The criteria used to select the brands featured varies – some are included due to their commitment to technological innovation and for their efforts to improve the products they offer through experimentation, others are included for what they offer in terms of cultural depth and for their contributions to skateboarding culture as a whole, whether that be through graphics, video output or simple attitude.
In an industry as diverse as skateboarding, the sheer number of skateboard brands on the market can be bewildering. With a seemingly never-ending amount of new brands emerging, alongside the numerous pre-existing ones, the market can certainly appear over crowded and confusing at times, which is hopefully where this list of some of our favourite skateboard brands comes in.
In the early 1970s skateparks hadn't been invented yet, so skateboarders would flock and skateboard in such urban places as The Escondido reservoir in San Diego, California. Skateboarding magazine would publish the location and Skateboarders made up nicknames for each location such as the Tea Bowl, the Fruit Bowl, Bellagio, the Rabbit Hole, Bird Bath, the Egg Bowl, Upland Pool and the Sewer Slide. Some of the development concepts in the terrain of skateparks were actually taken from the Escondido reservoir. Many companies started to manufacture trucks (axles) specially designed for skateboarding, reached in 1976 by Tracker Trucks. As the equipment became more maneuverable, the decks started to get wider, reaching widths of 10 inches (250 mm) and over, thus giving the skateboarder even more control. A banana board is a skinny, flexible skateboard made of polypropylene with ribs on the underside for structural support. These were very popular during the mid-1970s and were available in a myriad of colors, bright yellow probably being the most memorable, hence the name.
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 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.
One European brand steady killing the game is France’s own Magenta. What Palace is for London, Magenta is for Paris, representing what it means to make do with skating in a place where you will literally get kicked out of everywhere just for riding on your board. With a recent collaboration with adidas, Magenta has shown they can turn their niche image into something with mass appeal, so long as the world will pay attention. Skateboarders already know the brand for their quick-footed style of skating and their unique illustration style, but they should know Magenta for their conscious effort to make sure we all are enjoying the pleasure and the freedom skateboarding brings.
Prior to the mid-seventies many early skateboards were originally based upon the concept of “Sidewalk Surfing” and were tied to the surf culture, skateboards were surfboard like in appearance with little to no graphics located under the bottom of the skateboard-deck. Some of the early manufactured skateboards such as "Roller Derby", the "Duraflex Surfer" and the "Banana board" are characteristic. Some skateboards during that time were manufactured with company logo's or stickers across the top of the deck of the skateboard, as griptape was not initially used for construction. But as skateboarding progressed & evolved, and as artist began to design and add influence to the artwork of skateboards, designs and themes began to change.
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.