So, you’ve been watching a bunch of Braille videos and you finally decided to get your first skateboard. Great! We’re excited to help you out on this amazing journey. Creating new skaters and inspiring everyone to learn how to skate is our entire purpose, so we couldn’t be more excited.
This blog post will go over all the aspects of buying your first skateboard. Because it’s your first, everything can seem pretty intimidating. All the sizes of boards, trucks and different kinds of wheels can really become a bother. Fortunately, we’re here to help you out and help you pick out your first skateboard!
It’s important to remember that your first board does not have to be the best, most amazing board that you can get. If this is your first skateboard, you’re not going to be bombing hills or kickflipping down El Toro. But here is the breakdown of the different parts that you will need and the basic information you’ll need to pick out what’s suitable for you.
We’re going to be covering all the parts that go into making a full complete skateboard. These are:
- Skateboard Deck
- Grip Tape
The first thing is the board itself. This is also known as the deck. This is the largest single part of a skateboard, the wooden plank that you stand on. The main shape that you will find on a skateboard has a rounded nose and tail (front and back). This allows you to do many of the tricks that are done in skateboarding these days. So if you want to learn how to do tricks on your skateboard this is the shape that you are going to want to get.
There are other types of skateboards such as cruisers, longboards and even electric skateboards. But these aren’t suitable for trick style skateboarding because they’re for different purposes. Cruisers are great for riding in bowls or commuting, but not so much flatground tricks. And because we focus mostly on trick skating, that’s what we’re going to be looking at today.
Skateboard Deck Size
With this being your first skateboard there is really one measurement that you are going to need to worry about. This is the width of the board, which is measured in inches. The usual sizes go between 7.5 inches and 8.5 inches. There are some that are smaller and a few that are bigger, but at this point we will be looking at the most common sizes.
If you are planning on leaning how to do the tricks where you are flipping you board a lot, the smaller sizes are better. 7.5-8.0 are ideal, and the most commonly skated. Since the deck is smaller, it makes easier to flip it faster. And for learning how to ride, ollie and the rest of the basic tricks, any of these will do just fine.
If you are going to be skating halfpipes, pools, or other ramps, then the larger sizes are better for that. There is more board for your feet to be on and it gives you more stability. If you are not quite sure what you are going to be skating or you plan on being able to skate it all then somewhere in the middle is what you would be looking at. This would be the 8.0-8.25 range.
An 8 inch board is pretty standard and is a good medium for all of these. That’s not to say you can’t skate halfpipes or bowls on a 7.75, or you can’t do flatground tricks on an 8.25. Tons of skaters do. It really is just up to preference.
Now, there’s not a set a size of board for your shoe size. It just comes down to personal preference. It can also change. Many skaters will go from a 7.75 to an 8 and then go back down to a 7.75. It really just depends. So try out a couple of options. The important thing is that you get a board that you feel comfortable on.
The other part of a deck and the part that probably has your attention the most is the graphic. This part does not matter too much. It will get scraped up pretty quickly if you get a board that does not have any graphic (a blank board) it is not going to change anything in your skating.
The next part of your board in the griptape. This is the sandpaper that goes on top of the deck and gives your shoe something to grip to. Griptape only comes in one size, and you cut it to fit whatever size board you have.
It is usually black but sometimes there are other colors or designs on it. This does not affect your skating at all and is just a preference point. If you want a design, then spend the extra couple of bucks to get the griptape with the design on it. Check out the video below on how to put griptape on your board.
The next component is the trucks. This is the turning mechanism of a skateboard. They come in pairs of two and are most commonly silver. They all operate the same way.
What you do want to look at is the length of the big pin that goes across the truck. This is what the wheels go on. This is called the axle. This should be the same size as the width of your board, or pretty close. It does not have to be exact.
The part about your trucks that you will have the most interest in is how tight or loose they are. This effects how much or little you can turn on your board.
Tighter trucks wobble less, while looser trucks will wobble more. This is, again, a preference point and can be adjusted as you go. It does not have to be set to one point and then left there forever. The way that you adjust this is by loosening or tighten the nut on the big screw in the middle of the truck. This big screw is called the kingpin.
When you put the trucks on your board make sure that the kingpins of your trucks are facing each other. This is important because if you face them away from each other your board will turn the wrong way. I.E. you lean left and the board turns right.
To learn more about trucks, we made a separate blog post that goes more in depth on picking out the right trucks.
Hardware is simply the nuts and bolts of your skateboard. It’s what attaches your trucks to the deck. In each deck, there’s a set of 4 pre-drilled holes on either side of the board. The hardware goes into these holes and screw the board and the trucks together.
There’s not a whole lot else to say on this other than hardware is all pretty standard. Funnily enough, this is the easiest thing to shop for!
Next part is your wheels. The choice on this one is the size of the wheel. This is the diameter of the wheel measured in millimeters. Smaller wheels are better for flip tricks and street skating. Larger wheels are better for bowls and halfpipes. Smaller wheels are in the range of 50-53 millimeters. Larger wheels are 56-60 millimeters. If you are going to be doing a mixture of both then the 52-55 mm sizes are good.
For your first set of skateboard wheels that is what you need to know. As long as they are round, they will work just fine for you.
To learn more about wheels, we made a separate blog post that goes more in depth on picking out the right wheels and all the different types of wheels.
Last part is your bearings. At this point this will be pretty simple for you to pick out. Any set of bearings that your skate shop has will work very well for your first skateboard. They come in sets of eight, two for each wheel. One bearing goes into each side of the wheel. Sometimes they come with a little round cylinder called a spacer. This would go in between the two bearings inside the wheel. This is not something that is needed, but if it comes with the bearings you can put them on.
That’s all the parts of a skateboard. I hope this helps you get your first board. You will go through many boards as you spend more and more time skateboarding. You will always remember your first one. As you progress in your skateboarding you will gain more of a preference on what you like and what you need to change.
To sum it up, here are all the parts to your first skateboard:
- A Deck
We do have complete skateboards and accessories packages available in our shop with all of the above tools. We have everything you need to start skateboarding on our online shop!
Now that you’ve got all the parts, here’s how to put it all together!
Now go out there and skate! We’re very excited to help you enter into the wonderful world that is skateboarding. It’s going to be a wild ride, but I assure you it’s all worth it.
If you’re new to skateboarding and looking to improve your skills, definitely check out Skateboarding Made Simple. It’s the most detailed lesson plan for skateboarding that exists. With 7 different volumes, you’ll go from learning how to ride on a board, to skating skateparks and landing more advanced flatground tricks in no time!
We want to see what you’re riding! Send us a photo of your deck or setup and tag @brailleskate, #brailleskate and #brailleskateboarding on Instagram. We love to see you guys progressing and learning new tricks. In order to do that in the best way, you need some high quality gear. So let’s see those setups that you’re rocking and be proud!