Let's be clear: Mike Carroll and Rick Howard are legends and modern skating wouldn't be shit without them. There. When the two good pals left Plan B to start their own brand in 1993, skateboard history was made. Girl and Chocolate are separate brands, but they act like two sides of the same family, and after 20 years making decks and apparel for skateboarders, the clan is stronger than ever.
Element, based out of Irvine, CA, is one of the cool skateboard brands today. They came in first on our list due to their quality boards, sustainable practices and the affordability they offer customers. They’re an environmentally responsible brand who creates their boards without causing any environmental damage. The Element team behind the company is comprised of a group of professional skateboarders who interact with a strong belief in the Element brand. They not only offer great products, but stand for an open minded and active lifestyle and have become one of the best skateboard brands in the world.
Skateboarding is one of the most popular alternative sports around the world, for kids and adults alike. But before you hop on a board and take off, it’s important to choose the right kind of board for you. Most beginners will simply grab the board that they like the looks of, and with the endless array of deck art and styles that exist, that kind of attitude can lead to choosing a board that isn’t right to learn on.
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.
Trick wise, you can perform many different tricks. The price is well worth it because of the lightweight nature and solid design of the skateboard brand. The trucks and bearings are custom made by the company so there is no room for error as the quality is promised to be upheld by the company. Also, the package itself comes with a mini T-tool which is great for on the spot replacement of wheels, adjusting the bearings, and also interchanging the trucks if need be.
What the fuck is Bro Style? That's what a lot of skate nerds found themselves wondering at the end of 2012. Bro Style crept onto the scene with a goofy guerrilla-style internet marketing campaign that involved little more than the thumbs up logo. Little by little, product started to trickle out—beanies, snapbacks, pocket tees, socks, and other odd ephemera—and a few video clips. Bro Style is still something of a mystery, but one thing is clear, it's not meant to be taken too seriously. And that is seriously important for the skate industry to remember.
Powell Peralta is a brand that has been around since the late 1970s. The Powell Golden Dragon has been on the market for over four decades now, and its popularity hasn’t decreased. It’s easy to see why even legends like Steve Caballero recommend these skateboards. Powell is known for having boards that fit every age range and skill level, satisfying the needs of many. It’s also probably the reason as to why the product is surrounded by 5-star reviews.
Pro decks are what most people are familiar with and what is seen most commonly around skateparks and driveways around the US. These decks can have a variety of different logos and images on them and sometimes are a specific professional skater’s pro deck. Pro decks provide skaters a way to support their favorite riders and have the same equipment they see all their favorite pros using. The quality of professional decks and parts are almost always very high as they have a reputable and brand image to uphold. For this higher level of quality and you can expect to pay 2-3x the cost of a blank complete. If you want to save some money and still have a pro look, there are options available that have generic blank parts with a pro deck. This may be a good option for a beginner skater who is not yet doing complex tricks that may break these cheaper parts, but they still want the look and feel of a pro skateboard. As the skater progresses they can then switch out these generic parts for higher-end options as necessary.
Remember the cool skate kids wearing Workshop tees in the '90s? Well you don't see too many of those these days, but AW is still one of the best “big” skate brands going. The team alone—featuring Supreme muse Jason Dill, tech-gnar wizard Anthony Van Engelen, and the most handsome guy on a board, Dylan Rieder—puts the brand in the top 10. And even though you might not associate legacy riders like Rob Dyrdek with anything cool at all, he pulled one of the most boss moves in all skate business history when he bought the brand that first sponsored him 20 years ago back from Burton (who bought the brand from Chris Carter in 2008) last year, so Workshop is once again skater-owned.
For example, regular skateboards are around 7.5” x 31”-8.5” x 32.5”, while skateboards for children are commonly sized 7”x28”. This ensures that young kids won’t be overwhelmed with the design of bigger skateboards from this buying guide. It also helps children ease-in into the skateboarding world, allowing them to see if it’s the right sport for them at an early age.
With distinctive graphics, often touching upon controversial issues such as racism with American society such as the infamous Jim Thiebaud ‘Lynch the KKK’ graphic designed by Natas Kaupas and Kevin Ancell, and classic Jeff Klindt graphics such as the James Kelch ‘James’ board, which was recently re-released, Real’s aesthetic has always been instantly recognisable.
Skateboarding might be a game but it teaches the biggest lessons of life. It helps kids to accept others being better than them and encourages them to put more effort to progress and be the best. When they ride in the park with people who are expert and know impressive drills, they come to learn that practice and efforts make a man perfect. Skateboarding also teaches kids to control and focus.
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.