Here's some general guidelines to get you started: Narrower decks are lighter and easier to flip, but you’ll sacrifice some stability. Wider boards are more stable but are heavier and slightly less ideal for some tricks. Skaters who like flip tricks, manuals, ledges, and flat bars usually prefer boards on the narrower side of the spectrum (7.75 – 8.25 inches). Those who skate big bowls, hand rails, or like to jump down large gaps at high speeds are usually more comfortable with a larger board (8.25 – 9.0 inches).
Magenta Skateboards are one of only a few mainland European based brand in this list, founded in Paris and currently based in Bordeaux, France. Magenta’s outlook on skateboarding as a cultural phenomenon, and consequently their output in terms of both products and video, is deliberately at odds with the prevailing conception of skateboarding as represented by most major brands.
Bearings are very important if you want to keep rolling without pushing constantly, especially while street skating. They're typically rated with the ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) scale. The ABEC scale only measures the precision of the bearing, not how well it rolls or how long it lasts. It's a common misconception that the ABEC scale refers to how fast the bearing rolls. Anything above 1 is precision and will perform fine for skateboarding, but it's recommended to go above a 3.
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.
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.
The G & S video ‘Footage’ (created by Mike Hill and Neil Blender and released in 1990 just prior to them leaving to start their own brand) set the precedent for Alien Workshop’s later video aesthetic with the use of non-skate footage intercut throughout the skate sections and the mysterious, almost otherworldly atmosphere that permeates all of Alien Workshop’s subsequent video releases. To many people ‘Footage’ is the pre-cursor to every Alien video release that followed in its wake.
Founded by the original technical street skaters Daewon Song and Rodney Mullen, Almost Skateboards always pushes the envelope with fun, artistic cartoon graphics paired with high quality materials. Almost was one of the first brands to implement carbon fiber layers to their decks in the “Impact” deck line to increase the deck’s life and better maintain its shape.
Girl Skateboards is the foundation of all the other brands under the Crailtap umbrella (Royal Trucks, Chocolate Skateboards, Lakai footwear etc) and was established by Mike Carroll and Rick Howard during a mass exodus of pro skaters from Steve Rocco’s brands (Plan B, Blind, 101, World Industries) reputably inspired after arguments of wheel sales royalties.
Zoo York originated in 1993 and is based out of New York. Its name and signature name came from the underground subway tunnel dubbed as Zoo York. The tunnel runs under the Central Park Zoo, however it’s primarily known from the graffiti subculture of the 1960’s and the 1970’s. The Zoo York tunnel was a prime hangout of its day and was originally tagged by some of the first east coast graffiti artists. Zoo York carries a unique style from the subway tunnel days, and it comes through in their graphics and street skating designs; not to mention their high durability design. They round off our list of the 10 top skateboard brands in the market. Zoo York is an innovative company that has worked its way up to being one of the best skateboard brands in the world.
Swing boarding is the activity where a skateboard deck is suspended from a pivot point above the rider which allows the rider to swing about that pivot point. The board swings in an arc which is a similar movement to riding a half pipe. The incorporation of a harness and frame allows the rider to perform turns spins all while flying though the air.
Harsh weather, cracked pavement, angry cops—all things that make Raw New England just so raw. The name is also an acronym for Ready Amongst Willing—a perfect moniker for one of the East Coast's toughest brands. Raw's product drops aren't quite as frequent or bountiful as some other brands on this list, but the decks, tees, hoodies, and caps with the bold RAW logo are must-haves for New England's skate crowd. Visit the brand's shops in Boston or in CT to get the goods in person.
What began life as a screen-printing business back in 2001 has organically morphed into one of the UK’s most celebrated low-key bedroom brands. After completing a screen-printing and fine arts degree Stuart Smith set up Lovenskate to offer bespoke screen printing services to the skateboard industry and beyond from inside his parents garage. Over time, Lovenskate grew and formally metamorphosed into a skateboard brand back in 2001.
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.
Originally referred to as sidewalk surfing, the birth of skateboarding dates back to the early 1940s and the use of wooden boxes with roller skates attached to their bottoms. While the board itself cannot necessarily be attributed to a single inventor of the time and was, instead, a spontaneous invention from multiple sources, the modern style of many of today's skateboards took form during the 1950s when California surfers were looking for a physical activity to keep them busy during times when the waves were flat. The first manufactured skateboards were ordered by a Los Angeles surf shop and were designed to be used by surf enthusiasts during their downtime. At the time, the shop owner set up an arrangement with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels, which the shop would then attach to square wooden boards.
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.
Illegal skating includes jumping over cracks or obstacles on the sidewalk (rather than stopping, picking up one’s board and walking around the obstacle), turning, riding over certain public property and any stopping maneuver that could be considered a trick. A ticket for skateboarding is a traffic violation, but skaters are more commonly cited for vandalism or trespassing—misdemeanors that stay on a skater’s record and usually carry a fine or a sentence of 40 hours of community service, or both.
The brand directs their concentration on towards freerides, carves, and downhill rides for all levels. Rayne offers one-offs and protos in their sales. The boards from Rayne in our observation can ride with double kicks, pushers, dancers and cruisers. You can entrust in the authenticity and progression of Rayne since their foundation dated back in 2004 and has not failed any of their fans.
Isle is much newer to the game than a lot of the other brands mentioned on the list, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same respect. Drawn straight from the mind of skateboarder Nick Jensen, a London native with the eye of a true artist, Isle’s graphics could just as easily be hanging in a museum rather than in skate shops. Jensen’s creative process involves him sculpting, painting and photographing every board graphic himself in his own studio, manipulating each art piece to work as a graphic. Isle offers one of the most well developed brand images in skateboarding, due in big part to the fact that it is literally an outlet of one man’s own rampant creativity.
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.