Bearings are rated by the ABEC scale (1-9), which has nothing to do with skateboarding. Manufacturers know skaters believe higher ABEC ratings mean faster bearings. They do not, and you won’t find high-quality bearings on off-the-shelf skateboards. Most of these completes are slow. Make a bearing upgrade a top priority. Good bearings can make almost any skateboard fast. This article by longtime pro Anthony Pappalardo gives an insider’s perspective on bearings.
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.
As the oldest brand on this list, Santa Cruz rightly holds the distinction of being the oldest skateboard brand in the industry and thus, the brand which effectively created the modern skateboard brand as we know it today. Founded as part of NHS Inc. a Santa Cruz based skateboard distribution company over 40 year ago, Santa Cruz as a brand has played a large part in every era of skateboarding history since its inception.
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.