After numerous tour-based releases and the epic Lakai footwear video ‘Fully Flared‘ (2007), Girl Skateboard’s last (to date) full-length company release came in the form of ‘Pretty Sweet‘ (2012) which, aside from showcasing ground-breaking skateboarding, also set a new standard in terms of production values with Ty Evans employing cinematic camera technologies to capture the skateboarding, as well as the skits.
For those of you who don't know, Mark Gonzales isn't just an artist who occasionally pens logos for Supreme. He's a bonafide legend, as an artist, a skater, and a personality. His brand Krooked is a perfect expression of that, with art direction from the man himself, and a videography of skate flicks that includes essential viewing Gnar Gnar, Kronichles, and Naughty. Supreme may top Krooked on this list, but true Gonz stans will always represent with Krooked.
Quality wheels won’t mean much if you don’t have nice bearings which allow the wheels to spin freely on the axle of the skateboard truck. A quality set of bearings will spin well right away and actually get even better once broken in a bit. If quality bearings get dirty, they can typically be taken apart and cleaned relatively easily. A good set of bearings typically runs between $10 - $16.
Bearings are standardized to fit in all kinds of skateboard wheels. All bearings will eventually get dirt and gunk in them which slows you down. Regular cleaning is recommended. Higher quality bearings will perform better, roll faster, retain more speed, and last longer when cleaned regularly. Some bearings come with bearing spacers or have spacers built into the bearing. These will fit in any wheel, but are not necessary for most types of skateboarding or longboarding.
Despite what many young skaters may think, there is more to choosing a skateboard deck than the graphic on the bottom of the pro skater the deck company sponsors. The best skateboard deck varies from person to person depending on external factors such as the rider’s weight, skate style, shoe size, and budget. Person preferences can also impact the decision. For example, you may want to support your favorite pro skateboarder, so you buy their pro deck.
Manufacturers started to experiment with more exotic composites and metals, like fiberglass and aluminium, but the common skateboards were made of maple plywood. The skateboarders took advantage of the improved handling of their skateboards and started inventing new tricks. Skateboarders, most notably Ty Page, Bruce Logan, Bobby Piercy, Kevin Reed, and the Z-Boys started to skate the vertical walls of swimming pools that were left empty in the 1976 California drought. This started the "vert" trend in skateboarding. With increased control, vert skaters could skate faster and perform more dangerous tricks, such as slash grinds and frontside/backside airs. This caused liability concerns and increased insurance costs to skatepark owners, and the development (first by Norcon, then more successfully by Rector) of improved knee pads that had a hard sliding cap and strong strapping proved to be too-little-too-late. During this era, the "freestyle" movement in skateboarding began to splinter off and develop into a much more specialized discipline, characterized by the development of a wide assortment of flat-ground tricks.
The grip tape found on a skateboard can actually be defined as the grainy sheet, which resembles sandpaper that also comes with a sticky underside. Such underside needs to adhere to the deck’s surfaces as a means of increasing traction or grip. No matter what skating style you use, the grip tape is extremely helpful in your attempt to stay on the board.
That Captain America-esque deck, though, is where the real magic happens. It uses Plan B’s Blk Ice tech, which means it’s lighter than your average board, stronger than standard 7-ply maple, and it’s built to slide and pop like no other without any need to add wax. This also makes it more consistent; no extra slippery or sticky spots, just a smooth ride.
Polar’s inaugural video release, The Polar Skate Co. Promo – Wallride Oh Yeah Oh Yeah Oh Yeah (2012) with the tagline ‘Inspire others to inspire themselves’ featuring Pontus, fellow Swedes Oskar Rozenberg and Davd Stenstrom, Polish rider Michal Juras, Dane Hjalte Halberg, Tjark Thielker and original rider and Polar artistic contributor Jakke Ovgren.
Signature Sick Graphics – bLind initially used a grim reaper as their signature design. Today, they still use the grim reaper along with several other skull graphics. Decks are often released with sick graphics of flame engulfed skulls, high detailed grim reapers or graffiti blocks. The graphics used on bLind decks are one of a kind masterpieces that loudly display the bLind company message.
Unlike football and cricket, skateboarding has no age limitations. People might say that it’s an ideal sport for kids and teens but that’s not true. Even the oldies can step up on the skateboard and perform thrilling drills to have some fun activity in their routine. The biggest examples are Lance Mountain and Chris Millers who are showing their skateboard talent in their 40s and 50s and nobody knows when they will stop.
There are a lot of good skateboard brands out there. For a start, you can check out this list of Top Skateboard Deck Brands, but there are piles of other brands out there that are great. There are local brands, brands from other countries, and brands that you or I have never heard of. Aside from a skateboard company's reputation for quality and good design, a brand is also a brand; that is, it comes with its own character and cred. You might like a brand simply for what it represents, whether that's the company's attitude or its team or its presence at the skate park. The first step in choosing a brand is getting out there and seeing what's available.
The criteria used to select the brands featured varies – some are included due to their commitment to technological innovation and for their efforts to improve the products they offer through experimentation, others are included for what they offer in terms of cultural depth and for their contributions to skateboarding culture as a whole, whether that be through graphics, video output or simple attitude.
In the past decade, I have begun seeing the emergence of skate decks being totally or partially made from carbon fiber or other metal materials instead of solely wood. These decks typically last longer than regular wooden decks and aren’t prone to chipping or breaking like most made from wood. The drawback to these materials is that they tend to feel “stiffer” than traditional wooden decks and experienced skaters may feel they are heavier and harder to do tricks on. Carbon fiber decks are also more expensive, but this additional cost may be worth it if you tend to break decks easily. Some brands also offer warranties against breakage under normal conditions for carbon fiber decks if you are worried about breakage.
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While no two brands are exactly the same and it’s difficult to compare them, the brands on this list are among those that offer their own unique spin on the skateboarding experience, which often comes from their own personal stories and love of skateboards that they discovered in their childhood. In a saturated market that now spans from the technical side of skating to streetwear-centered style brands, these are the ones that stand out the most. From the young upstarts to those with a long legacy to their name, these are the best skateboard brands out there, so get familiar—and at least learn to kickflip, man.
Graphically speaking, Welcome is very distinctive, with an emphasis on hand drawn imagery and references to esoteric and occult themes mixed with bright colourways. Welcome Skateboards also offer a detailed shape guide on their website, detailing the exact dimensions of all of their 38 custom shapes, which again differentiates their product from many of the skateboard brands on the market.
Since its inception in 1990, Alien Workshop has gone through a number of changes of ownership, first being bought by Burton Snowboards in February 2008, then purchased from Burton by original Alien Workshop rider and reality TV show star Rob Dyrdek in January 2012. Following Dyrdek’s purchase of the brand and its umbrella company DNA Distribution, (also incorporating Habitat skateboards, Habitat footwear and Reflex bearings), an announcement was made in October of 2013 that Dyrdek would remain as a minority shareholder of DNA Dist, with the majority of shares purchased by Pacific Vector Holdings, (also owners of No Fear clothing and Gatorz sunglasses).