Keep in mind how tall you are when choosing a board width. Also consider the kind of style you wish to skate. Most technical skaters (the ones who incorporate advanced flip tricks... like Rodney Mullen) tend to favor boards between 7.5 and 7.75 regardless of how tall or small they happen to be. The upper hand of having a thin board allows for quick rotation. The other side of the spectrum is the "go big" skaters (Jamie Thomas is a classic example of a "go big" guy). Most "go big" guys favor size 8.0 and up. The advantage of a wide heavy board feels more stable under your feet while in mid air and while landing (especially those who have big feet). If your a kid you might want to just stick with a 7.66 or smaller.
In the ever-volatile skateboarding industry, brands come and go, then come back again, only to go out once more, and eventually make room for the next person who is really in tune with what skateboarding is today. While no two brands can really be compared, the true signifier of their importance in skateboarding is how they can make a difference in the culture and bring something new to the table that hasn’t been done before. Every single brand on this list has been a part of something unique that has made us pay attention to them above all the others out there doing it in this saturated market.
Navigator is a newer truck company and may be hard to find (the Navigator site has a store locator that should help). I've listed them here because they have some unique features on their trucks. For example, they have a special addition beneath the baseplate that holds the kingpin in place so bushings can be replaced without taking the trucks off of the skateboard. Also, Navigator is the only truck company that pins their axles, so they can guarantee their axles will NEVER slip! The Navigator site lists many other features - take a look and see what you think.

Alex Olson’s Bianca Chandôn has quickly blurred and crossed back and forth between the line that currently divides high fashion and skateboarding, pushing an androgynous aesthetic inspired by looks found in Tom Bianchi’s Polaroid book Fire Island Pines, which nobody was ready for. Olson has turned what started off as an idea for a small board brand into a hype machine that has become a hit across the world.
These guys are unabashedly all about London and the party boy lifestyle. The self-aware attitude they carry themselves with shines in the corresponding product copy on their website—it’s contagious and makes you want a piece of it.  Everyone from A$AP Rocky to Drake, and even seemingly out-of-touch Jay Z has been seen rocking the gear, and it’s understandable why. Palace’s design team, which includes Fergus Purcell of Marc Jacobs, have created an image that’s been exclusive and dope from its inception, and they’ve yet to break that streak. Who else could follow up a dope adidas collaboration with an excellent pair of penny loafers?
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.
Skateboarders from all over know Santa Cruz Skateboards for its “Screaming Hand” logo, designed by legendary artist Jim Phillips, and the monstrous artwork displayed on the decks, including series styles such as their Star Wars and Marvel series. Founded in 1973 and distributed by NHS, Inc., the California based brand is the oldest continuous skateboard company in the world. Santa Cruz boards are made from 100% North American maple and they offer complete skateboards, decks, and cruiser boards. The Santa Cruz Skateboards team consists of 16 professional skateboarders including names such as Blake Johnson, Dylan Williams, Emmanuel Guzman, and Eric Dressen.
Lewis Marnell became Almost’s first fully-fledged amateur, an addition announced in a bonus section of Almost’s ground-breaking mini ramp video ‘Almost Cheese and Crackers‘ from (2006) that focused upon Chris Haslam and Daewon Song’s pushing of the boundaries of mini ramp skating and has subsequently been credited with ushering in a new wave of technical transition skating in its wake.

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. 
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