The first skateboards started with wooden boxes, or boards, with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. Crate scooters preceded skateboards, having a wooden crate attached to the nose (front of the board), which formed rudimentary handlebars. The boxes turned into planks, similar to the skateboard decks of today. An American WAC, Betty Magnuson, reported seeing French children in the Montmartre section of Paris riding on boards with roller skate wheels attached to them in late 1944.
Progressive designs deliver a more dramatic upward curve and a wider base, providing increasingly secure footing and a locked-in feel. The W-concave shape is more narrow with an additional center curve, allowing for a greater shift in energy between the heel and toe. This design also boasts more responsive control and quick turning capabilities. Tub concave decks resemble the radial shape, however their rails extend at a sharp angle instead of a gradual curve. Asymmetrical decks feature rails that extend at different angles, affording more power to a rider's heels when making turns. Less commonly used are decks with convex and completely flat shapes. Convex boards offer an upwards-arching shape, which some downhill skateboarders prefer for a more natural feel, whereas flat designs increase available foot space and are more popular for experienced riders looking to perform fancy tricks.
There really isn’t a best brand….I prefer boards that are made in America by small companies or for small companies by mid sized companies. but that’s my general preference Watson and PS Stix also makes boards for a lot of companies (mostly outside the USA from what I understand) I have a couple of Welcome Jordon Sanchez decks (pressed by PS Stix) on my spare board shelf that I can wait to skate.
Remember don't get those cheap skateboards from Walmart. They won't hold up to any skating and can break from a single ollie that is landed improperly. I know they are cheap, but 2 cheap boards a week for a few weeks adds up to the price of 2 or 3 expensive boards. These boards are also heavier and slow which makes them much more difficult to do tricks on.
Also called the mounting hardware, the skateboard hardware is useful in connecting the trucks to the deck. Every truck is actually in need of 4 bolts and locknuts. If you are planning to buy hardware for your custom skateboard, then note that they are often sold in sets composed of 8 parts, though it is also possible for you to buy individual parts separately when required.
If you are completely new to skateboarding, consider taking a minute to read through the Skateboard Decks Section in our Buyer’s Guide will be helpful, but a good rule of thumb is: the bigger your feet, the wider your board should be. If you wear a size 9 and up, you can’t go wrong with buying an 8” board. Narrow boards are easier to flip while wider boards are more stable, but there are no hard and fast rules to skateboarding. The only way to really find out what you like is by trying new shapes, sizes, and brands. Brands like Welcome, Baker, Chocolate, Deathwish, and Element all have a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and graphics.