Longboards are often 8 to 12 inches longer than a standard skateboard. That added length makes them more stable for long rides or high speed downhill runs. Available in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and truck mounting options, longboards are highly customizable for many types of riding. If you want to push long distances, skate fast down hills, or are a beginner looking for an easy board for learning to balance, check our Guide to Longboarding for more info.
Now you need to look at the wheels of your skateboard. There are dozens of different sizes, materials, shapes, and features of skateboard wheels, and it can get confusing for beginners. The most common type of wheel is a hard plastic wheel, and for beginners, you’ll usually see a “90a” level wheel. Professional skaters often choose even harder wheels, up to a 100a, because it gives them more “pop” for tricks. But somewhere between a 90a and a 97a is usually best for beginners.
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.
There were several artistic skateboarding pioneers that had an influence on the culture of skateboarding during the 1980s, that transformed skateboard-deck art like Jim Phillips, whose edgy comic-book style "Screaming Hand", not only became the main logo for Santa Cruz Skateboards, but eventually transcended into tattoos of the same image for thousands of people and vinyl collectible figurines over the years. Artist Vernon Courtlandt Johnson is said to have used his artwork of skeletons and skulls, for Powell Peralta, during the same time that the music genres of punk rock and new wave music were beginning to mesh with the culture of skateboarding. Some other notable skateboard artists that made contribrutions to the culture of skateboarding also include Andy Jenkins, Todd Bratrud, Neil Blender, Marc McKee, Tod Swank, Mark Gonzales, Lance Mountain, Natas Kaupas and Jim Evans.
Magenta Skateboards are one of only a few mainland European based brand in this list, founded in Paris and currently based in Bordeaux, France. Magenta’s outlook on skateboarding as a cultural phenomenon, and consequently their output in terms of both products and video, is deliberately at odds with the prevailing conception of skateboarding as represented by most major brands.
First, you’ll need to consider the size of the skateboard. Most skateboards are about eight inches wide, but if you have very large feet, or you really want to feel very stable as you learn, consider going with something wider. Remember that the wider you go, the harder it is to learn tricks and to go around curves. If you want to rotate your board mid-air during a jump, you need a board that is no wider than eight inches.
Launched in 1991 by professional skateboarder Mike Ternasky who was killed in a car accident in 1994, Plan B Skateboards was renewed in 2005 by professional skateboarders Danny Way and Colin McKay. The top Skateboards brand, recognized by its unique logo, offers customization, but it also produces skateboards that come already assembled and ready for immediate action with everything a skateboarder needs including the deck, wheels, trucks, and bearings. The decks are made with a durable and thick seven-ply maple. They are also designed for you to make them uniquely yours with cool graphics that reveal your personality. In addition to the decks, Plan B also produces wheels, toolkits, and the kind of hip clothing that every skateboarder wants to be seen wearing. In addition to Way and McKay, the Plan B team consists of pro skateboarders PJ Ladd, Chris Cole, Pat Duffy, Ryan Sheckler, Torey Pudwill, Leticia Bufoni, Chris Joslin, Felipe Gustavo and Sean Sheffey.
Its All Powell-Peralta Ligament decks feature a wider and more robust polymeric strap. The ligament strap is so powerful that in case your board breaks, the ligament strap will hold your deck together to allow you to ride out of it. Ligament decks are same in weight as a 7-ply maple deck but provide more pop and stiffness that lasts longer than ordinary boards.
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.
While no two brands are exactly the same and it’s difficult to compare them, the brands on this list are among those that offer their own unique spin on the skateboarding experience, which often comes from their own personal stories and love of skateboards that they discovered in their childhood. In a saturated market that now spans from the technical side of skating to streetwear-centered style brands, these are the ones that stand out the most. From the young upstarts to those with a long legacy to their name, these are the best skateboard brands out there, so get familiar—and at least learn to kickflip, man.
FTC was cool before there were skate and hype blogs around to tell you that they were cool. Mastermind Kent Uyehara built his brand from the back of a sporting goods shop into an international symbol of cool, with franchise locations in Sacramento, Tokyo, and Barcelona. FTC isn't just the go-to spot for skate gear in those cities-it's a full-blown brand that any skater would be proud to wear.
You know how people say shit like: Ernest Hemingway is “a writer's writer” and it's not really clear what that means, but you sort of get it? Well Anti-Hero is a skater's skate brand. Founded by underground hero pro skater Julien Stranger, Anti-Hero is a direct expression of his attitude towards the skate industry, which is basically that skateboarding is life and fuck everything else. Anti-hero has a reputation for being one of the gnarliest skate brands around, thanks in part to their team of heavies which includes John Cardiel, Tony Trujillo, and Chris Pfanner.