by McKenna Marsden
Choosing a skateboard as a beginner-or a not-so-beginner looking to upgrade from a cheap starter skateboard-can seem intimidating. Having a good skateboard is crucial even for beginners, and there are a lot of options out there. Here are a few tips to help you as you start the search for your perfect skateboard.
1. Talk to the staff at your local skate shop
If you’re lucky enough to have a locally run skate shop in your town, they’ll be your #1 best resource on the best brands, best value, and what to choose for how you want to skate.
2. Complete or custom?
Do you want a pre-assembled, ready-to-ride skateboard (complete), or to pick your own parts (custom)? Building a custom skateboard gets you exactly what you want, and isn’t as hard as it sounds-but you do have to be sure you know all your parts will fit together and are good quality. If you don’t know exactly what you want yet, or are feeling intimidated, there’s nothing wrong with a good quality complete! For beginning to intermediate skaters, you’re unlikely to have any issues with one.
3. Know your needs
Are you planning to use your board just for tricks? Transportation? Some combination? Will you be skating mostly on streets or in parks? For most beginner skaters who want to start learning tricks on the street, a standard-shaped shortboard will be the best bet. A wider deck can help you out if you’re already doing some vert, and if you’re mostly about transportation, you’ll get maximum speed with a longboard and maximum versatility with a cruiser.
4. Know your parts
A. Most will purchase a 7.5- 7.75″ width deck
For the deck, your main considerations are going to be width and concavity-beginners looking for an all-round skateboard will probably be looking at 7.5-7.75 in. width, and any concavity that isn’t flat. The trucks, which attach the wheels to the deck, should be about the same width as the deck, and the mid-level height is the most versatile.
B. Most beginners get 53mm-56mm wheels
If you have a mid-level truck, you’ll want 53mm-56mm wheels, and if you want to do some tricks and street skating, a hardness of 96a-99a will do you (softer wheels are better for cruising.)
C. Don’t settle for less than ABEC 5 bearings
Bearings, which connect the wheels to the truck, may be small but make a huge impact on your ride. Most brands use a quality rating system called ABEC; for beginners, ABEC 5 should meet your needs. Once you start to learn what works for you, though, there’s a whole world of modifications for all these parts, which you can learn about online or (even better) at your local skate shop.
5. Invest a minimum of $60
No one likes spending money, but you also get what you pay for. You don’t have to get the most expensive skateboard on the market, but investing in a decent quality board can make the difference between fun and frustration. Probably the best value skateboards out there are the plain-but-quality Mini-Logo (a complete from them is about $90,) but World Industries and Golden Dragon both sell decent starter boards for about $60 if you’re really trying to save.
6. Don’t be afraid!
Skateboards wear out. This isn’t a lifetime decision! If this is your first board, you can always start with a standard beginner board and swap out parts as you learn your own preferences. The main thing is to get a board that will work with you and not against you as you get the basics down, and get skating.
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