The Beginner’s Guide: Buying your first skateboard
Despite the seemingly limitless choice presented by your friendly local skate shop, buying your first skateboard is actually pretty simple.
You might be buying a board for someone else, or maybe you’ve had a go on your friend’s board and got the bug. Either way, here are some tips for navigating the purchase of what might turn out to be a most cherished possession.
Buying your first skateboard: completes vs custom
Option 1: Buying a Complete Skateboard
This is the most common choice for beginners. Simply put, a complete is a skateboard is one that comes fully set-up and all of the components are sized and matched to complement each other. All of the skateboard’s parts are of a high grade and offer a medium range of control and speed.
We offer a range of complete skateboards in-store and online, and even carry our very own June Store completes. Completes are ready to skate straight away and all you need to do is think about the size of the deck itself (more on that later). We’ll do the rest.
Option 2: Building a custom skateboard
The second option is to build your own custom skateboard by selecting each of the parts you need. If you buy from us, we’ll also put it together for you.
A skateboard is made of five main components: a deck, trucks, wheels, bearings and bolts. On top of this you'll also need grip tape, but we supply this for free with all decks and completes.
To help you choose which is right for you, we’ve created a checklist of the five things that make up a complete skateboard:
The Deck: picking your first skateboard deck
The 'deck' is the wooden part of the skateboard. Each deck has its own individual artwork on the underside, usually created by an artist who's work embodies the brands aesthetic. You’ll find many decks hanging on the wall in-store, as well as on our website.
At June Store, our decks come with free black Jessup grip tape for the top of the deck. We’ll apply this for you too. The most popular deck sizes for kids and adults are 7.75 inches, 8 inches, 8.125 inches, 8.25 inches and 8.5 inches. But we said this was simple so, to make it easier, here is a suggested size guide:
Which size skateboard deck should you buy?
Under 9s: You might want to go for a 7.75inch board. It is the thinnest and shortest board and will be the easiest to manoeuvre. Don’t forget that when a skateboarder is learning to push, carve or ollie they’ll need to pick up and reposition their board as they practice.
Under 12s: Slightly older? You might want to choose an 8 inch to 8.25inch board. This will be slightly bigger and it will offer a wider surface to stand on. Comfort is key here and a slightly wider deck could offer more stability.
13 and upwards: 8.125 inch – 8.5 inch. This will be more about what feels right under the skateboarder’s feet than anything else. The most popular sizes amongst both younger and adult skateboards are 8.125 and 8.25 as they offer both stability and manoeuvrability.
Note: There are no rules when it comes to skateboard size. The most important thing is that it feels right under your feet. You might choose a wider board if you have bigger feet, but actually shoe size doesn't matter either. We know adults who skate 7.75' decks and kids who skate 9"+! If you're not sure, the best thing to do is visit your local skate shop and try standing on a few different width boards.
The Trucks: finding trucks to match your board
'Trucks' are the metal parts that connect the board to the axle. The axle then connects to the wheels. A kingpin runs through the middle and is surrounded by a piece of rubber called a bushing – this part helps control how much or how little you can turn the board. The tighter the kingpin, the more resistance you will feel when turning the board.
We’ve put together a separate guide to finding the right size trucks to help you along, as well as this handy chart.
Bearings: Which ABEC should you buy?
Bearings come in packs of eight because you’ll need two for each wheel. You'll often see bearings referred to by their 'ABEC rating'. This isn't the number of balls, but the precision by which they are manufactured. For skateboarding, anything over ABEC 3 will get you gliding along with each push. We put ABEC 7 or 9 in our completes, just to make sure.
Wheels: which size do you need?
Skateboard wheels are made from urethane and the density (read: hardness) of this comes in different ratings. We use 99a or 101a for our competes, which is the ideal density for your first board, as well as what the pros ride. 99a wheels are slightly softer, helping you roll over small cracks in the pavement whilst still gripping the ground beneath the board.
There are many different sizes to choose from, but to start out we'd suggest starting with a 52mm size or something close for an ‘all-rounder’ size.
Bolts secure the board to the trucks. They are cheap and simple, but you can’t go anywhere if you don’t have the board bolted together!
And that’s it.
So hit the links above; pop in or call up and we’ll get you rolling in no time. Whatever you choose, just remember to skate safe and have fun.