If you’re choosing your first skateboard, or buying one for the kids, there are two roads you can take. The first is buying a complete, or a fully decked-out skateboard that’s ready to ride. The second is to choose the separate parts, like decks, trucks and wheels to make the board of your dreams. Most people who haven’t ridden a skateboard go for a complete, and this is the ideal board for beginners. Riders who know their stuff will choose to custom build their boards sourcing parts from the brands they like and trust.
Next, you’ll have to figure out the type of board. There are different styles and shapes to suit different riding styles. Longboards are popular choices for going downhill, riding along the pavement, and general riding in the city. They have longer wheelbases that make them stable and easier to ride, so are more forgiving for beginners. If you’re looking for a bit more speed, and want something smaller then you might want a cruiser board. The last choice is reserved mainly for those with a bit more skill and experience. These are double-kick or park boards that you’d use in the skatepark for doing tricks.
Knowing who you’re buying the board for helps narrow down the choices. Beginners should go for a complete longboard, and there are hundreds of different complete longboards for sale from dozens of shops across Australia. Yes, skateboarding is coming back in style, but the choices on offer today are much greater than the 70s and 80s when skateboarding first took off, and the materials and build is at a much higher standard. The good thing though is that skateboards are much cheaper compared to back then. To make the gift of a new board complete, also check out clothing and footwear for a better, comfier ride.
What to Look for in a Complete Longboard?
Customers like variety and choice. For longboards, this means getting the board in the size, shape and style that best suits the rider. And here too there’s a lot to pick from. Boards need to fit the rider, have a decent set of trucks and wheels for stability and maneuvering, and also have some style. Choosing doesn’t have to be a chore. Here’s what to look for.
First, find out the type of riding you’re into. This will depend a lot on where you live. Hilly areas are good for downhill longboarding, and you’ll be picking up speed fast. The best stance here is a tucked position to reduce wind resistance and gain better control of the board. If you live in flatter areas, longboards will be good for cruising and carving your way to school or work, or just hitting the streets. This riding style is best at honing your skills when attempting something more daring. Freeride and freestyle longboarding involve carving into slopes while doing slides and curb hops, or attempting tricks in the street or in urban settings. For each type of riding this is different, so figure out what you want to do with the board.
Types of Longboards
There are three types of longboards, based on the shape and the riding style they’re suited for. Pintail boards are good in carving and cruising, since the back wheels are set away from the end of the board. Twin tip boards have a similar design in the front and back, and thin out at both ends to make for the trucks and wheels. These are good for downhill longboarding, a have a decent level of maneuverability. Cruiser longboards have a kicktail at the back, and wheels and truck set a bit higher than other boards here, letting you easily pick up speed on the flats, but also make sharp turns when you need to. Naturally, they’re the best board for cruising around.
Kicktails are the upward curves at the back of one of both ends of longboards. This helps riding in a few ways. They allow you to do tricks and hop on curbs, and are also good in abrupt turns. Cruisers have a back kicktail, while freeride boards have kicktails at both ends. Having a board with a slight concave means the centre of the board is a little lower than the edges and this allows your shoes to mould into the shape, essentially meaning more overall contact with the board surface and hence more grip. Also, having some decently sticky grip tape will help keep your feet in place.
Trucks and Wheels
Trucks are the metal parts that are fitted to the deck, and their purpose is to hold the wheels. They consist of baseplates that connect to the deck, hangers that hold the wheels and bushings that can be loosened or tightened to give you leverage when turning. Trucks can be positioned differently on longboards. Boards with top mount trucks are a bit higher and are generally found in cruiser boards. The raised height makes it easier in turns, but you get less stability in things like downhill riding. Drop through trucks and boards have trucks that are mounted through the board and are common in twin tip boards. The lower height means better control and less work in pushes. There are also drop deck longboards, with the trucks set higher than the main part of the deck and where you place your feet.
There’s also a lot to choose from when looking at wheels. Taller and wider wheels are good for cruising, while freestyle and freeride wheels are typically shorter and narrower. You’ll want bigger wheels on a cruiser, and something smaller in a drop deck longboard. Also, there are differences in the hardness of the wheels. Softer wheels are better at absorbing impact from holes or bumps but are slower than hard wheels, which are better suited for downhill riding. Beginner complete longboards for sale often have softer wheels.
Length and Width
If you’re a bigger rider, you’ll want a bigger board. And the opposite is also true. Lengths vary from 34 inches for kids and people in a shorter stature, up to 50 inches for anyone over 6 feet. Common lengths are around 40 inches. Widths vary, and don’t necessarily mean they’re proportionate to length. Find a board that is the right width for your shoes. Complete longboards for sale range around 8 to 9 inches wide. Another important factor for handling is the wheelbase, with wheels set longer apart for better stability, and those that are closer in easier turning.
Skateboarding stores have qualified staff to help you choose the right board for you. All you need to do is pick the one that looks best.