I am so happy to know you have started to take skateboarding as a new hobby because I have so many things to share with skaters.
As a beginner, you must have been so confused to choose your favorite board. There are millions of brands and products out there!
Do not worry. That is why I am here to help you. Let me instruct you on how to buy a suitable skateboard for your first time so that you will not make any common beginner mistakes.
And there will be tips on how to maintain your board so that it can last longer and perform well. Be patient!
How to choose your first skateboard
Let’s find out the size of the deck first. An ideal guideline for selecting the size of your board is based on your body size. Please, look at these charts so that you can find the right size.
These figures are just recommendations, not requirements that force you to follow strictly. If you are too confused to know where to start, you can consult these charts.
- Related post: How to Choose the Best Longboard?
Of course, choosing the deck also depends on the terrain and what you are going to do with it. More detail of skateboards for different purposes are below.
First of all, what do you intend to use your skateboard for? The type of skateboard will depend on what you are going to do.
The board you use to ride around your town will be different from the one you use in a skatepark and perform some kickflips.
Do you like playing in a skatepark? Or haven’t you decided what to do yet? An all-around skateboard will be suitable for you. These classic skateboards allow you to wander the park, do some tricks, or ride a ramp.
The width of these decks ranges from 7.57” to 8.5” to improve both maneuverability and stability, thus making it ideal for most terrains.
What about the trucks? The mid/standard trucks will be suitable.
With this kind of board, you should choose mid-durometer or hard and medium-sized wheels, somewhere from 52 to 56 mm. These wheels will increase the grip on the smooth surface, like in a skatepark.
If you want to challenge yourself on-ramps, I recommend you should wear protective gear.
What if you do not want to skate on the street instead of just going to the skatepark? Then, go with this style of skateboarding.
To do street skating, you should choose narrow boards, just from 7.5” to 8” because they are easier to flip and much more agile than wide boards. And remember to select the low or mid truck.
Street skateboarding requires smaller wheels, between 49 and 53mm. This diameter will make the wheels more responsive and weigh less so that you can perform some kickflips or heelflips. Wheels with a large diameter may get stuck when you grind.
The ideal durometer should be from 96A to 101A.
But if you intend to go on a rough surface regularly, do not pick the wheels that are too small. Small rocks or stones may make the wheels stop running, and even worse, you will fly off the board!
Another tip for you to do street skating! Have a skate wax if you want to skate on rails and curbs.
If you desire to challenge yourself with ramps, bowls, or vertical skateboarding, I advise you to take a board with a width of above 8” so that you can have larger space to stand on. You will find this feature useful, especially while you are at the highest speed or doing airs.
When it comes to the wheels, choose the ones with a large diameter so that high velocity can be retained for a long time. You would go with something around 53 – 56 mm. Some transition skaters also use softer ones for more grip.
And the mid or high trucks are recommended to get rid of “wheel bite”. That is a situation in which you land too much off to one side, causing the wheels to rub against the deck and making an unwanted stop.
To prevent this major problem, you can also use riser pads for more turning and shock absorption, or plastic rails attached to the deck for more stability when there are board and lip slides.
And when you are doing transition skateboarding, wearing protective gear is a must.
What is grip tape? It is the sandpaper on the top of your board and gives you friction to perform tricks and also prevents you from falling off the board.
There are various designs and colors, but we recommend using black grip tape – it is more durable and grippy than colored or clear ones because it features grit with higher quality.
Trucks are the metal parts that hold the wheels onto your board. They are also the part you will use to grind and turn.
On the market, most trucks are made of aluminum alloy, but there are exceptions. Some manufacturers use other metals and blends for their trucks.
So, when you are going to buy a skateboard, make sure you will get metal trucks. Do not stick with plastic trucks; you know it will waste your money, even though it is cheaper than metal ones!
How can you select the trucks with the right width? The trucks should match the width of your deck.
Make sure your skateboard trucks match the width of your deck. And it does not have to be exact to a nanometer! Just choose the ones that are not too wide or narrow. If they are too wide, you will find it harder to flip your board.
Now we come to the bushings. Simply understand that they are small polyurethane cones that let you turn the skateboard.
Like wheels, bushings have different shapes and levels of hardness. Harder bushings will boost the stability of your board but make it less likely to turn.
In contrast, softer ones will make your board more natural to turn, but you will feel a little unstable.
I have to remind you that it is necessary to check the bushings carefully if you are going to buy low-cost skateboards. Many cheap products feature plastic bushings instead of polyurethane. You cannot turn the board with plastic ones!
The ball bearings are the part inside the wheels and allow them to turn. Bearings have a standard size and can fit all wheels, so do not worry.
The quality of different products can vary a lot. One of the most popular and high-quality bearings is Bones Reds.
Ball bearings usually have a reasonable price. And if they break or go slower than you want, you can replace them.
Do not forget the hardware. Get eight bolts and nuts to hold the deck to trucks.
You can choose between Philips head and Allen key, whatever style you like, but I will vote for an Allen key hardware because it will last for a longer time.
Also, remember to pick the right length of bolts. Have riser pads? Then you will need longer bolts.
You want your skateboard to run smoothly? Then, you should pay more attention to the wheels than any other part.
High-quality wheels are made with hard polyurethane. This material enables wheels to absorb vibrations and rollover little rocks or pebbles without causing accidents.
We have to repeat it that many cheap products come with hard plastic wheels. This poor-quality material will make them crack or break when you hit a rock or something. They cannot absorb vibrations if you skate on a rough surface. So, stay away from it!
And there will be both hard wheels and soft wheels. It depends on your purpose.
If you are going to skateboarding in a smooth and hard surface, like skateparks, on ledges, rails, or gaps, skateboards with hard wheels will be suitable because they can roll faster.
But, if you intend to skate on a rougher surface, like sidewalks, or streets, harder wheels can make the board harder to ride. In this case, the softer wheels will be your choice. They will absorb vibrations so that your board will run smoothly over a rough road.
Wheels also have a lot of sizes and shapes. But, if you buy a complete skateboard kit, the wheels will have the size and shape that best suit that board.
Just remember, with bigger wheels, you can go faster. And smaller wheels are slower but allows you to do tricks more easily.
Even experienced skaters wear protective gear. So, with a beginner who is not confident in skateboarding skills like you, safety gear is much more essential.
A skateboard helmet is one of the first things you must have. This special-purpose helmet can protect the back of your head. It is also the most sensitive part if there is a crush.
Besides, elbow and knee pads, wrist guards, flat-bottom shoes are also recommended. Your safety is a priority. If you do not need to worry about your security, your skateboarding will have more fun and be better.
How to Maintain Your Skateboard
Now you have known the necessary information about a skateboard. So, how about keeping it new so that you can use it for a long time?
Do Not Make Your Board Wet
If your board gets wet, it will cause the wood on the deck to delaminate. Your bearings can be destroyed too because they are made of steel. You do not want them will rust and slow you down, right?
Keep Away From Dirt
Dirt or mud in your grip tape will decrease its grip ability and make it more difficult to do tricks. Moreover, dirt inside bearings can even wreck them and slow them down.
So, remember to keep it clean after using it to make it last longer!
Have Your Name on It
Skateboard is easy to get stolen! That is why we recommend you to write your name or put some mark on it to prove it is yours.
To Sum Up
You are a beginner, and there must be so many things new to you. I feel that.
So, start with these few simple steps to find out what you need, and you will buy your first skateboard successfully!
I wish you to have fun with skateboarding! Thank you for reading my instruction. There are many tips and tricks on skateboarding on this website. If you find it interesting, go and see it!