Skateboards, along with other small-wheeled transportation such as in-line skates and scooters, suffer a safety problem: riders may easily be thrown from small cracks and outcroppings in pavement, especially where the cracks run across the direction of travel. Hitting such an irregularity is the major cause of falls and injuries. The risk may be reduced at higher travel speeds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s a bit of self-induced CONFUSION with Kryptonics inc. When they first came out, they made, literally, a Revolutionary Wheel, one that BOUNCED. That resilience made them VERY Fast on rougher surfaces, and perhaps even stickier (for a given hardness) than other wheels. You can buy that type of wheel (as a ‘Re-Issue’ “C-Series” in 55,60,65,70+75 mm sizes) now, and it’s STILL HIGH QUALITY, FAST, + STICKY! Even by today’s ‘longboard Race’ criteria, these are wheels to be reckoned with.
If you are completely new to skateboarding, consider taking a minute to read through the Skateboard Decks Section in our Buyer’s Guide will be helpful, but a good rule of thumb is: the bigger your feet, the wider your board should be. If you wear a size 9 and up, you can’t go wrong with buying an 8” board. Narrow boards are easier to flip while wider boards are more stable, but there are no hard and fast rules to skateboarding. The only way to really find out what you like is by trying new shapes, sizes, and brands. Brands like Welcome, Baker, Chocolate, Deathwish, and Element all have a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and graphics.