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Skateboard Guide

Regarded as one of the most popular extreme sports, skateboarding was created by surfers who were in need of a thrill when they weren’t on the waves. With such a large selection of different shapes, styles and looks to choose from, choosing a skateboard can seem like a daunting task. We’ve devised a quick-start guide to help you make the right decision when buying your son, daughter or yourself a skateboard.
  • How To Choose A Skateboard?

    Take a look at our Skateboard Quick Start Guide for Beginners. Perfect for adults and children, our quick guide shows you which skateboard is best for what!

     

    Type of Board

    Longboard

    Cruiser

    Mini-Cruiser

    Double-Kick

    Pintail

    Twin Tip

    Cruiser

    Skateboard Uses

    Downhill

     

    Flat Roads

    City & Street

     

     

     

     

     

    Park & Bowl

     

     

     

     

    Carving / Surf & Snow Practice

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Long Distance Skating

     

     

    Beginner Age

    Young Rider (5 years and younger)

     

     

     

     

    6 to 8 years

     

     

     

     

    9 to 12 years

     

     

     

    13 years to Adult

     

     

     

    If you want to delve a little deeper into the world of skateboarding, check out the rest of our guide which cover everything from the maintenance of bearings to the right environment for a Cruiser Skateboard!

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  • What Type Of Skateboard Should I Get?

    There are many different shapes, and sizes of skateboards, and it can all get a bit confusing. Here are the main skateboard types.

    Longboards banner image

    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:

    Downhill skateboardingFlat road skateboarding

    Downhill Flat 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.

     Image showing three types of longboards

     


     

     Cruisers banner image

    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 and street skateboardingFlat road skateboarding

    City & Street Flat roads


     

    Mini cruiser image

    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:

    Downhill skateboardingFlat road skateboardingPark and bowl skateboarding

    Downhill Flat roads Park & Bowl


     

    Carve skateboard image

    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 skateboardingFlat road skateboardingPark and bowl skateboarding

     Downhill Flat roadsPark & Bowl


     

    Double kick skateboard image

    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.

    Great for:

    • 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 skateboardingFlat road skateboardingPark and bowl skateboarding

    Downhill Flat roads Park & Bowl

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  • What Skateboard Is Best For Kids?

    Mini Cruisers are a perfect starter set up for young beginners looking to get to grips with riding a board and perfecting their balance. A 6” plastic deck will suit kids 5 years or younger with a shoe size of around 3 or smaller. Mini cruisers are also great for older and more experienced riders looking for a different skateboarding style. Slightly older kids might want to try their hand with a full size double kick skateboard, depending on their confidence. They will also come in handy if they want to learn a more technical style of skating and perform tricks.

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  • What Skateboard Is Best For A Beginner?

    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 double-kick skateboard or you fancy having a go at longboarding, you will want to find a skateboard with a decent amount of width. If you are a first time skater, the best way to choose a board is by deck width. Wide decks are much more stable and provide you with plenty of foot space to play around with weight distribution on the board.

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  • What Skateboard is Best For Intermediate/Advanced Skateboarders?

    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.

    Technical skating


    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 Long Board. These work as a surfing simulator on the ground and will help you perfect your carving skills.

    Skating to improve surfing


    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 to cruise around


     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.

     Skating as a mode of transport

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  • What Size Skateboard Should I Get?

    Choosing a skateboard that is the right size for you as an adult or your child is an important step which will affect the level of enjoyment you get out of skating. Picking a skateboard that matches the rider’s height and shoes size are important factors in choosing the right skateboard. Take a look at our skateboard size chart where you can find out the sizes we recommend. (Remember these are recommendations and therefore your preferences may affect the board size you choose). 

     Skateboard sizing chart

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  • What Accessories Do I Need For A Skateboard?

    There are an array of different accessories available for skateboards. Each accessory allows you to fine-tune your skating experience and enables you to affect the way your board performs as well as looks. Accessories can also make your life easier, with a great selection of bags to choose from. Take a look at the different accessories that you can buy for your skateboard.


     

    Bearings

    Measured on the ABEC scale, the higher the rating, the higher the precision which results in better roll-out. Those are more confident riders are therefore likely to install high-rated ABEC bearings.


     Skateboard Wheels 

    Although an obvious change, replacing skateboard wheels can transform the look of your skateboard as well as affect its performance. For example a bigger wheel could be chosen for faster speeds or a harder wheel could be chosen for its hard-wearing properties for those tricksters out there!


     Trucks 

    A replacement skateboard truck is great for mixing up your skateboard’s look at well as completely adjusting your skateboard’s performance. We recommend you choose a truck that matches up to the width of your deck!


     Skateboard Bag 

    A skateboard bag is a great addition to any skater’s arsenal. Stylish and useful, it makes transporting your skateboard easy when you’re in those un-skate-able areas. It also a great way to keep your hands free when you’re skating and need to carry those all-important snacks or camera gear ready for your next skating session!


    Wax

    Skateboard wax is great for those looking to take their skating up a peg. Skateboard wax can be applied on a variety of surfaces to make it easier to grind and slide your tricks as it helps to reduce friction caused as well as fills in any gaps or imperfections in the surface.

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  • What Is A Skateboard Made Of?

    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. A skateboard is formed with the following features: 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. Here is a breakdown of the different components of a skateboard:

    Deck 

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

    Skateboard deck 


    Grip Tape 

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

    Skateboard grip tape


    Wheels (x4)

    Skateboard Wheels are sually made of plastic and available 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. Skateboard 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.

    Skateboard wheels


    Trucks (x2)

    Skateboard trucks are the T-shaped metal components mounted to the underside of the skateboard deck. Trucks are important as they enable you to turn by pivoting either left or right. They are formed of several components whilst also playing the role of keeping your wheels and bearings securely attached to your deck! The main features of a skateboard truck:

    1. Baseplate: This is the piece of metal which enables the truck to be attached to the skateboard deck.
    2. Hanger: The hangar is the triangular metal piece that is the largest part of the skateboard truck. The hangar encases the axle which runs through it.
    3. Axle: Protected and supported by the hanger, the axle is a long pin to where the skateboard wheels are attached.
    4. Kingpin: The kingpin is a big bolt that fits inside the bushings and holds the skate truck’s parts together. They are available in a range of different lengths, colours and designs. Some people even colour co-ordinate their bolts so that they can easily identify which is the nose and which is the tail of the skateboard.
    5. Bushings: Bushings are the rubbery rings that fit around the kingpin and allow the board to pivot and turn smoothly. The stiffer the board, the more stable the board. The softer the bushings the easier it is to turn a skateboard.

    Skateboard truck


    Bearings

    Bearings are a small round part that slots neatly into the wheel of the board and allows you to roll and keep up speed. Bearings vary in their precision which is represented by the ABEC rating system. The higher the number, the greater the precision of the wheel. Those looking to roll for longer and potentially faster should select a bearing with a higher rating. NOTE: Osprey use the ABEC rating however some brands do not use the ABEC rating and instead use their own rating system.

     Skateboard bearings

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  • How To Look After A Skateboard

    A board that is out of shape will prevent is firing on all four cylinders the next time you go for a skate. In order to prolong the life of your board and keep it operating as smoothly as possible, we’ve come up with a series of different care tips and tricks to keep your board in top shape.

    Keep your board out of the elements

    Leaving your board to face the elements can have a number of negative effects. The deck will start to absorb water if it is left in the rain or if left in the sun it will cause expansion of parts which can ruin them when they cool back down! We therefore recommend keeping your board indoors when you’re not using it!


     Look after your bearings

    Keeping your bearing clean and lubricated is essential – after all these are the bits which keep your board moving! Regularly use a recommended lubricant and apply it to the bearings once you have thoroughly cleaned them.


     Keep your eyes on the deck 

    Any signs of wear on a skateboard deck could spell disaster if not fixed quickly. Make sure you clean off your deck (both top and bottom) to prevent the build-up of dirt. Cleaning your board will also prolong the life of your skateboard’s grip tape. We recommend using a moist toothbrush to remove the most stubborn debris and then dry by dabbing the deck with a dry towel.


     The Kingpin is King

    To keep your skateboard performing as it should it is important to regularly check your skateboard’s kingpin. Ensure you replace any broken kingpins and do not ride if it is damaged. Tightening your kingpin is also important and is a simple task to carry out. A top tip is to ensure that both trucks are the same tightness. This can be achieved by counting the number of rotations you carry out when tightening.


    Rotate your wheels

    Good practice to make your wheels last longer is to rotate your wheels around your board. By doing so it will ensure that your wheels have even wear over time and therefore keep your ride true. We recommend rotating your wheels in an ‘X’ pattern. Therefore your right rear wheel becomes your left front wheel and vice versa.

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