Buying Skateboards for Intermediates
In this guide, we will be focusing on trick-oriented skateboards for skating in the streets, skateparks, or bowls. However, if you are looking for a skateboard for cruising or as an alternative way of transportation, you can have a look at our guides for Cruiser Skateboards or Longboards.
If you have been skating for a while, your tricks are becoming more advanced directly impacting your skateboard that gets lots of beatings. At this stage, you need good quality and durable skateboard that can withstand the pressure. In the skateboarding world, the quality of the board goes hand in hand with the price, and the more you are willing to invest in your skateboard the higher quality you get in terms of the deck, trucks, wheels, or other components that will improve performance and prolong the lifespan of your skateboard.
Now it's the time to get a strong and reliable skateboard or upgrade your current board with new parts. You might even consider building your own custom skateboard from scratch.
What can you find in this guide?
In this guide, you will learn about skateboarding disciplines such as street, park, vert, or bowl and find out what is the ideal set up based on these different riding styles.
You will find useful tips on how to choose the right size based on your shoe size while also considering your preferred riding style and weight.
This guide further addresses the topic of custom build skateboards versus buying a complete board to help you make the decision if you are in doubt about what is best for you.
Finally, we will explain some of the features of skateboard parts such as decks, trucks, wheels, and bearings, and their influence on the overall performance to help you with choosing the perfect skateboard for your needs.
Although there are different skateboarding disciplines out there, most people don't stick to just one but rather do a bit of all. Therefore you don't necessarily need a different skateboard for each riding style but it is a good idea to know what you are going to do most of your time and choose your skateboard accordingly.
Park and Street
Whether you are planning on skating in the skatepark or on the streets the tricks will be more or less the same. Although the obstacles might look different in skateparks compared to those found in streets, skateparks are built to mimic the streets. You will find funboxes, half-pipes, stairs, rails, and other obstacles that allow you to perform the same tricks you would do in the street on benches, curbs, walls, and handrails. Most likely if you skate street, you also skate in the park.
Choosing park/street skateboard:
Whether you are doing park or street you want to make sure you have the correct size of the deck. Compared to other disciplines such as vert, the deck is typically narrower which makes the board very responsive, maneuverable, and easier to flip. How to choose the right size will be covered later in this guide.
When choosing a park or street skateboard you want to also consider the terrain you will be skating on and choose wheels that fit the terrain the best. Skateboard wheels in this category can range between 50 - 56 mm in diameter and about 95 -100 A wheel hardness. Any wheel within this range will be suitable, but if you are still in doubt the following information can help you with your decision.
For a really smooth skatepark surface, the very hard skateboard wheels can easily slide, and choosing a wheel towards the softer range with a bigger diameter would help you to grip better.
On the other hand, if you are skating mostly on the street you may encounter rough surfaces. Unwanted sliding isn't an issue here but for a better skating experience, softer wheels would be recommended. As a street skater, you would wanna get wheels towards the smaller size range to increase agility. However, if the surface is really rough, a bigger wheel rolls over small pebbles easier and prevents you from getting stuck.
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Vert/Transition and Bowl
Vert or also commonly known as transition skateboarding style involves mainly skating vert-ramps and mega-ramps. The key here is the speed and stability as you want to be able to gain speed when dropping down in order to get as high as possible. However, due to the difficult accessibility of these big ramps, this discipline is rarer and rarer.
The bowl as the name suggests involves skating in the bowl/pool. It is very different from vert. While in vert you are skating up and down trying to get higher, in the pool you are “surfing” inside the bowl and changing direction all the time. Therefore these riding styles are quite different and so is the skateboard setup.
Choosing skateboard for vert or bowl:
Whether you are skating bowl or vert you will need a wider deck compared to a street or park. This is because a wider deck provides you with better balance and the skateboard will feel more stable during speed.
This doesn't mean that you can't use your regular skateboard to ride a bowl but having a wider deck is definitely an advantage. The wider deck gives you a larger surface to stand on and better stability.
We are also talking about small differences about 0.25 inches wider deck compared to the recommended size for a street deck (see our size guide). In general, the width of the deck for vert and bowl would be around 8.5 to 9 inches.
Choosing wheels for vert and bowl is a matter of preference and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for others. In the end, you will need to find out what works best for you by experience.
When it comes to bowl riding, for example, some skaters ride quite small wheels to prevent “wheel bites” but some prefer bigger wheels as it requires less effort to push in order to go faster. When bowl riding you want to save energy as much as possible as it can be very exhausting. The soft wheel will grip too much and the higher friction will slow you down. Therefore you should ideally have wheel hardness between 97A and 99A.
In vert skating, you definitely need the necessary speed of bigger wheels between about 56mm and 58mm. You also want a lower grip which can slow you down. A wheel with a hardness of 98A and higher would be preferable.
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Choose the right Size
When it comes to choosing the right size, you want to make sure that the width of the deck is wide enough for your feet as this will make it easiest for you to steer. You may want a smaller or wider size depending on your shoe size as you can see in the size chart below. If the deck is too narrow for your shoe size the skateboard will feel too unstable while if the deck is too wide it can be less responsive and difficult to maneuver.
By a rule of thumb, if you use shoes in European size 45 or bigger, you should choose a deck that is at least 8 inches wide, otherwise, it will be difficult for you to land properly when making tricks.
|Skateboard Width||Recommended Age||Shoe size US||Shoe size UK||Shoe size EU|
|6.5"||3 - 5||6C - 11C||5Y - 10Y||23 - 28|
|6.75"||3 - 5||7C - 11C||6Y - 10Y||24 - 28|
|6.825"||4 - 6||9C - 12C||8Y - 11Y||26 - 30|
|7.0"||5 - 7||10C - 1||9Y - 12Y||28 - 32|
|7.125"||6 - 8||11C - 2||10Y - 1||29 - 33|
|7.25"||7 - 9||12C - 3||11Y - 2||30 - 34|
|7.375"||8 - 10||13C - 4||12Y - 3||31 - 35|
|7.5"||9 - 11||1 - 6||13Y - 5||32 - 38|
|7.625"||10 - 12||2 - 7||1 - 6||33 - 39|
|7.75"||12 - 14||4 - 9||3 - 8||35 - 42|
|7.875"||12 - 14||4 - 9||3 - 8||35 - 42|
|8" & Up||14 & Up||9 & Up||8 & Up||42 & Up|
Your weight and riding style can be secondary factors that can influence the size of a board you should get.
If you weigh more than an average person, you might want to size up your skateboard by 0,25 inches. However, if you weigh about 100kg the width of the board shouldn't be less than 8.5 inches regardless of the recommendation based on your shoe size.
Besides your weight, you might consider a wider deck (about 0.25 inches) if you want to do vert or bowl as it will provide you better stability. Therefore decks that are 8.5 to 9 inches wide are usually used by riders on-ramps, as they are easy to land on.
Complete Skateboard versus Custom Skateboard
Should you choose a complete or custom build skateboard? If you have been skating for a while you have the possibility of both. However, if you don't have so much experience yet, a complete skateboard might be a better option for you.
There are many good quality complete skateboards with endless cool graphics. The complete skateboard will usually be cheaper than buying individual components and building one from scratch. A complete skateboard is also a very convenient choice. You don't need to worry about picking the right components that fit together or have any experience with assembling a skateboard. All you need is to choose the right type of skateboard for your riding style, correct size and your complete skateboard is ready to go right away.
Besides that, you can always upgrade the skateboard by getting a new set of trucks or other components at a later point.
Complete skateboards have mostly a standard setup but there can be some differences in the components such as wheel size or deck material.
Tip: Upgrade your skateboard with new trucks or wheels: You can also get a complete skateboard and only buy new trucks or wheels when you feel the need for it. Complete skateboards have decent quality decks so you might want to keep the deck you have already broken in and give it an upgrade.
If you are an experienced skater building your own skateboard will give you the possibility to build your own custom skateboard.
The advantage of building your own skateboard is that you get to choose all the components separately and customize the setup exactly according to your preferences and riding style. Perhaps you want to get higher trucks for better maneuverability or bigger wheels for more speed. It is totally up to you.
Our Skateboard Builder can be handy when you are choosing parts for your skateboard. This way you can be sure that all the parts will fit together and see if you like the final look of your designed skateboard. When buying a skateboard through our skateboard builder, you will get a skateboard assembled by experts in our workshop with free goodies and a voucher included.
If you are building or upgrading your skateboard, you can have a look at the following guides, which can help you to make a decision when it comes to choosing each component.
If you want to assemble your skateboard yourself but have never done it before, you can also read our How To Build A Skateboard guide with an instruction video.
The deck of the skateboard is something that can't be underestimated. You definitely want a deck that is durable and gives you the confidence to “trust” your board.
We recommend choosing a deck from Canadian maple. It is high-quality wood material that can endure extreme use without breaking or deforming and can be found in good quality decks.
Chinese maple, on the other hand, would be more suitable for beginners or kids.
Unless the skateboard is intended for beginners, the deck will be made of 7 layer construction which is visible from the side of the deck, ensuring strength and durability.
When it comes to the shape of the deck, the most commonly used and standard for years is the Twin-Tip, also known as the “popsicle” shape. Thanks to the raised nose and tail you can easily go switch. It is the most versatile shape used for all types of disciplines from street to vert, by simply choosing a wider or narrower deck. Wider decks provide better stability, therefore they would be typically used for vert or bowl where you need a good balance in speed. The narrower deck, on the other hand, will be more agile and responsive. Therefore it is preferred by street and park skaters. A narrower deck is also preferable for flat-ground tricks such as ollies or kickflips.
For more information about skateboard decks including other less common shapes of decks, read our Guide to Skateboard Decks.
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Complete skateboards usually come with standard trucks but higher quality skateboards will usually also come with higher quality trucks. When buying trucks it is smart to go with well-known brands, as these typically have better quality. Known brands usually are more durable, but are at the same time more flexible and calibrated significantly better. This means that it will be easier for you to steer your skateboard precisely.
If you are building your own skateboard and you are planning to buy the trucks separately, we recommend you to read our Skateboard Trucks Guide. Trucks can come in various sizes and heights so it is important to know which trucks will fit your board and riding style.
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Skateboard wheels are not all the same. A complete skateboard can come with different wheel sizes and hardnesses which can have quite a significant impact on your riding experience.
The diameter of the wheel (wheel size) influences the speed and maneuverability. Complete trick skateboards usually come with a wheel diameter of around 54 mm which is a very good all-round wheel size.
In general the following applies:
- Bigger wheels provide higher speed but less maneuverability
- Smaller wheels provide less speed but better maneuverability
The wheel durometer describes how hard the wheels are which directly affects the wheel’s ability to grip, absorb vibrations speed, and even lifespan. Trick skateboards can be found with wheels with a durometer ranging from 90A to 100A+ and the higher the number the harder the wheel.
In general, the following applies:
- Harder wheels provide higher speed and a longer lifespan, but less grip and less shock absorption.
- Softer wheels provide more shock absorption and grip, but less speed and a shorter lifespan.
Read our extended Guide to Skateboard Wheels, if you are customizing your board and want to know more.
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When it comes to bearing, some skateboards come with lower precision than others. The precision is measured in an Abec scale and the higher the number the smoother and faster they can usually roll. However, it is not always a good idea to get the fastest bearings. The faster bearing can be more expensive but if you are mainly focusing on technical tricks or your board gets lots of beating you don't actually need them.
If you are going to use your skateboard on the streets or you are gonna be tough on your board, we recommend choosing bearings in the range of Abec 3-5.
However, if you are planning on skating transition you can benefit from faster bearings in the range of Abec 7-9.
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