By 2001 skateboarding had gained so much popularity that more people under the age of 18 rode skateboards (10.6 million) than played baseball (8.2 million), although traditional organized team sports still dominated youth programs overall. Skateboarding and skateparks began to be viewed and used in a variety of new ways to complement academic lessons in schools, including new non-traditional physical education skateboarding programs, like Skatepass and Skateistan, to encourage youth to have better attendance, self-discipline and confidence. This was also based on the healthy physical opportunities skateboarding was understood to bring participants for muscle & bone strengthening and balance, as well as the positive impacts it can have on youth in teaching them mutual respect, social networking, artistic expression and an appreciation of the environment.
FTC has grown from being the staple skate shop of the Bay Area to being a respected brand pushing skateboarding across the globe. Their SF flagship sits in the famous Haight Ashburry district, always attracting visitors and giving them a look into what skateboarding is really like in this day and age. FTC will have you covered in their own gear, and will also always be pushing the next big thing in their shops, and they never make a bad call.
Toy Machine is an Ed Templeton company and one of the best skateboard companies of its time. Ed is an Orange County original skater and developed the board he wanted to skate on, thus creating the Toy Machine Brand. Though the Toy Machine team has seen many changes, it has always held onto professional skaters that can provide insight in the latest needs of boards. Toy Machine skateboards are known for their signature monster graphics, which have made them a top skateboard brand.
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.
If you decide that you don’t want to spend the money for a pro-quality complete, then this is your best bet for a completely blank skateboard. You’re just not going to find anything else with similar quality anywhere near this price range. This blank skateboard is an even 8″ with 9 layers of plywood in the deck. This makes it ideal for any beginner especially adults or children with large feet. A great option for someone on a budget or if you want to try a no-frills quality skateboard setup, before deciding if you want to invest further on a pro-style skateboard.
Girl Skateboards, with its distinct “women’s bathroom” logo, is a brand distributed by Crailtap and founded in 1993 mainly by professional skateboarders Mike Carroll and Rick Howard and was created to give pro skateboarders a future. A “Girl” deck is made of seven-ply maple, which is strong and resistant. Decks can be customized in a wide variety of graphics or can feature the “Girl” logo. For those who don’t want to customize, complete skateboards are available that include the deck, wheels, trucks and bearings. Clothing, featuring the Girl logo, are available in a wide variety of styles. Not only does Girl distribute skateboards, but they also make films, videos and more. The Girl team consists of Sean Malto, Brandon Biebel, Andrew Brophy, Mike Mo Capaldi, Cory Kennedy, Rick McCrank, Jeron Wilson, Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, Tyler Pacheco, and Simon Bannerot.
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Without good grip tape, skaters have a tough time staying on top of their board. The main complaints about poor grip tape tend to be that it was never very grippy or lost its grip really quickly. Once again, we recommend trusting in name brands with years of experience supporting skateboarders. Unfortunately, if you are buying a pre-made complete skateboard, you probably won't have access to the brand name of the grip.