When looking at skateboarding’s history, the only thing that’s stayed the same is the overall structure: every board consists of four skateboard wheels, two skateboard trucks, and a riding surface of some kind. And while we’ve come a long way from the days of metal and clay wheels, some aspects of skateboarding - like the brands manufacturing some of the most trusted products - haven’t changed at all. Independent Trucks has been designing trucks since 1978. Powell Peralta, the company responsible for Powell Skateboards, Bones Wheels, Bones Bearings, and the Bones Brigade also started in 1978. NHS, Inc., the company that produces Santa Cruz Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Bronson Speed Bearings, Krux trucks, Flip Skateboards, Ricta Wheels, Mob Grip, and OJ Wheels started in 1973. It’s no wonder these brands are still doing so well - they’ve been with skateboarding since the beginning. Since the day skateboarding went from something surfers did when the waves were flat to its own sport that involves technique, practice, and careful consideration, a small handful companies have been there to help skateboarding become what it is today.
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.
Since its inception in 1990, Alien Workshop has gone through a number of changes of ownership, first being bought by Burton Snowboards in February 2008, then purchased from Burton by original Alien Workshop rider and reality TV show star Rob Dyrdek in January 2012. Following Dyrdek’s purchase of the brand and its umbrella company DNA Distribution, (also incorporating Habitat skateboards, Habitat footwear and Reflex bearings), an announcement was made in October of 2013 that Dyrdek would remain as a minority shareholder of DNA Dist, with the majority of shares purchased by Pacific Vector Holdings, (also owners of No Fear clothing and Gatorz sunglasses).
Choosing skateboards that are made out of good, sturdy, and durable wood is vital. Most boards nowadays are made out of Canadian Maple. The skateboard deck is usually made out of a dozen or so layers. This ensures that your board will be reliable and can take some beating when you fall off or start doing skateboard tricks. You should also look for pro boards that have metal skateboard trucks, since these are the ones that support decks best.
If you want to do cruising and street style on the same board then you probably want a large board and larger wheels, as many have already commented. I think that an 8 inch board with at least 56 mm wheels will be best. I think that you should find a local shop to support and to talk to about gear. I would advise getting a shop deck, with Independent trucks (at the correct width for your board, which is one detail that a local shop should be able to help with) Bones street tech formula wheels (I like profiles 1 and, I think 5), and Bones Reds bearings (not super reds, super reds are not super).
Somehow, in the great effort to fight societal conformity, skateboarding always manages to create its own conformity. Trends in styles of skating and fashion come and go. A brand gets hot for a year or two because it's on trend, then it fades to make way for the next thing. Welcome Skateboards doesn't give a fuck about all that. Yes, they are a little weird. The graphics are vaguely Illuminati, and they can't seem to make a normal shaped deck, but that's just Welcome doing its own thing, and who wouldn't welcome that?
Alien Workshop is a Dayton, Ohio based company, established by Chris Carter, Neil Blender and Mike Hill in 1990. They have gone through several ownership changes, including a period of being owned and operated by Burton Snowboards, but have persevered and become one of the top skateboard brands today. Alien Workshop has faced several turbulent challenges with varying outcomes, however they have remained dedicated to providing a high quality, yet also affordable boards. We like Alien Workshop for their innovative designs and conscience effort to make a great board, that many can afford. Their high quality boards has allowed them to become one of the best rated skateboard brands today.
Aside from their prodigious online output since the release of their last full-length video, (often via Daewon Song’s own Instagram account which currently has close to a million followers alone), Almost are also renowned for their experiments in board construction technology – in particular the Almost Impact Support range and the Über Light series which incorporate carbon-fibre into skateboard construction to reduce weight and increase strength/flex.
You know how people say shit like: Ernest Hemingway is “a writer's writer” and it's not really clear what that means, but you sort of get it? Well Anti-Hero is a skater's skate brand. Founded by underground hero pro skater Julien Stranger, Anti-Hero is a direct expression of his attitude towards the skate industry, which is basically that skateboarding is life and fuck everything else. Anti-hero has a reputation for being one of the gnarliest skate brands around, thanks in part to their team of heavies which includes John Cardiel, Tony Trujillo, and Chris Pfanner.
Distributed by NHS, Inc., Creature Skateboards was launched in 1994 by professional skateboarders Russ Pope, Jason Adams, Barket Barrett and Darren Navarrette. The company was revived in the mid-2000s. Creature is known for its horror themes on its skateboards and clothing. The company offers complete skateboards that include the decks, wheels, trucks, and bearings as well as customizable decks, and accessories. The Creature team includes 19 professional skateboarders. In addition to Navarrette, the roster includes such names as Al Partanen, Chris Russell, Cory Juneau and David Gravette.
Positiv decks are usually maple, but some are hard birch. They are made using the same laminating process and glue that Powell Peralta boards use. These decks have Positiv’s super slide treatment (SST), which is essentially a plastic lining that makes the board slide more easily. The stuff works, and wax becomes less necessary for slides with these boards.
The magazine only lasted four issues, but resumed publication as Skateboarder in 1975. The first broadcast of an actual skateboarding competition was the 1965 National Skateboarding Championships, which were held in Anaheim, California and aired on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports. Because skateboarding was a new sport during this time, there were only two original disciplines during competitions: flatland freestyle and slalom downhill racing.