How to Choose a Skateboard?
Skateboarding is the lifestyle and a source of fun or adrenalin for lots of people – for children, for teenagers for adults; for boys and for girls. Skateboards are still the most popular boards, even though they’re closely followed by the longer and faster longboards, which are also suitable as an urban transport.
Skateboard is a smaller, well-manoeuvrable board that is suitable for riding in skate parks, on U-ramps, jumping over obstacles or riding in parks and urban areas. In this guide, we will help you choose the right skateboard. It would be an excellent gift for your child, for example!
Main Parameters to Consider When Choosing a Skateboard
- Board width – skateboards with a standard 7.5ʺ - 8ʺ board are stable and suitable for both beginners and more advanced skaters. You can use them for street riding, take them to skate parks and perform tricks with them. Boards under 7.4ʺ are perfect for children and the wider boards (over 8ʺ) are great for riding in swimming pools or on U-ramps (1 inch = 2.54 cm). The classic skateboard length is about 32ʺ (80 cm). For children, shorter boards are more suitable (around 28ʺ).
- Concave (the U-bent of the board) – makes the board more rigid and allows for surer stance. There are three levels – Mellow, Medium and Steep. The standard concave is medium.
- Material – the best skateboards are made of Canadian maple, the cheaper ones are made of Japanese maple, beech or oak. The boards have 5 – 9 layers.
- Wheel size – two attributes are important: wheel diameter (50 – 60 mm) and wheel hardness (78a – 101a +). Smaller and softer wheels are slower, the harder and bigger wheels are faster.
- Weight limit, price – for young skaters, choose one of the durable plastic or wooden boards. Their price ranges between 10 and 25 € and their weight limit is around 25 – 100 kg.
Wheel size and hardness fundamentally affect the riding attributes of the skateboard. Choose according to your intended riding style.
Diameter: key parameter when selecting skateboard wheels:
- 50 – 53 mm – small, slow wheels, stable when performing tricks, suitable for street riding or skate parks
- 54 – 59 mm – wheels for both beginners and more advanced skaters, suitable for riding in swimming pools, skate parks or on U-ramps
- Over 60 mm – faster longboard wheels for cruisers, suitable for uneven terrain
Hardness: other important aspect when picking out skateboard wheels
- 78a – 87a – soft wheels for rougher more adherent terrain, suitable for longboards
- 88a – 95a – harder and faster wheels for street riding and uneven surfaces
- 96a – 99a – the most common skateboard wheels – multi-purpose, fast, adherent to the surface, for smooth surfaces, also suitable for beginners
- 101 a + - wheels for professional skaters, the biggest and fastest wheels with low adhesion
The size of the skateboard trucks corresponds with the width of the board. The trucks are divided into 3 categories, based on their height:
- Low – for extra stability when performing tricks, 50 – 53 mm wheels
- Mid – suitable for most riding styles (these are the most common trucks), 53 – 56 mm wheels
- High – for cruising and carving, wheels over 56 mm
Practical rubber washers are often inserted between the trucks.
The speed and quality of the ride is determined by the bearings used. The bearings are denoted with odd numbers on the ABEC scale (ABEC-1, ABEC-3, ABEC-5, ABEC-7 and ABEC-9). The higher the number, the more precise the bearings are (lower dimensional tolerance) and the faster your skateboard will be. You should buy bearings from well-known brands, however.
How to Choose the Right Skateboard for Your Child?
Choose one of the narrower boards for your children – under 7.4ʺ:
- Mid 7.3ʺ - for children 134 – 157 cm high
- Mini 7ʺ - for children 104 – 133 cm high
- Micro 6.5ʺ - 6.75ʺ - for children under 5 years
Board Types and Their Advantages
Skateboards are a current trend, but not all boards are the same. Choose from 4 categories, based on the intended use of your new board.
- Skateboard – the most popular board, smaller, very durable, easy to control, suitable for skate parks, U-ramps, parks, jumping obstacles and short urban rides.
- Longboard – a huge hit, longer board with wider trucks and bigger wheels, capable of higher speeds, comfortable rides on roads, tracks and even uphill (mini longboards are suitable for parks and urban areas).
- Pennyboard – popular especially with children, small type of skateboard with low weight and price, stable, made mostly of plastic, without a grip, an ideal way to commute (fits in your bag).
- Waveboard (caster board) – a board for enthusiasts, 2 decks joined by a torsion bar, two wheels that can be turned by 360°, independently of each other, you don’t need to push off the ground to move, balance training, suitable mainly for riding in parks and on even roads.
A Skateboard According to Your Needs:
- If you want a street board for flips and technical skateboarding, choose a narrower skateboard with smaller wheels.
- If you want to ride on a U-ramp, or just ride a lot in general, seek a wider board with bigger wheels for better stability.
- If you want to buy a skateboard for a young child, look among the shorter boards.
It is recommended to buy protectors and a helmet along with your new board. (In the Czech Republic, wearing a helmet is mandatory if you are under 18.) With good equipment, you are sure to fall in love with skateboarding, as did many others before you. Skateboarding has been forming its own style, language, music and cultural values for over four decades, after all.