If you are brand new to the skateboarding world you might have some problems in this area and you don't want to come up as a rookie when you go to your local skate shop and have no idea what you are going to get! You obviously know you need a board, but how do you choose one? Don't worry my dude or dudette with the SHIT® Buyers Guide, you will have all of the knowledge needed and maybe a little more to start on your quest for the perfect board!
There are 2 questions you might want to ask yourself before we start, do you want a Custom Board or you want a full complete skateboard set up and ready to go?
This is a highly recommended option if you are just planning to start skating since as the name explains, you won't have to pick each and every piece of the board, it already comes fully assembled and it's ready for you to take it on its first ride! One of the other benefits is the price, all of our full set ups are made of the best quality parts and price in our stock!
This is an option mostly recommended to those who already have experience with the boards, parts and preferences from their skateboarding experience, you will find a wide selection of the best quality products, from decks to bearing and all in between.
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TOP Grip Tape
One of the most important things you need to keep in mind while getting a board (specially the first one) is the size you are going to choose, this will define a lot of aspects and even the style of skateboarding you perform you must choose your deck according to the width, which will depend on your size, skating style and personal preference, find a chart below and become an expert on the matter!
7.5" to 8" - Standard board for adults, specially designed for street skateboarding and technical tricks!
8.0" to 8.25" - If you are more of an old school dude this is perfect for pools, ramps and parks.
8.25" and larger - Ideal size for vert, pools, cruising, and just going to the supermarket, college campus and such.
Which trucks should I buy?
These are the metal pieces that are mounted on the bottom of your deck. When getting the skateboard trucks, the width should almost match the width of your deck.
They are very important pieces since the way the trucks perform will also affect your overall skateboarding style, also keep in mind that the way you set up the trucks when it comes to how tight or loose they are set will affect how you will be able to turn on your board and also perform moving and static tricks!
Axle: is the pin that runs through the trucks in which you will attach the wheels
Hanger: made of metal, is the largest part of the skateboard truck that has a triangular shape. The axle runs through the hanger
Kingpin: is the large bolt that holds these parts together.
Down below you will find a chart comparing the different trucks sizes needed for each deck depending on its width!
6"-7.25" truck axle - 6.5" to 7.25" skateboard decks
7.5" truck axle - 7.25 to 7.5" skateboard decks
7.75" truck axle - 7.5” to 8" skateboard decks
8.0" truck axle - 8” to 8.5" skateboard decks
8.5" truck axle - 8.5” to 9" skateboard decks
9.0" truck axle - 9” to 10” skateboard decks
10.0" truck axle - 10” and above skateboard decks
The distance between the bottom of the deck and the hanger of your truck is very important depending on the discipline that you practice. In general, a midsize truck works well for most skateboarders, but high or low trucks may be preferred for different styles of skating such as longboarding or cruising, the height of the trucks and the hardware will also determine if you will need riser pads to be able to set up the trucks properly
Provides extra stability for flip tricks, designed for small wheels (50-53mm wheel size recommended)
Good all-around profile for street or park (53-56mm wheel size recommended)
Great for cruising and carving, designed for large wheels (56mm+ wheel size recommended)
There are a few aspects to keep in mind when you are getting the wheels for your board there are hundreds of colors brands and styles you can get for your board, but other than the aesthetic aspect you need to focus on the technical aspect of the wheels because this is what will actually help you to develop your skateboarding skills
Regular skateboarding wheels are made of polyurethane. What will affect the way the ride and tricks of the boards is the diameter and durometer, both of these depend on your personal preference and skating style.
Small, slower wheels; stable for trick riding and smaller riders skating street, skate parks, and bowls.
Average wheel size for beginners and bigger riders skating street, skate parks, bowls, and vert ramps.
Skating longboards, old-school boards, downhill, and dirt boards; made for speed and rougher surfaces.
This is what will determine the hardness of the wheels, the harder the faster you will be able to ride and if they are softher they will give you a very good grip to the surface and once again this all depends on your preference!
The durometer of the wheels is measured on a scale which goes from 1-100 to measure hardness. Other companies use the B Scale which measures 20 points lower, allowing the scale to be extended by 20 points for harder wheels. For example, an 80b durometer is the same as a 100a durometer. Let's check out a chart which will allow you to better understand the purpose of the hardness of the wheels and their specific applications, once you have used a few different sets of wheels you will know for good what's your go to set!
Soft wheels good for rough surfaces, longboards, or street boards that need lots of grip to easily roll over cracks. Designed for smooth rides, cruising, longboards, hills, and rough surfaces.
Slightly harder and faster but with less grip, it is still a good good grip tho. Good for street and rough surfaces.
Very good speed and grip, recommended for beginners skating streets, skate parks, ramps, pools.
Hardest and fastest wheel with the least grip. Ineffective on slick and rough surfaces. These are made for the pros.
Wheels using the B scale are extremely hard, measuring 20 points lower than the A Scale in order to allow the scale to extend another 20 points for harder wheels.
In this particular case you wont need to worry about the size of the bearings since they all have the same! The most important thing to keep in mind is the quality and the material of the bearings, this is the one small piece that can make a huge difference! It provides your wheels the capacity to roll, so we recommend to always get the best quality. Cheaper bearings can get deformed or break completely under the pressure of skateboarding and trust us, it will not be pretty! Inexpensive bearings may also not be sealed as well, resulting in dirt and debris in your bearings that will slow your board down after a few rides.
The prices can vary from different materials, but don't go and buy the most expensive ones for your first board! It will not be necessary, just make sure you don't get the cheapest ones either or you will be having to go back to get new ones within a couple of weeks!
Bearings are measured by an ABEC rating. The higher the ABEC rating, the more accurate and precise the bearing will be. This rating system includes grades 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The ABEC rating does not specify many critical factors, such as load handling capabilities, ball precision, materials, material Rockwell hardness, degree of ball and raceway polishing, noise, vibration, and lubricant. Due to these factors, an ABEC 3 classified bearing could perform better than an ABEC 7 bearing.
Bearings are also provided by a massive amount of companies that have different colors and designs which could also make you board a little more custom, but once again bear in mind that mid priced bearings are great for starting!, don't be afraid to ask in your local skateshop, average quality bearings should last anywhere from 2 to 6 months depending on the use you give to your board!
This is also one of the main things to keep in mind but also the easiest to buy, your hardware is basically what holds your board together! It is used to attach the full trucks and wheels set up to the skateboard deck and it is composed of the following materials:
Each set you buy will come with 8 bolts and 8 locknuts, here is a little chart to keep in mind when you are getting hardware if you trucks have or not risers and its height, because it WILL make a difference.
they usually also come with 2 sets of bolts and locknuts in a different color from the rest with the purpose of you putting these either on the tail or the nose of the board and be able to tell them apart after the graphics have been worn out!
7/8" to 1" hardware - no riser
1" to 1 1/8" hardware - 1/8" riser
1 1/4" hardware - 1/4" riser
1 1/2" hardware - 1/2" riser
Skateboarding grip tape is also a critical part of your skateboard and it is essential to be able to perform tricks and have stability on the board.
Is sold in single sheets that are 9" X 33", you will need to peel off the bottom of the sheet, revealing a very sticky underside that will stick to the top of the skateboard deck. Once you are able to set it you can use a box cutter or razor blade to cut your grip tape to fit your skateboard deck exactly. If you are new to this process we recommend you check out youtube tutorials or just ask the guy at your local skate shot to teach you how to do it! They will be more than happy to do so!
The grip tape allows the rider's feet to grip the surface of the skateboard and stay on it while performing tricks. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns so you can also personalize your board at your liking being the opposite side of the graphics which also influences a lot the visual aspect of the board! it is regularly available in all black and also clear transparent (rarely used) but don't be shy! Always find the way to express yourself! You skateboard will become an extension of your being and it might as well shows!
Do I need riser pads?
First you need to determine if you are in actual need for the riser pads, these equipment is mostly used for low trucks that have a big wheel set! Also keep in mind that if you do get the riser pads, you will probably need to get longer hardware to be able to fit it properly!
This is a flat plastic pad that is mounted between the skateboard truck and the skateboard deck. They increase the space between the truck and deck, raising the board! This piece of gear will only be necessary if you are experiencing wheel bites during a sharp turn, the wheel bite basically stops the wheel from rotating. Riser pads come in a variety of colors and thickness levels. Depending on your skateboarding style, riser pads can prolong the life of your skateboard deck by reducing the risk for stress cracks where the deck and the trucks meet.
This gear will be necessary as the wheels get larger since there's a greater chance for wheel bite, In general, the longer the board is, the larger the wheel and the more height is needed in a riser pad.