What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think skateboards? Fun, daredevilry, skill and thrill-seeking might be a few of the buzzwords. But no matter what you make of these four-wheeled land yachts and their audacious riders, you cannot help be impressed by the talent and the practice that it takes to ride a skateboard. With the sickest tricks that can be pulled off using just a piece of plywood, a bunch of wheels and some hardware, it won’t be long before yet another thought crosses your mind, “I wish I could do that.”
Here’s something you should know before you break bank on your first skateboard – all boards aren’t the same. Besides the expected differences in size and paintjobs, what you skate is defined by how you skate. Depending on what you use your board for and where you ride it to, your choice of skateboard will vary. Boards can largely be divided into 3 categories, Skateboards, Longboards and Cruisers.
The most common of the 3, skateboards is easily recognised by its shape. Its concaved structure and upward curving tail end enables its riders to perform tricks, one of its primary functions other than cruising. A regular skateboard is composed of a wooden ply deck that’s usually made up of layers of maple wood, trucks that serve as axles, four wheels with their individual bearings, hardware bolts to hold it all down together and a grip tape on top of the deck for a sturdy footing. Over time, the underside of the deck has become a unique medium for artists to display their work, which has in turn largely influenced skateboard culture and fashion. Skateboards like the BDSkateCo BD Deck Rustic Gold Fiberglass 8.125″ are built for durability and pop, letting riders push the outer envelope of their skill, unleashing the gnarliest of tricks at the skatepark, in a skate bowl or on a ramp.
As the name suggests, these boards are longer than regular skateboards, and have a longer wheelbases and bigger decks that make them easier to learn on as a beginner. The wider deck lets riders find their balance easily by having more room to evenly distribute their weight. Longboards have looser trucks that combine with the flexibility of the board to let riders cruise easily. More suited for cruising, carving and commute styles of riding, longboards take on bigger and tighter turns with ease. Softer polyurethane wheels gobble up cracks on the street as the lower ground clearance keeps them stable. You would be mistaken though to think that longboards are the polite cousins of the skateboard family. Due to their increased stability, longboards like the Sector 9 Shoots Complete Assorted Longboard have often been used by expert riders for downhill riding, and can reach blazing speeds of up to 140 km/h.
The lightest and most convenient of the three, Cruiser skateboards can be thought of as shorter longboards. Built for urban commutes, cruisers employ wide loose trucks that make it easy to carve around streets, while softer wheels roll over harsh grounds easily. Some cruisers have an upward curving tail that lets riders perform simple tricks like popping the board over a crack on the street or tail, dragging it to a halt. Mini cruisers like the Case BSS Case Penny Board 6×23″ are made of plastic that makes them lightweight and easy to haul around. Their construction is designed to absorb immense force, while bright hues make them a fashion accessory that’s spotted on campuses and schoolyards.
With skateboarding now becoming an official sport as part of the 2020 Summer Olympics, its popularity is bound to grow. Expect to see more skaters take to the streets, grinding rails and thundering down hillsides. Get started on perfecting your skate skills by picking the right kind of board for you from the latest range of skateboard products online at Sun & Sand Sports.