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.
After expanding from a successful board brand featuring Pontus’s own art and photography, the brand grew into making a high quality line of apparel that borders between athletic wear and traditional skate style. Over the last couple of years, Polar dropped jerseys and polos in high quality athletic materials, collabed with Converse on a couple of Chuck Taylors, and always kept a steady stock of their classic heavy chinos and hoodies, building up a brand you could literally rock head-to-toe.
You can get a lot of advice (and maybe too many opinions) from fellow skaters. Some of it might not be as informed or educated as a shop owner's (and some might be flat-out bad advice), but it should at least be sincere! If you don't have a local skate park, or are too uncomfortable to walk up to people and ask, you can also ask around on a skateboarding forum. People there will be more than happy to tell you what they think about deck brands.
Buy a quality deck. Decks available at your local department store are usually of low quality and have pictures of cartoon characters on the bottom. If you want an entire board, but don't know exactly what you want, buy a complete skateboard from a company or go to a skate shop and ask the employee about the products. If you want to ride on the streets, get a 7.5 to 8.0 deck, if you want to ride vert, 8.0 and up is probably best. However, it's all personal preference. People street skate all the time with decks over 8.0.
This is the way most serious skateboarders buy new skateboards.  In some cases they choose different brands for the wheels, bearings, trucks, deck, and hardware and customize it to their own unique style and preferences. The benefit to buying part like this you can replace only certain parts that are worn down and you have more control over each aspect of your skateboard.  I recommend this approach to intermediate and advanced skateboarders who want to experiment with different brands and styles.   However, if you are looking to try skateboarding for the first time or buy it as a gift for someone else I would recommend buying an already assembled complete skateboard.

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.

Navigator is a newer truck company and may be hard to find (the Navigator site has a store locator that should help). I've listed them here because they have some unique features on their trucks. For example, they have a special addition beneath the baseplate that holds the kingpin in place so bushings can be replaced without taking the trucks off of the skateboard. Also, Navigator is the only truck company that pins their axles, so they can guarantee their axles will NEVER slip! The Navigator site lists many other features - take a look and see what you think.
If you want to be able to practice your new hobby anywhere and everywhere, the Fade is an excellent choice. This is a short skateboard that measures only 27 inches long, made of lightweight (yet still durable) plastic. That means it’s easy to toss into a backpack and carry with you on your commute, to school, or anywhere. It’ll also fit into a locker at the gym or school quite easily.

^ Jump up to: a b c d e f "Skateboarding" (PDF). Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site Management Plan: Visitor Information, Education and Enjoyment. Washington, D.C.: National Mall and Memorial Parks: National Park Service: United States Department of the Interior. April 2014. pp. 24–25. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2017. Skateboarding damages stonework, walls, steps, and sculpture in some areas and presents a persistent law enforcement and management challenge. Damaged areas include stone facing on memorials, benches, and other surfaces. Moreover, popular websites advertise the attractiveness of these areas for skateboarding, which indicates the large scope of this challenge. .... Actions: .... In park areas replace and maintain “No Skateboarding” signs that have been vandalized.

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.
The Golden Dragon is a fantastic board for beginners, and it’s all in the wheels. The high-rebound polyurethane wheels are hand-cast and offer amazing grip as you ride, plus fantastic roll. The deck itself is just slightly longer than a standard skateboard, which offers a bit more stability for beginners, who might be worried about sliding or slipping off a shorter board. Additionally, this board features the All Powell-Peralta Ligament strap, an important safety feature that keeps the deck together if it should break. This helps prevent injury and provides a little more peace of mind for the rider. 
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