Skateboarding is a wonderful way to have fun with family and friends outdoors. It is becoming so popular that you have enthusiastic skateboarders in almost every street of the US when the weather is good.
People of all ages are getting into skateboarding and this has spawned bustling equipment and accessory industry. Many different skateboards and accessories are made nowadays and it is easy for the newbie to get confused.
If you consider some things, your skateboarding journey will be very easy and enjoyable. To ease your journey in skateboarding we have prepared a list of 10 things to know before buying your first skateboard. Read on to find out.
What style to choose?
Skateboards are designed for different kinds of terrain and riding styles. Ones that are used for tricks are drastically different from those ridden around town for commuting. A classically shaped skateboard is a good choice if you plan on learning tricks in the skatepark. A cruiser board with wide and soft wheels on the other hand is perfect for commuting.
Which size is right?
Owing to the immense popularity of skateboarding, you have a wide variety of fits to choose from. If you are buying a skateboard to gift somebody, sizing is based on Age, Height & Shoe Size. It is wise to buy one size larger for kids. They grow up so fast. While buying for you, try out the various models in your size and choose the one you are most comfortable with.
The deck is the biggest and the most important part of your skateboard. It makes direct contact with your feet and comes in different colors. So it's fun to choose one. The best decks are made of 7 thin veneers of maple wood all glued together with super high strength epoxy glue.
Decks come in various types depending on the use. If you are an average teen or an adult, the size within 8.12" to 8.38" is perfect. This “do it all” deck allows you to do street and/or skate park skating. Younger teens will require something smaller.
The griptape debate
There is a lot of hoopla surrounding the griptape. It is just a sticky tape with a grippy surface. In many cases, your board will come with a free sheet of griptape. Or you can choose between two of the most common brands- Mob and Jessup.
Other brands offer unique graphics. But the pros mostly stick to basic black griptape unless that company is paying them to do so.
The importance of trucks
Trucks are metal parts that hold your wheels onto your board. These are the parts that you use to grind and turn. Most trucks are made of an aluminum alloy although some brands use other metals and blends. Make sure that you buy a skateboard with metal trucks. Plastic trucks are as good as junk.
The bushings matter
Bushings are little rubbery pieces in your truck that are the key to how a skateboard turns. These little polyurethane cones flex from side to side when you are riding and let you turn the skateboard. It is important to ensure that the bushings are made of polyurethane. Plastic bushings wear out quickly.
Bushings come in different shapes and durometers (how hard or soft they are). A softer bushing will let you turn easier while harder durometer bushing will make the skateboard more stable and less likely to turn.
The question of wheels
Skateboard wheels are made of hard polyurethane that helps absorb small vibrations and roll over small pebbles. Always choose wheels made up of polyurethane. They come in different durometers. For smooth and hard surfaces a harder wheel is better because they will roll faster and last longer.
Similarly for rough surfaces, a softer wheel will give you a much smoother ride. Wheels also come in different sizes. Bigger wheels allow you to go faster. If you like doing tricks, smaller wheels are the best choice. When in doubt, opt for softer wheels and always avoid cheap plastic wheels.
The hard-working bearings
Ball bearings are the pieces that go inside your skateboard wheels to help them turn. They come in different price ranges and quality. Luckily, this vital component can be easily replaced with newer and better quality ones.
Safety gear checklist
Maintaining your skateboard
Your skateboard will last for years if kept clean and dry. Avoid using it in rains and wet areas. Maintain the bearings and sand down any chips or splinters. Clip any part of the griptape if it peels and replace any parts when needed. If you handle it gently and don’t throw it about too much, your skateboard will last years.
To wind off
Once you know your preference, you can buy the perfect skateboard for your needs. It is impossible to do any tricks on the first day itself, don’t push too hard. Just get rolling and enjoy the thrills and spills that skateboarding offers!
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