Choosing Your First Skateboard Deck | Sidewalk Basics

Buying your first deck and getting the right set up is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make as a skater…

From Sidewalk Basics – Autumn 2013

Avoid the cheap plastic toys on sale in your local supermarket and get yourself to the nearest real skate shop – there is a reason why those plastic complete boards are so cheap, it’s because they’re rubbish. Getting the right set up will be crucial to your learning at the beginning so make sure to get as much advice as you can before making your choice.

Your first deck

Picking your first deck is really important so our advice would be to visit your local skate store and check out their selection first.

There are a few really important things to look out for that will help you make the right choice:

Deck size

Obviously you need a board that suits your height, weight and shoe size. If you pick something too big or too small it will be hard for you to control when you start learning. 


Skateboard decks range in width from around 7.5 inches up to around 9 inches: as a general rule base your selection on the size of your feet. If you’re younger and have smaller feet then pick a narrower board around the 7.5 inches mark, whereas if you are shoe size 8 and upwards go for something around the 7.78 or 8 inch mark.


Most decks are between 30 and 31 inches long, so if you’re looking for a   standard deck, anything in this region is fine. If you’re looking for a board for a child, you’ll need a deck about 28 or 29 inches long – certain board brands offer smaller child-sized models.


This is the distance between the two trucks. Most modern decks have a wheelbase of between 13.5 and 14 inches, so for the average sized older skater, anything in this region is fine. If you are a smaller young skater you’ll find it easier to control a board with a smaller wheelbase, again several brands offer smaller sized boards aimed at younger beginners. Ask your local skate store for advice on this.


The nose is the front part of the board in front of the front truck. Most modern decks have a nose of between 6.25 and 6.75 inches.


The tail is slightly smaller and shallower than the nose and tends to be between 5.5 and 6.5 inches in length.


This is the curve that runs through the middle of the deck and will vary from one brand to the next. Some people prefer a flatter concave, whereas others prefer a deeper concave that is easier to feel through your feet when you’re skating. Ask your local skate store about different concaves – most shops will let you stand on a board before buying so that you can get a feel for which concave feels best.

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