Skateboarding requires some mastery of body, balance and perseverance. To skateboard safely, it is fundamental to evolve at your own pace without skipping certain stages of the learning process.
In this advice guide you'll find all the information you need to choose the right skateboard for your age and skill level.
- Beginners' skateboards
- Intermediate skateboards
- Advanced skateboards
- Understanding your skateboard
Children can start enjoying skateboarding from 4 years and up, whether standing or seated.
For a secure ride, it's best to chose equipment designed for beginners, to get maximum enjoyment from this board with four wheels.
To guarantee your child's safety, beginners'-lever skateboards have a wide deck, sturdy trucks for riding at this level, plastic wheels and slow bearings to prevent excessive speeds.
Once you've mastered the basics of boarding, braking and turning, you're ready to start learning some basic skateboarding moves.
Once you know how to ride properly, you'll need to move onto a more durable board. Skateboards designed for intermediate-level riders allow you to try out your first tricks, such as the ollie, the 180° or the shove-it...
You're now a master of the main tricks: kick-flip, heel-flip, 180°, front and back, pop, shove-it, etc. Once you're at this level, it's important to move to a board that's sturdy enough and designed to withstand the shocks inflicted on it by ledges, rails or jumping gaps.
You'll need to switch to a wider deck to assure greater comfort and good landings; bearings of at least ABEC 5; wheels suited to your boarding style (see the glossary); and solid trucks.
With a board like this, you'll be ready to hit the park, bowls, ramps or even simply the street, with no worries.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR SKATEBOARD
If you're new to skateboarding, you may have difficulty understanding some of its technical terms:
- Grip tape: similar to sandpaper, a sheet that covers the deck, giving the feet better grip during certain tricks. Grip tape can make a boarder's shoes wear out more quickly.
- Trucks: these connect the deck to the wheels. They are usually aluminium. The truck's fitting helps determine the skating style, rigid or loose.
- Deck (composition): the deck can be made of Canadian maple (the best performing), a mix of Canadian maple and other wood, or entirely of other wood.
- Deck (shape): The deck is measured first by width, then by curvature, then by length. The dimensions are measured in inches (1inch = 1" = 2.54cm).
- The front of the deck is called the nose; the rear is called the tail.
|Deck shape||Board characteristics|
|Narrow width (<8 inches)||Responsive
Good handling -- focus on tricks
|Wide width||Stability -- big feet|
Ease of handling
|Responsive -- good handling
- Bearings: A skateboard needs 8 bearings (2 per wheel).
Their precision and flow are measured according to the ABEC rating, from 1 to 9.
ABEC 1: simple, imprecise, inexpensive.
ABEC 3: highly durable, but with reduced comfort and speed.
ABEC 5: the most universal, these are the classic bearings for skateboards.
ABEC 7: very fast and fun for skating, enhancing movement.
ABEC 9: extremely quick, used most of all for downhill skating.
On the street and in the skate park, bearings are subjected to shocks and tension from every angle, so speed becomes a secondary factor. In this case, ABEC 3 or 5 bearings should be used.
For ramps and bowls, you may switch to ABEC 7 bearings.
- Wheel: Wheels have different shapes, dimensions and durability depending on board usage.
|Diameter < 52mm||Street technique|
|52mm< Diameter < 55mm||Universal, Skate park/Street|
|55mm < Diameter < 60mm||Skate park/Ramp|
|Diameter > 60mm||Cruising/Longboard|
Modern skateboards generally have wheels with hardness between 92A (softest) and 101A (hardest).
- Hard Wheel: quick and tough, slides better but channels vibrations.
- Softer wheel: comfortable, grips the uneven ground.
Skating technique includes many tricks that end with a slide. For this, hard wheels are an advantage. However, travelling on the skateboard will be less comfortable, with more vibrations and noise.
Soft wheels make for an easier ride but, because of their increased grip, make some tricks harder to execute (stickier wheels).