How to Pick Out a Skateboard
So you’ve decided to start skateboarding…
That’s great! The first thing that you’ll need is a skateboard. This can potentially be a tricky time for first time buyers with all the different sizes of wheels and boards, and it can seem confusing. We’re going to help you with how to pick a skateboard.
Are you overwhelmed from all of the choices that come with buying your first skateboard? Maybe you’re just getting back into skateboarding after some time off and need a refresher on the tools of your trade? Whatever the circumstances may be, Braille Skateboarding has all the information you need to make you confident and comfortable picking your next set up.
We can help you! Stop stressing out and let’s get down to business.
Here are the basic components:
You can buy a complete board which is pre-assembled or you can pick out each piece individually. We have pre-assembled complete skateboards in our shop. We also have a full accessories package, in case you already have a deck. We’re confident that after reading this you’ll know more than enough on how to pick a skateboard that is perfect for you. If you’re still having trouble deciding, just leave it up to us! Our complete skateboards come with professionally selected parts and are assembled at the Braille House with love and care to get you skating your best as soon as possible.
Those were the basics, so let’s get into the meat and potatoes. The fine details of our instruments of shred!
If you choose to pick out each piece separately, the first item you will need is a deck. Decks come in tons of different sizes and some come in different shapes. If you get to experiment with many different boards you’ll notice that some shapes and sizes will be more enjoyable for street/park skating, whereas some boards are going to feel better when you’re skating transition, bowls, and/or vert. You can expect to see decks with rounded noses and a tail that’s more flat, and you’ll definitely be seeing decks that are more symmetrical in shape.
What we advise is a typical round nose and tail deck. Usually, skateboards have the nose just slightly larger than the tail so you can tell which direction to skate the board.
The size typically varies from a 7.5”-8.5”. If it is much bigger or smaller than that the board will be hard to skate but whichever size you choose is really up to your personal preference.
The average skateboard deck will be anywhere from 28-33″ in length. Keep in mind that as the board gets wider, the board will generally be made longer. This may change the wheelbase of the deck as well as the size of the nose and tail.
As a rule of thumb, smaller boards will be easier to flip but will have less control, wider boards will have more control but will be harder to flip. The concave of the skateboard also plays a part in how the board feels and reacts to the pressure you apply with your feet. Typically you’ll find skateboard decks to have high, medium or low concave. A higher concave deck can let you apply more pressure to the edges of your board for sharper turning and faster flicking but may feel less stable. On the other end of the spectrum, a low concave board will feel more flat or “mellow” which will increase its stability. However, this may affect how easy your board flips. For beginners, a deck with medium concave is usually recommended.
Aaron Kyro rides an 8.0’” deck. It really has little to do with foot size. Stand on a deck and see which size you like the best! How to pick a skateboard depends a lot on what you feel most comfortable on.
Griptape is the sandpaper type coating that covers your board so your feet don’t slip around. Usually you want this to be very grippy, but it does come down to preference on how much grip you want. Expect the griptape to destroy your shoes, but don’t worry! This is the universal mark of the skateboarder. YOU EARNED IT! Applying griptape is simple and I’ve included a video down below that will show you how to put it on.
This is the nuts and bolts that attach your trucks to your skateboard. Most hardware in skate shops will work for your new skateboard. Keep in mind however if you get high trucks or riser pads you may need longer hardware. 7/8″ is the most common size of hardware. If you are using riser pads you’ll most likely need 1″ hardware.
The next thing you will need is trucks. An easy way to pick these is hold them up to the bottom of you skateboard deck and make sure the axel where the wheels go on doesn’t stick out wider than the deck is, that will help you determine if the trucks fit on the deck! They have different styles and some are higher, some are lower. Low trucks are the standard but once again it is really up to whatever you think will feel most comfortable.
For wheels, the standard is anywhere from 49mm to 54mm. The bigger wheels you choose the better they will roll over small cracks and pebbles but the heavier they will be. Smaller wheels will not roll over cracks as well but they will be lighter. Street skaters usually have wheels around 52mm. If you want to skate bowls and transition, larger wheels might be more for you. Once again like most pieces of your board it all ends up depending on what you feel most comfortable with!
It’s important to remember that while you may purchase a set of wheels at 54mm, skating these wheels over the course of weeks, months or even years will naturally reduce their size. Eventually those same 54mm wheels will become 52mm, then 48mm, and so on. With this in mind, some skateboarders will buy a size or so larger than what they prefer riding. After a few weeks of hard skating, their wheels will be the preferred size. This can improve how much life you get out of your skateboard wheels.
These are the metal pieces that go in your wheels to let them spin!
Bearings are rated on a scale called ABEC which ranges from 3-9. The higher the number the better they spin. They also have bearings that they call “swiss” or “ceramic” which essentially are high ABEC rated bearing designed to spin as fast as possible. If you are new to skating, you can get away with a lower/cheaper bearing but eventually you are going to want to get decent bearings which will last longer and keep you skating!
And now your board is complete! I have included a video that will show you all these parts as well as one that will teach you how to put it together.
More tips on how to pick your skateboard
We think its super awesome that you’ve decided to start skating. I hope this helped guide you on how to go about getting your first board. For those who are returning to skateboarding after a break, we’re glad you’re with us and happy to help you get back on your board.
We want to see what you’re riding. Old skateboards and new skateboards are welcome! Take a picture of your setup and post it on Instagram tagging @brailleskate and #brailleskate. Help us inspire more people around the world to start or return to skateboarding!
Best of luck and most of all, remember to have fun!
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