You’re just looking for a quality skateboard to buy for a beginner (either you or someone you know), but you have no idea where to start. You see bearings, hardware, wheels, decks, and trucks being advertised but don’t want to spend hours researching which individual part to buy. This is how I felt when I was first looking to but a complete skateboard for my nephew for Christmas many years ago. I wanted something that he would love, but also that was safe and would not break the bank. After researching and making a decision I thought it would be useful to share this information with others who may be in a similar situation.
In 1976, skateboarding was transformed by the invention of the ollie by Alan "Ollie" Gelfand. It remained largely a unique Florida trick until the summer of 1978, when Gelfand made his first visit to California. Gelfand and his revolutionary maneuvers caught the attention of the West Coast skaters and the media where it began to spread worldwide. The ollie was adapted to flat ground by Rodney Mullen in 1982. Mullen also invented the "Magic Flip," which was later renamed the kickflip, as well as many other tricks including, the 360 Kickflip, which is a 360 pop shove-it and a kickflip in the same motion. The flat ground ollie allowed skateboarders to perform tricks in mid-air without any more equipment than the skateboard itself, it has formed the basis of many street skating tricks. A recent development in the world of trick skating is the 1080, which was first ever landed by Tom Schaar in 2012.
After leaving long time sponsor Birdhouse due to a feeling of dissatisfaction at the manner in which he himself was being marketed as a pro skater, Andrew Reynolds joined forces with a group of similarly aged pro skaters, who at the time, all lived close to each other in Huntington Beach, California in the Warner Ave housing complex and resolved to turn what had formerly been a loosely affiliated crew into a skateboard brand. Reynolds approached Tony Hawk and Per Welinder, owners of Blitz Distribution (and distributors of Birdhouse) with his idea and, rather than losing Reynolds completely, Blitz Distribution agreed to assist Reynolds with Baker and to distribute it.
Mini Cruisers have exploded in popularity in recent years. These short and skinny boards may not have the versatility of a standard skateboard, allowing for a full range of tricks and travel, but they are ideal for urban and college living where space for storage and riding are both minimal. If you want to ride a mini-cruiser, but you hate the plastic decks or you want to build your own, check out the Bamboo Skateboard mini cruiser deck.
Want the same great performance and high-quality construction as a name brand deck but don’t have a large budget? Blank decks are your answer. Depending on the brand, blank decks can be similar or better than pro decks and are available in just as many or more shape options. These decks are perfect for people who love skating and don’t really care about supporting a profession or the graphic on their deck. Blanks are also great for aggressive skaters who go through decks quickly as many blank skateboard decks are sold in bulk packs of 3, 5, or even 10 decks per pack.
I'm not talking about mall chain stores, like Zumiez; I mean a locally owned and operated skateboard shop. Look around at what they sell, and talk to the staff about the different brands. Of course, they may be biased toward the brands they carry, but chances are you'll learn something that will help you make a decision. There are some big-name board brands that you'll find in most shops, but there should also be some smaller brands you may not have heard or seen around town. There might even be a a local skater or manufacturer that you could support.