Figuring out how to buy a skateboard can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure what you are looking for. There are customizable parts, accessories and some fancy technology that can be overwhelming. Good news is, we can simplify it for you! At Tactics, our crew is full of daily skaters, so we put our heads together to break it all down and give you the basics, plus a few recommendations.
The skateboarding industry has changed so much in the last few years. Female skaters now get the support they need from bigger companies. I know hoopla helped pave the way for this to happen. It was so rewarding and surreal to have had such a rad team of girls represent hoopla over the years. I am stoked to have formed friendships with such a diverse and talented group.
Harsh weather, cracked pavement, angry cops—all things that make Raw New England just so raw. The name is also an acronym for Ready Amongst Willing—a perfect moniker for one of the East Coast's toughest brands. Raw's product drops aren't quite as frequent or bountiful as some other brands on this list, but the decks, tees, hoodies, and caps with the bold RAW logo are must-haves for New England's skate crowd. Visit the brand's shops in Boston or in CT to get the goods in person.
Theories of Atlantis is a brand that truly defies categorization. Josh Stewart’s brain child has gone through more phases than most companies, first being a means for him to put out his own series of Static videos featuring New York skaters, to now being a full blown distribution house for smaller boutique skateboarding brands featured on this list. Josh also puts out a line of soft goods with the turn of every season, playing off conspiracy theory style graphics and imagery on staple items like zip hoodies and long sleeves.
Plan B originated out of Irvine, CA and was initially created by skating pro Mike Ternasky. Unfortunately, Ternasky was involved in a car accident in 1994 and didn’t make it. The Plan B team and the boards that have emerged as his legacy to become a top skateboarding brand. Though the Plan B team had to take some time off, so as to mourn and regroup, they have returned with a vengeance and have become known as one of the top skateboarding brands. We like Plan B because of the customizable element they bring to the skateboard market and their flexible decks that stand out above other skateboarding companies.
Individuality and a self-expressed casual style have always been cultural values for skateboarders, as uniforms and jerseys are not typically worn. This type of personal style for skateboarders is often reflected in the graphical designs illustrated on the bottom of the deck of skateboards, since its initial conception in the mid seventies, when Wes Humpston and Jim Muri first began doing design work for Dogtown Skateboards out of their garage by hand, creating the very first iconic skateboard-deck art with the design of the "Dogtown Cross".
Both your height and weight should play an important role when you are choosing a skateboard. You need to find a skateboard, which fits your weight and height. Picking one, which is either too small or too big might only cause you to experience difficulty controlling it, especially if you are still a beginner learning the ins and outs of skateboarding.
Remember the cool skate kids wearing Workshop tees in the '90s? Well you don't see too many of those these days, but AW is still one of the best “big” skate brands going. The team alone—featuring Supreme muse Jason Dill, tech-gnar wizard Anthony Van Engelen, and the most handsome guy on a board, Dylan Rieder—puts the brand in the top 10. And even though you might not associate legacy riders like Rob Dyrdek with anything cool at all, he pulled one of the most boss moves in all skate business history when he bought the brand that first sponsored him 20 years ago back from Burton (who bought the brand from Chris Carter in 2008) last year, so Workshop is once again skater-owned.
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.
Aside from keeping the more fashion-oriented side of skateboarding placated with ultrasoft crewnecks and clean 6 panel caps, Dime keeps the side of skating focused on actual footage and hijinks fed through their Instagram and Snapchat accounts (@dimemtl), where they post their day-to-day in Montreal doing what skateboarders do best: having fun with their friends.
Ever notice small vertical or horizontal cracks through your grip tape or by the hardware of your trucks? These are called stress or pressure cracks and are basically mini fractures of your skateboard deck that typically are seen in the areas of the deck that withstand the greatest impact (around the trucks). A few pressure cracks is generally no big deal and you won’t even notice them while skating, but they can compound and grow larger and make your deck lose “pop” and increase the chance of snapping. To avoid pressure cracks, you cant use riser pads underneath your trucks to reduce the level of impact your deck takes. You should also avoid over tightening your hardware and storing your skateboard in a very humid place as both of these practices can also make your board weaker and more susceptible to pressure cracks.
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.
Best cruiser skateboards include large wheels, since they offer you both stability and speed. They usually have much softer wheels than the regular skateboards you use for doing skateboard tricks and ollies. A good beginner cruise skateboard for beginners can be the La Sports Retro board. It has a simple design and is surrounded by 5-star reviews all around! Many customers report it feeling sturdy and firm, while going at very good speeds.
In the skateboarding world, there is considerable shuffling of the famous top brands as not many of them manage to stay in the spotlight for long. This continuous reshuffling paves way for new skateboard brands to come into the spotlight. However, it is important to note that no two brands are the same and comparing them is difficult but the following list has been created by extensive research of the saturated skateboard market and features the best skateboard brands out there that you must give a try.
While the skate shoes design afforded better connection and traction with the deck, skaterboarders themselves could often be identified when wearing the shoes, with Tony Hawk once saying, "If you were wearing Vans shoes in 86, you were a skateboarder" Because of its connection with skateboarding, Vans financed the legendary skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and was the first sneaker company to endorse a professional skateboarder Stacy Peralta. Vans has a long history of being a major sponsor of many of skateboarding's competitions and events throughout skateboarding's history as well, including the Vans Warped Tour and the Vans Triple Crown Series.
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.