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.
If you didn’t already know, the “nose” of a skateboard is typically the front and the “tail” is the back.  When you fall or slip and your board slams into curbs, fences, or other hard objects, it’s common for the wooden ends to chip or become damaged upon impact.  Over time these chips can make it harder to preform tricks and even just cruise around.  These chips can be prevented by buying a carbon fiber or non-wood deck, or by there are some metal edges available that can be installed on the nose and tail.
In summary - recognizing a real skateboard isn’t rocket science, but it does take some amount of brand awareness and ultimately even trial and error. We tried to take the guesswork out of it by starting SkateXS and openly sharing and celebrating each and every component we use to build our skateboards. Hopefully we have been able to share the values and priorities we put into those design decisions. 

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. 
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