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How to Choose a Skateboard Deck

The deck is one of the most important parts of the skateboard. It’s the only part of the board in direct contact with the feet, so you want to choose a deck that’s perfect in every way. Width, shape, profile, kicktail – all of these attributes should be taken into consideration. This guide will explain the different parts of a deck. As part of Skate America’s mission to educate and inform our customers, we present the following skateboard deck buyer’s guide.

 

Deck Width

Many rookie skateboarders are obsessed with deck length, but focus on width before anything else. Your size determines the deck width, which is available in four different sizes: Micro, Mini, Mid-Size and Full.

Skateboard Deck Styles – Custom Shapes for any Skateboarder

Not all decks are created equal. Based on your preferred skateboarding technique, you’ll want to match your type of skateboarding with one of the following deck styles:

Longboards – for those who use skateboards as basic transportation, longboards are the way to go.

Cruiser – similar to the longboard, this deck style also has an exaggerated kicktail for the occasional trick. The cruiser is the longboard’s smaller, more maneuverable version.

Shortboard – this is the deck style you see on TV. If you’re looking to perform tricks, this is the best bet.

Classic – also called “old school” decks, this type of skateboard surface is designed like the first mass-produced decks: wide nose, non-uniform shape, a wide nose and a kicktail. The versatile old school decks are great for ramps, pools or the sidewalk. 

Deck Material

7-ply maple is the most common deck construction style, but others exist. To create a skateboard deck, multiple sheets of thin wood (usually 7 sheets), called veneers, are stacked cross-grain against each other for a solid, sturdy footing. Check the “ply” when purchasing a deck; anything over 7 usually results in a sturdier, heavier board, while the opposite holds true for decks with less than 7 maple veneers. 

Deck Concave

Concave allows precise foot placement, unique tricks, turns and more. There are seven major concave designs, each with its own unique performance characteristics. 

Pre-Purchase Questions: What to Ask Before you Buy

Before buying a skateboard deck, ask yourself the following questions. They’ll help determine which sizes and styles are right for you.

What is my skill level?

Do I use my skateboard for cruising or tricks?

What surface do I usually skateboard on?

Is a kicktail necessary, or can I control the board without one?

Does my size actually match the recommended deck width, or does another size make more sense?

Is the deck manufactured by a reputable brand?

How hard do I ride my skateboard?

If I go through skateboard decks often, is it worth spending more money for one?

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