Its go time! Now that you have decided to get into skateboarding, or even if you are an old legend, it always helps to know how a skateboard is constructed and what all things you should consider when choosing a deck that is right for you. Watch the video or read below.
So before you go in to buy your board, you'll have a million questions on what exactly to look for, what exactly do you want from the variety that's available. In this article we'll go over understanding & choosing skateboard decks.
A skate deck is the flat (mostly wooden) plank you stand on while skateboarding. A few things to consider, or the features that make up a deck are;
- The material used
- The size best for your use - length, width, wheelbase, nose & tail, and concave
- The least important but one of the exciting parts is the graphics, the overall look of the deck
Your skateboard deck plays a big role in your riding comfort, the amount of pop you get off an ollie, the way the road feels under your feet, not to mention how long your set-up will last. Take a peek into what you should consider when buying or building one of your own.
A deck requires some flexibility to perform tricks and other manoeuvres. It should also be as light as possible and not too heavy.
Most skateboards are made using laminated sheets – or veneers – of hard rock North American maple, a durable and somewhat flexible wood. Rather than making a deck from one solid piece of wood, quality boards are built with multiple layers of ply ranging from 7 to 9 plies. The grain of each wood layer is laid in an alternating direction, so that the deck cannot split along the natural grain of the wood.
Maple wood is an ideal wood type for skateboards; it is flexible, yet durable, allowing it to be easily shaped without sacrificing strength. But as you get more involved in skateboarding, you'll start to come across variations on material used, like; Composites, aluminium, nylon, fibreglass, resin, Kevlar, Plexiglas, and other artificial materials that are being experimented with to increase the rigidity of the skateboard deck. Inexpensive decks may be made simply of plastic, best used in smaller sizes for penny boards.
Finally, graphics are added to the underside of the board. Screen-printed skates are most common, but there are boards that are hand painted, too. (Slick-bottom boards are the exception. In this case, manufacturers add a printed sheet of plastic to the bottom ply before it is laminated and glued.) After the graphics are finished, the decks dry completely before getting boxed up and sent into the waiting arms of skaters around the world.
The dimensions of the board may vary depending on intended use. You want to use it to cruise, ride streets & land tricks or shred bowls/ pools.
Size does matter! Well at least when were talking about a skateboard deck. Most skateboard decks range between 7.25” – 8.5” wide. The width of the deck is also the dimension used to identify the size of the board in general. The width you need depends on your height, shoe size, skating style, and personal preferences.
The length of the board is a little more standardized ranging between 31.5” – 32” long. Vert-Ramp riders often use wider decks for better stability and to prevent speed wobbles. Wider boards are also suggested for larger people. Narrow boards are easier to flip and are generally more adopted in street skating. If you are a beginner or like to ride a little of all terrain, you can choose a deck that is somewhere in the middle. Don’t be afraid to experiment; try out different deck sizes over the years.
The wheelbase is the measurement of the distance between the two sets of mounting holes drilled into the deck for the trucks. It is usually about 13″ to 15″, with the preferred distance dictated both by the rider’s height and personal preference. Taller people will likely be more comfortable with a wider wheelbase, which lets them widen their stance while skating.
NOSE & 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. The nose tends to be thicker and a bit longer than the tail and the tail tends to be thinner and a bit shorter than the deck.
The upward curves on the ends of your skate deck are known as kicktails. If you plan on doing any tricks on your skateboard, you will need a deck with kicktails. Kicktails makes it possible to ollie, which is the first step to the vast majority of skateboard tricks. Most decks have kick on both the nose and tail, which allows for even more advanced skate tricks. Kicktails and kicks are also important for sharp turns, pivots, slides, and general maneuvering in street skating
The sunken indentation in the deck’s surface is its concave. The sides of the board between the nose and tail are curved upwards, giving riders more control and stiffening the flex for added durability. Concave is a major factor in board performance. Skateboard manufacturers are always experimenting with new concave shapes to accommodate new types of skateboarding. Most concave shapes allow riders more foothold than a flat skateboard, which can take sliding, drifting, and turning to the next level. The amount of concave that works for you is best determined through trial and error; judge the way it cups your foot and how much control and feel it lends to your riding.
CAMBER & ROCKER
The lengthwise curve of your skateboard deck also plays a role in how the deck feels and what kind of skateboarding you can do on it. Skateboard decks with a raised middle are known as camber skateboards, and those with dropped middles are called rocker skateboards. The angle of camber and rocker is typically mellow, but even the subtle difference in shape can affect the flex of your board.
For more info on fitting a deck to the trucks, click here to view the deck to truck sizing chart.