A Guide to Purchasing a Skateboard and Riding
Skateboarding has been one of the fastest growing sports in the United States (as well as many other regions of the world) over the past decade. Today, skateboarding products have begun to appear in “mainstream” sporting goods stores, and skateboarding’s brightest stars like Rob Dyrdek, Ryan Sheckler, and Bam Margera have produced popular television shows.
Clearly the world is embracing the sport like no other time in the history of skateboarding.
Are you ready to pick up a board?
Obviously the first thing you will need to begin your skateboarding career is the proper equipment. If you plan to make skateboarding a hobby, you should not search for a bargain board at Wal-Mart or Target.
These skateboards, though cheap, are almost certainly low quality, and they will inevitably be inadequate once you begin to improve your skills.
If you have a local skateboard shop nearby, this would be the ideal place to start your search. Experts at these specialty stores will understand your needs as a beginning skateboarder, and they will best equip you with the proper products.
However, if you are unable to locate a skate shop, there are many online outlets to turn to. SkateAmerica.com and CCS.com are both extremely popular online skateboard shops; however, you will find many more options after a few minutes using a search engine.
Whether you choose to purchase a board in-person or online, you will need to build a skateboard kit, the first thing you will need is a deck.
The deck is an oval-shaped piece of wood, and this component is where you will place your feet.
Though decks come in many shapes and sizes, the two main categories will be full-size and children’s boards. If you are a smaller adult or a pre-teen, a mini-board would be ideal to match your body.
In addition to differences in size and shape, decks are always unique because of the graphics on the bottom of the board. As dozens of companies produce decks, the options for graphics are nearly limitless.
If you browse the walls of the skate shop or the pages of an online retailer, you will almost certainly find a picture that appeals to you.
After you find a deck, you will need to purchase a pair of trucks.
These are the two metal objects that are attached under the deck. They allow the wheels to be mounted to the board.
At this stage, the quality of the trucks does not matter as much as it will in the future, since their purpose is fairly limited. Trucks are used by advanced skateboarders to perform “grind” tricks, but these maneuvers are complicated and will require months of practice. You may want to look for a cheaper set of trucks to make your complete skateboard more affordable.
Wheels And Bearings
Next, you should purchase a set of four wheels for your board. Like the deck, many wheel companies place pictures on the wheels and they also differ in quality which is why it is important to get the best skateboard wheels for beginners.
Find a graphic that appeals to you and a set of wheels that is within your budget, and then you should be nearly ready to ride. After that, you should find a set of bearings, which will be placed within the wheels.
These bearings are critical because they will allow your board to travel both quickly and smoothly once you hit the streets.
Like the trucks, most beginning skateboarders will not notice the difference between inexpensive and high-end bearings, so this may be another place for you to minimize the cost.
Though there are numerous ways you may customize your board, these are the most important elements for constructing your first skateboard.
Once a professional has assembled your board, you will select a piece of grip tape. This grip tape will be placed on the top of your deck, and it will allow you to perform tricks or ride your board easily without sliding off the slick wood. Nearly all grip tape is the same, so you will not need to think too carefully when selecting a brand.
At most skate shops, your board will be built free of charge by an expert. This service can be performed in a matter of minutes, and you will be ready to ride afterward.
If you buy your board from an online retailer, most will provide the same service. Make sure to browse the company’s website to make sure that you will have a professional assemble your new skateboard.
For some people, purchasing these components may seem overwhelming. If this is the case, you may want to search for a “complete board.” Though you will not have as much freedom to mix and match parts, many companies offer a complete package of their products that is ready-to-ride right out of the box.
There are many well known brands that are available in the market and online but you have to remember that many brands come and go which is why if you are starting off it is a good idea to go for the best skateboard brands out there.
A new skateboard may cost anywhere from $80 to $130. If this price is too much, you may want to search for skateboards at local garage sales or on eBay. However, be careful, as a used skateboards will often have a significantly shorter amount of life left than a brand new skateboard. Skateboarding, like anything else, requires some investments, and using a well-used skateboard may not pay off in the long-run.
To begin, you should also consider investing in a skateboard helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. Though some skaters elect to ride without this protective gear, you will run the risk of breaking a bone or sustaining an unsightly wound while your learn. Not only are these injuries inconvenient and painful, they will also make it more difficult to continue riding. As you become more skilled, perhaps you may shed some of the protective equipment. However, at the beginning of your career, this equipment should be viewed as a must.
After purchasing these items, you are on your way to skateboard glory. Find a flat area nearby (like a driveway or a parking lot) and begin to ride in straight lines. At this point, you should focus on getting a better feel for your board. Begin riding faster, and then try to turn around without stepping off of your board. Practice speeding up and slowing down. Once you have these basic skills mastered, you are ready to begin tackling tricks.