By 2001 skateboarding had gained so much popularity that more people under the age of 18 rode skateboards (10.6 million) than played baseball (8.2 million), although traditional organized team sports still dominated youth programs overall. Skateboarding and skateparks began to be viewed and used in a variety of new ways to complement academic lessons in schools, including new non-traditional physical education skateboarding programs, like Skatepass and Skateistan, to encourage youth to have better attendance, self-discipline and confidence. This was also based on the healthy physical opportunities skateboarding was understood to bring participants for muscle & bone strengthening and balance, as well as the positive impacts it can have on youth in teaching them mutual respect, social networking, artistic expression and an appreciation of the environment.
Keep in mind that the deck width will also affect the size of the trucks that you use. You’ll need wider trucks to make a wider deck more stable. If you see a wide deck with narrow trucks, you can expect the ride to be wobbly and hard to manage. Pay attention to the bushings on the board as well. If the bushings are very firm, you’ll have a more stable ride, but it also makes it harder to turn. Soft bushings are much more responsive, but you do lose a little bit of stability. If you don’t know if your bushings are firm or soft, you likely have soft bushings, since this is the default.
Skateboarding, as we know it, was probably born sometime in the late 1940s, or early 1950s, when surfers in California wanted something to do when the waves were flat. This was called "sidewalk surfing" – a new wave of surfing on the sidewalk as the sport of surfing became highly popular. No one knows who made the first board; it seems that several people came up with similar ideas at around the same time. The first manufactured skateboards were ordered by a Los Angeles, California surf shop, meant to be used by surfers in their downtime. The shop owner, Bill Richard, made a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels, which they attached to square wooden boards. Accordingly, skateboarding was originally denoted "sidewalk surfing" and early skaters emulated surfing style and maneuvers, and performed barefoot.
If you are completely new to skateboarding, consider taking a minute to read through the Skateboard Decks Section in our Buyer’s Guide will be helpful, but a good rule of thumb is: the bigger your feet, the wider your board should be. If you wear a size 9 and up, you can’t go wrong with buying an 8” board. Narrow boards are easier to flip while wider boards are more stable, but there are no hard and fast rules to skateboarding. The only way to really find out what you like is by trying new shapes, sizes, and brands. Brands like Welcome, Baker, Chocolate, Deathwish, and Element all have a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and graphics.