First Time Buying a Skateboard?
Let’s face it, being a first-time skateboard buyer in most situations causes confusion, distress, and even anger if you let it. SFK cares a great deal about easing this process for our customers.
What better way to eliminate anxiety about the purchase than to just break down the anatomy of a skateboard?
This way, you know exactly what you’re buying, and can gain knowledge before jumping in headfirst learning the lingo (there’s plenty to go around) that comes along with skateboarding.
Chances are you’re a parent just like me and feeling a little overwhelmed having to make this purchase, not even sure where to start. Let’s start by going over the anatomy of the skateboard, and I promise by the end of this article, you’ll feel extremely comfortable with the purchase you’re considering. After you’re done learning about the best brands of trucks, wheels, grip tap, and board types, you’ll feel very comfortable purchasing a beginner timesavers skateboard bundle with board, pads, and helmet for your child!
The most important part of the setup, the deck. The skateboard deck is simply the seven to nine plies of Canadian Maple Wood that are the actual board. Decks come in plenty of lengths and widths.
Luckily for you, when getting your child started, there isn’t a baseline when it comes to the preference of size, shape, or concave.
Our boards keep it simple with one goal in mind – getting started. If there’s one thing I learned in over 25 years of skateboarding, it’s that you’re constantly learning that the nitty-gritty details of the board setup will be ever-changing.
Your Complete Skateboard will come with a Blank 7 ply deck made from Canadian Maple Wood
As the name suggests, griptape is what allows the skater to have enough traction on the skateboard to stay atop while providing enough friction to allow for tricks like ollies, kickflips, and heelflips to name drop a few trick names for you.
Griptape is commonly made up of silicon carbide (more expensive/longer grip life) or aluminum oxide (cheaper/shorter grip life).
Believe it or not, the griptape that you see on the top of skateboards is not something that skateboard decks are created with. Griptape comes in long rolls that are cut to size for the length of the skateboard that can then be applied to the top of the board.
Notable Griptape Brands:
Your Complete Skateboard will come with Jessup Griptape
Trucks are the aluminum metal objects that you see on the bottom of the skateboard. Skateboard trucks are a vital part of how this all works. Trucks allow the skateboarder to turn, keeps the wheels connected to the skateboard, and allows for all grind trick variations.
Notable Truck Brands:
Your Complete Skateboard will come with CORE Trucks
Although you may think that wheels are just simply wheels, there are two variables worth going over – size and durometer.
Size is the more obvious one and is measured in millimeters.
So what is this durometer all about?
The durometer is simply how hard or soft the wheel is.
And if you were wondering, Polyurethane is the material used to produce skateboard wheels.
As you can see in the image, the size of the wheels is 52mm, which these days serve to be around a smaller medium size. The firmness is at the top of the scale, so these wheels are pretty hard.
Yes, hard and soft wheels serve their purposes. Soft wheels are better for rough terrain and provide maximum grip, while hard wheels provide less grip, but more control of the board for landing tricks.
For our purposes, we choose to use wheels on the softer side, which is better for beginners that are just getting started.
Notable Wheel Brands:
Your Complete Skateboard will come with 56mm wheels that are on the softer side for traction.
Bearings make the board go. Commonly produced with steel, skateboard bearings are similar to any other ball bearing that you might find on a dolly or shopping cart, just sized to fit into the skateboard wheel.
Notable Bearing Brands:
Your Complete Skateboard will come with Standard ABEC 5 ball bearings.
Riser pads are a pad in the form of plastic or soft rubberish material that helps to add space between the trucks and the deck. You may be wondering, why would someone want to do that?
Although circumstantial upon board type, here are a few of the reasons to consider riser pads:
- They’re not going to hurt anything or hinder performance.
- They help to avoid wheelbite.
- Depending on firmness, they can help absorb some of the impact the board takes and help battle pressure cracks.
Notable Riser Pad Brands:
Your Complete Skateboards come with ⅛ inch riser pads.
I saved the best for last since the hardware is what pulls all the other items together to form what we know as a skateboard. These are the nuts and bolts that attach the trucks and riser pads to the skateboard deck.
Notable Hardware Brands:
Your Complete Skateboard comes with standard 1 ¼” inch hardware.
And that’s it! You have learned all the components of a skateboard!
So let’s recap what we just went over by using our imagination to assemble the skateboard and gain an optimal understanding of how this all works.
- The griptape is applied to the skateboard deck by sticking the adhesive on the top of the board and removing excess with a razor.
- After that, the hardware bolts are inserted into the holes on the top of the skateboard through the freshly added griptape.
- Now the trucks get placed onto the bottom of the board with the nuts of the trucks facing inward towards the center (unlike the movie Elf – Easter egg alert, go check it out for yourself. The trucks are on the wrong way! Yes, we take our skateboarding seriously!).
- Next, the trucks are fastened to the board by fastening the nuts of the hardware to the bottom of the board, over the trucks.
- Nearing the end, the bearings are inserted into the wheels by pressing them in by hand. Note: Using a screwdriver or other non-skate tool can damage the bearings. Trust me, I know from experience!
- Lastly, the wheels with the bearings equipped go onto the axle of the trucks and are secured by the fastening the nuts to the axle to keep the wheels in place.
And that’s it! Now it’s time for your little shredder to get started!