Skateboarding has become a popular activity for both exercising and recreational purposes. For that reason, the skateboard market has been growing tremendously over the past few years. Skateboard manufacturers have come up with so many different types and models for you to choose from.
For beginners, it can be overwhelming. There used to be the traditional cruising and carving but now, there are a ton of them. If you are confused about what type of skateboard to go for, this article is for you.
Skateboards are often classified based on their purposes. The components are still the same but their specifications are different to serve according purposes.
Deck: This is the actual “board” that you ride on. The length and width of the deck determine how fast and stable you can ride
Wheels: Wheels come in different sizes and shapes to suit different skating types. Larger diameters go faster and glide more easily over bumps on the road. Smaller diameters allow more control and shorter response time
Grip tape: A sheet of fabric or paper applied to the top surface of the board.
Bearings: where the wheels are mounted on the axle
Trucks: connect the bearings and wheels to the deck
Types of skateboard
As its name suggests, this is such a classic and universal type that pretty much suits everyone. If you are new and looking for a versatile skateboard, go for the freestyle one. It has been around for so long, which is understandable as it suits every needs and tastes.
Freestyle skateboarding is basically a flat ground skateboarding style, allowing riders to release their body and movements. Riders can do all kinds of tricks and footwork on a freestyle skateboard. Since freestyle skateboards have a lot of variations, it really depends on your needs to find the best type.
For example, if you want to mainly focus on footwork, go for something with small decks. On the other hand, bigger decks are ideal for routines involving jumping and rolling, like the 27.5 x 7 inches or 28.5 x 7.3 inches.
Please note that the board size matters. The best way to determine is to visit the board shop and try out yourself. While small boards are easier to control, they lack stability compared to big boards.
Slalom skateboard is specifically designed for downhill skating race that involves plastic cones along the way. Racers need to skate down the hill following all the cones. Whoever finishes the course in the shortest time wins. Each time a cone is hit, the racers receive a penalty as an amount of time will be added to their original runtime duration.
Most slalom skateboards are made to serve this purpose. The racers can easily control them to speed up, brake or turn. This is due to the large and soft board wheels that help boost the grip and speed of the board. The deck, made of foam and carbon fiber cores, is a bit longer and larger than a typical skateboard to make the board become stronger, more stable and more responsive.
Vert skateboard is a very unique form of skateboarding, as racers need to skate up and down inclined and vertical walls. This type of skateboarding mainly focuses on performing tricks while skating.
The average width of a deck is 7.5 – 8.25 inches. However, the vert deck is usually a little wider for safety reason. It is more stable for all the flipping and jumping on the walls. The wheels are also a bit larger than normal.
Skateboarding downhill is not for novice racers. It is for advanced racers who are very familiar with sliding, drifting, braking and coming to a full stop on command. This is definitely considered a sport because it takes excellent skills and precision to run downhill fast.
Downhill skateboarding requires specialized equipment to ensure safety. Stiff top-mount and drop-through decks are the most ideal for going downhill. It depends on your feel and preference to choose the right deck for you.
If you want to race fast, consider a top-mount deck. On the other hand, those who value stability will go for a drop-through deck. That’s why beginners usually choose drop-through decks as they sit low to the ground to enhance stability and wipe away the rider’s fear of speed.
Once you are familiar with racing downhill, you can switch to top-mount decks. The trucks are attached directly to the bottom of the deck, which help achieve more grip racing around bends. Top-mount boards give better speed while still able to slow down when sliding in tight corners.
If you are interested in downhill skateboarding, please find out more on longboardbrand.com, which explains in more details about required gears, techniques, and so on.
Cruising is perhaps the most straightforward form of skateboarding. It is for those who want to use skateboards as a means of transportation. Riders can just run on a long road without doing any flips or tricks.
Simple as it may sound, you still need specific types of board for this purpose – something that can help you go far without hurting your feet, or allow you to stop easily when needed during the traffic. Normally, longboards made from supple plastic or wood are perfect for cruising. The length is around 28 and 46 inches.
The boards should not be too stiff, either. Boards with flexes are great for the long rides because they are capable of absorbing shock on some of the rough terrain on the road as well as releasing some pressure you may feel on the knees and ankles. Also, when the board is flexed, your feet are lower to the ground, which gives you more stability.
One more important component to mention is the cruising wheels. Generally speaking, longer decks go with bigger wheels for more balance. For cruising skateboarding, you should go with big, soft, and lightweight wheels that can roll smoothly over bumpy roads.
Unlike cruising, street skateboarding focuses on tricks and transitions that use the surrounding objects. The rider can do all sort of tricks they can think of, using things that are not purposely built for the sport, such as park benches, handrails, stairs, bins, picnic tables, and so on.
For easy movement, the deck should be narrower than other types of board. As a result, the wheels should be small (around 48-55mm) as well. With such set up, it is convenient for riders to do all the flips, jumps, and spins while riding. The best material for street board wheels is polyurethane because it is extremely hard, giving the ride a faster and more dynamic twist.
Pool skateboard involves skateboarding on a pool. It’s definitely a fun sport that is worth trying out if you haven’t already. Basically, people drain the swimming pool and skateboard in it.
The best skateboard for this purpose is something with a wide deck to promote control and stability while ensure a smooth ride at the same time. Pool skating also involves rough and huge landings which may break your board so it’s reasonable to get something wide and tough.
The board design is likely the same with vert skateboard since the sport form is similar in many ways.
When racers skateboard on an uneven pavement, it is called off-road skateboarding. The pavements are normally packed with gravel, sand, or dirt. This is suitable for those who are adventurous and not into the traditional skateboard tracks.
All you have to do is to take your regular skateboard and replace the wheels. The best thing about this is that there is no need to buy a brand-new board. The ideal wheels for this case are large ones made of rubber. They glide smoothly on different surfaces, even dirt and grass.
The best feature of off-road skateboards is the brake. Yes, they have brakes. You can easily stop the board when facing dangerous terrains.
It can be overwhelming for beginners to decide what type of skateboard they should choose. Just do your research based on our given information and you will know what suits your style and preference.