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.
Almost every skate shop will have a wall of boards that is either organized by brand, size, or alphabetically. At our CCS skate shop, we have multiple walls of boards that we try and keep ordered alphabetically. A wall of skateboards, at first glance, can be overwhelming, but if you know what size and roughly what brands you like, it should be fairly easy for you to figure out what board you want. Now would be a good time to mention our CCS Skateboard Buyer’s Guide, specifically the Decks Guide. In the CCS Decks Guide, you’ll find all the information you need to gain a basic understanding of skateboard decks.
The concave of a skateboard deck is how curved the width of the deck is. Very few skateboard decks have no concavity and are completely flat as then they would break very easily and be hard to do flip tricks on. Steep concave decks are the most study and best to do flip tricks on because the slope of the deck catches the skater’s toe or heel more easily and flips the board faster than a shallower deck. Shallow concave boards are better for cruising around and vert skating as they are more comfortable on your feet and more controllable. In practice, these recommendations are pretty general and it ultimately comes down to personal preference on the the best deck concavity. But if you have no idea, following the recommendations or picking a board with moderate concavity is a good place to start.
Their fan base loves them for pushing goofy but fun looking skating that in reality is heavier and rawer than most will realize, and their board graphics and t-shirts feature art from their riders in striking colorways. Their product immediately stands out among the bunch at any shop it’s stocked. These guys are doing things exactly their way, and it’s sticking.
As it eventually became more apparent that skateboarding had a particular identity with a style of shoe, other brands of shoe companies began to specifically design skate shoes for functionality and style to further enhance the experience and culture of skateboarding including such brands as; Converse, Nike, DC Shoes, Globe, Adidas, Zoo York and World Industries. Many professional skateboarders are designed a pro-model skate shoe, with their name on it, once they have received a skateboarding sponsorship after becoming notable skateboarders. Some shoe companies involved with skateboarding, like Sole Technology, an American footwear company that makes the Etnies skate shoe brand, further distinguish themselves in the market by collaborating with local cities to open public Skateparks, such as the etnies skatepark in Lake Forest, California.
You might have seen people talking about cruising styles and board drills but don’t find the talk attractive because you are not a skateboarder. This game gives you a lot of stuff to talk about with your friends and family relatives who skate as well. In fact, when you will get old, you will love to contribute to the pro conversations about skateboarding styles and maneuvers. It’s all about the ride and talks!
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.
Theories of Atlantis is a brand that truly defies categorization. Josh Stewart’s brain child has gone through more phases than most companies, first being a means for him to put out his own series of Static videos featuring New York skaters, to now being a full blown distribution house for smaller boutique skateboarding brands featured on this list. Josh also puts out a line of soft goods with the turn of every season, playing off conspiracy theory style graphics and imagery on staple items like zip hoodies and long sleeves.
First off, it’s important to decide what you will be using your skateboard for and what you will be doing with it. That’s why it’s important to ask a few key questions: Are you going to be using it every day? Is it for a new hobby? Is it for competition practice? What surface will you be skating on? Will you be partaking in park skating, or street skating?
What began life as a screen-printing business back in 2001 has organically morphed into one of the UK’s most celebrated low-key bedroom brands. After completing a screen-printing and fine arts degree Stuart Smith set up Lovenskate to offer bespoke screen printing services to the skateboard industry and beyond from inside his parents garage. Over time, Lovenskate grew and formally metamorphosed into a skateboard brand back in 2001.
Plan B originated out of Irvine, CA and was initially created by skating pro Mike Ternasky. Unfortunately, Ternasky was involved in a car accident in 1994 and didn’t make it. The Plan B team and the boards that have emerged as his legacy to become a top skateboarding brand. Though the Plan B team had to take some time off, so as to mourn and regroup, they have returned with a vengeance and have become known as one of the top skateboarding brands. We like Plan B because of the customizable element they bring to the skateboard market and their flexible decks that stand out above other skateboarding companies.
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.
The skateboard is directional, so if you’re skating switch the tail end will be forward, though, it makes for an easy switch heel flip. The deck itself is plastic. The skateboard dimensions are 3x6x22 inches. The wheels are 59MM urethane custom Skatro brand wheels. The bearings are ABEC 7 Skatro bearings. The trucks are 3 inches aluminum trucks. The board itself is only a light 4.7lbs and comes in one color.
For those of you who don't know, Mark Gonzales isn't just an artist who occasionally pens logos for Supreme. He's a bonafide legend, as an artist, a skater, and a personality. His brand Krooked is a perfect expression of that, with art direction from the man himself, and a videography of skate flicks that includes essential viewing Gnar Gnar, Kronichles, and Naughty. Supreme may top Krooked on this list, but true Gonz stans will always represent with Krooked.
The skateboard companies that are considered at the top include Element Skateboards. Founded by professional skateboarder Johnny Schillereff in 1992, the company’s goal was to expand on Johnny’s “Elementality” vision to build a company that helped to bring awareness to skateboarding. The goal is to focus on its uses in nature and the environment and the interconnecting of art and skateboarding. Developed from an urban mentality that was rough around the edges, the brand was transformed to embrace the “tree” logo with an emphasis on the positive and making the world a better place. A customer can purchase complete skateboards that include the decks, wheels, trucks, and bearings or they can customize a deck to suit their needs. Accessories and clothing are also offered. There are 20 professional skateboarders on the Elements team including such names as Brandon Westgate, Nyjah Houston, Mark Appleyard and Nick Garcia.
Made with bamboo and fiberglass, this board is tough, flexible, and ready for anything. The construction is designed to feel and act like a snowboard. The drop-through design is perfect for freestyle longboarding, commuting, carving, pumping, and more. It gives you better stability and more wheel clearance. The board is definitely best designed for carving but tricks and kicks are easily done as well.
Skateboarding damages urban terrain features such as curbs, benches, and ledges when skateboarders perform "grinds" and other tricks on these surfaces. Private industry has responded to this problem by using skate deterrent devices, such as the Skatestopper, in efforts to prevent further damage and to reduce skateboarding on these surfaces.
If you love the outdoors, traveling in style, and prefer to have as much control over your mode of transportation as possible, a skateboard is just what you need. Not just for high school kids or sports celebrities like Tony Hawk, the skateboard can be a useful and fun tool that can take you wherever you need to go, while also being a great outlet for the release of energy.
While the skate shoes design afforded better connection and traction with the deck, skaterboarders themselves could often be identified when wearing the shoes, with Tony Hawk once saying, "If you were wearing Vans shoes in 86, you were a skateboarder" Because of its connection with skateboarding, Vans financed the legendary skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and was the first sneaker company to endorse a professional skateboarder Stacy Peralta. Vans has a long history of being a major sponsor of many of skateboarding's competitions and events throughout skateboarding's history as well, including the Vans Warped Tour and the Vans Triple Crown Series.
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.