Buying Your First Skateboard: Basic Elements to Consider
Surfing is the precursor to skateboarding. In the 1950s some surfers wanted to bring the joy and feel they get when riding a wave to the streets. Then, the idea of asphalt surfers was born and it was first implemented in California and Hawaii.
The first official skateboard was released towards the end of the 1950s by Roller Derby. The 60s saw the ever increasing popularity of skateboards as shops and asphalt surfers started to become a thing. The 70s was where it all changed for skateboarding as urethane wheels and parks started to emerge. During the 80s, the popularity of skateboarding was at an all time high which resulted in the first skateboard magazine and competition.
This trend continued in the 90s and has stayed at about the same level today where competitions such as the Street League have a winning prize of 200,000 dollars. Not only does skateboarding provide many opportunities to show your skills on a professional level, but it offers some health benefits too. These include flexibility, improved overall fitness, physical endurance, improved balance, better pain tolerance and more. But where do you start as a beginner?
What Is The Best Skateboard To Buy?
The best place to start out with skateboarding is with the skateboard itself. The simplest board you’ll find at a skate online shop or one out in the physical world is the standard skateboard. Street skating and skate parts are common areas for this type of skateboard. Usually they are ridden with hard wheels and are shaped like a popsicle stick featuring symmetrical nose and tail.
Cruiser skateboards are meant to deliver enjoyable means of transportation, hence the name. These have a similar length to standard skateboards but come in a variety of different shapes. Cruiser boards are typically found with soft wheels which offer smoother rides and faster roll on rough surfaces.
Longboards are the best option you can find at a skate online shop when it comes to maintaining balance. These long stable boards are the easiest to maneuver when learning how to ride and they’re ideal for pushing long distances, mellow cruising as well as skating down hills.
When choosing the right type of skateboard deck it’s important to note two things, it’s dimensions and your shoe size. The former will be determined by the type of skateboarding you want to do too. The size of your shoe will determine the width of the deck. Usually decks come anywhere from 19 cm to 25 cm wide but make sure yours fits your shoes well. If you are going to do street skating consider a deck with a width between 19 cm and 20 cm whilst transition skating is best done with a deck width of 21cm or higher.
For the length of the deck, you will usually come across anywhere from 78 cm to 83 long decks. Longer decks have longer wheelbases too which means more stability and a longer turning radius. You don’t get much on manoeuvrability with longer decks. With shorter decks you will have a less stable deck with a smaller turn radius which means better manoeuvrability.
Diameter and durometer are two words you’ll find mentioned a lot when skateboard shopping. Wheel size largely affects the performance of a skateboard. Larger wheels will allow you to go faster but they will add more weight and raise the board more than a smaller wheel. Smaller sized wheels will allow you to manuever easily but don’t expect to do so at faster speeds.
The durometer or the hardness of the wheels plays a crucial role in the amount of shock they can absorb and the level of grip they have. The durometer is signified by the letter A at the end of each number. For example, 96A to 101A are hard wheels which are common for street and park skating whilst 78A to 87A wheels are great for long board and cruiser skateboards since they are grippy and soft.
The truck width and height are the most important features of this component. Whilst some manufacturers measure truck width from one axle nut to the other, others do so by determining the width of the hanger. What’s important for you to remember is that a proper truck width will have the axle nuts extend outward, just beyond the edges of the deck. They shouldn’t be more than 0.6 cm inside the deck too.
A truck can sit either low or high on the deck. A low sitting truck will provide a more stable ride since it lowers your centre of gravity. Your kicks and pushes will go a little further too since there is less material to manipulate. A truck that sits high on the deck will allow you to do a greater turn radius meaning sharper turns and they are also going to be compatible with larger wheels too. High trucks are ideal for cruising around town and they also make the skateboard look better overall.