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How To Choose a Skateboard – Our Complete Guide
When it comes to choosing your ideal skateboard, there are a number of factors to consider. Your size, weight and preferred terrain all make a difference. It's also important to factor in whether you're a beginner, intermediate or advanced skater. Our tips will help you pick the best board for your needs and level of skill.
The Best Skateboard Type for Your Riding Style
All boards are not created equal. What's good for cruising around town, doing slappies or riding downhill won't necessarily be your best buddy for dropping into a bowl or grinding a curb. For this reason, it's a good idea to pick your skateboard based on your favorite terrain. There are two main types of skateboards to consider, and which one you opt for will depend on your riding style.
- Classic skateboards: the go-to choice for street, transition and tricks
- Longboards: typically used for downhill racing and cruising
We explain these and their subcategories in more detail in the Different Types of Skateboards Guide.
How Do I Know What Skateboard is Best for Me?
No matter what skateboard you choose, you'll adapt and get comfortable riding it. This reduces some of the pressure to pick a board that's "perfect". Nevertheless, there are still a couple of factors that will point you in the right direction for your needs.
Your Height, Weight and Shoe Size
Your height, weight and shoe size should be taken into consideration, as this can guide your decision on what skateboard to get. Choose a skateboard that's too narrow or too wide, and you may be unable to execute tricks or distribute your weight properly. For more detail on the aspects check out "How to Choose a Skateboard Deck".
The Right Deck Size
You might go through a couple of boards before you find your favorite size. While there's not really a right or wrong here, as it all comes down to personal preference in the end, different widths and lengths are – in general – suited to different purposes and have their own individual characteristics. You can read more about the variations in our Article on Skateboard Sizes.
Different Skateboarding Skill Levels
Choosing a skateboard also comes down to skill level; as this improves, what you want from a skateboard will also evolve. Beginners, advanced skaters and everyone in between will have different requirements that reflect their skating skills and preference.
A great practical option for beginners or younger skaters are complete skateboards, also known as completes. These are pre-assembled, full skateboards that come with everything you need to get rolling. If you want to know more about choosing a board as a newbie, check out our "How to Choose a Beginner Skateboard" article.
If you've mastered the ability to control your balance and pull off tricks, it's safe to say you've reached the intermediate level. At this point, you may want to consider moving up from a complete and assembling your skateboard yourself. Or you could replace any worn-out wheels, trucks, bearings or decks on your complete with better quality parts. We'll talk about assembling your own skateboard a bit more later.
Advanced skaters need a skateboard with top-quality components that can withstand high-intensity skating and tricks. Advanced skaters will typically opt to build their own custom skateboard, as this allows them to choose the best parts for their preference and riding style – think higher trucks for better maneuverability and less wheel bite, or bigger wheels for more speed. And while you could be forgiven for thinking pro model skateboards are only intended for advanced skaters, you shouldn't let the name fool you. Pro models simply refer to decks with a skateboarder's name and signature print on them. They also come as completes, so they're not limited to advanced skateboarders.
SHOP PRO MODELS
Complete Skateboard or Assemble Your Own Skateboard?
Not sure whether to go for a complete skateboard or assemble your own? As you gain experience and can ride with confidence, you'll become more aware of what you want and need. However, here are a few points to get you started with your decision.
Beginners may feel overwhelmed by all the individual components of a skateboard. Complete skateboards come with everything already assembled for you – no need to worry about applying grip tape or screwing on trucks. For this reason, they're the best option for anyone who just wants to start riding without the hassle of picking each individual part and mounting them. They're also a great option for those just starting out and cost less than assembling your own board. Check out our range of completes.
Assemble Your Own Skateboard
A tailored skateboard is the best option if you know exactly what you need. Building your own custom skateboard gives you the freedom to select your favorite trucks, grip tape, hardware and wheels, and mount them to the deck yourself. Even if you already own a complete and are looking to upgrade, you may not necessarily need to buy a whole new skateboard. As the individual components wear out, you can simply trade them out for newer, better-quality parts.