HOW TO CHOOSE A SKATEBOARD
You can search online and you'll probably find lots of pages and videos on how to choose a skateboard, and a load of technical information about decks and board parts. When you are starting out it's easy to spend a ton of time doing the research and you still might not end up with what you really need.
We run a skate club where we teach around 300 children, teens and adults every week, in doing this we have helped a lot of people get their first boards. So on this page we are just going to go through the main things we see that works for the people that come to our club, as if it works for them it'll probably work for you too.
This is just a basic guide - if you are not sure of anything then get in touch, we'll be more than happy to help.
Now we know you are on our website and we may well do ourselves out of a sale, but our TOP TIP would be to get your self to your local skate shop, especially if you have a smaller independent shop near to you. These shops will be run by people who know about skating, and who will be more than happy to talk you through options.
START WITH THE SIZE
DECK WIDTH: Skateboards come in different widths, with larger or smaller boards having additional length and longer/shorter wheelbase (the distance between where your trucks are, and therefore where your feet will go). There is no hard and fast rule for board size, skaters will skate different sizes depending on the type of skating they are doing, some will always stick to one size, others will go up and down.
As a general rule of thumb the smaller the feet/legs than the narrower the board.
7.5-7.75" - A good size for younger children, or more petite skaters. (We teach toddlers on 7.5")
7.75" to 8" - Standard board for riders skating streets, park and learning more technical tricks
8.0" to 8.25" - Skating pool, ramp, rail, and parks. Some people when starting out prefer having a slightly wider board as they gain confidence in their skating.
8.5" and larger - Vert, pools, cruising, and just going old school. If you are particularly tall then you might prefer this sort of size. Many of the guys who are learning to skate as adults opt for an 8.5".
COMPLETE or CUSTOM SET UP
If you are buying a board for someone just starting out, particularly children then you might have a smaller budget in mind. In which case buying a complete, where the board is all ready to go, is probably your best option. WORD OF WARNING...There are some terrible completes on the market. Just because it looks like a skateboard, doesn't mean it actually is! Cheap boards are made of cheap/heavier wood, and will have plastic parts, often including wheels, which means if it even moves you'll be lucky. They make kids think they cant skate, when actually its not their skills, its the equipment.
Only buy from a proper skate shop. That way you will know that you will be getting the best for your money, even when on a budget. We stock a range of completes, all ones that have been tried and tested by our skate clubbers.
If you are looking to invest a bit more, or are an adult starting out we'd advise getting a custom set up, where you choose the deck/wheels/trucks/bearings yourself. You'll end up with a really decent set up which will last you as you progress with your skating.
If you would like a full set up but are on a bit of a budget then check out our 'Build your own' options which are good value.
Trucks are a really important element of your board. They are your suspension and what helps, or hinders, your turning. There is a wide variety of choice, you can spend as little as £20 and as much as £100 on a set. (We sell all our trucks as a set, do check if you are looking elsewhere as some sites sell them separately, and there's nothing more disappointing than receiving just one truck in the post!!)
The thing you do need to know is the width of your board. Trucks come in different widths so they suit the deck size.
A general rule of thumb would be - if you are buying for a child/teen who is just starting then getting a cheaper set, as recommended by a skate shop, to start with will be fine to get rolling and learning the basics. If you are an adult beginner than go for something mid range. If you are looking to invest in a set that you won't need to replace for years, or you are hitting the stair sets and rails hard then its worth spending a bit more.
They are all round, but they're not all the same. Skate wheels come in different sizes and different hardness. Depending on the type of skating you're doing will depend on what you want.
Here's a general guide - we've highlighted the ones that are the good all rounders for people to start with so anything around the numbers is what to look for.
50-53mm Small, slower wheels; stable for trick riding and smaller riders skating street, skate parks, and bowls.
54-59mm Average wheel size for beginners and bigger riders skating street, skate parks, bowls, and vert ramps.
60mm+ Specialty riders skating longboards, old-school boards, downhill, and dirt boards; made for speed and rougher surfaces.
78a-87a Soft wheel good for longboards, and cruisers or street boards that need lots of grip to easily roll over rough ground.
88a-95a Good for rougher spots where you need a bit of grip but not the softness of a cruiser type wheel.
96a-99a An all-around good wheel. Great for skating street, skate parks, ramps, pools, and other smoother surfaces.
101a+ Hardest and fastest wheel with the least grip. Ineffective on slick and rough surfaces. These are pro wheels.
83b-84b Wheels using the B scale are extremely hard, measuring 20 points fewer than the A Scale in order to allow the scale to extend another 20 points for the hardest wheels.
You can often get a lot of technical chat about bearings, they're what make you're wheels go round and we won't really go into too much more than that! You can pay as little as a fiver and as much as £80 for a set.
Bearings are often ABEC rated, higher the ABEC the faster the turn, but there are now several companies who don't rate them in this way and instead specialise in 'Skate Rated' - makes like Bronson and Bones do this and produce quality stuff.
ABEC 5 Cheaper bearings fine for young starters.
ABEC 7 A good all rounder often a decent price.
ABEC 9+ Good if you want to go places quick.