Skateboarders like things that aren't skateboarding, too, you know. Camping, fishing, motorcycles… Uh, skateboarding? Crap. Whatever. Pro skater Adrian Lopez founded Loser machine and the Dark Seas Division as a way to explore other facets of the culture through cool clothing. Loser Machine is a complete collection that goes far beyond that typical tees, jeans, and hats formula that many skate apparel brands rely on—leather motorcycle gloves, denim vests, and floral print button-downs are all evidence that this is a well-conceived project from a skater with good taste.
Jessup is considered to be the standard grip tape, and it is the grip we offer for free with all decks. MOB is known for their coarser grip, which gives excellent traction, but also wears down your shoes faster. MOB M-80, Grizzly and Shake Junt grip tapes fall somewhere in the middle, offering good overall traction without the heavy abrasion. There are other extra course grip options for downhill skateboarding (Vicious, Blood Orange, etc.). That stuff locks your foot in place but it is so coarse it would quickly destroy your shoes if you tried flip tricks with it.
As the only female-focused and female-owned skateboard brand on this list, Meow Skateboards is notable for boldly stepping into the male-dominated skateboard industry and succeeding where other similar projects have failed. Prior to establishing the Meow Skateboard Brand, Lisa Whitaker was already a driving force within female skateboarding as the founder of the largest online resource for female skateboarding in the world – Girls Skate Network.
Bearings are standardized to fit in all kinds of skateboard wheels. All bearings will eventually get dirt and gunk in them which slows you down. Regular cleaning is recommended. Higher quality bearings will perform better, roll faster, retain more speed, and last longer when cleaned regularly. Some bearings come with bearing spacers or have spacers built into the bearing. These will fit in any wheel, but are not necessary for most types of skateboarding or longboarding.
Lewis Marnell became Almost’s first fully-fledged amateur, an addition announced in a bonus section of Almost’s ground-breaking mini ramp video ‘Almost Cheese and Crackers‘ from (2006) that focused upon Chris Haslam and Daewon Song’s pushing of the boundaries of mini ramp skating and has subsequently been credited with ushering in a new wave of technical transition skating in its wake.
A good helmet protects your most important vital organ. Remember that in some states helmets are required by law. In Oregon, for example, skaters 15 and under can be fined for not wearing a helmet. Knee and elbow pads will also save you from bumps and bruises. Knee pads are particularly valuable when learning to skate tall vertical walls because they allow you to slide down the wall on your knees instead of having to run out of every bailed attempt. Wrist and ankle injuries are common in skateboarding, so braces are another great investment.
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.