Skateboarding Equipment List
Skateboarding is an action-oriented activity that can be performed for sport, recreation, or transportation. Skateboarding involves standing on a skateboard, essentially a piece of wood strapped to four wheels, and moving at high speeds propelled by the rider's momentum. Without proper precaution, equipment, and practice, skating can be a very dangerous activity. Let’s go over some equipment you’re going to need to get started skateboarding safely!
Professional skateboarders always keep their safety in mind when skateboarding. In almost any skating competition, you will find the professional skaters wearing a helmet, arm pads, and knee pads. Some also wear goggles to protect their eyes.
Skateboard accessories are vital in having a fun and enjoyable experience when skating. There are many different things you need to be a successful skater, and there are many different types of brands you should be aware of.
Brands such as Vans, Nike, Adidas, DC, and Zumiez are great and will give the best possible accessories for skateboarders. Jeans, shoes, shirts, helmets, and more are all part of the arsenal that need to be included in skateboarding equipment, and this article will further explain what you need and how to properly purchase the right pieces of equipment.
Skateboard bearings play a large role in the functional performance of the skateboard. They are the round metal pieces that fit inside the wheels and mount the wheels to the axle. Regardless of wheel size, bearings are all the same size and will fit in almost any wheel. The universal measurements for bearings are 8mm (core), 22mm (outer diameter), and 7 mm (width). Bearings are sold in packs of eight since each wheel needs two bearings, and they come in different colors that can suit the skater's personal style.
When buying bearings, you want to be aware of the ABEC rating. The ABEC rating is a tolerance rating. The higher the rating, the more durable they will be. It is a very common misconception that the higher the rating, the faster you will go. This is not true as it is simply a rating of tolerance to the terrain you may face. Typical bearings will cost anywhere between $25 and $50.
You can wear almost anything you want for skateboarding. You probably shouldn’t wear loose fitting jeans in case they get caught in the wheels or shoes with long laces for the same reason. You’ll find most skaters out-and-about wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
Deck / Board
Choosing the correct skateboard deck is extremely important because it is the foundation for the overall feel for your skateboard. Your riding style, range of obstacles you encounter, and more are all related to the skateboard deck that you choose. Skate decks are made using between 7 and 9 separate thin sheets of wood known as “plies.” The bonding of the sheets allows the deck to flex under pressure making it resistant to breaks, and responsive to your movements.
Most skateboard decks are around 31 to 33 inches long. Decks with a length of 33 inches or longer will generally have a width of 8.5 inches or wider. When selecting the deck size, you want to consider your height and weight, and also your shoe size. A skateboard deck can cost as little as $40 and can be as expensive as $180.
If you’re starting out, you may want to purchase a blank deck, or a deck with no obvious branding. In a skate shop, these usually cost between $20 and $30. They may be a bit lower quality than the brand name boards, but they’re good enough to help you get started. You should avoid purchasing skateboards from retailers who don’t specialize in skateboard equipment, as they are often poor quality. The price may be enticing, but the quality of the skateboard is not worth it.
When you wipe out while skateboarding, the elbow is very vulnerable to injury. Therefore, for a price of around $25, it is important to keep your elbows protected especially if you are a beginner. The best pads are made of material that contains ballistic nylon. Pads should not be too bulky, as comfort is something that is essential when riding. Elbow pads that include a high density plastic shell are only recommended if the plastic attaches to the padding with a reinforced rivet. There are many pads that are very bulky and restrict movement so it is vital that you find a pair that boost complete protection without restricting movement.
Grip tape is the layer that is applied to the top of the deck so that your shoes can grip to your board. The gritty surface layer is there to make sure that you can have better balance while riding. Grip tape comes in many varieties, with the most common being a sheet that is black on the grippy side of the tape. For roughly $20, rip tape can be bought in different colors to make your board more unique.
The sandpaper feel of grip tape is made with various materials. The black grip tape is often made of silicon carbide, which is a hard material that stays sharp for a long time. Other companies use aluminum oxide, which is cheaper but loses the edge and grippiness quicker.
A helmet is a very vital piece of equipment that is needed to protect skaters from concussions and other head injuries. When buying a skateboard helmet, it must be thought of as a serious long term investment. Since the head is one of the most important things you must protect, it is probably not the best idea to just go with the cheapest helmet you find. While you want one that is affordable, you also want to make sure that it will keep you safe and meet all safety standards. Most competitions will require you to wear a helmet, and the cost of a helmet is anywhere from $30 to $90.
No matter what the athletes are doing, you should always wear a helmet. In fact, most public skating areas require a helmet to be worn in the area if you’re skateboarding.
It is highly recommended for all beginner skateboarders to purchase knee pads for a price of $30. When you are performing a skateboarding discipline such as longboarding downhill, knee damage is the most common injury. Knee pads are sold in pairs and sometimes are combined with elbow pads depending on the seller. When you are buying pads, you want to go with pads that have a plastic outer shell. The plastic shell will absorb the impact the best. A knee pad with foam material will not provide you with the most protection, but will still be good enough for wooden ramps in skateboarding.
Skateboard riser pads are pieces of hard plastic that are inserted between the skateboard trucks and the deck to raise the overall height of the skateboard. The purpose of this is to avoid wheel bite, which occurs when the wheel rubs the deck during a turn or after a trick. Wheel bite is something you want to avoid as it can lead to bad wipeout and damage the wheels.
Depending on your riding style, riser pads can preserve the skateboard deck by reducing the risk for stress cracks where the deck and trucks meet. Riser pads come in different shapes and sizes. The rectangular shape is the most basic as it will increase the height and decrease the shock that is felt in your feet. The higher the board is from the ground, the harder it will be to maneuver. Angled risers will only raise the trucks, but fixes them at an angle from your deck. You can purchase a pack of pads containing both rectangular and angled for a price of around $12.
Like most sports and action-oriented activities, you need safety equipment. Skateboarding is no exception. When learning how to skateboard, you will fall. When you’re an advanced skateboarder, you will fall. Falling is a guarantee in skateboarding, so investing in safety equipment is a must.
The most important part of the safety equipment is the helmet. This is a no-brainer. After that, you’re definitely going to want elbow and knee pads. You use these parts of your body to break your fall, so having them protected from surfaces like asphalt is necessary. No matter how uncomfortable this equipment is, you must understand how important it is to your wellbeing.
You’re also going to need some safety equipment. A full set from a local retailer, including a helmet, elbow guards, and knee guards, will probably cost around $30 to $60. Higher grade protective equipment can become very expensive. Professional grade knee pads usually cost upwards of $70 alone!
Not only do the shoes you wear for skateboarding help your performance, but they are also pretty trendy and fashionable. Skateboards can damage regular running shoes with the grip tape at the top, so wearing thick skate shoes designed with the skateboard in mind is important. When you are purchasing skate shoes, there are a few key considerations. The sole of the skate shoe should be polyurethane or rubber and should always be flat. The material in the upper shoe should be sturdy. The connection areas should be double or triple stitched. Skate shoes are great because you can wear them when you are not skating as well. Brands such as Nike, Vans, Adidas, and DC all make great skateboarding shoes for a price of around $30 to $70.
The skateboard is the most important piece of equipment when beginning skateboarding. You need to know your skateboard like the back of your hand. When beginning skateboarding, you should spend a day just feeling out the board, and not even riding it. Stand on the board and rock back and forth and left and right to begin feeling your skateboard sensitivity and tightness. This will be very important when you get moving for the first time.
As you progress through learning how to skate, you may want to invest some time into practicing how to do tricks, like kickflips, heelflips, or manuals. Understanding how your skateboard moves is vital when learning how to do these tricks, and will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Cost of a Skateboard
Skateboards vary in cost, but they also heavily vary in quality. A brand name skateboard can cost upwards of $50. The more popular brands, such as Element, Girl, Zero, Creature, and Birdhouse, can sometimes cost over $100. You don’t have to purchase a name brand skateboard, especially as a beginner, but they’re almost guaranteed to be high quality.
Building Your Own Skateboard
You could also build your own skateboard. Building your own skateboard can also get expensive if you defer to the higher quality parts, but that’s not too necessary. Building a decent skateboard will cost you anywhere between $20 and $60, but you have full control over the board. You can also purchase skateboard building kits which usually cost about $80.
Any time you leave the house for some skateboarding, it might be a good idea to bring some spare parts with you. Companies sell kits that are full of spare parts in case you lose a necessary part of your board such as a bolt. A typical bundle will come with multiple bolts, nuts, cushions, and washers. This is everything that you may need to swap out a component from your skateboard. You can easily throw the kit in your backpack while you skate in case there is any problem during a session.
Training Ramps and Rails
Training ramps and training rails are the most basic training equipment when it comes to riding the skateboard. The foundation of skateboarding is moving quickly, jumping, and grinding. Everything in skateboarding can be broken down into one of these three categories, so training ramps and rails help you practice this!
A training ramp will be used to help you pick up speed on your board. You can purchase one for $300. It can also be used to help you get started with learning how to ollie, the main way you will be able to jump on a skateboard and the introduction to most of the tricks you’ll be doing on the board.
The training rail is to help you start grinding. Grinding is when you jump up on a surface with your board under your feet and slide across the surface. Rails are very popular for grinding as they’re usually accessible from both sides and metal rails are very easy to slide down. You can purchase a rail for around $100, but can also build one yourself out of cheap materials from a hardware store.
A training ramp would be a good start for getting used to the speed of a skateboard, but a hill will also do the same thing. A training rail would be very beneficial for the more advanced beginners to begin practicing grinding.
Skateboard trucks are used to attach the wheels to the skateboard. Each skateboard needs trucks that are attached via special hardware to the underside of the board. The trucks allow the rider to turn the board to the right or left, and make it possible to perform grinds on rails and ledges. They are made of aluminum alloy, and they are designed to be extremely durable to withstand high impact landings.
Trucks come in an assortment of sizes, styles, and colors for different types of skateboarding. Standard skateboard trucks are versatile and can be used for any type of skateboarding. Longboard trucks are used for carving and cruising, and will give the skater more control over the board. Trucks usually cost around $50.
Wheels are what allow the rider to roll or cruise on ramps, concrete, or whatever surface they may be on. Skateboard wheels are made of high-grade urethane, and they come in a large assortment of shapes and sizes. Most street skaters prefer wheels from 50 millimeters to 60 millimeters. A longboard will prefer larger wheels, that can be 70 mm and up.
The durometer of the wheel means hardness, and it is important to know what durometer you should buy. Street skaters prefer a harder wheel (around 99a durometer rating), while park and ramp riders like medium hardness skateboard wheels. For those using longboards, a softer skateboard wheel is definitely ideal to have a smooth ride navigating over obstacles. Wheels typically only cost between $15 and $30.
When skateboarders fall, they often use their hands to try and catch themselves and break the fall. This puts the wrist at serious risk, which is why wrist guards would be a good purchase to prevent broken bones in the wrist. This is not only a popular piece of equipment for beginners, but professionals often use these as well. Wrist guards are relatively inexpensive, and it is important to find the proper one for your preference.
A standard wrist guard is a glove that includes splints that curve from your wrist to your palm and back of hand, and it is also called an anti-glove. Thanks to proper padding and fit, these guards are very comfortable. The one drawback is that it will not protect your fingers. If you want your fingers to be protected, then you need protective gloves as well. If you prefer lighter gloves and don’t need fingers and palm protection, then the anti-glove is the best option for you.
Skateboarding is a pretty physical activity so it is important that you stay hydrated during a skate session. You are going to want to bring a water bottle with you especially on a hot day. There is no specific type of water bottle for skateboarding, so it is all up to your personal preference.
There are steel water bottles, glass water bottles, plastic water bottles, and much more. Steel water bottles will do the best job at keeping the water cool when you need a drink, while plastic bottles are probably the lightest and cheapest.
List of Skateboarding Equipment
- Elbow Pads
- Grip Tape
- Knee Pads
- Riser Pads
- Safety Equipment
- Spare Parts
- Training Ramps and Rails
- Wrist Guards
- Water Bottles