Ready to dive into skateboarding? Our starter pack guide walks you through choosing the ideal skateboard, so you can begin your skating journey with ease.
The Exciting Journey of a Beginner Skateboarder
Embarking on the thrilling journey of skateboarding as a beginner is an adventure like no other. It’s not just about learning to ride; it’s about choosing the right skateboard to set you up for success. In this guide, we’ll be your trusty navigator, helping you understand the ins and outs of selecting the perfect skateboard as a novice rider.
Types of Skateboards for Beginners
Exploring Your Options: Street, Cruiser, and Longboard
As a beginner, you’re stepping into a diverse world of skateboarding styles. Let’s break down the basics of each type:
Street Skateboards: These are the most common and versatile skateboards. With a symmetrical shape and popsicle deck, they’re great for tricks and cruising the neighborhood.
Cruiser Skateboards: Cruiser boards come in various shapes but generally offer stability and smooth rides. They’re ideal for relaxed cruising and transportation.
Longboards: Longboards are known for their lengthy decks, designed for stability at higher speeds. They’re perfect for downhill riding and long-distance cruising.
Each type has its unique charm, and your choice should align with your riding goals and preferences.
Skateboard Deck Size and Shape
Finding the Right Platform: Deck Width and Shape
Your skateboard’s deck is like the canvas for your skating masterpiece. Here’s what you should know:
Deck Width: Beginners often find wider decks (around 8″ to 8.5″) more forgiving for balance. Narrower decks (7.5″ to 8″) offer more agility, ideal for street tricks.
Deck Shape: Concave decks have a curved shape that enhances control and flip tricks, making them popular among street skaters. Flat or cruiser decks offer a stable, flat surface for casual riding.
Choosing the right combination of width and shape will provide the foundation for a comfortable and enjoyable ride.
Deck Material and Construction
Crafting Your Ride: Materials Matter
Skateboard decks are primarily crafted from maple, bamboo, or composite materials. Each material has its merits:
Maple: Sturdy and reliable, maple decks are the industry standard, favored for their durability.
Bamboo: Bamboo decks are lighter and provide a bit more flex, making them excellent for cruising.
Composite: Composite decks combine multiple materials for a balance of strength and flexibility.
For beginners, a maple deck is a solid choice, offering durability and stability while you get the hang of things.
Skateboard Trucks and Wheels
Rolling Smoothly: Trucks and Wheels
Trucks are the metal components under your skateboard that connect the wheels to the deck. Here’s what you need to know:
Trucks: Choose trucks that match the width of your deck. For beginners, mid-range trucks are a safe bet, striking a balance between stability and maneuverability.
Wheels: Opt for softer wheels (78A to 87A durometer) for a smoother ride and better grip. Softer wheels are forgiving on rough terrain, which can be helpful for new skaters.
Getting the right combination of trucks and wheels ensures a comfortable and controlled ride as you start your skateboarding journey.
Bearings and Hardware
The Heart of Your Skateboard: Bearings and Hardware
While often overlooked, bearings and hardware play a crucial role in your ride:
Bearings: Skateboard bearings determine how smoothly your wheels spin. ABEC ratings indicate their precision, with ABEC-5 or ABEC-7 bearings being suitable for beginners.
Hardware: Hardware includes bolts and nuts that keep your trucks securely attached to the deck. Make sure they’re snug but not too tight to allow for smooth turns.
Properly maintained bearings and hardware ensure your skateboard operates efficiently and safely.
Grip Tape and Graphic Design
Adding Personality: Grip Tape and Graphics
Grip tape provides the traction your shoes need to stay on the skateboard. It’s typically black, but you can find colored or patterned options to add a personal touch. Graphics on the bottom of the deck allow you to express your style and preferences.
Safety Gear and Accessories
Riding Safely: Gear Up for the Journey
Safety should be a top priority for beginners. Invest in protective gear like helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads. Additionally, consider accessories such as wrist guards and slide gloves, depending on your intended style of skating. Safety gear ensures you can skate confidently while minimizing the risk of injury.
Finding Value: Setting a Budget
Skateboards come in a range of prices, and setting a budget is essential. While it’s tempting to splurge on high-end gear, there are quality options available at various price points. Determine your budget and explore options that offer the best value while meeting your needs as a beginner.
Where to Buy and Test Skateboards
The Right Place: Local Shops and Online Stores
You can purchase skateboards from local skate shops or online stores. Visiting a local shop allows you to get hands-on experience, talk to experts, and test skateboards. Online stores provide convenience and a wider selection. Regardless of your choice, it’s essential to try out different skateboards to find the one that suits you best.
Skateboarding Communities and Resources
Joining the Skateboarding Tribe
Skateboarding is a community-driven sport, and connecting with other skaters can be immensely helpful for beginners. Look for local skate groups or forums online where you can learn from experienced riders, share tips, and find skate buddies. Online resources, tutorials, and video platforms can also be valuable for learning new skills and techniques.
Embarking on Your Skateboarding Adventure
Choosing the right skateboard as a beginner is an exciting step on your skateboarding journey. By considering factors like skateboard type, deck size, materials, trucks, wheels, and safety gear, you’ll set yourself up for a fun and fulfilling experience. Remember, skateboarding is about enjoyment and progression, so embrace the learning process, stay safe, and have a blast as you roll into the world of skateboarding.