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A Guide to Choosing Your First Beginner Skateboard

A Guide to Choosing Your First Beginner Skateboard

A Guide to Choosing Your First Beginner Skateboard

Starting skateboarding is quite an adventure, filled with both excitement and its fair share of challenges. It's thrilling when you start to get the hang of it, feeling the board move under your feet. Of course, there are challenges, like mastering balance and learning the tricks, but that's all part of the learning process. It's a journey that requires patience and practice, but it's incredibly rewarding as you progress.

For starting skateboarding, selecting the right beginner skateboard is crucial. It's not just about the style or look; the right board can significantly impact how easily you learn and enjoy the sport. A skateboard that suits your body size, skill level, and intended use can make the learning process smoother and safer. It's about finding that perfect match that feels comfortable under your feet and gives you the right balance and control as you start your skateboarding journey.

Understanding Skateboard Anatomy

Skateboard Size, Deck Width, and More

When it comes to choosing between skateboarding decks, there's a variety of shapes and sizes, each designed for different styles and levels of skateboarding. The most common deck shapes are popsicle, old school, and even cruiser boards. Popsicle decks, with their symmetrical shape and rounded nose and tail, are great for street skating and tricks. Old school decks are wider with a flatter nose, ideal for ramp and pool skating. Cruiser decks, often with a wider deck width and more rounded shape, are designed for smooth rides over longer distances. The size of the deck also matters; wider decks (around 8 inches or more) offer more stability, which is helpful for beginners, while narrower decks provide more precision and are favored by experienced street skaters. The key is to choose a deck that feels comfortable and suits the type of skating you want to do.

Choosing the right size skateboard deck for your height and shoe size is essential for both comfort and control while skateboarding. If the deck is too small for your shoe size, you might find it tricky to balance and maneuver the board. On the other hand, a deck that's too large can make skateboarding feel cumbersome, especially when trying to perform tricks. Generally, taller individuals with larger shoe sizes might prefer wider decks for better stability and foot placement. Conversely, those with smaller shoe sizes might find narrower decks more manageable and easier to control. The goal is to find a deck that feels natural under your feet, allowing you to skate with confidence and ease.

Trucks and Their Importance

Skateboard trucks are critical components that connect the wheels and bearings to the deck, playing a major role in the overall performance of the skateboard. They consist of a baseplate, which attaches to the deck, and a hanger, where the wheels are mounted. The trucks determine how the skateboard turns and responds to your movements. They also influence the stability of the board; well-adjusted trucks can make the skateboard feel more responsive and easier to control. The trucks' height and width should be chosen based on the deck size and the type of skateboarding you plan to do. In summary, trucks are vital for providing a smooth ride, enabling precise turns, and supporting different skateboarding styles.

Tips on Choosing the Right Truck Width

Choosing the right truck width for your skateboard is crucial for optimal performance and safety. Here are some tips to help you select the appropriate width:

  1. Match with Deck Width: The most important factor is ensuring the truck width closely matches the width of your skateboard deck. Ideally, the edges of the trucks should be flush with the edges of the deck. If the trucks are too wide, the skateboard will be unstable; if they're too narrow, you'll have less control.

  2. Consider Skateboarding Style: If you're into street skating and tricks, slightly narrower trucks might offer better maneuverability. For ramp, bowl, or park skating, wider trucks can provide more stability.

  3. Standard Sizes: Typically, truck sizes are indicated in inches or millimeters. Know the width of your deck in inches to find a corresponding truck size. For example, a deck that is 8 inches wide generally pairs well with trucks that are 7.75 to 8.0 inches wide.

  4. Seek Expert Advice: If you're unsure, it's always helpful to consult with a local skate shop. They can provide personalized advice based on your deck size and skating style. A metal truck works best. Most cookie cutter toy store skateboards most of the time use a plastic composite. While they will be lighter, strength will be desperately compromised.

  5. Personal Preference: Lastly, personal preference plays a role. Some skaters prefer a little overhang or underhang of the trucks for their specific style. As you gain experience, you'll develop a feel for what works best for you. There is no right or wrong. Skateboarding was and always will be a way of expression and everyone has their own likes and dislikes.

Remember, the right truck width contributes significantly to the skateboard's handling and your overall skating experience.

Wheels and Bearings

In skateboarding, wheels vary significantly in size and hardness, each wheel hardness type catering to different skating styles and surfaces.

Wheel Size:

  • Measured in millimeters (mm), skateboard wheel sizes typically range from about 50mm to 60mm.

  • Smaller wheels (50mm to 54mm) are generally preferred for street skating and technical tricks because they're lighter and offer more stability for flips and grinds.

  • Larger wheels (55mm to 60mm) are better for skate parks, ramps, and cruising, as they roll faster and can handle rougher surfaces more smoothly.

Soft Wheels or Hard Wheels?

  • The hardness of skateboard wheels is measured on the Durometer scale. Most skateboard wheels range from 78A (very soft) to 101A (very hard).

  • Softer wheels (78A to 90A) absorb more shock and provide a smoother ride on rough surfaces, making them ideal for cruising and transportation.

  • Harder wheels (91A to 101A and above) offer less grip but more slide, making them suitable for street skating and performing tricks on smoother surfaces.

The choice between different sizes and hardness levels depends largely on where and how you plan to skate. It's about finding the right balance between comfort, speed, and maneuverability for your skateboarding style.

Importance of bearings and their impact on ride quality.

Bearings play a crucial role in the overall ride quality of a skateboard. They are small metal or ceramic rings that fit inside the wheels, allowing them to roll smoothly and efficiently on their axles. Here's why bearings are important:

  1. Speed and Smoothness: The quality of bearings directly impacts the speed and smoothness of the skateboard. High-quality bearings allow the wheels to spin faster and with less friction, which translates to a smoother, more effortless ride.

  2. Durability: Good bearings are not only about speed but also durability. They need to withstand the impact and pressure from various skateboarding maneuvers, ensuring a consistent performance over time.

  3. Precision and Control: Well-maintained bearings contribute to the precision and control of the skateboard. They enable precise movements and better handling, which is especially important for technical tricks and turns.

  4. Maintenance: Regular cleaning and lubrication of bearings can significantly extend their life and maintain their performance. Dirt and grime can cause bearings to slow down and wear out more quickly.

  5. ABEC Ratings: Bearings are often rated by the ABEC scale, with higher numbers indicating higher precision and efficiency. However, in skateboarding, an ABEC rating is not the only factor to consider. Factors like material quality and impact resistance are also crucial for skateboarding bearings.

Choosing the Right Skateboard for Your Style

Choosing the right skateboard depends significantly on your preferred skating style, particularly between street skating and ramp or skate park skating, as each style requires different skateboard features.

Street Skating Skateboards:

  • Deck: Typically, street skateboards have smaller, lighter decks with a width around 7.5 to 8.5 inches. This size provides better control for technical tricks, like flips and grinds. Most beginners are best to start with something that's a little bigger. Considering you are not yet going to be doing any tricks and only going to be just getting to rolling around. So it is suggested that more surface area is best. Get used to the feel on rolling and pushing around.

  • Wheels: Street skating wheels are usually harder and smaller (about 50mm to 54mm), allowing for quicker acceleration and better control for tricks on smoother surfaces.

  • Trucks: The trucks are generally lighter and lower to the ground, offering stability and precision for street-level skating and technical maneuvers. After picking your deck width size will then let you know which size width trucks to get. Your truck width size should match the width of your board.

Ramp or Park Skating Skateboards:

  • Deck: For ramp skating, wider decks (around 8 to 8.5 inches) are common. They offer more surface area for stability during high-speed runs and aerial tricks.

  • Wheels: Wheels for ramp skateboarding are slightly larger and softer than street wheels, ranging from 55mm to 60mm. This helps in gaining and maintaining speed on the ramp surfaces.

  • Trucks: Trucks for ramp skateboarding are often a bit heavier and wider, providing more stability and better distribution of weight during landings and transitions.

In essence, street skateboarding skateboards are designed for agility and precision in executing tricks on smooth surfaces, while ramp or park skateboards are built for stability and speed, suitable for vertical ramps and bowls. Your choice should align with the type of skating you are most passionate about and where you plan to skate the most.

Cruisers and Longboards

Cruisers and longboards offer a different skateboarding experience compared to traditional street or ramp skateboards, and they can be excellent choices for beginners, depending on what you're looking for in your beginner board or skating experience.


  • Cruisers are typically smaller than longboards but larger than standard street decks. They're known for their versatility and ease of transportation.

  • With softer and larger wheels, cruisers provide a smooth ride, making them ideal for navigating streets, sidewalks, and commuting over various surfaces.

  • They are great for beginners who are more interested in cruising around rather than performing tricks.


  • Longboards are longer and often have a different shape compared to cruisers and traditional skateboards, offering more foot space and stability.

  • They are designed for longer distances, high speed, and smooth rides, especially downhill or on flat, long stretches.

  • Longboards are perfect for beginners who prefer a stable and comfortable ride over doing tricks.

When to Choose a Cruiser or Longboard

  • If your primary goal is transportation and cruising over longer distances in comfort, a cruiser or longboard is a suitable choice.

  • For those interested in downhill rides, carving, or cruising at higher speeds, longboards are the go-to option.

  • On the other hand, if you're interested in skate parks, ramps, or street-style tricks, a traditional skateboard would be a better fit.

Additional Considerations for Beginners

Pre-Built Complete Skateboard vs. Custom Build

When it comes to getting into skateboarding, one of the first decisions you'll face is whether to buy a complete skateboard or build your own. Both options have their pros and cons:

Complete Skateboards:

  • Pros:

    • Convenience: Complete skateboards are ready to ride out of the box, making them a great choice for beginners who may not yet know how to assemble a skateboard.

    • Cost-Effective: Generally, buying a complete skateboard is more affordable than purchasing individual components.

    • Tested Setup: Complete skateboards are assembled by professionals and offer a balanced setup suitable for beginners. Pre built completes are equip with the best suggested set us for board width matching track width.

  • Cons:

    • Limited Customization: You have less control over the individual components, which might not be of the highest quality or suited to your specific style.

    • Generic: Completes often lack the personal touch or specific preferences that a custom skateboard might have.

Custom Builds:

  • Pros:

    • Personalization: Building your own skateboard allows you to choose each component according to your preferences, style, and needs.

    • Quality Control: You have the freedom to select high-quality parts, ensuring durability and better performance.

    • Learning Experience: Assembling your own skateboard can be a rewarding experience, giving you a deeper understanding of how each component works. Also you're able to mix and match certain companies. When buying a pre built complete most companies put their own brand of parts.

  • Cons:

    • Cost: Purchasing individual parts can be more expensive than buying a complete setup.

    • Complexity: For beginners, understanding and choosing the right components can be overwhelming and requires research.

    • Time-Consuming: Assembling a skateboard from scratch takes time and a certain level of skill. But does help one understand the assembly of a skateboard.

Safety Gear, Helmets, Elbow Pads and Accessories

When starting out in skateboarding, safety should always be a top priority. Wearing the right safety and protective gear, can significantly reduce the risk of injuries, making your skateboarding experience more enjoyable and safe.

Importance of Helmets, Pads, and Proper Skate Shoes:

  • Helmets: A well-fitted helmet is essential. It protects your head from severe injuries in case of falls, which are common for beginners. Always choose a helmet that meets safety standards and fits snugly.

  • Elbow and Knee Pads: These pads protect your elbows and knees from scrapes and bruises during falls. As a beginner, you're likely to fall more often, so these pads can be a real savior.

  • Proper Skate Shoes: Skate shoes are designed to provide the right balance of grip, cushioning, and durability. They help in maintaining foot control and reducing impact on your feet, ankles, and knees.

Recommended Accessories for Beginners:

  • Skate Tool: A must-have for any skateboarder. A skate tool allows you to adjust trucks, change wheels, and perform general maintenance on your skateboard.

  • Grip Tape: This is applied to the top of the deck to provide your feet with grip. Good grip tape means better control of the skateboard, especially important for beginners learning to balance.

  • Wrist Guards: These can be particularly useful for beginners to protect their wrists during falls.

  • Bearing Oil or Lubricant: Keeping your bearings well-lubricated ensures a smoother ride and longer bearing life.

  • Extra Bearings and Hardware: It's always handy to have spare bearings, nuts, and bolts in case of wear or damage.

Remember, while skateboarding is a fun and exciting sport, it comes with a risk of injury. Investing in the right safety equipment, gear and accessories not only protects you but also enhances your skateboarding experience, especially as you're learning and getting comfortable on the board.


Where to Buy Your First Skateboard

Local Skate Shops vs. Online Stores

If you're in the market for a new skateboard or skate accessories, consider the unique benefits of shopping at a local skate shop like Amateur Athlete. Here, you can tap into a wealth of personalized advice and hands-on experience that's hard to find online. Our knowledgeable staff at Amateur Athlete are not just salespeople; they're passionate skaters themselves, ready to share insights and tips tailored to your individual needs and skills. Whether you're a beginner seeking your first board or an experienced skater looking to upgrade, you'll find invaluable guidance and a chance to physically feel and compare different skateboards and gear.

However, if a local shop like Amateur Athlete isn't available in your area, here are some tips for buying online:

  • Research Thoroughly: Read product descriptions, reviews, and watch videos to get a good understanding of the product.

  • Know Your Needs: Be clear about what you're looking for in terms of skateboard type, size, and features.

  • Check Return Policies: Ensure the online store has a customer-friendly return policy, in case the product doesn't meet your expectations.

  • Seek Advice: Don't hesitate to reach out to online skate communities or customer service for advice. We are always on stand by at Amateur Athlete Skate shop. You can easily email, call, reach out on any social media platform to ask any question. Bottom line is go to your local skate shop.


We invite you to visit us at Amateur Athlete for a personalized shopping experience. Our team of experienced skaters is eager to help you find the perfect skateboard that aligns with your style and skill level. Whether you're curious about the latest decks, or beginner skateboards, searching for the right safety gear, or need advice on the best accessories, we've got you covered.

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