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Skateboard Buying Guide Part 1: Decks

Skateboard Buying Guide Part 1: Decks

Skateboard Buying Guide
Part 1:
Updated 24.11.20
Ah, you’ve decided to buy a skateboard.
Firstly, good choice – second, what the heck do you do next? I’m sure you’ve loosely heard bits and pieces about widths, heights, lengths… but it’s crucial to have an understanding of the metrics of each component of your skateboard, not just for this first time, but for replacing individual parts that’ll be sure to wear down or blow out in the future.
So, are you ready to begin your training, young Padawan? Good. Let’s begin.
Popsicle shape
Beginning with the most obvious, the skateboard Deck itself. The vast majority of Decks out there consist of seven thin layers of Canadian Maple Wood, providing the incredible impact resistance necessary to fling yourself down a set of stairs and only have to worry about your legs breaking, not your board… okay maybe we were joking about that last part.
Skateboard Decks are generally between 31” and 33” long, and are categorised by the following key aspects:
A skateboard’s width for an adult’s Deck is measured in inches; the value of which commonly varies between 7.5” and 9”. Now the difference between those extremes is only 2.5 inches, however do note that each fraction of an inch makes a huge difference in the feel of your board, so its crucial to understand why there’s such a difference and how your choices might benefit you. Let me guess, you’re probably thinking, what are the benefits and disadvantages of wide board and a narrow board?
Wide board
  • Easier to find your balance when initially starting to learn
  • When learning slides, you’ll have a larger centre of mass, which will make it a lot easier to and less daunting to tackle
  • Easier to initially learn basics like the ollie, as there’s a higher surface area of board and traction between shoe and board
  • Ideal for bowl skating
  • Significant Increase to the overall weight of your setup
  • Slower and more laboured flips & rotations
  • Reduced control over board rotations and flips
  • Difficulties finding appropriately sized trucks to fit the width of your deck
  • If you have smaller feet, you’ll find learning tricks extremely difficult
Narrow board
  • Significantly less weight added to your setup
  • Due to the weight and narrow shape, more difficult tricks are easier to learn
  • Generally easier to find other skateboard components that fit the width of the deck
  • Increased control of rotations and flips
  • Ideal for street skating
  • Increased difficulty balancing on the board
  • Smaller centre of mass, meaning less leeway / room for error during slides
  • Initially slightly more difficult to learn basics
Due to the polarising benefits and drawbacks of the two extremes, the most popular sizes fall in the middle of the road, between 8.0” and 8.5”. These sizes blend the best qualities of both ends of the spectrum – which is why you’ll find the vast majority of skate companies only tend to make decks within this range.
The concave of a skateboard a term used to describe how steep the difference is between the centre of the board and it’s medial and lateral edges. For instance, a very shallow concave will manifest itself in a flatter board, whereas a board with a deeper concave will have a significantly pronounced ‘dip’ along the centre.
Now you might be wondering, why should I care about a concave? It’s a very subtle nuance, however it can allow you more room for error when riding, as you won’t be sliding your feet off the board accidentally and, as you progress as a skater and begin to learn more difficult tricks, having a concave provides your feet with the extra leverage they need to more forcefully flick the board that extra bit easier.
Generally speaking, the nose (the top end of the board) is steeper and slightly larger than the tail (the bottom end, also known as a kicktail) – this is due to the fact that the vast majority of skateboard tricks require the traction between the top end of the deck and your front foot – so don’t worry if that’s something you notice on your board – it’s totally normal!
The wheelbase is simply the distance between your deck’s mounting holes – so naturally the distance between them is exactly how far apart your front and back wheels will be – which is generally between 13” and 15”.
Special features
Some companies incorporate slightly more advanced and experimental components when crafting their decks, to help add, augment and amplify pre-existing strengths or brand new ones. However, these decks tend to cost more than their regular counterparts, and as such we wouldn’t recommend them to those looking for their first custom setup.
Constructed with thinner veneers of ply, element have built a board that’s strength is the same as a regular board, but shaving off a load of weight in the process.
All skateboard decks wear down with use, this is part of the normal lifespan of each product.
Now that you understand how each part of your deck is measured, how do you go about choosing?
We suggest, for an average sized teenager/ adult, going for one of the more common sizes, such as an 8.0” or an 8.25” deck, as you’ll find the majority of graphics are available in these sizes, plus the added benefit of starting at a midpoint gives you the option of increasing or decreasing in size in increments as opposed to jumping too far up or down between the sizes, which can be very tricky to get used to at the beginning of your skateboarding journey. Naturally as you progress and try out other widths, you’ll begin to develop a preference that suits your style – which makes looking for a deck very easy, once you get into the swing of things.
That’s all for this section of Two Seasons skate buying guide, >click here< for our Trucks and Wheels buying guide to help you  complete your training!