I got my first, and only, skateboard when I was ten, which is… quite a few years ago.
It gets worse. It came from a toyshop (Hamley’s in Bath) and was florescent green and pink. What can I say – it was the late-1980s, and the colour scheme made sense at the time.
But, like a lot of things from 30 years ago, much has changed and buying a skateboard nowadays is a heap more complicated than merely avoiding colours that make your eyes bleed.
So I’ve been scrabbling around trying to get up to speed on how to buy a skateboard in the 2010s.
Much like going to a Cafe Nero and just wanting ‘a coffee’, I just want ‘a skateboard’. Not a penny board (always been a deathtrap for me), not a nickel board and not a longboard.
With ideas some 25,000 feet above my station and skill level I think I might one day manage a couple of tricks on my yet-to-be-bought second skateboard, so ‘a skateboard’ means I need a popsicle-shaped deck.
I’ve narrowed it down to a few pearls of wisdom that work for me (a six-foot tall 40-ish man) as I narrow down what skateboard to buy (and thanks to the helpful staff in Decade in Guildford and Covent Garden’s Slam City Skates):
- Choose your deck based on its width, which for me means 8″ – 8.5″ (though 8″ seems the best starting point)
- Choice of deck seems to be as much about your artwork or brand loyalty as anything else that I make out
- Buy a complete set up (ie deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware and grip tape) – I’ve gripped two of Son1’s boards already (pictured above), but I’d like a pro to do it for me, plus I don’t want to be worrying about whether I have the right size trucks and wheels
- The deck will wear out first (doesn’t help you with choosing a board but – as a beginner – seems useful to know)
- You can get decent complete set ups from about £80 – £100
- Avoid the temptation to upgrade – it’s easy enough to change parts, and by the time you need to, you might know which ones you want/need.
There are of course many proper guides to help you decide what’s the best skateboard to buy, including these ones:
Slam City Skate’s Skateboard Buyers Guide
Black Sheep Skateboard Store’s Skateboard Deck Buying Guide