Skateboard Buying Guide
How To Choose A Skateboard
Buying a new skateboard is a super exciting time for any skater, but it can be a little confusing, especially if you’re newer to the sport. There are no hard and fast rules for deciding which style or size of skateboard you choose, but there are a few guidelines that will help you to pick something that works best for you and your riding style.
There are three main types of skateboard to choose from: a double kicker (we’ll refer to these as a standard skateboard in this guide), cruisers, and longboards. All three have slightly different purposes and uses. Within this, there are a lot of factors to consider; for instance- width, concave, and wheel base all play a part. But the most important question you need to be asking yourself before choosing a deck is, ‘What kind of riding am I going to be doing?’.
If you’re looking to work on tricks, both in the park and street, then a standard skateboard is the one to go for. If you’re after a more laid-back ride and want to work on some carves or use it to cover longer distances, then a cruiser or longboard will be the better choice.
We'll delve a little deeper into the differences and specifics of each type of board below.
At TSA, we’ve made life easy for you by stocking a huge range of completes, and if you’re a newer rider, maybe consider taking a look at a complete skateboard. These come prebuilt, and the components have been sized to ensure optimum performance. The only thing you’ll have to decide on is which size works best for you and, of course, which graphic catches your eye.
For more experienced riders or those who want something a bit more unique, we also stock decks and hardware, allowing you to custom-build your skateboard. By changing individual components of your board, you’ll be able to replace worn-out gear or slightly change how the board feels as you see fit.
Between different skateboard types, decks vary in length, width, and profile. Generally, longer decks are reserved for longboards and some cruisers, thanks to the stability and increased room underfoot.
The width of decks can vary between boards. Longboards and cruisers tend to have a standard size, which is generally wider than a usual skateboard. This is because wider decks offer more stability and control, making them suited to cruising, carving, and old-school skating. Standard skateboards can vary in width. For these boards, the main differences are that wider decks offer bigger landing platforms for tricks but are usually harder to flip than narrower decks. To start with, it is worth choosing a width of around 8" as this is a good balance between the two. There is no right or wrong width; it just comes down to personal preference.
Usually, longboards have a very gentle rocker and concave. Cruisers will often have a more pronounced rise in the tail of the board to help with your back foot placement and carving. Standard skateboards will have a rise in the tip and tail along with more pronounced concave across the width. Both the kick in the nose and tail and the concave across the board are to help improve your control and make tricks easier to perform and catch.
The trucks attach to the underside of the deck and are what attach the wheels to the board. In general, the width of the trucks should match the width of your board.
The height of trucks can vary, with low trucks being more stable for flip tricks and high trucks preferred for cruising and carving whilst also accommodating larger wheels.
The angle of the hangers also makes a difference to the ride. Lower-degree hangers give more stability at high speed, and higher degrees offer tighter turns. Some trucks (such as those that come with our longboards) offer reversible hangers to provide two different angle options.
Bushings are the rings that fit around the kingpin (the central bolt that goes through your trucks to hold them together). They allow the board to turn and pivot smoothly, and affect how responsive your trucks are. By tightening or loosening the kingpin, you can adjust how tight the bushings are and in turn, how easy the board is to turn. Bushings come in various stiffnesses, measured by a durometer, and in general, a softer bushing is more manoeuvrable, and a stiffer bushing offers a more stable ride.
Wheels vary in size and softness. Small wheels are great for tricks and smaller street riders, whereas larger wheels suit bigger riders, and importantly they roll better on rough surfaces as well as being faster. Longboards and cruisers will come with larger wheels than standard skateboards for this reason.
Softer wheels are better on rough surfaces and are again usually found on longboards and cruisers. Harder wheels are fast but less effective on slick or rough surfaces.
Standard skateboards with kick in the nose and tail are one of the most common board types. They are the go-to if you are looking to do tricks, grinds and are the best option for general park and street.
These boards will help develop your balance and certain tricks for snowboarding, especially grinds.
Cruiser skateboards offer a balance between longboards and standard skateboards. They are the perfect choice for transportation as they cover ground similar to a longboard but without the extra length, makeing them easier to manoeuvre and carry.
They will typically come with soft large wheels to smooth over bumps and rough terrain. With soft bushings, they are a great way to practice carving.
The additional length of longboards gives lots of stability and options for larger wheels. They roll smooth and quick and are another fantastic choice for carving. The length and flex of the board helps amplify this, and offers a close to snowboarding feel.
Take a look at our other buying guides
Snowboard Buying Guide
Choosing the perfect snowboard can totally transform your experience on the snow. Going from a hire snowboard to your own will allow you progress faster and enjoy it much more.