Decks come in a variety of lengths, widths, and concaves. A decks construction starts with layers of maple wood and the lamination process. These layers are fused together with glue and pressure from a hydraulic press. The deck is then cut to shape, sanded, and finished with paint and graphics. Here are a few tips to help you find the deck that is right for you.
Most skaters will choose a deck based on width, length, concave, style, particular brand or a combination of these board details. Finding the right board for your style of skating is all based on your personal preference. Trying a variety of decks is the best way to find the most comfortable ride for your skating situation. If you are a new skater and you need a starting point, these next tips will help you find a good deck to get started on.
If you are planning to skate vert ramps, pools, and transitions, a wide deck should be a good choice. As a general rule, Vert skaters prefer wider decks of 8 to 8.5 inches. These skaters like the stability of the larger boards when riding transitions and performing airs.
If you are looking to skate handrails, street gaps, benches, stairs and other objects on the streets, a more narrow deck should fit your style perfectly. Street skaters prefer more narrow boards in the 7.5 to 8 inch range. Wide decks can make it difficult to perform technical tricks.
Vert/Street Skaters (both styles)
If you are interested in mastering both vert and street styles, you need to find a deck that can perform in both situations. These decks are the sizes that are around the middle size wise, about 8 inches wide. Narrow decks make flip tricks easier but give you less stability on the ramp. Wide decks will make the ramp easier to ride but your flip tricks will be harder to land. You will have to experiment to find your happy medium. If you are having trouble riding both styles with one board you may want to get two boards, one for vert and one for street skating.
If you are not interested in tricks and are just looking for a board to cruse around on, a long board will be your best choice. Long boards are scaled much larger and have a long wheelbase. Along with the wider trucks and larger soft compound wheels, long boards give you more stability at faster speeds.
Skateboard Deck Facts
The most common skate decks are made from 7-ply maple. These decks are standard for most skate companies. And most companies make a 7-ply deck. There are variations from this standard including 5-ply decks, 9-ply decks and boards fused with materials such as fiberglass. For example, Blind and Darkstar decks are made from 9-ply maple. This makes these boards stronger but adds more weight compared to a 7-ply deck. Habitat “Skylite” decks are a 5-ply deck which reduces your overall weight. The drawback is a weaker deck compared to a 7 or 9-ply. The Element “Fiberlite” deck has a strip of fiberglass added down the length of the board. The plus is a lighter board but over time the deck starts to fill a little “mushy”. Zero and Girl decks are standard 7-ply decks that are flatter than other brands. Flatter decks generally last longer than decks that have more of a concave. You will have to find out if you can ride a flatter deck comfortably.
Hopefully this information will help in finding you the right skateboard deck for you situation. If you have any questions, please contact our support team.
Trucks are the components that mount to the bottom of the deck and hold the wheels in place. A truck consists of an axle, hanger, baseplate, bushings and a kingpin. The axle is the longest part of the truck. It has treaded ends on it to secure the wheel in place with a axle nut. The hanger is the piece that houses the axle and attaches to the kingpin and bushings. The kingpin and bushings attach the hanger to the baseplate. The bushings allow the hanger to pivot so you can lean to one side or the other. This will allow your skateboard to turn. Bushings have a variety of durometer (hardness) ratings. This will affect the way your skateboard will turn. The baseplate is the flat piece that bolts directly to the bottom of the deck. Most have a standard four bolt pattern that will fit all decks.
Matching Trucks to a Deck
Trucks come in different axle lengths. Longer axles turn a board slower compared to shorter axles, which turn a board quicker. The most important consideration in choosing a truck is matching the axle length with the deck width. For example, if you have a deck with a width of 8 inches, you should get trucks with an axle width of 8 inches. Make sure your wheels do not stick out past the edge of your deck.
All Skateboard wheels are made from a hard urethane composite. Wheels very in size (diameter) and hardness (durometer). Diameter ranges from 49mm to 72mm.Durometer measures hardness on a scale of 90 to 101. The higher number rating the harder the wheel. All wheels have a standard size center core to house standard skate bearings. Here are some general principals to follow when picking out a wheel:
Generally, vert skaters prefer a larger, softer wheel for their speed and stability under these skating conditions.
Street skaters ride the smaller size wheels between 49mm-58mm. This will make technical tricks such as blunt slides a little easier to perform. As for wheel hardness, it is a personal preference. If you are planning to ride on rough surfaces such as street asphalt you may want to try a harder wheel.
Long boarders prefer the larger size wheels with the softest compounds for a smoother ride over cracks and bumps found in the street. The larger wheels and soft wheel compound gives your long board the best control for higher speeds.
Light Weight Wheels
Some companies have developed wheels, which are lighter in weight compared to the standard wheel. These wheels are made from the same hard urethane, but are have a hollow section inside the wheel itself. This hollow section creates a lighter wheel. Overall with four wheels it makes a noticeable difference in weight. Two examples of these types of wheels are Element Featherlites and Ricta Air Cores.
Bearings are small units that fit inside skate wheels. They allow the wheels to spin freely and allow the wheels to fit over the truck axles. Two bearings must be pressed into each side of a wheel. Most bearings are rated by a number system created by the Annular Bearing and Engineering Council (ABEC). Ratings used are usually ABEC 1, 3,5,and 7. The higher the ABEC number rating, the faster the bearing. Some bearings simply do not have an ABEC rating. However, do not grade these bearings as having a greater or lesser quality as rated bearings. Some of the highest quality bearings available do not have an ABEC rating.
Sealed and Serviceable Bearings
Bearings contain shields, the round clips on the sides that hold the ball bearings inside. Sealed bearings have shields, which you cannot remove. Serviceable Bearings allow you to remove the shield and clean and relube each ball bearing.
There are a few simple steps to follow to extend the life of your bearings. First, keep them dry. If your bearings stay wet they will rust and become ruined. Second, keep them as clean as possible. Dirt and grime will reduce their performance. Wipe dirt off the surface of the bearing or use a citrus cleaner for a deeper cleaning. Never use WD-40; this product will remove oil and grease from inside your bearing.
Over the life of a bearing, it will naturally leak oil and grease from inside. When you can hear the sound of metal ball bearings rattling around, it is time to replace your bearings. Bearings take a lot of abuse, no amount of preventive maintenance can stop this. You will have to replace bearings from time to time.
Note: All bearings are standard size and should fit any skate wheel
You need 8 bolts and 8 nuts (with nylon inserts) to secure your trucks to the bottom of the deck. Hardware is always sold as a package of 8 nuts and bolts. You need to find the correct length for your hardware. If you planning to use riser pads (or trucks with built-in risers) you may need to get longer hardware to compensate for the space the riser will take up. Some hardware comes with one colored bolt to help distinguish the front of your board from the back at a quick glance. The most common size is one inch, which will work with most riser pad set-ups.
Riser Pads can help eliminate a few problems you may encounter with your skateboard. First off, risers can give you extra space between the top of the wheels and the bottom of the deck. This will help counteract “wheel bite”. Wheel bite happens when the wheels rub on the bottom of the deck from a turn or a hard landing. Secondly, risers can help soften your ride. They help absorb shock from sidewalk cracks or from a hard landing. They also help prevent cracks from appearing between the bolt holes on your deck.