How to Choose the Right Skateboard Deck

One of the most important parts of your board is the deck. This is the flat board that you stand on when skateboarding. A shortboard or regular skateboard deck is the go to option for street and vert skateboarding. It's also the best option for technical tricks, whether you just began skateboarding or you are already a pro!

Picking the right size of skateboarding deck is one of the first things you MUST learn, along with the shape , length, width, materials, and concave shape of the deck! All of these factors will determine what you will be able to do on your skateboard depending on the discipline you want to get into.

You will need to replace your skateboard deck depending on how much use you give to it, there are dudes and dudettes that will change it every couple of weeks due to the insane amount of time and tricks they try to attempt, one very common way of breaking a deteriorating a deck is to skate handrails, there is also the occasional incident with the car passing over it  wich 90% of the times will shorten the useful life of your board dramatically. The sides, nose, or tail of your skateboard deck will also tend to split and get cracks, which is also a sign you need a new board!

So, let's get into choosing your first deck, keep in mind that width is the most important part of choosing a skateboard deck, not length or wheelbase. 

Size and style of the board will impact dramatically on the style of skateboarding you perform the width of the deck will depend on your size, skating style and personal preference!

If you choose the wrong size you will find yourself struggling to perform a trick or even riding the thing! Check out this very useful chart we pulled off for you, it will help you understand what we mean.


Choosing the right size of skateboard deck chart

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.



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Styles Of Skateboarding Decks

If you just got out of your skateboarding eggshell it will be better for you to know what styles are available since this is going to determine your skateboarding style and  the discipline you will be able to practice with your new board! The type of board that you choose will also determine all of the other important factors like wheels and trucks!



Shortboard

They are designed and shaped for getting air and performing technical tricks. If you're leaning towards street or park skating, a shortboard style deck will be a perfect match for you, keep in mind that this discipline takes a lot of practice and here at SHIT® we have plenty of tutorials you can start with!

 

Cruiser

These boards often have kicktails and a flat nose which will make flip tricks very complicated and almost impossible, but there are some adventurous people out there that define all odds and are able to skate on the almost the same way they do on a shortboard! They are designed mostly to cruise. The decks are typically mid-length but you can find them in all kinds of shapes and there are even the ones called penny boards which are made out of plastic and don't even have a grip tape. They are lightweight and maneuverable which is a great option if you are just looking for alternative transportation methods to school or just hanging out with friends in a sunny afternoon.

 

Old School

Old school decks also have a flat nose and kicktails. They are usually asymmetrical, with a wider nose. Old school boards are an awesome choice for skating pools, ramps, or carving the streets. And it's a memorable way to go back and pay tribute to the 80’s so if you are a vintage style lover, these will fit right in with you!

 

Longboard

Longboards are specifically designed for downhill racing. Downhill longboards tend to have asymmetrical shapes, sit lower to the ground, and have wheel cutouts, to avoid wheel bites from the larger wheels they use. Some people believe that you are not able to do tricks on a longboard, but there are different trick styles that don't involve the flips of the board which is something that has recently come up and you can look up on youtube, there are people doing some fun SHIT® with these babies!

 

 

Dissection of a Skateboard deck

Skateboard decks vary in size but most are between 7"-10" wide, and are made of seven-ply wood, bamboo, resin, carbon fiber, or plastic. As mentioned above, the features of the board will change depending on the discipline you want to  take on and also your personal experience and preference.

Here are some of the specifics to keep in mind, this info will leave you as a skateboarding decks genius!

 

Width

This will define a lot of aspects and even the style of skateboarding you perform you must choose your deck making sure you get the width right, which will depend on your size, skating style and personal preference, if you don't, you will find yourself struggling to perform a trick or even riding the thing! 

 

Length

How to buy skateboard decks sizes

This is the distance from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Shortboard length falls between 28"- 32" only pro skateboarders tend to choose different lengths on the boards, if you are just beginning make sure to put more attention to the Width and wheelbase rather than the length of your skateboard deck and stick to the regular standard size of the shortboard.

 

Wheelbase

This is the distance between your board's inner mounting holes which will determine how far apart your front and back wheels will be. Wheelbase is determined by where the mounting holes of the trucks are drilled on the deck. The average wheelbase is 13"-15" but some skateboards have multiple mounting holes for trucks to support vintage and old school kind.

 

 

Nose and Tail

The nose is the "front" of your skateboard and the tail is the "back." Which end is which can be hard to differentiate, but most decks provide you with graphics to tell the two apart, you can also use the PRO tip to have different color bolts either on the front or back of your board to be able to tell each part apart once the graphics are worn out.

 

Mounting Holes

These are pre-drilled holes where the trucks are attached using the skateboarding hardware or “washers”, two sets of four holes, one set in the nose and the other on the tail of your skateboard.

 

Ply

The ply is the thin levels of wood that make your skateboard deck. Some people think that the board is a solid piece of wood, and it is not! The ply construction affects many aspects of the board itself such as resistance, strength and even the pop the board is able to get. The typical skateboard is seven-ply, and most boards aren't over nine-ply since anything over that will make the board extremely heavy and difficult to manage and even carry around.

 

Concave

Concave is the curve of the wood between the deck's nose and tail. This will allow more room for a controlled ride and a stronger skateboard. Concave shaped decks are mostly used in cruiser boards since they will give you more comfort while carving and turning the board while downhill skating.

 

EFP

EFP (Effective Foot Platform) describes the area on the topside of the deck that riders stand on to control the board. EFP indicates the part of the deck between the front and rear trucks. You can think of EFP as the center  of gravity of the skateboard that is neither the tail or the nose.

 

Rails

These are the edges along the length of your board, they will make a difference in how your board rides. Rounded rails are common for street skateboards since the shape makes them good for flip tricks. Sharp rails have a blunt edge, which keep your shoes secured during slides. Gas pedal rails are a specialized rail shape where areas of the rails have been cut to a beveled edge. GPs takes from the rail's sharpness, and decrease the concave which will give you better control and comfort when doing slides. The performance of the rails depends directly on the concave of the board.


Concave Shapes In Skateboards

This  is a major factor that WILL affect the boards performance and capabilities. manufacturers are always experimenting with new concave shapes to adapt to new types of skateboarding styles. Most concave shapes allow riders more foothold than a flat skateboard, which can take sliding, drifting, and turning to the next level!

Radial Concave

Radial shaped concave skateboard deck

It is the most common deck shape you will find in the skatepark, though some boards have a deeper curve than others. This will give your feet better grip while riding and performing tricks, which can be useful for most styles of skateboarding!

 

Progressive

Progressive shaped concave skateboard deck

This is a more dramatic version of the radial concave. The steep wall on the rail combined with the wider base allows more secure footing and a more locked-in feel to the board

 

W-Concave

w concave shaped skateboard deck

The W-shape is specifically designed for the tail of the deck and It will allow you to shift more energy from your heel to your toe. Making your board highly precise and responsive to quick and sharp turns!

 

Tub

 Flat cave concave shaped skateboard decks

AKA flat-cave is similar to a radial board, but instead of a gentle curve, the rails extend at a sharp angle from the deck. Tub boards keep your feet flatter, which makes for a smoother ride.

 

 

Asymmetrical

Assymetric concave shaped skateboard decks

Asymmetrical concave is when the skateboard's rails rise at different angles. This allows riders more power in their heels for turns.

 

Convex

 Convex shaped concave skateboard deck

Convex boards feature an upwards-arching deck. They are uncommon, though some slalom and downhill skateboarders love the more natural foot placement convex boards provide.

 

Flat

Flat concave shaped skateboard deck

They are not very common and are mostly featured for the reissues of old school decks. Some cutout and dropdown longboards also feature flat shaped decks. They allow lots of space for your feet, and allow room to practice tricks like boardwalking and other flashy SHIT®

 

Camber & Rocker

Camber and Rocker skateboard decks

This will  play a significant  role in how the deck feels and what kind of skateboarding style you can perform. Raised middle are called camber’s, and those with dropped middles are called rocker’s. The angle of camber and rocker is typically mellow, but even the little difference in shape can affect the flexibility of the board.

The majority of skateboard decks have a neutral deck camber , these decks are mainly used in longboards and cruisers and rarely seen in boards used to perform tricks. Camber decks provide much more flex because of the higher center of gravity and the rocker decks feature a low center of gravity, which some riders think that it will make the board more comfortable to stand on. The minimal flex makes rocker boards a good choice for carving and going downhill at high speeds.

 

Kicktail

Skateboard deck kicktail

These are the ends of your skate deck and they will be necessary if you plan on focusing on a skateboarding style that involves technical tricks and flips! These babies make it possible to ollie, which is the base of many skateboard tricks. Most decks have kicks on both the nose and tail, which allows for even more advanced skate tricks. They are also very important when it comes to sharp turns, pivots, slides, and overall maneuvering of your board in the street skateboarding discipline.

 

Skateboard decks construction

It's a good idea to learn how the skateboard deck is actually constructed before you learn to ride it. This will give you an advantage and it will help you know what you want to get out of skateboarding. 

Maple wood is the most common material used for the construction of decks; it is flexible, and durable, allowing it to be easily shaped without taking away strength. Ply is the measure of how many sheets of wood make up the deck. These wood sheets together actually make for a stronger board than what a single solid piece of wood will do. The most common construction is with 7-ply, though decks may increase or decrease depending on the weight of the board that wants to be achieved.

The process begins with placing the wood sheets on top of one another, the direction the wood grain is placed can also make a big difference in the overall board performance. Manufacturers also experiment by alternating between sheets that run lengthwise and sheets that run widthwise; a practice referred to as “cross-beaming” which is believed to increase the board's durability. Once the sheets are glued into place, they are formed under a hydraulic press, which compresses the wood layers into a single piece of wood

In this particular part of the process the nose, tail, and concave of the deck (if it has one) are shaped by the press that bends the wood layers into each particular shape.

The amount of time the glue is left to set the boards will also be a key factor on the final performance. The longer it sets, the more naturally the board is held together.After this, the holes will be drilled into the deck where the trucks will be placed. From there, a saw is used to cut the deck's shape from the large piece of formed wood, which is then rounded and sanded to become smooth. The deck is also sealed and varnished to protect the materials from deforming and getting damaged. 



The final step is to add graphics to the deck. Many skateboards are screen-printed, though some companies offer custom hand painting as well. This is also a big factor in the overall look of the board, and trust us, there are endless designs to choose from to reflect your own personality and style! There are even colabs made by brands and professional skateboarders that create their own “signature decks” designed to the pros' liking and measures and some deck graphics are even designed by the prost themselves which gives these boards a much more close approach to your favorite skateboarding stars!

It is a beautiful long and hard process, and we hope that this little guide has helped you understand and define what is it that you are going to get from skateboarding, one thing we can assure is that you will have a SHIT® load of fun, meet new people, exercise and even help the environment with a green transportation method! Skateboarding it's a beautiful world wide family and if you are just getting into it, we welcome you!

 

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