Skateboarders from all over know Santa Cruz Skateboards for its “Screaming Hand” logo, designed by legendary artist Jim Phillips, and the monstrous artwork displayed on the decks, including series styles such as their Star Wars and Marvel series. Founded in 1973 and distributed by NHS, Inc., the California based brand is the oldest continuous skateboard company in the world. Santa Cruz boards are made from 100% North American maple and they offer complete skateboards, decks, and cruiser boards. The Santa Cruz Skateboards team consists of 16 professional skateboarders including names such as Blake Johnson, Dylan Williams, Emmanuel Guzman, and Eric Dressen.
A skateboard consists of a deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware, and griptape. All parts come in a variety of sizes, graphics, colors, and signature pro series. The deck is the essential part of any skateboard. The deck ranges generally from 7.5" to 8.5". Skaters choose their board size for many reasons, but the basic deciding factor comes down to style of skating and foot size. Transition skaters usually ride a wider deck, while street skaters tend to go with a smaller deck. Skate brands such as Girl, enjoi, and Welcome offer a wide range of boards in regards to sizes and graphics. Skateboard trucks come in either a high or low setting, and also in a range of widths. The main factors in a truck, are how well they turn, and how well they grind. Independent, Venture, and Thunder, are truck brands that are well known for their turning and grinding capabilities. The skate hardware is generally either Phillips head or Allen key bolts. The skateboard wheels range from 50mm to 60mm. Some brands offer smaller and larger sizes, but 50-60mm is the general range. Like the deck sizes, wheel sizes depend on the skater's choice of terrain: Transition skaters tend to ride bigger wheels, while street skaters usually go with smaller wheels. Bones, Spitfire, Ricta, and Wayward wheel companies all make wheels for any terrain, whether you're a street shredder or a park burner. Skate bearings follow the ABEC rating system, which includes grades 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Bones, Bronson, and Andale are some of the top bearing brands in the skate market. CCS proudly carries all these brands, and many more.
Independent has been making skateboarding trucks for over 25 years. Independent's Stage 9 truck series are quality made, lightweight and still durable. They also feature "Fast Action Independent Geometry," which means they are designed to react more quickly to your motions than other trucks. Independent trucks are usually on the wider side, but all sizes are available. Independent trucks are also guaranteed for life against manufacturer defects but should last forever anyway.
Moving on to our favorite pick from the Plan B series, Plan B Skateboard Complete Felipe Victory 7.6″ Tensor Assembled, suitable for all kinds of riders, but is an ideal skateboard for intermediate skateboard riders. The deck is made from 100% North American maple and measures 7,6 inches. Its wheels are 52mm TGM wheels which means it is excellent for both street and park skating. We also love its lightweight trucks and heavy-duty aluminium with grade 8 steel kingpins and axles plus the bushings (USA made) and pivot cups. The bearings are rated 5 on the ABEC scale.
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.
Without good grip tape, skaters have a tough time staying on top of their board. The main complaints about poor grip tape tend to be that it was never very grippy or lost its grip really quickly. Once again, we recommend trusting in name brands with years of experience supporting skateboarders. Unfortunately, if you are buying a pre-made complete skateboard, you probably won't have access to the brand name of the grip.