by Staff Writer
Nothing combines sports, transportation, and fun more than a skateboard -- but how do you choose the right skateboard for you? The three main components that make up a skateboard are the deck (what you stand on), the trucks (the part that attaches the wheels to the skateboard), and the wheels. All three components have variations, depending on how you will use your board. This skateboard buying guide will help you figure out how to buy a skateboard that will be right for you and your ability level.
Use: When choosing a skateboard deck, the first question to ask is "What do I want to do on my skateboard?" Will you use it to ride ledges, jump stairs, or slide down rails? Do you want to skate on ramps or do you just want to use your board for transportation?
Length and width: Traditional skateboards are generally 33 inches in length or shorter. The more tricks you do, the shorter your board should be, but if you want to ride ledges, rails, and stairs, you'll also want to make sure your board is no wider than 8 inches. If you want to do some ramp tricks but also use your board for basic transportation, pick a board that is between 8 inches and 8.5 inches wide. If your skateboard is strictly for transportation, the longer and wider it is, the better. The larger the deck you have, the greater your balance and control will be.
Concavity: When selecting a skateboard deck, you'll want to choose the concavity that best suits your skating style. Concavity, which is the curve of the board in relation to its raised nose and tail, determines how well-suited a board is to doing especially difficult tricks. Generally, decks have concave angles that are mellow, medium, or steep. A mellow deck is flatter and easier to learn to ride, but a medium deck lets you do more tricks, and a steep deck lets you do more involved tricks by allowing more maneuverability and agility.
Longboards: Longboards exceed 35 inches in length at the shortest but usually are between 42 and 46 inches long. Unlike traditional skateboards, longboards are primarily used for cruising and transportation. Some longboards are designed to perform more like traditional skateboards than others; these are known as hybrids. While the concavity of longboards also varies, they are generally flatter than traditional skateboards.
Truck width: The truck width should match up with the width of the deck. A general rule for selecting the proper skateboard truck width is:
|Deck width||Truck width|
Truck height: Truck height varies depending on use. Low skateboard trucks make flips easier and add stability, but you'll also need to use smaller wheels. You can use larger wheels with high trucks, which is better for traveling at higher speeds or longer distances. If you plan on doing a little of everything, medium trucks are best. Medium trucks are also the best choice for beginning skateboarders still learning what they like to do the most on their boards.
Bearings: Trucks also have bearings in them, sometimes known as bushings. They are small, donut-shaped pieces that cushion the truck when the skateboard turns. The firmer the rubber in the bearing, the more stable the ride will be, while the softer the bearing, the easier it is to turn.
Size: The main measurements in skateboard wheels are their size and degree of hardness. The best size of wheel (measured by diameter in millimeters) is determined by how you will be using your board:
Hardness: Hardness, also known as durometer, generally follows the rule that the shorter the board, the harder the wheel should be. Trick skateboard wheels have a durometer of 95 to 100a; cruiser skateboard wheels range from 78 to 85a. There are wheels with durometers that span the range of those two, so you can customize your wheel hardness to your skating style.