brand later on, but to start, you should be doing just fine with non-branded grip tape, provided it is of good quality for durability.
If you want your board to be fancier, you can also pick a printed grip tape.
Skateboard wheels are made out of polyurethane and come in different sizes, shapes, and hardnesses. All serve another purpose for varying riding styles.
Just like decks, skate brands market skateboard wheels with some super cool graphics that can add up some style to your setup (see below some examples we love).
Beginner skaters shouldn't worry about the shape of the wheels but only about their size and hardness. While softer wheels will feel more comfortable to ride, they will stick more to the obstacles when performing slide tricks.
Skateboard wheels' hardness is measured on a scale from 75A to 101A called "durometer" (some companies adopt a "B" scale, but that's pretty rare).
While longboard wheels start from 64mm and can go up to massive 100mm diameter wheels (with 70mm being the most common size), freestyle and park skateboard wheels are much smaller, staying in the 50-60mm range.
Smaller skate wheels will accelerate quicker and turn sharper, but won't keep the speed as long as bigger-sized wheels.
Mounting small wheels will keep your center of gravity a little bit lower and make the board easier to control, both characteristics appreciated by technical riders.
Note: If you want to mount skate wheels larger than 56mm, or to put longboard wheels on regular skateboard trucks, make sure to add riser pads to prevent them to rub on the deck while turning.
Skateboard wheels with rounded edges will slide more easily, while a sharper edge gives you more grip, also when you lock them into grinds.
If you are a beginner, we recommend getting some 52 to 56mm skate wheels with a medium hardness of 90A to 99A.
Inside of the wheels, you can find bearings. Skateboard bearings have the critical task of making your wheels spin. Any quality skate brand bearing will be excellent. There are also some high-end options, but you shouldn't worry about those as an average skateboarder.
Skateboard trucks connect the deck to the wheels and are made of two parts: axle and base plate. In the middle, there is a soft part called bushing, that influences the resistance while turning.
Skate trucks come in various sizes, designs, and materials (aluminum or other metals blends). Unfortunately, the truck manufacturers all use different measurements on their products. This can make everything unnecessarily confusing, even for the experienced skater. Lucky for us, most companies also provide size charts, so that we can still figure out the size that will fit our decks.
A truck shouldn't stick out, nor should it be too small. The best way to find out if a truck will fit your deck is to come to visit us, or go to your local skate shop, and try to and align them on your deck.
Skate trucks size chart by Tensor
Some truck brands are notorious for being heavier, which is not necessarily a bad thing. That typically means that solid materials have been used and that your trucks will last longer. Lighter trucks will make it easier for you to lift your board and flip it, but they are more prone to breakage.
You can definitely start your skateboarding career on a light-weight truck set but once you’ll be an experienced rider, able to stomp heavy tricks, hit rails, and slide on concrete structures, you’ll better get yourself a solid pair of trucks. By that time you’ll have trained your skate skills enough, so that you’ll still be able to flip your board.
The skate truck brands also use their terminology for its height, normally classified as:
Unfortunately, this is another case of the manufacturers using undefined measurements. Surprisingly enough, there is no industry standard for that. A low truck from one brand might be the same height as a mid from another!
That’s confusing ah?
As a rule of thumb, consider that lower trucks will improve riding stability, while higher trucks will (physically speaking) increase the height of your tricks, so being a better choice for experienced skaters.
At WakeStyle we are passionate skaters: for tips and suggestions you just need to ask us and we'll be happy to help you! We have a wide assortment of skateboard gear from the top skateboard brands, with many skate decks, trucks, wheels, and accessories to choose from.
If you live in the Netherlands you can come to visit our skate shop. We're in Bussum, about 20 minutes away from Amsterdam, Almere, Utrecht, Hilversum, and Amersfoort.
Come to learn skateboarding with us!
The nearest skateparks are in Bussum, Naarden, Eemnes, Huizen, plus the new Nike Park in Hilversum.