I grew up riding my skateboard quite rigiously everyday down my neighborhood streets. It’s not only a quick way to commute-it’s a good workout. Often times skating throughout the day left me sore making the ride unbearable over rough terrain.
As the weeks passed, my wheels were shredding apart to the point they were the size or quarter. My birthday was coming up and my father hooked me up with new board. To my surprise, it turned out to be a Tony Hawk Birdhouse mini-cruiser. Although it wasn’t what was expected, it was a new style of skating for me.
What’s the difference, anyway? Let’s just say the ride quality is a game changer. I could now ride a board at night that wouldn’t have the neighborhood screaming out their windows at me.
There’s a board that suits an array of styles I never knew about. I’m going to share the kinds of skateboards, differences, and why getting one is too much fun NOT to have.
Different Types Of Skateboards
- Caster Board
- One Wheel
The “popsicle shape” is the most common type of skateboard.
Typically these boards aren’t great for everyday cruising. If you already have one, all you have to do is switch out the wheels.
- Double kicktail (nose & tail) allowing to use the board for tricks, providing optimal maneuverability.
- Various levels of concave ranging from steep, mild, or mellow.
- Blank, pro, team, and shop deck designs are offered.
- Wheel sizes range from 48mm to 60mm
- Soft and hard wheels alter performance.
Reasons to get one?
Often times you’ll see these at the skatepark. For me, I was inspired by my sisters friend who could darkslide on any object. Not only is that a cool looking trick, but it’s freaking hard! My best friend later got me into it and met two locals brothers who were REALLY good! Later on in life they both went pro.
Maybe you could develop a story to begin your journey. Otherwise, if you’re looking to challenge yourself learning tricks, grinding rails, fly off ramps then go for it.
Cruisers are a popular skateboard suited for traveling around cities and towns. For those seeking a quicker means of transport, these are a great option even if you’re not interested in learning tricks. There are varieties of boards such as mini and micro cruisers, and boards that simulate surfboards like Hamboards.
- Flex allows for a board to absorb vibrations over rough terrain, while a stiffer, flatter ride provides more stability.
- Single beefy kicktail that’s great for sharp turns and getting off curbs.
- Larger, softer wheels for a quiet ride unlike a normal skateboard.
Cruiser Or Skateboard?
In comparison, both are similar in shape, and parts are interchangeable. Unlike a longboard which is a much longer, broader board.
Cruisers have a smoother ride than normal skateboard over cracks and bumps. Far better on longer commutes through city streets and sidewalks. Best part is how much faster they can travel with less legwork.
Skateboards can be lighter making it easier to lug around. Smaller wheels on rough roads causes feet a tingling and numbing sensation. Although best for trick style skating, these are just hands down exciting to learn tricks on!
- Dusters California
Old-Skool & Shaped Skateboards
These old-skool style shapes are appearing often as re-issues in shops around the world. It’s bringing back history and a style that’s unique. A great amount of time is dedicated to developing proper shapes and designs.
Popular for pool style skating and cruising. In addition to these are a hybrid version known as “shaped decks”. A modernized shape that’s simple, yet versatile.
For transitional style skating, these would be the way to go.
- Santa Cruz
- Powell Peralta
- Bones Brigade
Types Of Longboards
Longboarding and skateboarding are two separate styles offering different experiences. Although with distinct features, you won’t see them at skateparks trying to grind rails.
On the other hand, it’s good to understand what’s available. These boards focus on providing greater stability and comfort over longer distances versus traditional skateboards and everyday cruiser. I’ll break down an overview of shapes, and tricks that are performed.
Common Longboard Shapes
- Drop Deck is a longboard that involves a specific foot platform that is dropped to lay below the trucks. An advantage, it can be lowered to barely clear the surface, depending on wheels size.
- Drop through longboards allow trucks to “dropped through” the deck. Drop-through mounting increases stability with a lower ride height. Less stress on the hips and lower body while riding-easier to push and/brake.
- Top mount introduces attaching trucks to the bottom of the board. This is a common way to mount trucks to a longboard. Increasing the leverage allows more sensitivity to the conditions of pavement. This style of truck mounting involves having the trucks sit in a recessed portion of the longboard deck.
- Flush mount setup on drop-through and top-mount longboards alike. Least popular mounting technique as it’s more complicated design.
What Longboards Are Used For
- Hang Ten
- Road Rider
- Sector 9
These smaller plastic skateboards are used for cruising and performing tricks. I’ve ridden these boards a few times for fun, although they’re uncomfortable on long rides. The lightweight designs, small size, and strength, make for a practical cruiser.
Penny boards are 22”, where the penny nickel is 27” coming in at 5” longer. Two main differences to choose one over the other is portability, and stability. Although very durable, it’s not the best option for bombing hills or sliding at high rates of speed like longboards.
Newer Style Skateboards
Gas powered skateboards in the mid 70s inspired a new form of transportation. However, it drew issues with noise and pollution with its gasoline operated mechanism.
With advancements in technology into the early 2000s, electric powered motors improved and continue to be popular today. These boards produce enough power to allow for all-around capabilities.
Several problems I’ve found people having issues with are battery life expectancy, and high cost of repairs. This is one of the biggest downsides I’ve witnessed but it’s a piece of tech that’s improving with time.
- Electric longboards
- Street Skating
J-boards, Ripsticks, Snakeboards, and Waveboards are other variants of skateboard operated on two wheels.
I mean… at first seeing this person FLY through dirt, gravel, even on city streets is going futuristic! Yes, they categorize this as an electric skateboard, or personal transporter. Released in 2013, coming in two sizes at a price tag that is worth how much time and energy was put into it.
If you’re new to skateboarding, learning about brands supporting the industry is important. As with many of the products we buy in life, we hope to expect a positive experience from it.
As a skateboarder, I’ve realized much is based on personal preference based on factors such as the certain board shapes, shoe materials, and pro-skaters that ride for the brand. This took me awhile to find what fits the style of skating I enjoy.
Which Is Best For Beginners?
Are you interested in learning tricks and meeting people at the skatepark? Looking for a way to commute to work, classes, or for pleasure? Maybe you want to start skateboarding as a hobby or use it as an escape. It’s also a great way to get into shape.
- If you want to learn tricks, get a regular “popsicle” shape board.
- Learning tricks doesn’t interest you, but quickly getting around as a commuter board, get a cruiser.
- Longboards are great for longer distances, bombing and carving hills.
- Portability-do you want to carry around a board that’s heavier, or lighter?
I wanted to personally develop this guide for anyone out there interested in getting involved in the skateboarding scene. It’s crazy to see skateboarding evolve in a ways that seem futuristic. I’m sure hoverboards will become a reality in the next generation.
If you’re uncertain which type of board you want, go to a skateshop where you can physically feel and stand on boards. In addition to this, Sizing is one of the most important factors as it determines the total comfort level you’ll experience.