Having been included in the next Olympic Games, skateboarding is a sport on the rise. Nowadays you'd be hard-pressed to find a town, village or borough in the UK without a local skatepark to be proud of, making skating super accessible for just about anyone with a passion to rock 'n' roll.
Whether you're chasing a beginner deck for children taking their first leap of faith or the coolest street cruiser to coast around your local area, you can be certain there's a good deal to be had on Amazon, Decathlon and eBay. Our picks feature brands like Birdhouse, Bamboo and Loaded, who are all leading the charge in making decks that'll last for modest prices.
Putting faith into the deck under your feet is a prerequisite of skating. That's why finding a quality deck that's suited to the style you intend to get into isn't just recommended, it's downright essential. In this buying guide, you'll come to know the different types of skateboard decks and what separates the built-to-last from the easily-snapped ice lolly sticks.
Skateboard decks come in all shapes and sizes, making it paramount to know what kind of deck you're chasing before you start narrowing down the field within that field. From cruisers, longboards and the classic double kicks designed to destroy the skatepark, deciding on the chosen type is your first ledge to ollie.
Double kick skateboards are what comes to mind for just about anyone when they think of skating. They're are the most popular type of deck because they are designed solely with tricks in mind. Whether that's in the street or the skatepark, having a double kick skateboard is your go-to if this is your aim.
Double kick basically translates to the nose and tail of a skateboard being elevated at an angle that helps to create pop, which in turn allows you to ollie – the backbone trick that most other tricks are structured around.
Another notable design feature of double kick styles is their concave, which helps in steering and flipping a skateboard.
Cruiser skateboards are a great means of enjoying the thrills of skating while getting from A to B to C. They're also very versatile as they come in an array of sizes, making them ideal for both the littlest of kids and the largest of adults.
For the most part, cruisers will feature just a tail kick, as they're not specifically designed to do tricks with. Sometimes they'll have a slight nose kick to increase trick capabilities, but this will be minimal compared to purpose-built double kicks. They suit large and soft wheels, perfect for rolling over street debris and letting you cruise with less potential to bruise.
Unlike double kick skateboards, cruisers can be constructed from either heavy-duty plastic or wood. Plastic cruiser decks are normally cheaper but are known for being harder to ride. This is because they're often narrower, making for a less stable platform to cruise on – worth bearing in mind if you're just starting out.
Longboards are a little bit more niche with their desired intentions. Sure, you can get around on them just like cruisers, but they kind of stand alone in the department of speed thrills. Due to having such a large platform, they are the top choice for people wanting to bomb hills.
They're also great skateboards for doing more acrobatically-influenced tricks, surfing-inspired nose riding and even swirling and dancing while skating. This makes them the perfect boards for letting your imagination run wild and seeing where your longboard style takes you.
Unlike cruisers, longboards are always made out of wood, and often feature a kick-less construction. This is through having absolutely no chance of flipping these beasts of the streets, so they're also a good shout for new skaters finding their balance.
Once you've narrowed down the style of skating you intend to be doing with your chosen deck, it's time to take a look at the deck's size. With the slightest of variations changing a deck's potential to shred, it's imperative to find a tailor-made one from the offset.
This is where all the magic happens. With your feet firmly planted on a suitable deck, you should be able to really dig your heels in and start improving. This is why the width is so crucial, as it'll influence the style you intend to skate and a deck's ability for tricks and flips.
The industry-standard for full-sized double kick boards is anything over 7.5", with most tapping out at 8.5". The lower end of the scale is more suited to kids and doing techie flip tricks, while the higher end is for bowl and ramp skating where a solid platform is essential. The most popular double-kick width sits in the middle at 8".
The width can vary tremendously for cruiser and longboard decks, with some mini cruisers being a mere 6" and the widest longboards and old school cruisers reaching 10". The same principle can be applied to these types of decks as with double kicks. So if you're looking for stability, aim high, or if you want a more responsive feel, try something narrow.
You should be able to tell a skateboard's type and intended purpose simply by its length. Double kick decks range from 28" to 32", with 28" to 30" being solely for kids. Adults looking to buy a double kick should be looking in the 31" to 32" range.
It can get a little more sporadic where cruisers are concerned, with some adults preferring to ride teeny tiny mini cruisers at 22" in length and kids often feeling at home on full-size cruisers. However, the common industry-standard to go for if you're unsure is between 27" and 30" in length.
As the name suggests, longboards can really throw the scale out in the length department. Longboards can be any length over 32", but it's not uncommon to see them at 40" and beyond. Just like the width is imperative when looking at double kicks, so too is the length of a longboard.
Longer boards are better at gaining speed and keeping momentum, while shorter ones are more responsive and better for kids.
Skateboard decks are constructed from thin layers of plywood that allow for a lightweight, durable deck with plenty of pop. The number of layers can be a good indicator of a deck's quality; for instance, a deck with 9 layers may sound hardy, destined to stand the test of stairs and time, but it's actually an easy way out using cheap wood.
The standard for most boards is 7 pieces of ply. This will be a telling sign that a skate brand has put trust in their deck's construction. Decks made from Chinese maple or birchwood are lower in quality, so look instead for bamboo or the preferred Canadian and North American maple wood.
Canadian and North American maple is considered the best thanks to its flexible yet incredibly strong construction, which is due to the cold and humid air in which the trees are grown. This unique climate makes the maple trees grow slowly, increasing their impact resistance and making them ideal for hardwearing skateboards.
Skateboard decks are hazardous pieces of kit without any grip, making grip tape an integral part of a functioning board. This tape is basically a long piece of sandpaper with an ultra-sticky glue composite on its underside, ready and waiting to be stuck onto your deck.
When buying a skateboard deck, therefore, it's a nice and welcome bonus if grip tape comes with it. In shops you would have to buy it separately, however, on the great world wide web, some decks pleasantly come with grip either already stuck on or included separately for you to do the honours.
By now we hope you're absolutely chomping at the bit, ready to pounce on your chosen street-slaying deck. Fortunately, we've curated an unshakeable top 10 with a little something for everyone. With the whole scope of board variety being considered, you're undoubtedly set to find your first or next deck of dreams.
|Construction||8 ply Chinese maple|
|Construction||7 ply Canadian maple|
|Construction||6 ply bamboo, maple|
|Grip Tape||Spray on|
|Tail/Nose Kick||Minor tail and nose lift|
|Width||7.75" - 8.25"|
|Length||31.5" - 32.3"|
|Construction||7 ply Canadian maple|
|Width||7.75" - 8.75"|
|Length||31.4" - 32.7"|
|Construction||7 ply Canadian maple|
|Tail/Nose Kick||Tail/slight nose|
|Construction||7 ply maple|
|Construction||7 play hard rock maple|
Triple Stack Skateboard Deck - Rasta
Coyote Cruiser Skateboard Deck
Vanguard Bamboo Longboard Deck
7.75" Skateboard Deck 120 Bruce - Green
Plain Skateboard Deck
Longboard Deck for Dancing
Mini Cruiser Blank Skateboard Deck
Double Kick Skateboard Deck
Mini Cruiser Skateboard Deck 27"
Blank Double Kick Skateboard 8"
Birdhouse's Winning Full-Size Deck With 7 Ply Hard Rock Maple
The Coyote Is a Skateboard on a Mission to Peruse and Cruise
A Snowboard-Inspired Longboard for Carving and Commuting
Plenty of Decals and Plenty of Sizes by Oxelo
A Blank Deck With Four Different Sizes to Choose From
Large Longboard Designed for the Creative Spirits to Dance
Bamboo Mini Cruiser for the Kids and Big Kids at Heart
Kick Off Your Hobby With This Quality Starter Deck
A 70s-Inspired Cruiser With Tonnes of Colourways to Choose From
A Cheap Full-Size Entry-Level Deck to Get You Rolling
|Type||Double kick||Cruiser||Longboard||Double kick||Double kick||Longboard||Mini cruiser||Double kick||Cruiser||Double kick|
|Tail/Nose Kick||Both||Tail/slight nose||No||Both||Both||Minor tail and nose lift||Tail||Both||Tail||Both|
|Width||8"||8.375"||8.5"||7.75" - 8.75"||7.75" - 8.25"||9.5"||6"||8.25"||7.5"||8"|
|Length||32"||30.75"||38"||31.4" - 32.7"||31.5" - 32.3"||44"||22.5"||32"||27"||31"|
|Construction||7 play hard rock maple||7 ply maple||Bamboo, fibreglass||7 ply Canadian maple||7 ply Canadian maple||Wood, fibreglass||6 ply bamboo, maple||7 ply Canadian maple||Plastic||8 ply Chinese maple|
|Grip Tape||Yes||Optional||Yes||No||No||Yes||Spray on||No||N/A||No|
In case you and the kids aren't quite satisfied with your artillery of speed-centric equipment just yet, we've got you covered. From complete skateboards for kids to scooters for both adults and children, why not have all the bases covered when the pavements and parks are calling?
Skating is one of those unique sports that has many different avenues for expression. With so many different ways to skate and boards to skate on, it attracts an eclectic mix of people from all walks of life. We hope this article was helpful in finding your skating style or elaborating on your already-flourishing skating story.
Author: Connor Macanally
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