Founded by the original technical street skaters Daewon Song and Rodney Mullen, Almost Skateboards always pushes the envelope with fun, artistic cartoon graphics paired with high quality materials. Almost was one of the first brands to implement carbon fiber layers to their decks in the “Impact” deck line to increase the deck’s life and better maintain its shape.
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.
The wheels are also impressive. Unlike some other skateboards that have wheels that are quite stiff, causing them to feel like they will lock up when you ride on them, the wheels in this complete skateboard for beginners are smooth and comfortable. These are also easily controllable, so rest assured that they offer a smooth and friction-free glide.
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.
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.
Isle is much newer to the game than a lot of the other brands mentioned on the list, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same respect. Drawn straight from the mind of skateboarder Nick Jensen, a London native with the eye of a true artist, Isle’s graphics could just as easily be hanging in a museum rather than in skate shops. Jensen’s creative process involves him sculpting, painting and photographing every board graphic himself in his own studio, manipulating each art piece to work as a graphic. Isle offers one of the most well developed brand images in skateboarding, due in big part to the fact that it is literally an outlet of one man’s own rampant creativity.
Many of the most popular skateboard brands sponsor teams of skaters, like Zero's Jamie Thomas and Element's Barn Margera. Professional skaters are often good sources of information as to what skateboard you should buy. If a pro skater rides a certain board, there is a good chance that if he or she finds that it is high enough quality you will also like the board. Users looking for a new skateboard will want to research a variety of different brands to find the one that best suits their needs, based on function and features.
Almost every skate shop will have a wall of boards that is either organized by brand, size, or alphabetically. At our CCS skate shop, we have multiple walls of boards that we try and keep ordered alphabetically. A wall of skateboards, at first glance, can be overwhelming, but if you know what size and roughly what brands you like, it should be fairly easy for you to figure out what board you want. Now would be a good time to mention our CCS Skateboard Buyer’s Guide, specifically the Decks Guide. In the CCS Decks Guide, you’ll find all the information you need to gain a basic understanding of skateboard decks.
POSITIV has begun to gain some serious momentum in the past years. They released an entire line of team completes in sizes ranging from 7.5-8.0″ at very affordable prices. This specific deck is 7.75″ so it is a comfortable size for all ages and weights. The great thing about this board is that it includes MiniLogo bearings and other pro brand parts. The deck also uses a rare waterproof sealant and slide coat to ensure that the deck lasts longer and slides smoother than other skateboards on the market. The overwhelmingly “positive” (no pun intended) reviews speak for themselves with this skateboard.
To help you decide what designs you like most, we included various patterns and printings in our review section. From cherry blossoms to fiery dragons, from checkered boxes to padded pugs, there is a lot to explore. You have to remember that you will be using this skateboard for years/months to come. Therefore, it’s important to choose a design that you think is cool, not a design that will look cool to others!
Modern decks are made with a composite of thin layers of either maple or bamboo pressed into a near symmetrical shape with a nose equal to or longer than the tail. The deck should be concave (subtle U shape) along the whole board with both the nose and tail angled upwards (the "kick" of the board). Conceptually while the skateboard is a platform, it also serves to cup the balls of the skater’s feet with rising sides, nose and tail providing the foundation for pretty much all modern skateboard tricks.
Buying a complete skateboard from a good brand is when you purchase an already put together board that comes with a deck, the tape already applied, the wheels, the trucks, and the bearings all screwed in. You can also make custom requirements for your complete skateboard like interchanging different trucks or bearings to better fit your own personal style of skating.
One of the earliest sponsored skateboarders, Patti McGee, was paid by Hobie and Vita Pak to travel around the country to do skateboarding exhibitions and to demonstrate skateboarding safety tips. McGee made the cover of Life magazine in 1965 and was featured on several popular television programs—The Mike Douglas Show, What's My Line? and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson—which helped make skateboarding even more popular at the time. Some other well known surfer-style skateboarders of the time were Danny Bearer, Torger Johnson, Bruce Logan, Bill and Mark Richards, Woody Woodward, & Jim Fitzpatrick.
The G & S video ‘Footage’ (created by Mike Hill and Neil Blender and released in 1990 just prior to them leaving to start their own brand) set the precedent for Alien Workshop’s later video aesthetic with the use of non-skate footage intercut throughout the skate sections and the mysterious, almost otherworldly atmosphere that permeates all of Alien Workshop’s subsequent video releases. To many people ‘Footage’ is the pre-cursor to every Alien video release that followed in its wake.
Sending sincere thanks to everyone that supported us over the last decade – including team riders, fans, customers, photographers, filmers, & mags. Thanks to George & Juli Powell & everyone at Skate One Corp. who believed in us & helped facilitate our vision. Thanks most of all to Cara-Beth Burnside for whom without her influence, leadership, & no-bullshit-spirit none of this would have ever been possible.
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.