Skateboarding is more widespread now than it’s ever been before, much to the surprise of many who crossed it off the list of popular sports. The reason for this may be the previous decline in people’s interest in it, especially after its glorious years of the 1980s and 1990s when it was pretty relevant to pop culture.
However, a quick online search for skateboard sales in the last couple of years is enough to convince us otherwise – this sport is very much alive and well. In fact, it proved to be immune even to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related lockdowns, unlike team sports, considering it offers some unique perks such as staying active anywhere outdoors while social distancing.
The other well-known benefits include improving balance, boosting hand, eye, and foot coordination, building muscle, burning calories, and improving overall fitness and physical endurance. And, best of all is it’s an inexpensive sport that’s fit for people of all ages. Sounds convincing, doesn’t it?
Getting Started with Skateboarding
As a beginner, you may be filled with doubts regarding the ollie and tricks, but all you need to focus on for a start is getting the right skateboard as your most important piece of equipment. Once you have it, you can invest your energy in perfecting your performance while wearing the must-have safety gear.
As a popular sport, there are various brands and skateboard designs available in the stores, both endless ranges of complete skateboards and parts to build your custom skateboard, which is where confusion becomes apparent as you find yourself asking “How do I choose the right skateboard?”. Worry not, we’ve got the crucial aspects covered to help you out!
The Complete Skateboard Option
While skateboarding is for everyone, that’s not the case with just about any skateboard design being suitable for everyone. As a beginner, what you require isn’t only a board of quality build with all the right components, but one that also doesn’t drain your wallet considerably. After all, who guarantees you’d still be into skateboarding after a few weeks’ training?
With this thought in mind, look no further than complete skateboards with sturdy construction and wheelbase. If you’d like to start off on the right foot, and get a deck of quality, along with wheels, trucks and bearings made from lasting materials, generic retailers with plastic-made boards may not be your best option for entry-level setups that last. Luckily, there are plenty of skate shops and specialized retailers that have your back with affordable top-notch ready-to-run models from established brands that don’t disappoint when it comes to looks either.
Also known as pre-assembled, and completes, these skateboards are very practical when you’re dealing with the basics of the sport, and getting the hang of the board. As a beginner, you may be thrilled by the thought of buying a kit and building your own skateboard, however, you may not be in the know of the wheel size, hardness, and deck design that would most benefit you.
On the other hand, with a complete product, all you have to do is take it out for a flip without even paying attention to the technicalities! As the cheaper solution, even if the essential bits start to wear off or break down eventually after you’ve put them through wear and tear, you’d have the money to upgrade them when needed.
Since the pre-assembled street skateboard is designed for general use on various terrains, you’ve got a range of performances to try out and see which you like most. In short, you have the flexibility to skate on ramps, streets, and parks if you feel like it, and when you find your favorite style and gain confidence in it, you can easily customise your already assembled board with the specialised and more expensive components.
The “Build Your Own” Option
One of the reasons why people are inclined to get custom-built skateboards is having a say in the design they would later have fun with and experience the sport. While this may be true, you require in-depth knowledge of each of the components to be able to get a suitable product for specific use. So, as a beginner, you might expect to get more of a hassle shopping than when you choose one of the many complete skateboards ready for use.
However, if you’re into having more control over the looks and feel of your skateboard, building up your own with the carefully chosen pieces guarantees the ideal product. So long as you know what you’re looking for and how to assemble all the pieces together! In addition to the size of the deck, including its length and width, you’d also have to consider the material it’s made from, as well as that of the other parts, such as wheels, trucks, and bearings.
You can make matters easier by choosing each based on the style of skateboarding you most prefer. Perhaps you’re a fan of skatepark flips instead of hitting the streets, in which case you’d require a wider deck with hard wheels and a wider truck to withstand impact. If it’s the opposite, then a narrower board would do, along with softer wheels.
In terms of the wheels specifically, the scale of hardness is something you’d necessarily get acquainted with. Since most manufacturers use the durometer A scale, you’d see the A added next to the number, ranging from the softest 75A-87A, slightly harder 88A-95A, the balanced 96A-99A, all the way to the hardest 100A and above.
Have in mind the softer the wheels, the slower you would go, and while they’re not ideal for speed, they’re just perfect for getting into the sport with stability thanks to the outstanding grip. Simply said, you need to be aware of these not-so-small technicalities that you wouldn’t even bother with the pre-assembled complete skateboard that’s ready to roll.
Shape-wise, fans of old-school skateboards would appreciate the flatter 80s shaped decks with squared tails, which are simply made for skate curbs. Modern, wide-shaped decks with concave are the better option for flips and tricks. And, the last factor that would play a decisive role in your choice of deck is the width which is related to your height. Shorter individuals could use the 6.5’’- 6.75’’ width, whereas those with 150cm of height and taller would need the 7.5’’ deck or wider.
As you can see, there are various factors that you ought to be aware of to find the ideal option. If you decide to get a custom skateboard, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Happy rolling!