Whether you look at it as a hobby, a sport or art, skateboarding has had a huge, enduring presence over the past several decades. It transcends every geographic and cultural boundary, and it appeals to people of all ages. Some people look at it as the pinnacle of coolness, while others as a getaway from their everyday problems and a way to spend time outdoors, soaking up some sun and burning some calories. Regardless of your reasons, skateboarding can be one of the best things for your mental and physical well-being. So, if this discipline has just piqued your interest, and you aren’t too familiar with what to look for when shopping for a board online or in your local “sk8 shop”, here’s what you need to know before you waste your money on the wrong board.
Pre-Made Boards vs Making One Yourself
Obviously, the best option for beginners is buying a pre-made skateboard. While you probably can’t customize most pre-made boards, there are literally thousands of different skateboards you can choose from. Additionally, most complete skateboards available in skate shops are quality products. Further, a pre-made board is a great way to get into the sport so that you can learn more about your riding preferences, tricks and talk with other boarders about what skateboard parts and features work best.
Making your own custom skateboard, on the other hand, is better if you’re experienced and you know what you’re doing. You get to pick all the features you need and want. However, even picking the right skate deck, and matching it with proper wheels and trucks is a learning curve. But once you’ve mastered that curve, you’ll have more than just a skateboard – you’ll have more experience and coolness points when you talk to other skateboarders about your prized possession.
So Which Skateboard is Best For You?
No matter whether you’re building your own skateboard or buying a pre-built one from a sk8 shop, you need to decide on the type of skateboard you want. Deciding on the right type for you comes down to your experience level and style of skateboarding you intend on doing. Experienced skateboarders ride much differently than beginners, so naturally, both have different needs. Here are the differences you should be aware of, along with some tips on picking the right skateboard based on your skill level.
- -Beginners are people who’ve been riding for a short amount of time or people who haven’t stepped foot on a board before. For these people, pre-made boards are a great start. Typically, they prefer cruiser boards or longboards because it’s easier to get used to practising balance on them. If you are one of them, make sure you don’t go overboard and buy a very expensive skateboard your first time around.
- -Intermediate skateboarders have a good grasp of the basics of riding skateboards. They’re people who can perform tricks, ride in skate parks and commute to work with their boards. These people should pay close attention to the wheels and trucks of the boards, as their experience will depend on them.
- -Expert skateboarders have deep knowledge about skateboarding, and they usually know precisely what they want and what they should expect from their board.
Your skating style is another important factor to consider when picking a board. You need to know what you want to do with the board: perform tricks, catch air, cruise around, or a mix of everything. Generally, there are three basic skating style categories:
- -Vertical skating, which involves riding ramps and vertical structures. If you’re looking to catch some air, get a deck that’s wider with a larger wheelbase. This is so that you can feel in control and stable every time you land;
- -Technical and street skating, which involves skating through the urban landscape. The ideal boards for this type of skating are shorter, popsicle-shaped with a round tail and nose. These boards are easier to maneuver and flip around;
- -Longboard skating is ideal for those looking for a smooth ride. It has a lot of similarities with snowboarding and surfing, and unlike most types of skateboards, longboards aren’t built for performing tricks. They are usually longer than 33 inches, with some models being as long as 60 inches.
Lastly, you need to consider the size of the skateboard. In the skateboarding world, width typically is more important than length. The ideal skateboard width for you will mostly be determined by your height.
- -Micro boards are ideal for children under 5, and they’re usually 6.5-6.75 inches wide. These boards are designed for kids with a shoe size of 3 and less;
- -Mini boards are about 7 inches wide, and they’re for children aged 6-8 who wear 4-6 sized shoes;
- -Mid-sized boards are 7.3 inches wide, and they’re ideal for kids with shoe sizes of 6-8, aged 9 to 12;
- -Full-sized boards are for anyone older than 13 with a shoe size of 9 or above. These boards are wider than 7.5 inches.