Picking the right skateboard as a beginner doesn't have to be as difficult as we make it out to be, knowing a few basic steps can make the process less daunting and that much easier.
Get a Real Skateboard
What I mean by this, not any ol' skateboard will do. Choose not to compromise on price, sometimes it pays to spend a little more and buy quality. Generally buying a Walmart or Target brand skateboard can be a mistake, though generally cheaper you can expect it to break a lot quicker.
The boards you can buy from these two companies can also many times be much heavier, making it that much more difficult learning even beginner tricks. A lighter more balanced board will always give you a better shot at nailing your first ollie, and getting down even more advanced tricks, as you develop your skills.
Board size is mostly based off of what feels comfortable for you. A good place to start, and what we'd suggest is an 8" deck. It's a good medium, and not too skinny or too wide for most people. As you continue to ride and
learn you may find you want a deck a bit skinnier, or one a bit wider. You're only going to find what works best for you, the more you ride, and the more you get the real feel for the board.
Getting the Right Size Trucks
Let's not over-complicate things. Truck come in all shapes and sizes, but a good rule of thumb to ensure your trucks fit perfectly is by making sure the edge of your skateboard wheels on your truck match up with the outside edges of your deck.
You don't want the trucks too small because of the decrease in stability, having wider trucks that fit your board will give you better wheel grip on the pavement and overall give you more of the ride you're looking for as a beginner.
If the trucks are too wide for the board you also run the risk of the wheels hanging over the board and running over your toes, and you don't want to do that.
A few other points of reference for the more advanced skater but nothing you really have to overly concern yourself with is the height of your trucks. Rising pads can also be used to raise the height of your trucks and to give your board that extra pop.
A low truck is built more for small wheels in mind, they provide the extra stability you need for different moves, such as flip tricks. Our recommendation would be a wheel size of 50-53mm for low trucks.
One of the most common truck heights and what we'd recommend for a beginner. Medium size trucks are a perfect choice to use at your local skate park or even for some street-skating. The wheel size we'd recommend would be between 53-56mm and a hard set of wheels which we will explain why in further detail as you get further down the post.
High trucks are the best for large wheels typically used and work well on a longboard or cruiser. High trucks are best used for carving and cruising. A 56mm+ wheel size is ideal when you use high trucks.
Since you are really just learning how to skateboard it is tough to know your truck preference until you understand your style. You may find you like to spend more time at the park, than on the street. You'll never really know what you like until you get out there and put the wheels to the pavement.
Pick a quality basic truck that will work during your beginner stage of skating. As you begin to become more advanced into the future and develop your skill set, go for a name brand truck or a better quality truck at a size you're comfortable with based off your style.
One of the more important parts of the board, because without wheels where are you going? Would be closer to a snowboard than a skateboard. If you are skating street, which you probably are in the beginning you want a harder wheel with at least a rating of 88a or higher and up to 99a.
This figure is what is known as the durometer, this measures the hardness level of the wheels and gives you an accurate measure of the purpose of the wheel. Any rating above 88a will give you a hard wheel which has a good grip and will work well for speed, riding street, rough surfaces, skate parks, ramps, and pools.
Now for the pros with the highest durometer rating at 101a or higher, you will find your fastest and hardest wheel. Be careful though these do have the least grip and are not very effective on rough and/or slick surfaces.
With a longboard, you want a softer wheel between 78-87a. These are perfect for rough surfaces you encounter while riding and can even be good for street boards that need a lot of grip to facilitate rolling over cracks and pebbles. This type of wheel is made for a smooth ride cruising along, and mastering hills.
When skating street your best choice is to go with a harder set of wheels as they move across the surface of the pavement without sticking as much because of the higher durometer. For a beginner, we recommend a wheel size between 50-56mm.
A safe bet generally can be to go with white wheels, as they are typically harder because they are not made softer by the use of dyes and the urethane. What will really make your wheels spin is a proper set of bearings.
At first, starting out get some cheap bearings while you learn the ropes. They will work to fit your needs without costing you an arm and a leg, and you can always replace them when you feel it is needed. I.e if the board begins to slow try removing and cleaning them first before replacing, as there could just be a build-up of dirt and debris which is slowing your roll.
But if you want to get some more expensive ones go right ahead, not only will they last longer they may work better in terms of speed for the long haul as well. The rating with bearings is something important to take note of as well.
They are rated on an ABEC system which determines how accurate and precise the bearings will be. The higher the rating the more precise and accurate you can expect the bearings to be for your purpose.
ABEC 1: This level tends to be the least expensive with the biggest chance for failure. Low quality steel can also give you additional problems.
ABEC 3: These can also be fairly inexpensive as well but do not roll smoothly or quickly.
We recommend this rating level or higher.
ABEC 5: One of the most common types and standard for most types of skateboarding. You generally get a good speed at a good cost.
ABEC 7: You will find these to be quite a bit faster providing a smoother ride, but usually at a higher cost.
ABEC 9+: These are crazy fast! Great for a downhill skater or for those wanting to take life on the wild side.
Always remember as you get more into skating an become more advanced you can always start investing more money into it. At first it's best to find something that works for you, and to upgrade as you feel you need to.
Picking out hardware doesn't really have to be all too hard. Decide if you prefer the Phillips Head or the Allen Head variety which will determine the tool type you have to use to put together/ take apart your board. I.e a Phillips Head hardware set can easily be used with a standard Phillips Head screwdriver.
Make sure not to get very long bolts, a 1" basic set of hardware will do. You should have a total of 8 screws and 8 nuts, as well as your washers too.
**A good tip of the trade is to use different colored bolts to differentiate your nose and tail of your board. While skating you will find either side of the board performs very differently. While riding, unless you are doing a trick you always want the nose of the board to point forwards.
Without grip tape you would fall right off and never be able to land a trick. Grip tape keeps you on the board and allows you to hit that sick kickflip. With so many brands and types out nowadays, it can make it very difficult to make a choice.
Don't stress, pick a grip tape that is not too thick and grips your feet very well. Any of the styles of grip tape we carry will work perfectly for you. Starting out you can feel safe picking a basic grip tape that fits your board and later on you can spend a little more for a better design or for a name brand.
You are just starting out, pick some basic stuff, put your skateboard together, and have some fun!