Skateboarders like things that aren't skateboarding, too, you know. Camping, fishing, motorcycles… Uh, skateboarding? Crap. Whatever. Pro skater Adrian Lopez founded Loser machine and the Dark Seas Division as a way to explore other facets of the culture through cool clothing. Loser Machine is a complete collection that goes far beyond that typical tees, jeans, and hats formula that many skate apparel brands rely on—leather motorcycle gloves, denim vests, and floral print button-downs are all evidence that this is a well-conceived project from a skater with good taste.
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.
Skateboarding has also become a major source of inspiration for high-end fashion brands, as they design their own interpretations of the skate culture and style from graphic T-shirts, five-panel hats, cropped, wide-leg pants, and skateboarding sneakers from the brands like Vans. But there’s no faking the original, and the brands that do it best are the ones that have a long-time heritage in the sport of the board, unlike the luxury labels simply trying to capitalize on the look.
However, the Golden Dragon does have pretty soft trucks bushings, which means the board will lean very easily and be more responsive to weight distribution. This is good news for more intermediate skaters who want easy turns, but not necessarily great for those who are still learning and may not be familiar with controlling a board. But for the price, and considering the great durability of all the other components, this is a quality choice.
As the oldest brand on this list, Santa Cruz rightly holds the distinction of being the oldest skateboard brand in the industry and thus, the brand which effectively created the modern skateboard brand as we know it today. Founded as part of NHS Inc. a Santa Cruz based skateboard distribution company over 40 year ago, Santa Cruz as a brand has played a large part in every era of skateboarding history since its inception.
The Element Quadrant #14 board is 8-inches wide and 31.75-inches long, from nose to tail. This deck features a bare top that needs grip tape and a design on the bottom with four quadrants featuring the Element symbol in alternating red and black backgrounds. The wheelbase between the trucks is just over 14 inches while the nose is 7 inches and the tail is 6.325.
Powell Peralta has gained increasing popularity in the 1980s, when skateboarding became an increasingly more sought-after action sports. Since then, they have been developing skateboards tailored to customers, taking reviews and critiques into consideration every time they were building a new model. The Powell Golden Dragon is a direct result of such careful consideration and tailored-modeling.
Next, you’ll need to look at the deck material. Decks are typically wooden or plastic, but they may also be made of materials like carbon and fiberglass. Plastic boards, like the pennyboard, are more affordable, and still very durable, but many adult riders find that they can look a bit like a child’s toy rather than a “real” skateboard. Wood is the most popular choice for most skateboards, although if you want to invest in the pricier fiberglass or carbon options, you’ll get a very good quality deck for your money.
When you’re at the skate park or in a freestyle environment at a parking lot or structure, you want to have the most stability possible. You wouldn’t want your trucks cracking or a ball bearing spewing out during the landing of a nice front style 360 flip. If you’re in school, then choosing a skateboard brand for college while you’re away will be extremely easy given that this board is so very cheap and durable.
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.