Originally referred to as sidewalk surfing, the birth of skateboarding dates back to the early 1940s and the use of wooden boxes with roller skates attached to their bottoms. While the board itself cannot necessarily be attributed to a single inventor of the time and was, instead, a spontaneous invention from multiple sources, the modern style of many of today's skateboards took form during the 1950s when California surfers were looking for a physical activity to keep them busy during times when the waves were flat. The first manufactured skateboards were ordered by a Los Angeles surf shop and were designed to be used by surf enthusiasts during their downtime. At the time, the shop owner set up an arrangement with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels, which the shop would then attach to square wooden boards.
Stacy Peralta and George Powell rekindled their business relationship in 2010 and have since been extremely successful once more, particularly through the re-release of many of their classic legacy skateboards, assisted by the return of the legendary graphic artist Vernon Courtlandt Johnson (aka VCJ) who was responsible for creating many of the brand’s most iconic board graphics.
Skateboarding during the 1990s became dominated by street skateboarding. Most boards are about 7 1⁄4 to 8 inches (180 to 200 mm) wide and 30 to 32 inches (760 to 810 mm) long. The wheels are made of an extremely hard polyurethane, with hardness (durometer) approximately 99A. The wheel sizes are relatively small so that the boards are lighter, and the wheels' inertia is overcome quicker, thus making tricks more manageable. Board styles have changed dramatically since the 1970s but have remained mostly alike since the mid-1990s. The contemporary shape of the skateboard is derived from the freestyle boards of the 1980s with a largely symmetrical shape and relatively narrow width. This form had become standard by the mid '90s.
It is a mini-cruiser, which is known for its strength as well as its ability to offer real value for the money you spent. This skateboard can also be expected to deliver an impressive performance – thanks to the Abec 7 skatro bearings used in it. There are also 59-mm urethane wheels and the 3-inch GOLD aluminum trucks that can help smoothen each ride.
After expanding from a successful board brand featuring Pontus’s own art and photography, the brand grew into making a high quality line of apparel that borders between athletic wear and traditional skate style. Over the last couple of years, Polar dropped jerseys and polos in high quality athletic materials, collabed with Converse on a couple of Chuck Taylors, and always kept a steady stock of their classic heavy chinos and hoodies, building up a brand you could literally rock head-to-toe.
Alex Olson’s Bianca Chandôn has quickly blurred and crossed back and forth between the line that currently divides high fashion and skateboarding, pushing an androgynous aesthetic inspired by looks found in Tom Bianchi’s Polaroid book Fire Island Pines, which nobody was ready for. Olson has turned what started off as an idea for a small board brand into a hype machine that has become a hit across the world.
Canadian maple wood decks are the industry standard and is what the vast majority of decks on this list will be made of. However, is the seller just says “maple” the deck is typically made in China and the wood may be slightly softer and lower quality. This is more common among the lower cost blank decks, and most pro brands or higher end blanks are typically 100% Canadian maple. In my opinion, the difference between Canadian and Chinese maple decks is slight and in many cases, a cheaper Chinese deck may be the better option for you if you have a small budget or tend to go through decks very quickly.
Diamond has been a household name in streetwear for their dope caps, tees, hoodies, and sneaker collab hype that have had the Internet going nuts for years, but the brand's roots are in skate. While the list of collaborations and rapper co-signs is long (too long to list here), but for skate nerds the team is way more impressive—Raven Tershy, Ryan Sheckler, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neil, Stevie Williams, Paul Rodriguez… The list goes on.
James Haden is one of the owners of the Skateboarder community, together with Nash Gibson – his co-owner. He works as a full-time copywriter for a private company and also a true adventurer. He is an avid reader, writer, traveler, and extreme sports junkie. During his free time, he researches interesting content for their blog and continuously writes for their audience.
In the ever-volatile skateboarding industry, brands come and go, then come back again, only to go out once more, and eventually make room for the next person who is really in tune with what skateboarding is today. While no two brands can really be compared, the true signifier of their importance in skateboarding is how they can make a difference in the culture and bring something new to the table that hasn’t been done before. Every single brand on this list has been a part of something unique that has made us pay attention to them above all the others out there doing it in this saturated market.
Progressive designs deliver a more dramatic upward curve and a wider base, providing increasingly secure footing and a locked-in feel. The W-concave shape is more narrow with an additional center curve, allowing for a greater shift in energy between the heel and toe. This design also boasts more responsive control and quick turning capabilities. Tub concave decks resemble the radial shape, however their rails extend at a sharp angle instead of a gradual curve. Asymmetrical decks feature rails that extend at different angles, affording more power to a rider's heels when making turns. Less commonly used are decks with convex and completely flat shapes. Convex boards offer an upwards-arching shape, which some downhill skateboarders prefer for a more natural feel, whereas flat designs increase available foot space and are more popular for experienced riders looking to perform fancy tricks.
Be sure to purchase from a reputable source. Buying online might save you a few dollars, but try your local skate shop first. The few extra dollars you spend support the shop and your local skate community. Developing a good relationship with a local skate shop often saves you money in the long run. The completes are not as good as custom made, but you can get them for a lot less money and upgrade any bad components later.
Decks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can choose a mini-board, a cruiser, a drop-through, or a standard deck for your favorite set of wheels and hardware. Widths range too from a few inches with a 22-inch board to the wide size of a true cruiser. Some decks are flat as possible while others are significantly concave for optimized turning. You can buy a deck with artwork and grip tape already attached for a quick install or you can get a bare-bones wooden deck to truly customize.