What kinds of skateboard decks are there?
A standard skateboard deck is often referred to as a ‘popsicle deck’. As the name implies, their shape resembles a popsicle stick. This is the most common skateboard deck shape for modern street skateboarding. A popsicle deck is versatile and can be used for tricks on many different skate terrains.
Shaped Decks/Old-School Decks
In the 1970’s and 80’s, many skateboard decks resembled something like a fish. These decks had a tail for your back foot, but often little to no ‘nose’ in comparison to popsicle decks. At the time, most technical street skateboarding tricks had not been developed, and these deck shapes worked for the transition, pool, and half pipe skating that was common for the era.
These shaped skateboard decks saw a drastic decrease in popularity in the early 1990’s during the emergence of street skating. It wasn’t until the early-mid 2000’s that shaped decks began to return. Nowadays, skaters increasingly appreciate these decks for both their historical value and for the fun of using them for modern skate tricks and cruising. Cruisin City specializes in shaped and old-school skate decks.
Skateboard decks almost always have a seven-ply maple construction. That is, seven thin plies of maple wood pressed together with an adhesive between each ply. This is a time-tested construction that’s durable and long-lasting.
Some decks may have a birch wood construction, which is lighter but not as strong as maple, making birch decks suitable for children.
Several deck companies such as Powell-Peralta and Santa Cruz have developed special deck constructions.
For example, the deck will be reinforced with a thin layer of fiberglass. These decks are generally longer lasting, lighter, and offer more pop than a standard maple deck. However, they are also usually more expensive.
Deck Sizes and how to find what’s right for you!
The size of your skateboard deck is the most important part of choosing a skateboard. Generally, skateboard deck widths range from 7” to 10” wide. The length of the deck generally corresponds closely to the width.
Here’s a basic chart to understand skateboard deck widths:
7” – 7.5” – Children’s skateboards for skaters 3 to 10 years old
7.5” – 7.75” – Smaller skaters or technical street skateboarders
8” – Standard adult skateboard width for street and transition skating
8.25” – 8.5” – Street and transition skaters who prefer a wider deck
8.5” – 9” – Large adult skaters and transition skaters
9” and up – Large adult transition/vert skaters
Old-school/shaped/cruiser decks – Can be any width that sounds fun to skate or authentic to the original design from back in the day!
While shoe size and body size can give you an idea of which deck is right for you, there is no size ‘rule’ for skateboard decks.
A small skater can skate a wide deck and vice versa. In fact, sizes get increasingly ‘lenient’ when it comes to old-school and shaped decks.
Many old-school decks are around the 10” wide range, much larger than modern popsicle decks.
This is part of their vintage appeal, and no, you do not need to have massive feet to skate them! Their purpose is to be fun and take you back to earlier days of skateboarding.
What are the parts of a skateboard truck?
A complete skateboard truck consists of a baseplate, hanger, kingpin, bushings, pivot cup, axle washers, and axle nuts. Lucky for us, all skateboard trucks are sold fully assembled, so you don’t need to order these parts individually!
Skateboard trucks differ in looks and features between brands. However, all skateboard trucks serve the same purpose – to make your skateboard turn.
Skateboard truck sizes
The most important factor in selecting a skateboard truck is its axle width. Ideally, the axle width of your trucks should match the width of your deck as closely as possible. For example, an 8” wide deck should have trucks with an 8” wide axle.
The most complicated aspect of truck sizing is that not all brands use the same model numbers to designate truck sizes.
Thunder Truck with an 8” axle = Thunder ‘147’ Truck
Independent Truck with an 8” axle = Independent ‘139’ Truck
Krux Truck with an 8” axle = Krux ‘8.0’ Truck
Therefore, be sure not to confuse a truck’s model number with the axle width that you need. In the Cruisin City online shop, the axle width of a truck should always be stated in the truck’s product description.
Skateboard truck heights
Skateboard trucks are classified as having a low, mid, or high ride height.
Low – More stability and control but less turning radius and leverage for pop. Often preferred by technical street skaters.
Mid – Ride height between a low and high truck
High – Greater turning radius and leverage for pop but less stability and precision control. Often preferred by transition skaters.
Skateboard truck features
The most common ‘upgrade’ that you will find among skateboard trucks are weight reduction features. Some trucks have a hollow kingpin bolt, some have a hollow axle, and some have both. In addition, premium trucks may have a strong and lightweight titanium axle.
What are skateboard wheels made from?
All skateboard wheels are made from a plastic compound called urethane. However, not all wheels are created equal. Each wheel company has their own urethane formula. In addition to their standard wheel models, top brands like Bones, Spitfire, and OJ Wheels offer ‘high-end’ wheel formulas that promise improved wheel longevity or resilience to slides.
Even a small difference in wheel size can make an impact on the way your skateboard rides.
Here’s a basic chart to understand skateboard wheel sizes:
50mm-52mm – ‘small’ wheels ideal for technical street skating
53mm-54mm – ‘standard’ wheels ideal for street and transition skating
55mm-56mm – somewhat larger wheels for street and transition skating
57mm-58mm – ‘large’ wheels for transition skating or cruiser skateboards
59mm and larger – wheels for cruiser skateboards and longboards
Wheel hardness or ‘durometer’ is very important when selecting a set of skateboard wheels. Soft wheels offer outstanding grip and a quiet, comfortable ride. Hard wheels are faster and offer slide-ability and quick response for tricks. Wheel hardness is measured on a rating system, or, durometer scale.
Here’s a basic chart to understand skateboard wheel durometers:
78a – 87a – Soft and grippy (ideal for cruiser skateboards and longboards)
88a – 95a – Harder and faster but still grippy and ideal for cruising
96a – 101a – Hard and fast (ideal for street skating and tricks)
83b – 84b – Very hard (ideal for skateparks and experienced skaters)
Skateboard wheel durometers are generally stated on the wheel itself or in the wheel’s product description in the Cruisin City online shop.