Are you about to purchase your first skateboard? If you’re feeling lost, take heart! You’ve come to the right place.
The first time you start looking into buying a skateboard, it’s easy to become frustrated.
Brands! Sizes and shapes! Price! It’s like diving head-first into a quagmire.
It took me several years of trial and error, of trying different brands and upgrading various parts of many boards before I gained enough insight to give me the assurance to write this article, but I did it.
So sit back, take a deep breath, and together we’ll get you on the right path to buying your very first skateboard with confidence.
How to Buy a Skateboard
First, figure out your budget. Then, decide where to buy your skateboard from. Make up your mind what type of skateboard you want. Then, select a deck. Choose high-grade trucks, good, durable wheels, and a basic bearing set. Lastly, choose the grip tape.
Figure Out Your Budget
If you’re buying something for your child or children, be more concerned for your kid(s) safety than about the cost of the skateboard.
However, there’s always the problem that you can spend a huge wad of money on a board only to find your child doesn’t give a hoot about skating just a few weeks later.
In contrast, you could buy a cheap skateboard that falls apart at a critical moment, resulting in serious injury to your precious offspring and plenty of self-recrimination.
What to do?
If you can’t afford one right away, do it the old-fashioned way and save up for it. You’re looking at about $100 for a good first skateboard.
That’s low enough that you won’t feel like a complete mug if (in the blink of an eye):
- The board just outright breaks
- Get cracked bearing cages
- End up with broken truck axle plates
- Simply get stolen
Tip: If you buy the board on a credit card, you might find that you’re covered for the purchase for up to a year. Also, as I’ll describe below, always shop with getting a great warranty in mind.
Did you know: You can save up to buy a board yet still put it on your credit card. Then pay off the bill immediately.
Usually, you won’t incur any interest, yet you’ll have the card purchase protection.
Decide Where to Buy your Skateboard From
There are two types of location from which to purchase your skateboard: a local shop or an online one.
Buying from a Local Shop
If you use the search term “skateboard shop near me,” unless you live in Pitcairn or some other far-flung, back-of-beyond “it’s not even on a map” type of place, your search engine will return a list of shops for you.
These are three issues you may encounter:
The shop may be bursting with stock, but is it all from the same manufacturer? As a newbie, how would you know?
Plus, the salesperson is incentivized to get you to buy what’s in the store.
Poor Search Results
Don’t assume all the hits are meaningful.
You could roll up to the shop and find that it is an ice-skating sporting goods store!
Chain-store Skate Shops
These have a higher tendency to sell you goods because they have made a “sweetheart deal” with the manufacturer. Still, suppose you totally, absolutely, “hundredly” must have a skateboard today.
In that case, a chain-store skate shop in your local mall should be able to kit you out in next-to-no time.
Buying from an Online Store
Unfortunately, you can’t inspect the goods before buying them, but (unless you’re a sap) the first thing you do is to check:
- Their refund policy, and
- Their reviews. Any hint at all that they give customers who try to return goods a hard time, run!
Online stores are my preferred option, truth be told. More often than not, they offer fantastic prices, especially if you aren’t in a hurry and you’re savvy enough to wait until after seasonal rushes.
Even so, if you keep an eye out, snap stock clearance deals can appear out of nowhere, so the watchword is “eternal vigilance”.
Type of Skateboard you Want
Park and Street Type
The same skateboard type is used for both park skating and street skating, which makes it the most common type of skateboard.
It is also the best for learning tricks and transitions. I recommend it for beginners.
This setup is best for intermediate and advanced skaters. These boards offer a smoother ride and greater stability thanks to a wider deck, wider trucks, and larger wheels.
They’re versatile, and they are equally great at getting you to school, rocketing down a hill, or letting you show off your skills on a crusty street somewhere.
Select a Deck
The most important considerations when choosing a deck are:
Performance is affected by width.
Wide Skateboard Decks
- Increases stability and control.
- Offers a greater area for placing your fee when doing tricks.
- Landing and catching tricks should be easier.
- Best choice if you do transition skating.
- Flimsier and might break more easily.
- It’s more challenging to control.
- It’s easier to flip.
- Lighter than wide decks.
- Works best if your children have small feet.
Tip: Most beginners find an eight-inch popsicle board the most comfortable to practice on.
However, seek advice if you are smaller or larger than average.
How Much to Spend
Try not to spend more than, say, $50. Of course, if you’re a rich kid or you just don’t care, go for it.
Blank and shop decks will always be the least expensive.
Choose Hi-Grade Trucks
Each truck brand has its own performance advantages. It’s crucial to ensure that they fit the deck you have chosen.
There are three height levels of skateboard trucks.
These heights affect how a skateboard turns, grinds, and performs during tricks.
Promotes greater “pop” by letting one end of the board take slightly longer to hit the ground.
Perfect for all-around skaters.
Tip: Low trucks may be more suitable for shorter skaters or those who are younger.
Get Good, Durable Wheels
The best wheels are made of urethane.
It affects speed, acceleration, and sliding abilities.
- Contact Patch (how much of the wheel’s in contact with the ground).
- Size of the wheels (measured in millimeters–consult a chart).
Buy a Basic Bearing Set
Bearings make wheels turn. Steel inner balls spin inside the bearings.
To increase durability and decrease weight, top-end bearings are made from ceramic.
- The standard skateboard bearing Abec 5 is applied to complete skateboards.
- Skate Rated bearings by Bones is one of the most respected brands in the industry. Bones created the rating system skateboarding uses.
Choose the Grip Tape
A new piece of grip helps prevent slips and keeps feet snug when doing kickflips or bombing hills. It can be difficult to apply grip for the first time.
For help, consult a friend or a local shop. The most common problems are bubbles and uneven placement.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Buy a Skateboard
What size of wheels should I buy?
It largely depends on what you’re planning to do with your skateboard. Choose smaller wheels (50-53mm) for street skating, medium wheels (54mm-59mm), the most stable and the best to begin with, and larger wheels (over 56mm), for tackling rough terrain.
What is a durometer?
Durometer measures wheel hardness. Harder wheels get into slides faster, provide the best sliding performance, and yet tend to last longer. Softer wheels provide the best grip, but they are slower on smooth surfaces.
Afterword: How to Buy a Skateboard
Skateboarding can be difficult when you first purchase one.
A local shop is a great place to get started and meet others passionate about skateboarding, but online shops offer the best prices.
High-quality equipment is a must, and I recommend you always explore new brands.