Finding the Best Skateboard for Beginners
The best skateboard for beginners has to take into account what kind of skateboarding they will be doing and how old the rider is. There are some safe bets for setups that will work for all riders.
What do You Want to Do With it?
There are many types of skateboards made to do different things. Some of the things you can do with a skateboard are do tricks in the street or skateparks, and ride around town.
Street skating is all about doing tricks on obstacles. Learning to ollie is one of the most important things to learn for street skating. A trick board has to have a tail to ollie. A street board should also have a nose for nollie tricks and tricks like nose slides. You can ride around town on street boards with hard wheels, but they will not be as fast as cruiser board wheels and will have a harder time riding over cracks.
What Size Skateboard Should I Get?
Street setups are light weight and small, making them easier to do tricks with. Trick boards should have trucks that are the correct size for the board so that its not extra difficult for the board to flip like with wide trucks on a narrow deck. Narrow trucks on a wider deck will make the board unstable. The trucks are sometimes built with hollow kingpins and axles, which helps reduce the weight of the board.
The wheels shouldn’t be too big. This avoids wheel bite and keeps the board’s weight down. Wheel companies now make specific wheels designed for street skating like Bones Street Tech Formula (STF).
Riding in skateparks usually involves transition, or vert skating. Any street board will work, but is not ideal. For transition skateboarding, a board should be wider. Old school boards used to be fish tail shapes, so shaped decks are more common in transition and vert skateboarding. There are many re-issues of decks from back in the day.
The deck being wider helps the rider stay in control while going fast. Vert skateboarding can generate a lot of speed going back and forth.
Larger wheels on park boards helps keep the momentum going longer as you flow from ramp to ramp. They will also help to lock in better on the coping for grinds.
Riser pads are commonly used on park boards to space the trucks of off the deck. This allows for larger diameter wheels to fit while making the wheels farther from the deck where they can wheel bite.
Rails are used on park boards to improve the slide of the bottom of the board while preserving the graphic. They are screwed into the deck adding strength to the board. The plastic material slides better than wood on metal and stone pool coping.
Riding Around Town or to School
Riding to get places is one of the more common ways to skate these days. Cruiser boards and Penny boards are extremely popular. Taking them to school is easy because they can be carried around or stowed in a locker.
Penny or Nickel boards are good because they are compact, have many styles and graphics to choose from, and have soft wheels to ride over cracks better than riding a street deck. You also go further with each push. Penny and Nickel boards are great for beginners. There are tons of ways to customize them too. The deck platform is small though and can be harder to ride than other cruisers or longboards. Learning how to ride a Penny board is a great way for beginners to get into skateboarding.
Keep the Goal in Mind: Progression
When choosing the best skateboard for beginners, the end goal matters, but there are stepping stones that you can use to guide your progression. Learning to ride before trying many tricks can make tricks easier to learn because you have the balance down already and can roll. Learning to tic tac and manual can make learning how to ollie easier. And of course learning how to ollie is the foundation of learning how to do almost all other street tricks. If you start on a Penny, eventually buying a longboard as your next board to learn some longboard dancing moves is a good fun way to go.
Skateboard Wheels for Beginners
Beginners should start on a softer wheel whether it’s a slightly softer street wheel or a cruiser wheel. This will make riding easier which is the most important thing before even learning tricks. If the beginner wants to eventually do tricks, softer street wheels will still be able to do tricks. Do not increase the size of beginner street or park wheels though, they should remain small and light weight.
Where to Get Your Skateboard
Name brands can be deceptive like Blind skateboards in Walmart. Getting a quality board can reduce costs later and give a beginner a better chance to learn. They will also have less likelihood of being made fun of by other skaters who can spot a cheap toy store board. Buy your skateboard from your local skate shop who can provide you with help maintaining your board if you ever need it as well as can help with riding in the community.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Much Does a Good Skateboard Cost?
A good skateboard should cost between $80 and $150. Anything costing less is probably cheaply made and mass produced overseas. Anything costing more has higher end parts that are not necessary for a new skater to learn. Buying pre-made completes will usually be cheaper than buying parts and assembling a board.
Is a Penny Board Good For a Beginner?
Yes and No. Penny boards are good for cruising, but are not good for tricks. If the beginner wants to learn tricks, they should get a small popsicle board like a 7.75. A Penny board is definitely one of the best if not the best skateboard for beginners.
Best Skateboard for 5 Year Olds?
Riders this young should stick with mini cruisers like Penny boards or the smallest popsicle board available which will be 7.5 or 7.75 inches wide. It depends on how big the kid is and whether the buyer of the board wants to give them a better chance of learning now, or whether they want to reduce the chances that the board will be outgrown for learning over the years. 7.75 inch wide decks are ridden by all age groups including adults.