My first experience with blank skateboards was tragic. Not because I didn’t like them, or their bland nature. I had to wait 2 weeks for 10 blanks to arrive… only to know they ended up on someone else’s doorstep halfway across the country. Upset over the fact my sister lost her payment, on top of never receiving a refund.
A couple months later the local shop brought in shipments of blanks. It excited me to try something fresh that I was unsure with.. With little money, this was the best alternative.
The best blank skateboard decks are shop decks.You will locate these at your local skate shop if accessible. Others offer with a company logo or special graphics. Another place to locate the best blank decks is online. In this article I’ll share the top suppliers, prices and other factors to consider before buying.
There’s a hidden problem in the blank skateboard market. They have no identity, no brand and no real origin. Skimming reviews, hearing various opinions with so many places online. Where do you start? Let’s turn with the reasons to buy one.
Advantages Of Buying A Blank Skateboard
Save money: Pro models sell for an average of $50 because blanks go for half the cost. For the value of 2, you can get 10 blanks.
Same High Quality: Differences between blanks and pro models is the brand name, and graphics. Blanks don’t develop from the same source though.
Customizable: You can use it as a canvas for personal artwork designs. Friends have made book or cd shelves this way.
Concave options: Various levels of concave are accessible to fit your style. Whether you prefer a steep or mellow ride.
Are Blanks Killing The Industry?
Is buying a blank a bad idea? There’s nothing wrong with saving money. Spending the extra money for a pro-model in some instances helps fund for development of products. Companies develop extensive research on products like the ones listed in one of my articles here.
Brand names help build upon funding events, sponsor skaters and grow business. When my local shop was around, I’d always support them first. They had affordable shop decks, and they did great things for the community. I knew my money was going to the right people. Maybe there’s a reason you can relate as well.
However you choose to spend your money, make sure there’s a good reason.
Are Blank Skateboard Decks Any Good?
Where do exports get their supplies? Are other materials being manipulated, but marketed as 100% hard-rock maple?
The most frequent questions online skaters debating quality. Many factors contribute to this curiosity as most are mass produced and imported from Mexico and China. Blank and pro-models both are susceptible to warping and splitting. Improper quality control or not storing in proper temperatures after manufacturing may have occurred.
I’m unclear what goes on in the development process overseas. My intention is to save money, in return for decent product. You will hear people say blanks are trash. With that mindset, they obviously haven’t found a good distributor.
Where Are Decks Made?
They start at the factory where massive quantities are created and shipped all over the world. Most distributors AKA (wood shops) work under the same umbrella in the industry. This outline will show you an insight of what I mean.
Element* (until mid 2018)
The Killing Floor
Skateboard Cafe(rumored to be moving to HLC)
Scum Co.* (logo decks)
Manufacturers over the ages have outsourced. One reason being cost reduction. Complaints over lower quality products surface throughout the community.
In my personal perspective, differences are noticed with concave structure and sizing of kicktails.
People are lead to believe its garbage if it comes anywhere other than Canada or the USA. I’m not here to argue or take sides. As a skater you will develop your own awareness by research and testing products.
Contracting out saves money. This raises unanswered questions we may never identify the answer.
Does your skate shop have their own custom deck? Ever ask who their supplier is? Every business needs support from others to survive. Blanks are also manufactured by a smaller mom and pop shops.
Through these dealers, businesses can purchase bulk orders. This allows businesses to mark up a product for profit. If you depend on your local shop, their custom decks may surprise you.
Home to the best manufacturers and suppliers. Not to mention top of the line materials and industry leading advancements. Control and Woodchuck to name a few industries there.
A typical deck comprises 7-ply hard-rock maple veneers. Bamboo is another popular material on the market. I’ve written a passage on the strongest skateboard decks, where I cover a variety of industry leading tech.
Canadian hard-rock maple is the production standard and has been for years. Here’s a snippet from professionals that specialize in this area:
“The best maple for skateboards is grown in northern Canada and is called Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum) Studies have shown that the colder the climate, the tighter the growth ring will be because of the short growing season. The farther north the tree is harvested, the harder the Sugar Maple will be.”
Bamboo skateboards are gaining popularity. They market this particular design stronger and provides outstanding pop. They advertise these in blank format. Reviews have mentioned bamboo isn’t stiff like maple, but flexible.Depending on your preference, you may enjoy this.
They employ several kinds of glues while manufacturing. I could encompass this topic in another article as it is a very detailed. Glue plays a vital role as there’s a whole science behind it.
Important Features Of A Skateboard
Decks are diverse in terms of shape, proportion, and concave level. Understanding these features allows an optimal ride quality. Let me explain each to you.
Size: Length and width are necessary to match the skaters needs. Kids 5-10 start off with sizes 7.5” wide and 31.3” long for example. Bigger guys ride 8” + wide and 31.8” long. The length isn’t a big deal as much as width. Advancing will help better understand your perfect fit.
Shapes: Most common are popsicle decks. Shaped decks are hybrids between new and old skool used in transition skateboarding. Many others exist, you could even custom make your own.
Concave: Concave affects board response and the overall ride quality. This can be rather confusing as most companies don’t specify this. There is no need to place too much emphasis on this as a beginner.
Blank Skateboard Brands Online
With the vast variety of online retailers, it’s hard to break down the finest ones. You have to be aware of where products are coming from.
Examples of online retailers
- E-Commerce Sites: A broad choice of skateboarding products located here. Big retailers
-Online & offline skate shops
Shops promote products outside of their sites. If you’re not familiar with the industry, it‘s hard to decipher between them.
- Auction sites: Blank skateboards are popular here as bulk options are in high demand. Where they are produced is a mystery. In this case, a simple inquiry could be your answer.
- Wholesalers: Drop shipping has become a booming industry. If this idea is new to you, it’s businesses getting large volumes of product for a fraction of the cost. I find here many blank decks bought in bulk, this requires buying 50-100 per transaction at $4-$15/deck. Product listings tell you where they came from, the quality still questionable.
Which Brands Are The Most Reliable Then?
So many places to choose from, but who can you trust? Familiarize yourself with skate shop owners, online retailers and quality resources.
Online skate shop retailers carry their own blanks. These are trusted networks that been around awhile. They can be found on e-commerce sites, but tricky to locate.
Pay attention to products providing warranties on factory defects such as warping or splitting. I’ve never experienced it, but it can happen. Companies offer this on their site.
Relationships builds trust in the skateboarding community. Skate shops that are open and friendly are awesome. They will go as far as ordering products you, give you discounts, or free skate sessions.
After doing research, tons of positive reviews on these cheaper products surface. But, we can get an idea of the buyers. High reviews come from parents and family members buying for their kids before actually using the product.
Pay attention to the lower scored reviews. Consumers that actually use the product, and parents upset about the quality product. Some of these reviews are rather upsetting to say the least.
Outside the realm of reviews are forums, Reddit, or your local skate shop.
Never done this before, but legit deals can be found. I’m talking $10 for a used brand name deck. Your job is to reach out and ask them specific questions
- Why they are selling
- Exposure to moisture
- How often did they use it?
Nothing wrong going this route if you’re strapped for cash. Although you can’t inspect the board, but obvious wear is noticeable. Ask the merchant for a video or more pictures if need be.
Can You Get Custom Graphics And Where?
Blank skateboards are BORING! Graphics give your ride personality and something to look at when learning kickflips. If skate shops get personalized artwork done, can anyone?
You can and here’s how
Maybe you‘re considering customizing a board for your kid for their birthday. Or an artist looking to hang something cool on the wall. Whatever the reason, you can have this done for a reasonable price. I’ll give a couple resources for you
- Board pusher
- Custom skateboards
- Whatever Skateboards
This is just a few I could locate. There are more resources but hard to find as they don’t run a direct website.
The Best Blank Deck Company I Recommended
You may not have a local skate shop or they may not carry custom decks. As I mentioned, it’s important to have a retailer to trust. It’s nice to have a consistent product every single time. That’s why I mention Mini-Logo as the best blank deck companies out there.
Mini-Logo is manufactured by Skate1 distribution . Other brands from them are Powell Paralta, and Bones. Some of the best bearings and wheels are made by them. I’ve always been big on consistency, and that’s alway important.
In the past, the only brands I’ve tried were shop decks and decks from two other retailers. Staying away from buying bulk as there’s too much uncertainty. As far as decks you see for $15-$25, you get what you pay for and that’s a mystery you can dare uncover.
You learned something new today. My goal is to redirect you to support the right businesses while get the highest quality product on the market. Reading reviews where customers were missing parts, or cracked decks is embarrassing.
Saving money is something we enjoy. With skateboards, quality and honest resources are so important. If you’re out there shopping, don’t buy not just based on the highest reviews. It’s one of the biggest mistakes people make including myself.
As for now, I continue to write content to reach those looking for the best answers online. I’m always open to article ideas, and photos to share on my site.