If you have decided to buy a skateboard for yourself, there are a lot of things you should observe before. There are many shapes and sizes of skateboards, and they depend on different skill levels. Therefore, there are skaters who favour pool bowls, ramps and DIY spots, others who prefer more authentic street terrain, seeking out gaps, ledges, and rails, and there are also those who choose the speed and the rush of a downhill longboard.
This skateboarding buyer's guide will help decide what skateboard fits your needs and what tricks you want to perform with it. If you are a beginner, then you should start with the “complete” set up. This means that all the components of the board are previously selected and assembled. Alternatively, you can also choose a “custom” set up – which allows you to choose all the individual parts by yourself to suit your personal preferences. Over time skaters develop their preferences and have their favorite shapes, sizes, and brands. “Custom” set up is interesting because you get the chance to build your own ride which is fun.
So the most important thing, in general, is to decide the purpose of the skateboard. Then you will quickly move on from there and determine what products are going to meet your needs the best.
Your experience level is a significant indicator when it comes to the decision of the type of skateboard. Even though there are more groups than the following three, we will offer you a general observation of ability levels:
So if you are new to this, and you haven’t really spent too much time on a skateboard, then you should start with the affordable complete skateboard, cruiser or longboard. With the “complete” set up, you will not have to worry about assembling pieces by yourself, and you can also practice your ride on either three models. Therefore, you will be able to see by yourself what is your chosen model best for, on which terrains and tricks.
If you are already familiar with skateboarding, and you want to work on more technical moves, but your skateboard is not able to keep up. Then it is time to buy a new one. By now you already understand what you want from skateboarding and the skateboard itself. You also know what you are trying to achieve, and you know the terminology. This is the period where you should experiment with different trucks or wheels and see what impact they have on your skating. Be sure to always ask for advice from some experts. They will be glad to help you.
Finally, if you are an expert skater, then you probably already know what you want. You are no longer on some basic skills, and you are focused on the bigger and more complex tricks. This is the stage where you take care of all tiny details which can make a difference in your ride. Besides, you already know how the shapes and sizes work and what your perfect skateboard needs to possess.
Usually, skaters can also be divided according to the type of terrain they ride, even though many of them are not exclusively oriented only towards one category. We already know that skateboards, wheels, and trucks are usually designed according to the surfaces and types of tricks you are going to perform. We will observe these styles briefly, and decide which one will be the best for you.
Vert skaters also known as Pool and Bowl skaters, are those who ride ramps and vertical structures, catching air and performing grabs and spin tricks. Skaters of this type usually search for the skate parks with a variety transition features, empty pools or DIY ramps. Vert tricks should have big air, high speed, and sick style as well. Transition skaters usually choose wider skateboard decks in order to have more stability at higher speeds. You can also choose boards with unique nose and tail shapes which can add a little more style to your riding.
Street & Technical
These skaters can skate everything they see around. Street style makes use of almost every characteristic of the urban landscape such as curbs, handrails, benches, stairs, fire hydrants, and other elements. Creativity is essential in this style. Most of these tricks, such as nosegrinds, 50-50s, and kickflips, require technique and precision, which eventually comes from a lot of practice and patience. Most street skaters prefer a standard "popsicle" shaped skateboard with a rounded nose and tail. The shape allows the board to flip more naturally in the air while performing technical flip tricks.
Most skaters are in this group. Those are skaters who enjoy the adrenaline rush of performing a huge trick and those who can´t sleep until they´ve perfected that half-cab kickflip or some other trick they have been practicing all week. Generally, they are in the group transition and street, skating whatever they can find. All-around riders appreciate the feel of living life on a skateboard and challenges of any terrain. If you are one of them, then start with a standard shaped skateboard which will be versatile enough for you in the beginning and then expand from there – both your skills and your equipment preferences.
Longboarding is much different from the styles listed above. These boards have a design which is appropriate for more fluid rides and wide turns similar to the movement of surfing or snowboarding. Longboards also come in many different shapes and sizes. Before you decide to buy one, ask for advice, or read some guides and experiences with longboards.
Rider Height & Weight
Your size is also an important element when choosing the right skate. It is important to know how much weight and pressure you´ll be putting on it regardless of the type of board itself. There are many different shapes and sizes as we already mentioned and you will be required to choose the right one in order to provide the best results. Every board is designed to fit the needs of the certain type of riders, and you should use this advantage. Therefore, observe the width, length, and shape of each board and get the one that suits you the best.
Complete set ups include a gripped deck, trucks, wheels, bearings and all necessary hardware. The cost of these assembled boards varies depending on the quality of the components. In the beginning, try to find the board which is more affordable, and later if you decide to make skating your serious hobby or profession choose quality, rather than price. Larger longboards, for instance, can a bit more expensive.