Skateboard Decks: Styles and Features


The skateboard deck is the actual board that you stand on, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights depending on what you plan to do with your skateboard. (Our last post differentiated between long and short boards – check it out if you’re still unsure.)


Before getting into the technicalities of actually choosing a skateboard deck, it’s helpful to get to know the different styles of boards that skateboarders use. The four types are:


Old School


Shortboards are the shorter style boards and are designed and shaped for getting you in the air.
Cruisers are perfect for – you guessed it! – cruising around. Decks are typically mid-length and versatile and maneuverable.
Old school boards are usually asymmetrical with a wider nose. They’re a popular choice for those looking to skate pools, ramps, or carve the streets.
Longboards are perfect for the skater that is less interested in tricks than transporting. Some are specifically designed for downhill racing. They sit a little closer to the ground and are symmetrical in shape.


Decks vary in size, but most are between 7”-10” and made of seven-ply maple wood, bamboo, resin, carbon fiber, or plastic. Decks have changed over the years, and if you’ve been checking out different decks, you’ll notice that designers are constantly looking to improve the design. One of the best parts of building a skateboard is being able to customize its look and feel based on your needs and brand preference.


Here are some factors to consider when buying your deck:


Width | The width of your skateboard typically will depend on your height and shoe size. If you find fascination in walking shoes, read a review of walking shoes to see if these would go well with the skateboard. You don’t want your toes or heels awkwardly hanging off your board while you’re trying to do a trick.  If you’re a younger skater, you probably won’t feel comfortable skating a board bigger than most adults skate.  Also keep in mind that width can affect how hard it is to flip certain tricks.
Length | Typically the length of a skateboard is going to be relative to its width.  If you’re comfortable with the width of the skateboard, the length is going to comfortable as well.  Cruiser style skateboards often are going to be shorter, this is because cruisers aren’t designed to perform tricks; they’re made simply for transportation and easy storage.
Wheelbase | The wheelbase (the distance between your boards inner mounting holes and indicates the span of your wheels) affects the stiffness and control of a skateboard.  The wider the wheelbase is, the more flex you’ll feel, which can make carving and turning much easier and fun.
Ply | A skateboard’s ply describes how many layers of wood the actual deck is made out of.  Most street style boards are made up of 7 ply’s of maple wood.  Longboards and downhill boards typically are thicker and made to handle more weight.  Skateboards with lower ply have more flexibility.
Concave | “Concave” refers to the actual shape and curves of the skateboard.  The ends of a skateboard, which are referred to as the “nose” and “tail” of the board, curve upwards and are important factors when it comes to “pop” and the ability for the board to be flipped.  Although they look very similar, there are a wide range of concaves and shapes.  Discovering which concave is the best for you is all based on trial and error.


We have a huge selection of all of the things you will need to build your own skateboard, and an awesome team to walk you through all of the stages of buying your first skateboard.

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