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GET SET UP: Picking Your First Skateboard

Get Set Up: Picking Your First Skateboard

Looking to get started in skateboarding? Not sure what to buy, where to start or what a skateboard even is? We’ve decided to drop a little info to help you out.

The first thing we recommend is buying your first skateboard from a proper skate shop. That way you’re guaranteed to walk away with a quality product, whatever you choose. And you’ll avoid the poor quality boards sold in Argos and Toys R Us.

Unabomber Spot Complete Skateboard

Unabomber ‘Spot’ Complete 7.75 £60

What is a skateboard?

A skateboard is a piece of equipment that is used for skateboarding. It consists of a deck (the wooden part that you stand on), griptape (the sandpaper-like surface on the top of the deck), trucks (the metal part that connects the wheels to the deck), truck bolts, wheels and bearings.

Where to start?

Now you know what a skateboard is, but how do you pick the right one out for you? There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting your first board. size, brand and graphic being the most important.

We’d suggest starting out with an board that’s 8” wide; they’re not too big or too small. Your height may factor into your decision, but you might find a dude who is 6’ 5” skates boards that are 7.75” wide, while another guy who is 5' 3" who rides an 8.5” inch deck. It all comes down to personal preference, but generally the bigger you are the bigger the board you should choose.

The brand and graphic is 100% down to you.

Skateboard decks

Baker ‘Brand Logo’ Deck 8.00 £60
Anti Hero ‘Classic Eagle’ Deck 8.25 £60
Element ‘Section’ Deck 7.75 £55

What to buy?

There are two paths you can take when purchasing your first skateboard: the pre-built or custom skateboard.

Pre-Built Skateboard

A pre-built skateboard has already been setup by the brand and it features pre-selected components. The deck, trucks and wheels are matched up based on size, which means you don’t have the headache of matching them up yourself. It also means you’re pretty much ready to roll straight away! When you buy a pre-built board you’re paying for the entire skateboard. No hidden costs, no surprises. You pay one price for the deck, grip tape, trucks, truck bolts, wheels and bearings.

If you’re buying on a budget or you’re not quite sure if skateboarding is for you. Picking up a pre-built skateboard is a great way to get started. 

Heathen Destiny Complete Skateboard

Heathen ‘Destiny’ Complete 8.25 £60

Custom Skateboard

With a custom skateboard all the parts are selected by you. You pick out your own deck, griptape, trucks, truck bolts, wheels and bearings.

Most truck brands have an their own sizing system, which can make it difficult to match the size of your trucks to the size of your deck. If you don’t know which size trucks fit which size board just ask! The great thing about buying skateboards from skate shops is that usually there’s somebody working in the shop who can help. If you can’t get to a shop check out our truck sizing guide.

When you’re picking out a set of wheels, think about the type of terrain you want to be skating first. If you’re going to be riding a lot of street and practicing flips go for a set of wheels between 51-54mm. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a ramp rider get some bigger wheels between the 55 and 58mm mark. 

Skateboard Components

Flip ‘Odyssey’ Deck 8.25 £60
Independent ‘Stage 11’ Trucks 139 £58
Spitfire ‘Bighead’ Wheels 52mm £36
Bones ‘China Reds’ Bearings £18
Rollersnakes ‘Good Times’ Bolts £3

At this point you probably won’t be too worried about your bearings, bolts and griptape; to get you started we’d recommend Bones ‘China Reds’ Bearings, Rollersnakes ‘Good Times’ Bolts and a sheet of MOB griptape. There are a lot of options when it comes to your board’s hardware, over time you’ll figure out what works best for you.

You’ll need to add up the price of each component to figure out the total cost of your custom skateboard. Spend as much or as little as your budget allows. Remember though, spending more doesn’t mean you will skate better. Putting in time and practice is the only way to get better. 

Ready to Roll

All that’s left to do is set up your board up and hit the concrete jungle - the skateboard world is right at your door!