Skateboarding is an exciting sport that requires skill, creativity, and the right gear. A skateboard is the essential piece of equipment for any skateboarder, and there are different types of skateboards designed for different riding styles. Choosing the right skateboard for your riding style is essential for maximizing your potential and experiencing the best riding experience. This article provides guidance on how to choose the right skateboard for your riding style.
What Riding Style Do You Prefer?
The first and most crucial step in choosing the right skateboard is determining what style of riding you plan to do. Skateboarding has evolved over the years, and nowadays, riders have various riding styles they can choose from. The four primary riding styles are street, park, cruising, and downhill. Each riding style demands different features in a skateboard.
If you prefer street skateboarding, you’ll need a skateboard that is durable, sturdy, and can perform technical tricks. Street skaters usually use small, hard, and flat boards with a width of 7.5 to 8 inches, making them perfect for flip tricks and grinds. On the other hand, if you prefer park skating, you need a board that offers stability, control, and ease of movement. Park skaters usually use slightly larger boards with a width of 8 to 8.5 inches, allowing them to perform aerial tricks and transitions easily.
If cruising is more your thing, then you’ll need a board that is comfortable, stable, and has a medium-sized width ranging from 8.5 to 9 inches. These types of boards come in various shapes, such as pintail, fish, and cruiser. Lastly, downhill skaters need a longer, wider, and stiffer board with a length of 32 inches and above, making them ideal for gaining speed and maneuvering sharp corners.
What Deck Size Will Work for You?
After determining your riding style, the next step is to choose the right deck size that will work for you. Skateboard decks come in different lengths, widths, and thicknesses, making it essential to get the right size for your body type.
If you have small feet, then you should opt for a smaller deck size between 7.5 to 8 inches. If you have larger feet, then you’ll need a larger deck size between 8.25 to 8.5 inches. Additionally, if you’re taller, you may also need a longer board as the length will compensate for your height and prevent you from crouching too much. Lastly, the thickness of the deck comes down to personal preference, but generally, riders use medium thickness decks between 7 and 8ply.
What Type of Trucks Do You Need?
Skateboard trucks are what holds the wheels, bearings, and deck together and are essential for steering and controlling the board. When choosing skateboard trucks, you’ll need to consider the type of skating you plan on doing.
If you’re a street skater, you’ll need narrower, lighter trucks that allow you to perform technical tricks. Conversely, if you prefer park or transition skating, you’ll need wider, heavier trucks for stability and control. Lastly, if you’re a downhill skater, you’ll need heavier and wider trucks that provide more stability at high speeds and better control on sharp turns.
What Size Wheels Do You Need?
Skateboard wheels come in different sizes and hardness, and choosing the right size will depend on your riding style, terrain, and personal preference.
For street and technical skating, smaller wheels between 50 to 54mm in diameter are best, as they provide quicker acceleration and more control on flat surfaces. For park and transition skating, larger wheels between 54mm to 60mm are ideal, as they provide more speed and a smoother ride over uneven terrain. Lastly, if you’re a downhill skater, you’ll need larger wheels between 60mm to 70mm, as they provide faster speeds, better grip, and a smoother ride on rough roads.
What Are Your Safety Concerns?
As with any sport, safety should be paramount when skateboarding. Depending on your riding style, you may need specific safety gear to ensure you’re protected when riding.
If you’re a street skater, you’ll need a strong helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards, as you’ll be performing technical tricks and may fall often. If you’re a park skater, you’ll need a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads, as you’ll be riding ramps and performing aerial tricks. If you’re a cruiser, you’re less likely to fall, but safety gear is still essential, and a helmet and knee pads should suffice. Lastly, downhill skaters need a full-face helmet, leather gloves, knee and elbow pads, and body armor, as they’ll be traveling at high speeds and are more prone to accidents.
What’s Your Budget?
The last factor to consider is your budget. Skateboarding equipment can be pricey, and you need to balance your budget and your needs to get the best skateboard for your riding style.
If you’re a beginner, you can opt for a cheaper board and gradually upgrade as your skills improve. However, if you’re a seasoned rider, investing in high-quality gear is worth it, as it can significantly affect your performance and longevity. To get the best value for your money, research different brands, compare prices, and read reviews to ensure you’re getting the right gear at the best price.
Choosing the right skateboard for your riding style is essential for maximizing your potential and experiencing the best riding experience. Consider your riding style, deck size, truck, and wheel size, safety concerns, and budget when purchasing a skateboard. With these factors in mind, you’ll be sure to find the perfect board for your skating needs. Don’t forget also to buy from reputable skate shops and remember to maintain and replace worn-out gear for maximum safety and performance.