What are the best skateboards for beginners out there? You’re asking this question because you want to learn skateboarding and spice up your life a little. Or, you’re coming back to skateboarding after 20 years and feel that your riding has gotten a tad rusty. I’m here to help.
Also Read: Best Skateboards
I’ll guide you on how to choose a good beginner-friendly skateboard. I’ll hand you practical first-skateboard selection tips so you can get into this thrilling outdoor sport quicker.
Before we get to the buying guide, below are a few options that’d be ideal for beginners.
5 Best Complete Skateboards for Beginners
- Powell Peralta Vato Rats Complete Skateboard (Best Overall)
- Powell Golden Dragon Flying Dragon Starters Skateboard
- Krown Rookie Complete Beginner Skateboard
- Enjoi Whitey Panda Beginner Skateboard
- SkateXS Panda Complete Skateboard (for Kids)
I’ll start with a beginner skateboard reviews section just in case you want to know the best options right away and purchase. Then I’ll follow this with a detailed and useful buying guide.
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1. Powell Peralta Vato Rats Complete Skateboard (Ideal for Big Riders)
Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Powell-Peralta, a California-based company sculpts this beginner skateboard from hard, American yellow birch. The wood may be light, but it’s also quite strong.
The manufacturer uses water-resistant glue to hold the plies together using Powell-Peralta’s proprietary presses. The deck is pretty stiff and long-lasting, and popping this one feels almost effortless.
The skateboard features stable, high-quality Mini-Logo trucks made of premium alloys. The trucks turn well, thanks to their high-rebound bushings and heat-treated axles.
These skateboard trucks are great for beginners, but they’re also great for advanced skateboarders. You won’t need to replace them when you evolve into a pro skater down the road.
The 32″ long skateboard deck measures 8.25″ wide, which means even bigger riders can enjoy this board. And the wheelbase measures 14″. These measurements are ideal for both beginners and pros. Oh, don’t worry about the wheelbase, which ranges between 13″ and 15″ for all kinds of decks.
It’s a medium concave deck (K20 concave, a radial concave shape) with a 6.88″ tail and a 6.63″ nose.
Do you know why this concave is great for beginner skateboarders? It’s because this radial deck shape makes switching from one skating style to another easy.
The wheels are 53 mm Mini-logos at 101A, ideal for both park and street skating. I suggest swapping these hard small wheels out for softer wheels if you’ll mostly skate rougher surfaces.
Finally, pro-quality grip tape laden with silicon carbide grit ensures your feet stay on the board the whole time. And the 1960’s gang-scene-inspired artwork by artist Craig Stecyk (the famous Vato Rat graphics) tells the word you’re a really cool girl or guy.
- Made of hard yellow American birch
- Cool Vato Rat Bones artwork on the deck
- High-quality Mini-Logo trucks
- High-rebound bushings
- Wide deck that increases stability
- Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
- Great for doing tricks
- Not the cheapest
- Wheels may be too hard for outdoor skating
- 101A wheels not super grippy
- Wheel size not ideal for skating over cracks and rocks
You can find $40 decks, but aren’t they usually stuff no one should buy? Overall, this beginner-friendly deck from Powell Peralta is a quality product that’ll most likely serve you for months or years.
But if you’re going to abuse this board like there’s no tomorrow, don’t expect it to hold up forever. It’s a beginner skateboard, after all.
2. Powell Golden Dragon Flying Skateboard (Great for Beginner Kids and Adults)
Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
This is another beginner skateboard made by Powell-Peralta. But I should point out that the company produces this complete skateboard from China.
Not a very nice thing, right? It’s not nice when companies ship American jobs to overseas labor markets. But I think they’re not the only ones manufacturing stuff overseas.
Still, the board is great, and you may want to make it your first-ever complete skateboard. It’s 7.625″ wide and nearly 32″ long, ideal dimensions for beginners and experienced skateboarders.
The wheelbase extends 13.75″, and the deck features a 7″ inch nose and a 6.625″ tail. Well, the tail does feel a little too sharp, but that means it’s great for ollieing concrete curbs and other places.
As for the wheels, they’re 54mm tall, which makes them more versatile than most. At durometer 99A, the wheels are pretty hard, and that makes them great for skating on hard smooth surfaces.
If you’re planning on riding over rough asphalt and pavement, you’ll want to swap these wheels out for softer wheels.
The trucks are from Powell. But it seems like the manufacturer makes them out of some kind of tough plastic. The good thing is these trucks last, though.
I contacted the manufacturer. And they told me that the trucks on this complete are made out of cast aluminum. But so far as I can see, these skateboard trucks definitely aren’t metal trucks.
At that price point, though, you really shouldn’t expect premium-quality trucks. These trucks may not last a lifetime, but you can rest assured they won’t break after a ride or two. Unless you end up with a pair of defective trucks, which can happen.
There’s colorful screen-printed artwork on the deck, a flying dragon, and that gives it a nice look. But graphics shouldn’t be the only reason you choose board A over deck B.
- Good for beginner kids and adults
- Great price
- Nice, colorful deck print
- Hard wheels for performing tricks and park skating
- Grippy topside
- Small wheels are not great for rolling over cracks
- The trucks are made out of plastic, but they last
- Wheels not soft enough for skating on rough pavement
Overall, this is a decent beginner-level complete skateboard that offers OK features. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better alternative in that price range.
If you’re seeking out a cheap beginner skateboard that takes abuse without falling apart within weeks of purchase, go with the Powell Flying Dragon complete skateboard.
3. Krown Rookie Complete Beginner Skateboard (Budget Pick)
Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Krown Rookie beginner skateboard is made of Canadian maple, arguably the best deck material out there. If you look at the price, you may end up thinking the board is a pile of crap. But it’s not that bad for the price.
Krown has been in this game for over 2 decades. They’ve built up tons of skateboard manufacturing knowledge and identified many sources for high-quality parts at great prices.
But how good are the components Krown uses to assemble this beginner board?
The board measures 7.5″, a width that works for pretty much everyone. The length is 31.5″, which is the standard length for a regular skateboard.
As for the concave, the deck features a modern concave that makes pulling off tricks easy and fun.
What about the trucks? They’re 5.0″ aluminum trucks that come paired up with 52 mm wheels at durometer 99A. These wheels are pretty hard and small, which makes them a good bet for skating street and park.
But at 52mm wheel height, you could easily trip on small rocks and twigs. These aren’t great for riding crappy surfaces.
You’ll want to loosen the wheels a bit as they come ridiculously tight and have a really hard time turning. At least, that was the case with the board I ordered for a friend’s little tyke as a birthday gift.
I like that the trucks are aluminum. But the setup right out of the box doesn’t work well. The board pulled to the right, and the kid couldn’t steer it to the left.
Fortunately, his daddy skates and knows how to fix improperly mounted trucks. He had to re-drill the holes on the deck and re-mount the trucks to make this board work. It does seem like a quality control issue there. And it sucks.
Once the setup was fixed, the boards felt noticeably more responsive. I think that’s because the trucks are rather narrow at 5.0″, which means somewhat less stable. But the truck isn’t too narrow that a starter can’t ride it safely.
The maple deck is available in a variety of exciting color combos. There’s blue/black, purple/black, orange/black, white/black, and green/black. Choose the best option for your skating style and have fun.
But it turned out that the deck wasn’t the best quality either. After landing a few jumps on the sidewalk, there were small cracks on it.
The paint was coming off in some areas, too. Plastering stickers on those small cracks did hide them, but the board quality sure was disappointing.
It’s a cheap starter skateboard for kids and adults not looking to land hard skateboarding tricks all the time.
The grip tape was grippy enough, precisely what you need as a beginner skateboarder. What’s more, the grip tape allows you to paint your child’s name, personalizing the deck.
- Great for kids and beginner skateboarders
- Narrow trucks = increased board responsiveness
- Super affordable
- You can paint your child’s name on the deck
- Board may not last long with frequent use
- Wheels are not ideal for rougher terrain
- May not be ideal for heavy riders
- Wheels and trucks may need to be set up anew
Narrower trucks aren’t always as stable as you’d want as a beginner. But you’ll soon become the master of your board.
Is the Krown Rookie complete suitable for heavy riders, say 200+ pounds riders? No, that’d be too heavy for this board.
I recommend this board for smaller skaters and kids.
One more thing. If you’ll be riding this skateboard frequently, it won’t last long
Still, at that price, this board isn’t too bad. Buy this ONLY if you can fix the trucks and wheels setup.
4. Enjoi Whitey Panda Beginner Skateboard (7.75″ Wide)
Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The manufacturer created this complete after the so-called Resin 7 construction. This construction method involves treating 100% Canadian maple with a special kind of epoxy resin glue that allows for extremely solid compaction.
Since the board is treated with resin, water would have a hard time seeping in, which is a good thing. Aside from that, resin withstands extreme temperatures.
But that doesn’t mean skate in the rain without a worry! It just means you have a quality board that won’t get weakened by heat, wetness, or coldness.
Resin also increases durability. You can expect this board to last a considerable duration with regular use.
The decks are pressed individually. Each deck gets that classic Popsicle shape that makes doing tricks feel incredibly easy and empowering.
The board’s underside bears the iconic Enjoi Panda logo. Note that the company offers different sizes and that some options on Amazon may not be a complete skateboard.
Only 7.5″, 7.75″, 8.0″ Enjoy boards are sold as completes. If you choose any of the other widths, be ready to buy the parts separately and assemble your board.
The deck of this one has a width of 7.75″, kind of narrow which boosts responsiveness but reduces stability a little.
The wheelbase is 14.13″ long, and that falls within the standard range. Lengthwise, the board measures 31.3″ — again, that’s the length of a standard skateboard.
The griptape is black, and it’s quite grippy. As for the wheels, they’re white 52 mm TGM wheels with a durometer rating of 92A.
But are these TGM wheels any good? These wheels are small and relatively soft. That means they’re not the perfect set of wheels for street or park skating.
These wheels aren’t the best choice for sliding either. As your skating skills evolve, consider swapping out these wheels for harder ones so you can enjoy doing tricks more.
But the wheels seem to be decent quality and don’t wear out that fast.
As for the trucks, they’re narrower than many. And when you pair this narrow-ish truck with durometer 92A wheels, pulling off tricks feels somewhat harder.
Riding this board does require some getting used to, but it makes transitioning to wider decks down the road easier.
Pay Attention to the Overall Setup
I have a few quibbles with this beginner skateboard. I found that the trucks, wheels, and bearings may not arrive perfectly set up.
I suggest you give your board a comprehensive look so you can tighten or loosen the setup to your preference. My hubby’s trucks came too tight, and the wheels hardly rolled.
But after making adjustments, the wheels rolled nicely and smoothly.
Other reviewers received their board with trucks that were too loose that they experienced wheel bite. But that’s a problem that’s quite easy to resolve.
Simply grab a wrench or skate tool and loosen the trucks down to a nice and comfortable fit. Learn how to tighten skateboard trucks here.
In some cases, the board may come with missing spacers and speed rings. But these can be had for cheap. Plus, putting them on the wheels isn’t that hard. Not a dealbreaker in my opinion.
- Durable and sturdy Canadian maple deck
- deck resin-treated, withstands harsh environmental conditions
- Nice Enjoi logo graphics
- Nicely curved deck ideal for tricks
- Reasonably priced
- Constructed from decent components
- Board works great after adjusting the initial setup
- Wheels not ideal for areas with rocks and cracks
- Wheels too soft for landing tricks
- Missing spacers and washers
- Not the cheapest
Bottom line: This is a good enough entry-level board to learn skateboarding on. But since it’s a tad narrow, you’ll have to persist until you master balancing on it and riding it. The upside is that board responsiveness is great.
5. SkateXS Panda Complete Bamboo Skateboard (Great for Kids)
Have you been thinking of buying your child a gift but can’t seem to find one you think might excite them? Consider buying them the best complete skateboard for kids on the market.
And I haven’t come across many better options than the SkateX Panda complete for kids with fabulous artwork.
Made of high-performance bamboo, this kids skateboard is assembled in the U.S. and comes adorned with nice kiddo graphics. I bet your child will love this kid-specific beginner skateboard instantly.
The wheels come in different colors — you can select one of 3 color combinations.
The board features versatile 53 mm wheels at durometer 90A. These wheels are rideable over a wide range of surfaces.
And the high-precision ABEC 7 bearings inside the wheels roll smoothly and fast. The wheels are easy to clean, too, thanks to the removable shields on them.
Speaking of wheel spin, don’t let your child leave the house without a helmet and protective pads. Kids aren’t the most careful skaters, you know. And you don’t want to worry about sudden healthcare bills all the time.
The grip tape comes in at least 8 kid-focused colorways. The color options include pink, purple, green, orange, red, blue, black, and camo.
Lest I forget, the boards are available in 3 different age/weight categories namely:
- Age 5 to 7 (40-60 lbs): 7″ (W) x 28″ (L)
- Age 8 to 10 (60-80 lbs): 7.25″ (W) x 29″ (L)
- Age 11 to 12 (80-100 lbs): 7.4″ (W) x 30″ (L)
- Griptape is available in multiple colors
- Nice Kiddo deck graphics (panda)
- Made of light, high-performance bamboo
- Assembled in the U.S.
- An environmentally friendly choice
- ABEC 7 wheels can be pretty fast
I feel the price is a little too steep, though. Bamboo should probably cost less than that, but the parts are pretty decent.
Remember the board rolls on ABEC 7 wheels. These can be quite fast, which is why your child MUST always wear protective gear before dashing out for skateboarding sessions.
If you love purchasing environmentally friendly products, this board should be a great choice. Maybe you shouldn’t wait until next Christmas to buy this board for your kiddo.
And here’s …….
How to Choose the Best Beginner Skateboard
Keep the following factors in mind when choosing a beginner skateboard, and you’ll end up with something that works.
1. Board Type And Riding Style
Do you want an old school board, a cruiser, a regular skateboard, or a longboard? There are different skateboarding styles, and you should decide which one you’ll dedicate yourself to. Park skating, street skateboarding, skating vert, transition skating, downhill skateboarding, and whatnot.
Once you’ve made up your mind about the style, find an entry-level skateboard that lets you explore that style at your own pace.
Cruiser Skateboards: A Good Choice for New Riders
Cruisers are 30″-37″-long skateboards that are mainly used for cruising streets or transportation. They’re versatile and easy to control. And they can be pretty fast because they have larger, softer wheels compared to the traditional park or street-style skateboard. Also, their trucks are designed to support carving, which is a way of riding where you skate S-shaped trajectories.
Think of cruisers as relatively smaller longboards or larger skateboards. Some cruisers come with a kicktail for maneuverability and the occasional trick. Others have a completely flat deck so you can enjoy a more surfy ride. With a cruiser skateboard, you’re mostly cruising over flat or near-flat pavement. If you’re wanting to buy a skateboard for local travel, get a cruiser.
They have a pretty short wheelbase too, as short as 14″. The deck can be as short as 23″ and as long as 50″. Where the deck is too long (past 34″), that’s technically a longboard cruiser. Cruising wheels range from 54mm to 80mm. And the bigger the wheel, the further away you’re from skateboarding and the nearer to longboarding. Anyone just getting into skateboarding should stick to 54-60mm wheels.
Durometer: 78A-90A works beautifully for skateboard cruisers. Softer cruiser wheels shine at absorbing road shocks, vibrations, and cracks. Speaking of impacts, skaters like adding shock absorbers known as riser pads or shock pads between the deck and trucks. If you’re heavier, harder wheels are the best choice because they defy compression better (less flat spotting) and resist wear beautifully.
Mini-Cruisers: Great for Young Riders and Intermediate Riders
Mini cruisers are low-cost, lightweight, smaller-sized cruiser skateboards. People love cruisers because of how highly portable and convenient they are. How smaller are mini cruisers compared to standard-sized cruiser skateboards? You can easily fit a mini-cruiser in your college backpack and close the bag without a problem. But you can’t do the same with a traditional cruiser.
They don’t go as fast as conventional cruisers because the wheels are smaller. But they have good carving and turning abilities. If you’re buying for your kid or any other youngster, consider picking a mini-cruiser for them. Cruisers are also a good option for intermediate riders looking to get more control out of their skateboard.
For kids, a penny board, which is essentially a plastic cruiser, is a good buy. It’s pretty cheap, light, and narrow enough which means easy-to-control for kids learning to skateboard.
Old School Decks
Old school boards are asymmetrical boards with a flat nose and kicktail. They’re what you need for pool skating pools and ramps. One more thing, old school boards have a wider nose — wider than the tail.
Regular skateboards have a deck measuring between 28″and -33″ along the length. And they’re virtuosos when it comes to street and park skating. It’s the best bet for landing all kinds of trucks including ollies, Shuv-Its, rail grinds, kickflips, and other skateboarding tricks.
Regular skateboard wheels have a diameter of 52mm to 54mm. These are small hard wheels built to accelerate fast and maneuver without struggle. The best regular skateboard wheels have a hardness rating of between 90A-103A.
As a beginner, you might find that these super-hard wheels shake you violently and threaten to rattle your teeth out. Consider getting lower-durometer wheels to soften the shocks and vibrations.
Softer wheels aren’t great for landing tricks, but they’re a good choice for just goofing around, which is mostly what you’re doing as a beginner.
Some skateboarders like defending their discipline while bashing longboarding because it’s easier, or so they think. But let’s settle this debate once and for all: Longboards are a kind of skateboard. And longboarding is a kind of skateboarding.
In fact, some styles of longboarding such as downhill and freeride can be pretty hard to master. And freestyle longboarding is hard to distinguish from skateboarding because it’s a highly technical riding style, just like skateboarding.
Downhill skateboarding isn’t possible without a good longboard. Actually, there’s no such thing as downhill skateboarding. There’s only downhill longboarding. And long-distance transportation can be extremely exhausting on a regular skateboard. As for carving, no regular skateboard carves the way a dedicated carving longboard does.
Longboards are longer than any other kind of skateboard. Some longboards such as board walking and dance boards can be as long as 60mm! And that’s a really long board, and most beginners will struggle to control it.
Longboards normally use larger softer wheels and may have wheel cutouts or wheel wells so that wheels can turn freely and without wheel bite. Longboard wheel durometer ranges from 75A-85A, and as a beginner, you’d want to learn on 78A wheels with a diameter of 60″-65″.
Some longboards are symmetrical (the nose and the tail have the same shape) while others are asymmetrical. Many lack kicktails and aren’t great for tricks or technical riding.
2. Complete Skateboard vs Custom-built Skateboard?
A blank vs complete skateboard? A blank is pretty much a plain deck — one without graphics. While a complete is a ride-ready skateboard that comes with every component assembled.
Many blanks have over the years received quite some bad rap for being low quality. Besides, blanks aren’t easy on the eye. You’d have to buy some stickers or paint the deck to make it look more appealing. I’m not saying all blanks are junk. In fact, some shops carry some pretty high-quality blanks these days, but they’re pricier.
The downside to buying a complete skateboard is that some companies tend to throw together crappy components. The wheels may be bad quality and may not spin well, for example. Or the board may be horrible, snapping right after landing just a couple of tricks.
If you want a high-quality complete, buy from a respected skate brand. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on dirt-cheap Target and Walmart completes. Many have been known to fall apart soon after.
Consider getting your board from your local skate shop. Or buy from Amazon. Amazon sells some really wicked skateboards. Ask around. Or check out my list of recommended entry-level complete skateboards.
If you’re the handy type and like DIYing your way into beautiful homemade stuff, you can buy a blank, wheels, bearings, and suitable skate hardware and build your own skateboard. But you probably shouldn’t go the custom route if you’ve never owned a skateboard before. However, if you’re willing to do the work and follow the advice from experienced skaters, you’d end up with a high-quality custom-built skateboard. One you’d own with pride because it’s the work of your hands and creativity.
Pros and cons of buying a Complete Skateboard
Pros and cons of Building Own Skateboard
- You get to handpick the components, avoiding crap.
- You’ll love the skateboard you build and can personalize it however you want.
- You can easily set up the skateboard to suit your riding style.
- Most DIY skateboards are better quality than completes.
- The best builds can be quite expensive.
- It takes time, learning, and effort to get all the components and assemble your own skateboard.
- Beginners can make mistakes when choosing parts or when building.
3. Which Skateboard Deck Material?
You can buy a plastic deck, a bamboo deck, a bamboo-hybrid deck, a birch deck, or a Canadian maple deck. These are different materials and can’t be expected to have the same characteristics.
Plastic decks are typically the cheapest option. And riding them in the rain won’t damage them. But it’s best to choose a birch or Canadian maple deck. Canadian maple wood is the finest quality there is. That’s why maple decks tend to be the priciest options.
Anyone who’s been skateboarding for a while can tell you that the cheapest decks are usually crap. When it comes to skateboard decks, you get what you pay for. Generally, higher-priced decks are almost always better quality.
Most of the best quality skateboard decks consist of several layers/veneers of maple wood glued together and allowed to set. But the market also offers decks with more or fewer veneers. And each formulation delivers a somewhat different riding experience.
You can never go wrong with a 7-ply maple deck if you’re a complete beginner. Avoid single-plank decks as they tend to not be as durable as multi-ply constructions. Bamboo decks and decks made from a mix of bamboo and other materials aren’t bad, but they’re rarely the best option.
4. Deck Size (Width and Length), Wheelbase, and Shape
These aspects are critical considerations when choosing a beginner-friendly complete skateboard.
What’s the Right Deck Width for Me?
Your height and how big your feet are should help you figure out what skateboard width you need. In general, any high-quality deck that’s between 7.75 ” and 8.0″ should be ok for most beginners.
If you go too wide, doing tricks becomes challenging. With a wider board, you exert more energy during skating. And if the deck is too narrow for you, you’ll find it super hard to stay stable, but the setup will be super nimble.
Your skating style can also help you determine the correct board width. For skating vert and ramps, choose a wider deck. And if you’ll mostly cruise around the neighborhood or just goof around, a narrower board would be OK. But a wider one would be even better for stability. In my experience, you have to skate on a couple of decks before you can have a “this is it!” moment.
A wider board requires more energy to maneuver while a narrower board tends to reduce stability.
Beginner Skateboard Wheelbase
Wheelbase is the distance between a deck’s inner mounting holes. Some boards have just one set of mounting holes drilled near the ends of the deck. As a beginner, you want to go with a wheelbase of 14″ and 15.5″.
Don’t confuse wheelbase with Effective Foot Platform. Effective Foot Platform (EFP) describes the total amount of space on the topside of the deck available for the skateboarder’s feet. It’s basically the amount of stepping room on a deck.
Choosing the Right Skateboard Deck Length
Deck length is the distance between the tail’s tip and the nose’s tip. Most regular skateboards are found between 28″ and 32″ in length.
Concave refers to the amount of curvature between the rails of the deck. This feature allows for more foothold and control while skating. A concave deck also tends to be stronger than boards without curved edges.
A board’s concave determines to a large extent the overall riding experience and performance. There are 7 different skateboard deck concave profiles. And each deck design coincides with a certain style of skating.
- Radial concave
- Gaspedal/Flat-cave curve
i. Radial-concaved decks (Ideal for beginners and skaters of all skill levels)
These ones are the most common skateboard decks, and they feature a U-shaped curve. This shape gives the rider lots of feet grip, enabling them to do all kinds of skateboarding. A deck with a radial concave would be the best bet for you, a beginner.
ii. Progressive curve
These decks are just like radial ones. The only difference is that these ones offer you a wider base. And a wider base means a more sure-footed board experience because there’s enough room.
iii. Gaspedal/Flatcave/Tub Concave Shape
This concave design is similar to the progressive curve shape, but its curvature is steeper. With this deck shape, your feet stay somewhat flatter during skating. And the sharply angled curves are always there for when you want to do some powerful skateboard tricks.
iv. Asymmetrical Decks
Its rails rise at noticeably varied angles. These decks are designed to give the skater more heel power. And heel-power comes in handy when it comes to doing turns.
v. Flat or Curve-less Decks
These aren’t very common these days. The closest you get to a flat skateboard deck these days is re-issue old school boards. This deck profile provides you with ample room for your feet, but there’s a whole range of tricks you won’t land with ease, for example, 360 Flip. The board just lacks pop.
These decks look like the letter W. This would be an excellent board for a pro skateboarder as it powers super precise tricks. This concave locks in your feet, giving you a solid feel as you freeride or go downhill (longboarding).
In skateboarding, a W concave compels you to transfer more energy from your heels to the toes. Couple that with the added curve in the center line of the deck, and you get a high-precision skateboard that’s also responsive and turns nicely.
vii. Convex skateboard decks
Convex skateboard decks have their side edges/rails pointing downward instead of upwards. They’re like a shallow, inverted bowl. And they’re designed for folks who are into board walking (longboarding), cruising, and carving.
One advantage of this deck shape is that it supports running bigger wheels and also decreases the odds of wheel bite.
One thing distinguishes convex decks from all the other decks discussed above. It’s that foot placement feels a lot more natural with convex decks.
5. Skateboard Hardware and Trucks
Pretty much any hardware works. These are the bolts and nuts that fasten your trucks on the board. Pay particular attention to the trucks, though. Trucks are metal pieces with axles, and they let you put wheels on your board.
We created the image below to describe longboard hardware, but the visual should also work for skateboards.
There’s stainless steel hardware and zinc-plated steel skate hardware. For wet riding conditions (don’t ride in the rain), stainless steel hardware works great, but it’s prone to seizing. Zinc-plated hardware may be vulnerable to corrosion, but it won’t lock up when tearing down your board or when re-assembling it. Learn more about skateboard hardware here.
Pick good quality trucks as these last a long time. As a beginner, go with standard or low-profile trucks. High-profile trucks are best for cruising and carving. Trucks from either Venture or Independent are the best, but they’re not the only options, right? Mini-Logo trucks aren’t bad at all.
6. Skateboard Wheels and Bearings
Hard or soft wheels? Small or large wheels? As a beginner, I recommend you start with a kind of hybrid set of wheels — moderately hard/soft. A good place to start would be 54 mm wheels at 90A. Learn more about skateboard wheel durometer in this article. Generally, smaller skateboard wheels are smaller but accelerate faster compared to larger skateboard wheels.
Wheel profile: I wrote a post previously that explained in detail what skateboard wheel profile is and how each wheel shape affects the riding experience. Don’t pay too much attention to wheel shape as a novice. Any wide, square-lipped or round-lipped skateboard wheel should be OK. Width fosters both stability and grip, and having slightly rounded edges makes sliding easier.
Wheel hub placement: Where the hub or core of the wheel is placed also impacts ride quality and board control. There are centerset, sideset, and offset skateboard wheels, and you probably notice any difference as a new rider.
The image below pertains to longboard wheels, but when it comes to skating, wheel core placement is wheel core placement.
7. Skate shoes and Protective Gear
Pretty much any skate shoes would do. But if you want to wear the best skate shoes available, read these skate shoe reviews to help you along.
Skateboarding accidents aren’t rare. There’s a reason someone somewhere decided that skateboarding is an extreme sport. But I ain’t gonna stop boarding no matter what.
How to Maintain Your New Beginner Skateboard
Here’s how to show your skateboard some tender loving care.
1. Clean and Replace Your Skateboard Bearings
Replace the bearings when they break or start acting up. Also, clean your skateboard bearings occasionally or as the need arises.
Some people clean their bearings once a month, others once every 3-4 months. And some never clean them unless they get so gunked up that seizing up becomes habitual.
I clean mine once every 2 months, sometimes even 3 months, and I’ve not had any issues. Generally, the more you skateboard in an environment that’s chockfull of grit and dust, the more frequently you should clean your bearings and lube them.
2. Keep Your trucks Tightened Correctly
Extremely loose trucks can cause wobbling while extremely tight trucks can be hard to turn. Fortunately, tightening skateboard trucks isn’t rocket science, but it can feel that way when you’re new to skateboarding. All you need is a skate tool and a pair of eager-to-work hands. Here’s a detailed guide on how to tighten skateboard trucks and how much tightening you need to do for fully optimized outdoor adventures.
3. Replace Broken Parts
Good-quality Canadian maple decks can last relatively long. But if your deck begins to warp and show cracks on the underside, it’s time to replace it. Also, buy a new deck if the tail becomes too thin from constant abuse on rough surfaces. If the tail and nose are all chipped and dilapidated, trick performance dips dramatically. Put another way, the deck loses all its pop.
But how long does a skateboard last? Depending on use frequency and deck quality, you can expect your skateboard to last between a few months and a year. And for a person who doesn’t skate much, a high-quality board can last years.
Good skateboard trucks last a long time. In fact, trucks rarely need replacement. So, be sure your complete features a decent pair of trucks. But if they ever break, replace them.
You’ll have to replace the griptape depending on how often you ride. Good griptape lasts, too, regardless of the brand in question. When the existing deck loses its grit, your feet will slide all over the platform, which can mess up your skating. Regrip the deck and problem solved.
4. Avoid Skating in the Rain
Bearings hate water. So, quit skating in the rain and sloshing through small puddles. If your wheels get wet, ride your board until the bearings heat up and the water evaporates. Alternatively, clean and lubricate the wet bearings.
If you must skateboard in the rain, read that post for tips on how to do it right. And if you’re a beginner to skateboarding, stay home and just don’t ride your board when it’s wet and slippery outdoors. Skidding uncontrollably and broken elbows are what happens when you skate in such adverse conditions.
Best Beginner Complete Skateboard: Verdict?
I believe that the Powell Peralta Vato Rats Complete Skateboard is the best complete beginner skateboard. It’s moderately priced, and it’s a U.S.-owned business. Also, it’s wide enough for most riders, which makes it stable.
Also, the wheels are small and hard. Smaller wheels tend to be more stable and easier to control. The artwork on the underside is great, too. And the Mini-logo trucks on this complete board work well and are durable.
However, its small wheels may give you problems in places with small rocks and cracks. But you can always install larger wheels as your skating techniques evolve.