Pro decks are what most people are familiar with and what is seen most commonly around skateparks and driveways around the US. These decks can have a variety of different logos and images on them and sometimes are a specific professional skater’s pro deck. Pro decks provide skaters a way to support their favorite riders and have the same equipment they see all their favorite pros using. The quality of professional decks and parts are almost always very high as they have a reputable and brand image to uphold. For this higher level of quality and you can expect to pay 2-3x the cost of a blank complete. If you want to save some money and still have a pro look, there are options available that have generic blank parts with a pro deck. This may be a good option for a beginner skater who is not yet doing complex tricks that may break these cheaper parts, but they still want the look and feel of a pro skateboard. As the skater progresses they can then switch out these generic parts for higher-end options as necessary.
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.
Blank decks have no graphic on them and are typically priced very reasonably. Blank decks are usually colored a solid color or may even be made of unpainted wood. Historically blank decks have gotten a bad reputation for poor quality, however, there are a few brands of blanks today that are very similar in quality to pro boards and much more affordable. The downside to buying a blank complete with all blank parts is the lack of style and customization when compared to a pro deck. Also, blank skateboards may vary in quality from batch to batch, so it may be hard to find the same blank skateboard if you want to buy another one. Overall, blank skateboards can be a solid option if you have a tight budget and the person you are buying for doesn’t really care about the logo and brand.
Baker is a classic good old fashioned, anti-establishment skateboard brand. Baker has a great professional team including founder Andrew Reynolds. Reynolds is also heavily involved in other well-known skateboard brands like Deathwish, Emerica, and Shake Junt. Notable street artist Neckface has a limited edition line of Baker decks that is one of the coolest in skateboarding in my opinion.
In terms of their skateboard output, Palace have released numerous videos online since their inception, including Gangbanging at Ground Zero (2011), Niggaz with Altitude (2013), a Danny Brady welcome clip ‘Definitely Brady‘ in 2014 and most recently, Very Nice in 2016 featuring newer team riders Shawn Powers and early viral internet star Jamal Smith. Palace are currently working on a full-length video.
Similar to sandpaper, grip tape, or “grip” as it’s commonly referred to, is applied to the top of your deck for traction. Grip gives you the friction you need to perform tricks such as ollies and kickflips. Not all grip tape is the same however. Each brand's products perform differently, so you may want to experiment with different brands to get a feel for what you prefer.
Finally, consider the type of grip tape you'll want on the board. While function is important in this regard to give your feet ample support, there's nothing wrong with adding some bling to the board's surface either. Many skateboard retailers will offer you several choices of grip tape and board styles, so it's definitely important to ask a lot of questions.
As Palace’s reputation began to grow, the brand added more riders, including ex-Stereo Skateboards pro Benny Fairfax, ex-Blueprint Skateboards pros Danny Brady and Chewy Cannon and Southbank mainstays Karim Bakhtaoui and Blondey McCoy. From the outset, Palace’s approach was to mix a core skate team with a heavy emphasis on soft goods which almost immediately propelled their appeal way beyond the confines of the skateboard market and expedited their growth into one of the biggest names in the street wear arena.
Element is of the most mainstream brands in the industry today that has sponsored legends like Nyjah Huston and Bam Margera. There are many pro decks to choose from with some amazing tribal designs and they have introduced a “featherlight” technology that allows Element to have some of the lightest boards on the market today. Some may call Element “too mainstream” or “sellouts”, but at the end of the day, they produce quality products in a variety of artistic designs.
However, the Golden Dragon does have pretty soft trucks bushings, which means the board will lean very easily and be more responsive to weight distribution. This is good news for more intermediate skaters who want easy turns, but not necessarily great for those who are still learning and may not be familiar with controlling a board. But for the price, and considering the great durability of all the other components, this is a quality choice.
When looking at skateboarding’s history, the only thing that’s stayed the same is the overall structure: every board consists of four skateboard wheels, two skateboard trucks, and a riding surface of some kind. And while we’ve come a long way from the days of metal and clay wheels, some aspects of skateboarding - like the brands manufacturing some of the most trusted products - haven’t changed at all. Independent Trucks has been designing trucks since 1978. Powell Peralta, the company responsible for Powell Skateboards, Bones Wheels, Bones Bearings, and the Bones Brigade also started in 1978. NHS, Inc., the company that produces Santa Cruz Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Bronson Speed Bearings, Krux trucks, Flip Skateboards, Ricta Wheels, Mob Grip, and OJ Wheels started in 1973. It’s no wonder these brands are still doing so well - they’ve been with skateboarding since the beginning. Since the day skateboarding went from something surfers did when the waves were flat to its own sport that involves technique, practice, and careful consideration, a small handful companies have been there to help skateboarding become what it is today.
The best criticism you could make about skateboarding in general right now is that it takes itself too seriously. Rightfully so. Skateboarders are often under attack, and what they do is illegal in most places. Skate culture is constantly being ripped off and bastardized. That's why it's so important to have a healthy sense of humor about it all, and that's why it's important that skateboarding has Roger.
The skateboard companies that are considered at the top include Element Skateboards. Founded by professional skateboarder Johnny Schillereff in 1992, the company’s goal was to expand on Johnny’s “Elementality” vision to build a company that helped to bring awareness to skateboarding. The goal is to focus on its uses in nature and the environment and the interconnecting of art and skateboarding. Developed from an urban mentality that was rough around the edges, the brand was transformed to embrace the “tree” logo with an emphasis on the positive and making the world a better place. A customer can purchase complete skateboards that include the decks, wheels, trucks, and bearings or they can customize a deck to suit their needs. Accessories and clothing are also offered. There are 20 professional skateboarders on the Elements team including such names as Brandon Westgate, Nyjah Houston, Mark Appleyard and Nick Garcia.
The deck is expertly constructed with a vertically laminated bamboo core and bamboo veneer exterior, all attached with triaxial glass and epoxy as well as a course grip tape top. The grip tape is arranged in an unusual and stylish, yet functional, design. The 34-inch board features a 13-degree nose angle and an 18-degree tail angle. With its directional shape, you’ll easily be able to cruise on this board or pull a few tricks.