Founded in 2008 in Pennsylvania, Punisher’s goal has been to make graphically pleasing skateboards that have designs that resonate with the rider on a deeper level. Each artist is handpicked by Punisher to design an original, unique image that is then incorporated into the skateboard. The fantastic graphic designs combined with the quality of the skateboard itself make for a very personalized riding experience.
I'm not talking about mall chain stores, like Zumiez; I mean a locally owned and operated skateboard shop. Look around at what they sell, and talk to the staff about the different brands. Of course, they may be biased toward the brands they carry, but chances are you'll learn something that will help you make a decision. There are some big-name board brands that you'll find in most shops, but there should also be some smaller brands you may not have heard or seen around town. There might even be a a local skater or manufacturer that you could support. 
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. 
×