How to Choose a Skateboard

If you're new to skateboarding, choosing the best skateboard for you can be a bit confusing.

The information below spells out the basics and has been created help you choose a skateboard that you'll get the most enjoyment out of it:

What makes up a complete skateboard?

What type of skateboard should I buy?

What size skateboard should I get?

Buying a beginner skateboard

Choosing a skateboard for young riders

Buying an intermediate / advanced skateboard

What makes up a complete skateboard?

You can either buy complete skateboards with all of the necessary components included, or you can buy your own individual components to create your own customised board.

All Osprey skateboards come as a complete set up, so they include: a deck, grip tape, trucks, and wheels; however should you feel like customising your set up with new trucks or wheels etc. then this is always possible as you can change or replace components as you wish. We also stock various skateboard accessories and components.

Here is a breakdown of the different components of a skateboard:


The plank that you will be riding on usually made of layers of wood (although other materials like plastic can be used).

Grip Tape:

The sandpaper like material usually black (or sometimes clear) on the topside of the deck which provides you with grip when riding the board.

Wheels (x4):

Usually made of plastic and come in a variety of sizes and hardness and are generally measured in mm. Bigger wheels offer more speed but an increase in effort from the rider, whilst smaller wheels offer less speed but a lower amount of effort to get up to top speed. Harder wheels slide easier (great for tricks like grinding) whereas softer wheels offer a lot more traction allowing for speed and control. Wheels are often measure on the durometer scale ‘A’ and the higher number represents an increasing hardness e.g. 78a is a soft wheel compared to 101a + which offer a pro level hardness.

NOTE: some companies use a B scale which allows for much harder wheels and is 20 points lower than the A scale (e.g. 80b=100a) which allows for an increased hardness rating.

Trucks (x2):

The metal T-shaped components mounted on the underside of the board, to which the wheels attach

Trucks come in several parts with a riser, base plate, hanger and axle held together by a kingpin separated by bushings allowing for smooth riding.


Bearings are used to mount the wheels to the axle, and are all the same size. However they do vary in quality most commonly represented by an ABEC rating 7, 9 - 9 tends to be used by downhill skaters.

NOTE: Osprey use the ABEC rating however some brands do not use the ABEC rating and instead use their own rating system.

What type of skateboard should I buy?

There are many different shapes, and sizes of skateboards, and it can all get a bit confusing. Here are the main skateboard types and also what we offer at Osprey...

Longboard Skateboards

Longboards come in all shapes and sizes but as a general rule, a longboard is a skateboard that is 33 inches or longer. You can get twin tip longboards, pintail longboards, swallowtail longboards, drop-through decks, drop decks and the list goes on!

Great for:

  • A mode of transport and cruising around
  • Manoeuvrability for beginners
  • Stability for beginners
  • Going fast due to wheel size
  • Big swooping turns
  • A smooth ride on rough ground

Not so great for:

  • Tricks & flips
  • Carrying/transporting around

Typically used:

DownhillFlat roads

There are three types of longboard:

  1. Pintail: The pintail shape prevents the wheel from touching the board ("wheelbite") whilst still providing plenty of foot space. They allow for deep carving turns and are also good cruising.
  2. Twin Tip: The nose and tail are almost exactly symmetrical. Design avoids wheel bite. Drop through decks are mostly on this style of longboard to give traction and grip on speedy downhills. Great for deep carves.
  3. Cruiser Longboard: Cruisers have a "kick-tail" on the back. The trucks are higher and the wheels are larger and softer than a standard. The bushings are much more flexible, giving the rider the ability to turn and manoeuvre easily.

Our Favourite Longboards:

Wood Grad Longboard 

Shapes Twin Tip Longboard

Spectrum Pintail Longboard

Rockabilly Pintail Longboard


Cruiser Skateboards

Cruisers are also great for getting you from A to B, but the one major advantage of a shorter skateboard is how easy it is to transport around. Their shorter deck length in comparison to a longboard allows you to make tighter turns to dodge obstacles. A lot of new skaters need a little extra stability so it is worth noting that beginners usually find long boards to be more stable.

Great for:

  • A mode of transport and cruising around
  • Carrying/transporting around – fits in your backpack!
  • Tight turns and carves
  • A smooth ride

Not so great for:

  • Going fast
  • Stability for beginners
  • Manoeuvrability for beginners
  • Tricks & flips

Typically used:

City & Street Flat roads

Our Favourite Cruisers:

In Skate We Trust Cruiser

Stripy Cruiser

Transistor Blue Cruiser


Mini Cruiser Skateboards

These are the same as cruisers, just smaller. These can be made of wood or plastic (a style which has been very popular recently). The added benefit of these is being even more convenient to carry around.

These are a perfect starter set up for young beginners just looking to get to grips with riding a skateboard and perfect their balance, but also great for more experienced riders looking for a different skateboarding style.

Great for:

  • A mode of transport and cruising around
  • Carrying/transporting around – fits in your backpack!
  • Tight turns and carves
  • A smooth ride
  • Tricks & flips

Not so great for:

  • Going fast
  • Stability for beginners
  • Manoeuvrability for beginners

Typically used:

DownhillFlat roadsPark & Bowl

Our Favourite Mini Cruisers:

Glow Mini Cruiser

Pin Stripe Mini Cruiser


Carve Skateboards

Carve boards are designed with special front trucks which allow the skateboard to tilt, the front trucks to pivot and the wheels to change direction, much more than a normal skateboard. This allows the rider to generate their own speed by pumping the pump forwards and backwards, similar to the feeling of surfing or carving a wave.

These skateboards are very popular with surfers (particularly as a substitute for when the surf is flat!) as they blur the boundaries between surf and skate; you can mimic your surfing stance and slide out the tail for a realistic surfing simulator.

Great for:

  • Generating your own speed
  • Practising your surfing/snowboarding (carving) skills
  • A mode of transport and cruising around
  • Carrying/transporting around
  • Tight and deep carves
  • Effortless pumping

Not so great for:

  • Going fast
  • Stability for beginners
  • Manoeuvrability for beginners
  • Tricks & flips

Typically used:

Downhill Flat roadsPark & Bowl

Our Favourite Carve Boards:

Stripe Carve Board


Double Kick Skateboards

The kick tail is possibly the most important invention in the sport of skateboarding. A ‘double kick’ is a skateboard with two kicks at either end of the board allowing the execution of all manner of flip tricks that skaters perform today.

A wide range of tricks & flips

  • Grinding
  • A mode of transport and cruising around
  • Carrying/transporting around
  • Street skating
  • Park skating

Not so great for:

  • Going fast
  • Going long distances

Typically used:

Downhill Flat roads Park & Bowl

Our Favourite Double Kick Skateboards:

Brush Stroke Double Kick Skateboard

Divide Double Kick Skateboard

Gluttony Double Kick Skateboard


What size skateboard should I get?


Buying a beginner skateboard:

If you're buying your first skateboard, you should consider what type of skating you want to do and what your budget is. Lots of boards are suitable for beginners and it is advisable to go with the board that matches your needs for the best price. Of course, there are lots of boards with great artwork to choose from as well but deciding a board shape and spec first will at least help you to narrow down the decision!

Once you have decided whether you’re looking for a trick skateboard or if you fancy a go at longboarding, if you are a first time skater, the best way to choose a board is by deck width.

Wide decks:

Wide decks are much more stable and provide you with plenty of foot space to play around with weight distribution on the board.

Our widest Longboards:

Stripe Twin Tip Longboard (10.3”)

Text Twin Tip Longboard (10.3”)

Pegasus Twin Tip Longboard (9.6")

Spectrum Pintail Longboard ( 9.6”)

Our widest Cruisers:

Tie Dye Retro Cruiser (8")

New Generation Cruiser (9.5")

In Skate We Trust Cruiser (8")

Our widest Mini Cruisers:

Our Mini Cruisers all have a width of 6.25".

Our Widest Carvers:

Stripe Carve Board (8.5")

Carvers are a slightly more challenging skateboard to learn on for beginners due to the extra movement in the front trucks, however don’t let this put you off! It is very satisfying to be able to pump the skateboard and generate your own speed! You are likely to pick it up more quickly if you already have some experience of surfing.

Choosing a skateboard for young riders:

Our Plastic Mini Cruisers are a perfect starter set up for young beginners looking to get to grips with riding a board and perfecting their balance. The 6” plastic deck will suit kids 5 years or younger with a shoe size of around 3 or smaller. (Note this board is also suitable for experienced riders.)

Mini cruiser skateboards like the Osprey Glow Mini Cruiser, feature a durable 7 ply Canadian maple concave deck measuring 6.25”which is ideal for youngsters and feature large 65 x 51mm PU cast wheels for added stability. Mini cruisers are also great for older and more experienced riders looking for a different skateboarding style.

Older kids might want to try their hand at a full size double kick, depending on their confidence. They will also come in handy if they want to learn a more technical style of skating and perform tricks. Osprey Double Kick Skateboards are 8 inches in width, which means they may be a bit big for very young children.

Buying an intermediate or advanced skateboard:

Osprey's range of full size skateboards offer a complete choice for budding concrete shredders and cruisers alike, the question is what kind of skater are you looking to become?

Technical Skating:

If it's a more technical style of skating you want to learn i.e. flips and tricks, then a double kick board is probably what you’re after. These decks measure 8" in width and feature (as the name suggests) two kicks allowing for tricks to be executed from nose or tail. These boards are great for street skating and work just as well on the park.

Skating to improve surfing / snowboarding:

If you're a frustrated surfer looking for a fix when there are no waves, or you're looking to carve smooth lines as opposed to doing flip tricks then a longboard then you are probably after a Carve Board. These work as a surfing simulator on the ground and will help you perfect your carving skills.

Skating to cruise around:

If you're looking for a board to smoothly roll around on and if being able to pack it away in your bag is important for you, then a cruiser might be what you’re looking for. Cruisers are a common shape of deck and feature a single kick tail; they usually feature higher raisers, larger wheels and larger decks than double kick boards. This allows for a smoother ride, greater stability and better turning.

Skating as a mode of transport:

If you’re looking for a way of getting from A to B and having some fun with deep carves and going fast, a Longboard may be just the board for you.

Some Osprey longboards feature drop through trucks, in which the trucks are mounted through the deck, allowing for greater stability at high speeds.

I need some more help!

We hope you have found our guide on how to choose a skateboard useful. Once you have thought about what you want out a board and understand what the different types of board are used for, it really is quite simple.

If you need some more support on which Osprey Skateboard to buy, please email us and someone will be happy to help you pick the right board.