Mark Gonzalez can do no wrong, and as long as he is at the head of Krooked, Krooked will be in the conversation. Krooked has been the Gonz’s brainchild for some time now, always featuring a great selection of his unique style of art and illustration. No brand can be held up by one man alone, and the Gonz has made sure to keep his selection of riders carefully picked, with each one bringing their own offerings to the table. Brad Cromer is not Ronnie Sandoval is not Mike Anderson, yet somehow it all works out and comes together to create one of the best brands out.
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.
When you’re searching for one of the best decks on the market, it’s important to not go overboard. You don’t need one that is made from the rarest wood or that has the most unique design. The best boards may be the ones that balance cost, design, and quality. After all, with healthy use, you’ll eventually have to replace your deck anyway. You want the one that will give you the most functionality and enjoyment while you use it.
This entry is all about giving you an insight through the eyes of skatedeluxe. Which brands dominated your year in 2015? Our compilation of the ‘brands of the year’ is based on a combined check of deck sales, brand shop visits, your search requests and common interest on blog entries to skateboarding’s MVPs. Our in-house brand SK8DLX has been left out of the ranking. Still, we want to thank you that you keep skating our boards and that you seem to like what we put out. Enough talking, let’s start with the Top 15 skateboard deck brands of the year 2015
Magenta Skateboards are one of only a few mainland European based brand in this list, founded in Paris and currently based in Bordeaux, France. Magenta’s outlook on skateboarding as a cultural phenomenon, and consequently their output in terms of both products and video, is deliberately at odds with the prevailing conception of skateboarding as represented by most major brands.
It can be frustrating to choose the top skateboard brand for your needs with so many brands bubbling up in the market. How do you separate the top brands from the average ones? How does a customer know which skateboard brand will give them their money’s worth? Just to help you guys answer all those questions at one place, we came up the easiest solution.
Similar to sandpaper, grip tape, or “grip” as it’s commonly referred to, is applied to the top of your deck for traction. Grip gives you the friction you need to perform tricks such as ollies and kickflips. Not all grip tape is the same however. Each brand's products perform differently, so you may want to experiment with different brands to get a feel for what you prefer.
The skateboard industry is as colorful and competitive as the sport itself. It’s no surprise that the top skateboard brands all take on that daring, free expression and edgy creativity that is quintessential to the skateboarding community. But it’s not all fun and games — it takes a lot more than producing wooden decks with dope graphics to make it to the top. It takes hands-on dedication and genuine passion for the sport.
Freestyle skating remained healthy throughout this period, with pioneers such as Rodney Mullen inventing many of the basic tricks that would become the foundation of modern street skating, such as the "Impossible" and the "kickflip". The influence that freestyle exerted upon street skating became apparent during the mid-1980s; however, street skating was still performed on wide vert boards with short noses, slide rails, and large soft wheels. In response to the tensions created by this confluence of skateboarding "genres", a rapid evolution occurred in the late 1980s to accommodate the street skater. Since few skateparks were available to skaters at this time, street skating pushed skaters to seek out shopping centers and public and private property as their "spot" to skate. (Public opposition, in which businesses, governments, and property owners have banned skateboarding on properties under their jurisdiction or ownership, would progressively intensify over the following decades.) By 1992, only a small fraction of skateboarders continuing to take part in a highly technical version of street skating, combined with the decline of vert skating, produced a sport that lacked the mainstream appeal to attract new skaters.
The wheelbase of a skateboard deck is the distance between the centers of the inner most truck mounting holes. This distance ranges between 13.5 to 16 inches and is generally proportional to the deck length on standard popsicle decks. Some specially shaped boards and cruiser decks have differing length/wheelbase ratios. Wheelbase can impact stability and turning radius, but the effect is often subtle and not a major concern for a beginner.
Tensor trucks are the most highly engineered skateboard trucks on the market. Tensor trucks are like the Cadillac of trucks and have the brilliance of skateboarding legend / engineer Rodney Mullen as a driving force. Tensor trucks come in both standard and low designs, and should work excellently in most skateboarding situations. Sort of a perfect all-round well-built skateboarding truck.
Jessup is considered to be the standard grip tape, and it is the grip we offer for free with all decks. MOB is known for their coarser grip, which gives excellent traction, but also wears down your shoes faster. MOB M-80, Grizzly and Shake Junt grip tapes fall somewhere in the middle, offering good overall traction without the heavy abrasion. There are other extra course grip options for downhill skateboarding (Vicious, Blood Orange, etc.). That stuff locks your foot in place but it is so coarse it would quickly destroy your shoes if you tried flip tricks with it.
'90s nostalgia is the name of the game. VHS tapes. Grimey hip-hop. Drinking forties, smoking blunts, skating filthy street spots at night, and general hooliganism are cornerstones of skateboarding's mid-90s golden years, and Palace is all about that life. No wonder you see the tees and skate decks stocked at Supreme, the only brand that compares to Palace when it comes to nailing that “fuck it” aesthetic. Palace gear has been causing an uproar lately—yes, Palace was on that designer parody tee shit before everyone else, and yes, the collab with Umbro was one of the best we've seen in years—but make no mistake the brand is skate to the core, and no amount of hype will change that. Let's hope, anyway.
Zero Skateboards is one of the American top companies for skateboards that comes out of California. The brand, representing by a skull logo, was founded by professional skateboarder Jamie Thomas and is distributed by Dwindle Distribution. The Zero brand is about rebellion and freedom of expression despite society’s rules. The company offers complete skateboards that come with the deck, wheels, trucks, and bearings, as well as decks you can customize, accessories and clothing. In addition to Thomas, the Zero team is Tommy Sandoval, Dane Burman, James Brockman, Tony Cervantes, Windsor James, Adrian Lopez, Chris Wimer, and Kurt Hodge.
As with all penny boards, the Fade has a waffletop on the deck so that you have plenty of grip and stability as you ride. The plastic material of these boards is durable enough to withstand being run over, and the trucks and wheels are of similar high quality. This board is not made for the beginner that wants to skate downhill or do a lot of speedy skating – the short length makes it dangerous for that. But if you’re just interested in commuting and want something portable, this is a great choice.
Skateboarder owned and operated is Magenta's mantra. “No middle-man or business-person involved,” it says on the brand's site, so you know what you're getting from this French brand is pure, uncut skate to the core. All of the art direction and graphics are done by co-founder and team rider Soy Panday, who has developed a unique artistic perspective for Magenta. You'll likely to see numerous skaters kicking around on Magenta boards in NYC these days, and with a strong offering of T-shirts, coaches jackets, caps, and a funny boxer short collab with Lousy Livin, there is plenty to appreciate.
Their fan base loves them for pushing goofy but fun looking skating that in reality is heavier and rawer than most will realize, and their board graphics and t-shirts feature art from their riders in striking colorways. Their product immediately stands out among the bunch at any shop it’s stocked. These guys are doing things exactly their way, and it’s sticking.
Velocity Boards Retro Skateboards is a complete 22″ Banana Skateboard. It includes 6″ Lightweight Aluminum Trucks, High-Speed ABEC-7 Bearings, High-Quality Wheels & Bushings and Hardware. It has a Unique Textured Waffle Pattern on Deck and is designed for Maximum Grip. The Deck measures about 22 x 6 x 4″. It has a 6″ Truck Axle and a 3″ Truck Hanger. It has a maximum weight capacity of 176 lbs. (80 kgs.). It is great for all skaters who are 6 years old and above. It has an Amazon rating of 4.7.
Hardware won’t have an effect on your skating. Standard 7/8 - 1 inch hardware will work for most skateboards. However, if you use riser pads, be sure that you have long enough hardware to go all the way through the deck, trucks and riser pad. If you're unsure what length of hardware you need, give one of our experts a call at 888.450.5060 and we'll be stoked to help you out.
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The good news is that majority of skate shoes today come with high-quality flat soles that are capable of providing the maximum surface area designed to let you come in contact to the board, thereby promoting better control. Look for a really durable shoe, which you can wear comfortably to guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience when you are skateboarding.
Make no mistake, not all European skate brands are provincial microcosms. Cliché has one of the most stacked teams in the industry, including the Australian master of pop Andrew Brophy and manual wizard Joey Brezinski. But the real star of the squad is Frenchman Lucas Puig, who has a stellar signature shoe for adidas, and an upcoming line of caps called Hélas that you will undoubtedly be hearing more about in the near future. Team aside, thanks to strong art direction, a prolific video program, and a highly covetable product offering that includes a dope collab with NYC mainstay DQM, Cliché is très ill.
They have continued to ride that wave over the past year, continuously putting out great edits, following cherry up with Sickness, Red Devil, Joyride, and Swoosh, all in collaboration with cherry’s filmer Bill Strobeck. We all know they will never fall off when it comes to putting out fire gear every new season and drop, but to keep it coming with actual great footage is another story, and is definitely making skateboarding better today.