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Are you finally ready to hit the slopes, jump over the steps and benches of your city, slalom between poles, have fun in the skatepark with your friends?
You will join the more than 200,000 skateboarders in USA. Even though scooters seem to have outperformed skateboards, there are still many riders all over the world. Going to skate a great idea but do you know which skateboard to choose? Are there different sizes of skateboards? What are the characteristics of a good skateboard?
Buying your first skateboard: the basics of a skateboard
When you start to skate but don’t know much about it, it is not always easy to choose your first skateboard, especially with the large number of possibilities available to you.
And what about all these accessories? Should we take them all? How to select them?
Let’s start at the beginning as if you were in a skateboarding lesson, i.e. learn what a skateboard is made of?
There are several elements:
- The board itself (some call it the board),
- A pair of skate trucks,
- Skateboard bearings,
- Wheels that will be fixed on the bearings and the trucks,
- And finally, the grip that covers the upper part of the skate.
There is not just one type of skateboard but several that will suit your desires and your interests. If you are unfamiliar with it, you can ask a salesperson in a skateboarding store, ask an experienced skateboarder for advice, or even your teacher if you are taking skateboarding lessons. We can then direct you to a particular board according to your size and the use you want to make of it.
In summary, it is estimated that there are three types of skateboards:
The longboard: it is a perfect board for beginners and for doing long distances because it is easier to handle. It’s taller, so it’s easier to keep your balance, especially at the start. However, this type of board is not at all suitable for acrobatics and you will have a hard time doing tricks with it. This board is that of the Californian “uncle skaters” in the origins and history of skateboarding.
The classic board: we recognize it by its thin and tapered end which offers the possibility of doing ollies and figures (slides, flips, grabs …). This board is also very easy to handle and allows you to move quickly although you will have to practice to find your balance at the start. For those who want to try riding a ” half-pipe “, this is the ideal board.
The Custom Board: This board is often designed by the user from various separate pieces. Experienced skaters use them the most because they don’t hesitate to customize the wheels, trucks, the board itself or even the bearings.
The different classic skateboards
When we talk about a classic board, there are differences:
The Popsicle board: it is the most used form for the street and in the park. The nose and the tail (the nose and the tail therefore the front and the back) have the same shape. So you can switch easily.
Shaped Decks: their shape is not uniform unlike Popsicle decks. Their nose or tail have particular shapes that are more angular, pointed or shaped differently. These are not boards recommended for beginners.
The cruiser: these are “ready to go” skates. You can directly use them. They are perfect for moving from point A to point B. Its wheels are soft. We only recommend them if you don’t want to do tricks with them.
Choosing the right length of skateboard
When choosing your skate, also take care of its length and width according to your height and your shoe size.
The size decides the width of the board:
- 31.5 to 36: between 7 and 7.25 inches,
- 36.5 to 39.5: between 7.625 and 8 inches,
- 40 to 42: between 7.875 and 8.125 inches,
- 42.5 to 43.5: between 8 and 8.375 inches,
- 44 to 45.5: between 8.125 and 8.5 inches,
- 46 and over: between 8,375 and 8,625.
Your size decides the length of your skateboard deck:
- Less than 1 meter: less than 28 inches,
- Between 1 meter and 1.40m: between 28 inches and 30.5 inches,
- Between 1.40m and 1.75m: between 30.5 inches and 31.875 inches,
- Between 1.75m and 1.90m: between 31.875 inches and 32.25 inches,
- Above 1.90m: over 32.5 inches.
Do not hesitate to try your board in the store to find out if it is right for you.
The characteristics of a good board for beginners
In front of the wide variety of skates available to you, here are some tips and characteristics of a good board when you are a beginner.
If you manage to collect at least 3 or 4 points from this non-exhaustive list then you will have in your hands a good quality product which will allow you to take your first steps (or your first jumps, as you wish):
- Your skate must be a master piece, that is to say that it must not be too specialized from the start. Do not invest in a longboard from the start, nor in a “Cruiser” or even in a “Penny” because these boards are not standard and you risk to develop bad habits to practice the skate, even if you take lessons. skateboard.
- A traditional board is a board that offers an excellent compromise between maneuverability, flexibility and resistance.
- Your skate must be financially accessible: no need to break the bank and buy a branded board or even have overpriced accessories. As a beginner, you do not yet know how to identify your needs and you will not be able to appreciate the specificities of high-end equipment.
- At the same time, do not buy a board at a low price either, especially in a supermarket because it may not roll, go straight, be soft or have its grip coming off.
- Your skate must be homogeneous: this means that there is no point in having great bearings or awesome trucks if your grip is all damaged or if your board is of poor quality. Make sure everything is consistent.
- Your skate must be strong and light: indeed, even if at the start you will learn more to move with it, you will quickly move on to the first figures such as step jumps, show jumps, U-turns on the rear wheels. etc. It is important that your board is as manageable as possible, i.e., not too wide, with small trucks and medium-sized wheels. Remember, to get started, you need to have room to put both feet on your feet. No need to buy a mini-skate when you start!
- Finally, your skate must be your size: as for a guitar or a violin, there is a size of skate according to your template, you will not be able to slide on a board designed for small builds as well as large ones. This size is expressed in inches. The width of a skateboard usually varies between 7.5 inches (19 cm) and 8.25 inches (21 cm). As for the length of the board, the dimensions vary between 29 (73.6 cm) and 33 inches (84 cm).
If you fancy skateboarding with friends, an 8.25 inch board is more than enough. For those who want to skatepark, a board between 8 and 8.25 inches is fine. Finally, for those who want to skate in the street (“to go street”), a board between 7.25 and 8 inches is better suited.
All these sizes are more oriented for teenagers and adults.
Choosing the accessories for your beginner skate
As we have seen, the skate is not just a skateboard with grip as the surface.
There is also a whole system of bearings, trucks and skateboard wheels to optimize your movements, whatever they are.
How to choose your trucks?
Trucks are the two metal parts under the board that connect the wheels to the skate. They allow skaters to be able to better orient their board or to perform tricks or tricks of the “grind” type.
This can be a real asset when you take skateboarding lessons to navigate more easily. But then, which trucks to choose, especially when you are just starting out?
To be in total adequacy with your skateboard, it is recommended to choose trucks according to the size of your board.
The width of these should be as close as possible to the width of the skateboard.
For more stability, opt for fairly wide trucks but if you want lightness, the trucks should be smaller.
There are three truck heights:
- “Low” trucks: more intended for “street” skateboarding because they offer great stability,
- The “middle” trucks: trucks that are versatile, both in skateparks and in the street,
- The “high” trucks: high truck height to promote walks and to be at your ease in curves. If you take skate lessons, these are the trucks that will be under your board.
Which bearings to choose?
The bearing is a small mechanical system which consists of balls offering better rotation and minimum friction. These bearings fit into the wheels. The axis of the truck fits in the middle of the bearing. Bearings are sold in sets of 8 as there are two bearings per skate wheel.
As a rule of thumb, whatever your skateboard, the bearing size is often the same: a width of 7mm, a diameter of 22mm and a center diameter of 8mm.
If you are a skateboarder or want very good quality from the start, choose bearings with a high ABEC index, at least between 3 and 5.
Skateboard wheels: how to choose?
Finally, the wheels are the nerve of skateboarding because without them, it is impossible to perform your tricks or even to circulate in the streets. The size of the wheels is often between 49 and 56 mm.
Depending on what you are going to do with your skateboard, whether you take skate lessons or if you are motivated to start right away in a skatepark, the size of the wheels can be important. For the street, it is recommended to opt for skate wheels of 52 or 53 mm and rather 54 mm if you intend to skate-park.
Also, the hardness of the wheels should play a role in your choice. Hardness is often represented by a number followed by a lettered subscript like A or B. The higher the number, the harder the wheel will be, which is perfect if you are going street oriented.
Which grip to choose for your skate?
The grip covers the upper surface of the skate and allows your foot to adhere well to the board. It should be abrasive to get a good grip on your shoes, but not too abrasive to avoid scratching your fingers and damaging your skate shoes too quickly.
A good grip is a grip that does not come off and whose grains do not come off, leaving smooth areas on the coating. Most grips are black and these are the longest lasting ones. This is why we advise you to opt for the color black rather than wanting to customize your board with colors or transparency from the start.
The grip can be bought the length of the board. You buy it in a skate shop and the seller will cut it to the length and width of your board. Then it’s up to you to put it (some stores also offer the installation).
Which skate to buy to start and how much does it cost?
Now that we have seen all the elements that make up a skate, it’s time to bring you some different skateboards for beginners. You can easily make your choice and get an idea of the price to pay.