Sizing Up Skateboards
January 3, 2016
Skateboarding is as big now as it ever was and with that said there is a plethora of skateboarding products available to the masses. Some products are better than others but it is all dependent on what kind of skateboarding you choose to do.
Bigger wheels versus smaller wheels, bigger decks versus smaller decks, its all relative to your style of skating. While skateboarding has no set style or rules, there are different kinds that people prefer.
Nowadays technical skateboarding is immensely popular because skaters keeps pushing the limits of what we all once thought was impossible to perform on a skateboard. Technical skating is like something you would see out of a video game, flipping the board into a grind and then flipping back out and sometimes even more in between.
Technical skaters usually prefer to ride smaller decks. 7.75 or 8.0 sized decks are the usual default for technical skating due to their smaller size which allows the board to flip easier and allows the skater to have more control of the board under their feet. Smaller wheels are also the default that goes along with technical skating due to their lighter weight, allowing the skater to pop the board higher and flip it faster. The wheels are made of a hard durometer so they can slide easier. Skateboard trucks that are equal in size to the deck are the usual go to when it comes to technical skating for balanced control throughout the entire set up.
Transition skateboarding A.K.A. mini-ramp/half-pipe/pool skating is still a large part of skating today as it was when skaters first found abandoned pools to skate back in the early 70’s. The only difference is back then the boards were much, much smaller than the boards people began riding into the later 70’s and early 80’s.
Transition skateboarders prefer to ride bigger sized decks around the 8.5 size and above so they have more flexibility on where they can move their feet around the deck. A bigger deck size also helps when it comes to landing back onto the ramps when they do a big air trick. They also tend to ride bigger truck sizes so they have more clearance when going up to the coping to do grinds. Although a downside with bigger trucks is the added weight to the whole board set up. You also have a larger chance to hang up on the coping while doing lip tricks and any skater who’s been in that situation knows it never ends well. Big soft wheels are meant for transition skating because they allow you to go faster which in turn allows for longer grinds and higher air tricks. Soft wheels also grip the ground better than hard wheels so you can feel more secure upon landing back into the ramp.
Street skating has the most varied skateboard set ups. In the past the deck shapes were large and had unique shapes. Then the 90’s came into swing decks got smaller and they all shared the same “Popsicle” shape. In the modern era of skateboarding there is a both a mix of big and small decks, also regular and irregular shapes.
Welcome Skateboards have some of the most popular irregular shaped boards in production right now. Oddly shaped skate decks can sometimes be more fun to skate on rather than Popsicle shaped decks for various reasons. The right shaped board with bigger wheels can help you out in some situations where a Popsicle shaped deck with the same wheels can hold you back. Truck and wheel sizes can vary a whole lot more if you choose to ride a shaped deck too because different shapes give you more leverage on what your board set-up can pull off.
Popsicle shaped boards are still the most popular choice to skaters all-around. Some popular brands that are famous for the classic popsicle shaped boards are Toy Machine, Real, Krooked, Plan B, Element, and Habitat skateboards. Skaters can also support their local deck companies for a lower price than those brands listed before, and it helps support the local skate scene which is always a good thing to do. Board concaves (how the deck curves inward on top) although are different throughout every brand. Some decks are flatter and some have more concave, every skater has a different preference on deck concaves.
Two of the most popular truck companies you’ll see around in all styles of skateboarding are Thunder trucks and Independent trucks. Both companies make amazing skateboard trucks that will grind through the roughest rails, take the hardest impacts, and give you the most turn control. While there are other truck companies out there chances are you can ask a random skater what their favorite trucks are and they’ll answer with one of these two.
Just like how there are two famous truck companies, there are two wheel companies that many skaters praise and cherish. Bones wheels and Spitfire wheels are the two classic wheel companies that skaters mostly choose from. Many of the pro skaters that amateur skateboarders look up to are sponsored by these wheel companies which could be one reason they’re so popular. The other reason is because no other wheels can compare them besides each other. Bones wheels have been around since the big bang of skateboarding emerged and have been backed by skaters ever since. Bones wheels make the promise that they will never flat-spot (when the wheel flattens out in one spot due to excess strain on that spot) which every skater dreads. Spitfires are almost on par with Bones with little to no flat-spots occurring but what really stands out to people is that Spitfire is really involved with the skateboarding scene. They set up special collaborations with certain local skate shops to help endorse and support the local skate scenes and communities.