Ever notice small vertical or horizontal cracks through your grip tape or by the hardware of your trucks?  These are called stress or pressure cracks and are basically mini fractures of your skateboard deck that typically are seen in the areas of the deck that withstand the greatest impact (around the trucks).  A few pressure cracks is generally no big deal and you won’t even notice them while skating, but they can compound and grow larger and make your deck lose “pop” and increase the chance of snapping.  To avoid pressure cracks, you cant use riser pads underneath your trucks to reduce the level of impact your deck takes.  You should also avoid over tightening your hardware and storing your skateboard in a very humid place as both of these practices can also make your board weaker and more susceptible to pressure cracks.
Typically when looking at different completes you will see size dimensions in the format of ~7-8 x 31-34″.  This measurement is referring to the width and length of the skateboard deck.  Typically all other parts are relatively standard and the deck size is the main thing to look for.  Standard skateboard widths for beginners are between 7.5-8.25 with smaller boards being better for younger and smaller guys.  You don’t really have to worry about length much as long as it’s shaped regularly.  You may hear about the concave of the deck or a special type of board construction, but for the most part, it will not matter much to a beginner.  If you have no idea what size would be best you will never go wrong with a 7.5 or 7.75.
Without good grip tape, skaters have a tough time staying on top of their board. The main complaints about poor grip tape tend to be that it was never very grippy or lost its grip really quickly. Once again, we recommend trusting in name brands with years of experience supporting skateboarders. Unfortunately, if you are buying a pre-made complete skateboard, you probably won't have access to the brand name of the grip. 
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