Many of the most popular skateboard brands sponsor teams of skaters, like Zero's Jamie Thomas and Element's Barn Margera. Professional skaters are often good sources of information as to what skateboard you should buy. If a pro skater rides a certain board, there is a good chance that if he or she finds that it is high enough quality you will also like the board. Users looking for a new skateboard will want to research a variety of different brands to find the one that best suits their needs, based on function and features.
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.
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Grind King skateboard trucks are the best trucks available for grinding. The truck hangar is made from aluminum, making it softer and weaker, but better for grinding. This means you will have to replace them faster if you grind, but your grinds will be smoother and better. Grind King trucks do use special hex-head kingpins, so you will need a special tool to adjust them.
The World Industries logo used to be the marker of a diehard skater, but recently it's gotten into the children's skateboard market too. Because of the brand's long history and trusted reputation in the skateboard community at large, the boards are generally good quality. However, remember that the brand usually caters to hardcore skaters; some parents may not approve of some of the brand's imagery.
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.