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.
Polar’s focus on its European roots and representing a type of skateboarding that everyone could relate to, plus Pontus’ masterful approach to video-making and product, created a groundswell of popularity for the brand which has retained its momentum. Mixing a heavy global team with an eclectic approach to soft goods, Polar is now viewed as one of the most influential brands in the skateboard industry as a whole.
In an industry as diverse as skateboarding, the sheer number of skateboard brands on the market can be bewildering. With a seemingly never-ending amount of new brands emerging, alongside the numerous pre-existing ones, the market can certainly appear over crowded and confusing at times, which is hopefully where this list of some of our favourite skateboard brands comes in.
One thing can already be told – compared to 2015 a lot has changed! The selection of the ‘Brands of the Year’ is made up of the combination of sold decks, brand shop visits, search queries and your interest in blog entries regarding the top players in the business. Our own brand SK8DLX was not considered for the ranking. We are happy, however, that you love to skate our in-house boards diligently and the SK8DLX deck series is celebrated well. In this sense, a big thank you to you all! Let’s start with the 16 most popular skateboard deck brands of 2016!
Supreme may be something of an outlier in the skate industry where few brands have brick and mortar presence, and limited distribution is aproblem, not a strategy. Unlikely or not, Supreme kills it as a skate brand and as a brand in general. No other skate brand can claim the level of accomplishment that Supreme has achieved—nine retail stores around the world, collaborations with the biggest names in fashion and art, and a confounding secondary market of resellers and collectors. Supreme reigns supreme.
Skateboarding, in one form or another, has been around since the late 1950’s when the first brave pioneer first attached roller skate wheels to a piece of wood. As skateboarding progressed to mimic surfing, skateboards evolved with the style of riding. Skateboards grew and changed shapes as riders experimented with everything from plastic to fiberglass to aluminum constructions - all in an effort to push what was possible. Like most sports or art forms, progression is at the heart of skateboard innovation.
I'm not talking about mall chain stores, like Zumiez; I mean a locally owned and operated skateboard shop. Look around at what they sell, and talk to the staff about the different brands. Of course, they may be biased toward the brands they carry, but chances are you'll learn something that will help you make a decision. There are some big-name board brands that you'll find in most shops, but there should also be some smaller brands you may not have heard or seen around town. There might even be a a local skater or manufacturer that you could support.
I have a dream to hook up some of the world’s best skateboarders, and make everybody know and love this awesome sport! So, in the summer of 2017, I launched SkatesZone with little more than a dollar and want it to become an interesting place for all skaters where you can find a plenty of skateboards information, tips & tricks, instructions, and more.
Browsing decks online is best when you're looking the actual brand's website, rather than a retailer that carries a lot of different brands. The company site usually gives you a taste of what the brand is all about, in addition to what their decks look like. A lot of brands have their own skateboarding teams. If you happen to like a rider on a team, that can give you a strong connection to a brand (and they'll probably have a deck with your favorite rider's name on it). You also might be drawn to a particular philosophy of the brand or a specific design or construction feature used on their decks. For example, some companies are known for killer graphics, and some play around with different materials to give their decks unique performance characteristics.
What the fuck is Bro Style? That's what a lot of skate nerds found themselves wondering at the end of 2012. Bro Style crept onto the scene with a goofy guerrilla-style internet marketing campaign that involved little more than the thumbs up logo. Little by little, product started to trickle out—beanies, snapbacks, pocket tees, socks, and other odd ephemera—and a few video clips. Bro Style is still something of a mystery, but one thing is clear, it's not meant to be taken too seriously. And that is seriously important for the skate industry to remember.
Playwheels Disney Skateboard For Kids is a 21″ Wood single kicktail deck with painted edges. It has clear sand spray top grip with color graphic and full-color bottom graphics with a retro shape. It features multi-colored composite truck and baseplate components with carbon steel axles. This is great for kids who are starting to learn skating. It has an average rating of 4.2 on Amazon.
Tony Hawk and Per Welinder developed the Birdhouse Projects Skateboard Company following the decline professional skateboarding saw in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. Tony Hawk gave the Birdhouse Projects name instant notoriety and made it into one of the professional skateboard brands in the world. Many skaters who have followed Hawk, have faithfully chosen a birdhouse skateboard. Birdhouse grabs the third place spot with their boards that are built to last and also provide maneuverability and for being a top rated skateboard brand.
Powell Skateboards is one of the original skateboard companies who dates back to 1978 and who has consistently been a top skateboard brand. If you or someone you know skated in the 1980’s, chances are it was on a Powell skateboard. Though Powell had a short lived split between cofounders, George Powell and Stacy Peralta, they regrouped to produce “top of the line” skateboards under the Powell Classic name and succeeded in becoming one of the most successful skateboard companies. Something stuck through that split and they made the list for clear understanding of the fundamentals of a quality skateboard and easily became a perfect quality skateboard brand..
The main feature of this longboard is its attractiveness. The color of the board is very vivid and pleasing. Also, the smoothness of the longboard is so much striking. Another unique thing that you will find with this longboard is its wheel bite is zero percent. If you want to attract the attention of the people with your longboard while spending reasonable money, this longboard is the best choice for you. Amazingly, even after one or two years, you will not find any crack on the board.
The best thing to do when getting a new board is to go to your local skate shop and talk to the people there -- they are usually very helpful. The guys at the shop will be able to tell you what board will be good for your skating needs. Keep in mind different people have different opinions on board brands. People say Plan B's are good, but I know others that say it's not. Some like DGK boards, some don't. Just test the board out and see how it suits you. You may want to double check this if you are being extremely careful with your selection.
“I just felt like it was a window of opportunity within my own career. I might be one of those lucky few who’d be able to do that, start my own brand and move on. That window of opportunity only upholds for so long in skateboarding before you miss your prime, so I’d be kicking myself in the ass five years from now looking back and saying ‘how come I didn’t capitalise on that? Here I am, an older skater and not in my prime anymore and I have nothing still connecting me to skateboarding’”
Element is of the most mainstream brands in the industry today that has sponsored legends like Nyjah Huston and Bam Margera. There are many pro decks to choose from with some amazing tribal designs and they have introduced a “featherlight” technology that allows Element to have some of the lightest boards on the market today. Some may call Element “too mainstream” or “sellouts”, but at the end of the day, they produce quality products in a variety of artistic designs.
If what you want out of your first skateboard is something very stable to just get the feel of riding without the danger, the Atom Drop Deck is perfect. This is a longboard, meaning it’s perfect for longer rides and cruising around. The components are made to handle lots of wear and tear, and the low-ride deck makes you feel more in control, closer to the ground, and more stable.
Grind King skateboard trucks are the best trucks available for grinding. The truck hangar is made from aluminum, making it softer and weaker, but better for grinding. This means you will have to replace them faster if you grind, but your grinds will be smoother and better. Grind King trucks do use special hex-head kingpins, so you will need a special tool to adjust them.
Founded by English freestyle skater, engineer and skateboarding entrepreneur Jeremy Fox in 1987 (Fox is also reputed to be the first person to import skateboard specific footwear ‘Pro-Keds’ into the UK) Deathbox in its heyday was one of only a handful of European brands that ever controlled enough market share to be a significant player in the skateboard industry.
There were several artistic skateboarding pioneers that had an influence on the culture of skateboarding during the 1980s, that transformed skateboard-deck art like Jim Phillips, whose edgy comic-book style "Screaming Hand", not only became the main logo for Santa Cruz Skateboards, but eventually transcended into tattoos of the same image for thousands of people and vinyl collectible figurines over the years. Artist Vernon Courtlandt Johnson is said to have used his artwork of skeletons and skulls, for Powell Peralta, during the same time that the music genres of punk rock and new wave music were beginning to mesh with the culture of skateboarding. Some other notable skateboard artists that made contribrutions to the culture of skateboarding also include Andy Jenkins, Todd Bratrud, Neil Blender, Marc McKee, Tod Swank, Mark Gonzales, Lance Mountain, Natas Kaupas and Jim Evans.
If what you want is the classic skate park skateboard that you see teens riding around all day, the MINORITY is the board for you. This is an extremely sturdy and durable board that can hold up to 220 pounds, and is made for trick riding especially. The strong trucks, medium concave shape, and high-rebound bushing all make this a fantastic board for ramps, pools, and street riding.
The nose and tail of a standard skateboard curve upward slightly to make tricks easier to perform. On most decks, the nose and tail are shaped slightly different. The nose is usually wider, longer and steeper than the tail which aids in nose-based (nollie) tricks, and also helps you differentiate the nose from the tail. Some shaped boards have very different nose and tail dimensions, and some old school boards lack noses all together.
It's apt that Tribute has taken an umbrella as the company logo. In a city that rains as much as Portland, skaters don't have too much to be stoked about. But that has done nothing to deter one of the strongest skate scenes in the US, which has the notorious Burnside skatepark, awesome brands like Tribute, and local rippers like Brent Atchley at its core.
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.
The skateboard is directional, so if you’re skating switch the tail end will be forward, though, it makes for an easy switch heel flip. The deck itself is plastic. The skateboard dimensions are 3x6x22 inches. The wheels are 59MM urethane custom Skatro brand wheels. The bearings are ABEC 7 Skatro bearings. The trucks are 3 inches aluminum trucks. The board itself is only a light 4.7lbs and comes in one color.
Decks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can choose a mini-board, a cruiser, a drop-through, or a standard deck for your favorite set of wheels and hardware. Widths range too from a few inches with a 22-inch board to the wide size of a true cruiser. Some decks are flat as possible while others are significantly concave for optimized turning. You can buy a deck with artwork and grip tape already attached for a quick install or you can get a bare-bones wooden deck to truly customize.