Welcome to our beginners guide to buying your First Skateboard, we'll answer the most common questions and help you decide on the right board for you.
Here at Skatewarehouse, we offer a huge range of skateboards, different brands, shapes, sizes, for different ages and abilities, to be honest, it's a little daunting at first!
This buyers guide will make it easy so you can make the right decision when buying your first skateboard.
First, what type of skateboarding do you want to do?
The first thing you need to decide is what kind of skateboarding do you want to do, there are many types of skateboarding including street, skateparks, longboarding, cruising. Understanding what you want to get out of your skateboard will help you choose the right type of board.
Do you have a skatepark nearby and want to learn how to ollie and do tricks?
Do you think you're more likely to be cruising around, commuting, rolling around campus?
Or maybe you're buying a first skateboard for a young child so they can get to grips with the basics?
For the rest of this guide, we will assume you have decided you want to skateboard at skateparks, parks or the street as these are the most popular.
What to look for when buying your first Skateboard
Getting your first skateboard is a proud moment, you'll always remember that first board! You want a board that looks awesome with a good build quality to give yourself the best start for your budget. The more you love the look of your board the more you'll want to ride it, the more you'll progress and stick with it.
Typically, the low-cost skateboards found on Amazon, Argos or in toy shops are often poor quality and offer terrible value for money. This is because they are simply cashing in on-demand and not particularly concerned about making a quality product or even understanding basic user requirements!
There are several options when buying your first skateboard, let's take a look at the most common options available...
The most common first board is a Complete Skateboard, as the name implies, you get everything you need already assembled and ready to ride. The benefits are you don't need to know about selecting and pairing all the right parts, you can simply pick the design you like on the right size board. This is often the most cost-effective way to get into skateboarding.
Similar to a complete skateboard, you get everything you need to build a skateboard but it comes unassembled. The benefits are that you can get that more expensive/exclusive deck you really wanted and not have to worry about knowing the right size parts to go with it. This will be a bit more expensive than a complete skateboard but still an affordable way to get a great quality skateboard. Assembling it yourself is easy and a fun way to get to know your new skateboard.
This is the high-end of skateboarding, you get total freedom to pick all the parts you want! Not recommended for beginners as you will need to know about sizes, brands and pairing the different parts. This is the most expensive way to go, you will end up with a high-quality skateboard but as a beginner, you won't really get the benefit from it yet.
What to avoid when buying a Skateboard
There are telltale signs of a poor quality complete skateboard, ideally, you should avoid buying skateboards with the following:
• Plastic skateboard decks. Instead, plywood-based decks have superior shapes and are better suited to tricks.
• Plastic trucks or any fixed trucks that do not lean or turn. Instead, metal alloy trucks that have 2 polyurethane bushes that allow the skateboard to turn.
• Hard plastic wheels or super-soft rubber wheels. Instead, polyurethane wheels are the best balance of grip and durability, look for a durometer rating between 90a and 100a.
⚠️ A note on Penny Boards, these are a popular type of skateboard, made from colourful plastic or 'poly-propylene', they should be considered a toy or a fashion accessory rather than a true Skateboard. They are fun for kids but ultimately they won't allow you to learn or progress.
What Size Skateboard Should I Buy?
Skateboards come in many different sizes to suit different riders. They are usually sized by width, common widths are 7.75", 8.0" and 8.25". The lengths vary too but this is less important, street skateboards are usually around 32" long. They are also grouped by Full-Sized Skateboards and Junior Sized Skateboards.
Choosing a width depends on your age, experience and what type of skating you want to do. Some people recommend choosing a deck size based on your shoe size, this isn't necessarily the right advice for beginners as technically you can ride any size, your height is more important.
Why the difference in widths? Thinner boards, 7.75" and below, will be lighter which helps with ollies (jumping the board!) and will flip faster (a spin trick!) but they will have less room on the deck for your feet making it a bit harder to land big tricks. Wider boards, over 8.0", are heavier and so require more effort to do tricks, but they have much more space on the deck for foot control and more room for error when landing tricks.
For beginners, we recommend you pick a skateboard based on your age and height. If you're under 10 years old or under 5ft tall then we recommend a Junior sized skateboard, if you're over 10 years old or over 5ft then you'll be suited to a full-sized skateboard.
Full Size Skateboards
If you are over 10 years old then a full-size skateboard will probably suit you better. They come in various deck widths ranging anywhere from 7.5" to 8.5" and lengths around 32". To start with, we recommend a deck width of 7.75" or 8.0". Most full-sized complete skateboards will come in either 7.75" or 8.0" widths, this is the right size to start with, as your experience grows you'll know if you need a wider board later on.
Junior Size Skateboards
If you are under 10 years old or smaller for your age (under 5") then a Junior size skateboard will be a more appropriate size. Junior skateboards are made proportionally smaller to feel comfortable for smaller skaters. As a smaller rider, you can use a full-size skateboard but we recommend a Junior size to give you the best possible start. Junior boards typically come in widths 7.25" to 7.5" and around 29" long.
The best skateboard for 3 - 5 year old kid
A great age to start skateboarding! At this age, kids are most likely to be simply learning to ride and enjoying the feeling of moving on a skateboard. The best thing you can do is to encourage them to feel comfortable on a skateboard, they should not be concerned with learning tricks or riding ramps at skateparks yet.
We don't advise investing loads of money on a top-end skateboard for this age as they simply won't get the benefits. There are lots of budget-friendly options for them to try skateboarding, look for a junior-sized complete skateboard.
How Much Should I Spend On A Skateboard For Kids?
Like a lot of things, same with skateboarding you get what you pay for!
We pride ourselves on only stocking suitable skateboard products that work well, so you can be sure all of the skateboards on our website are great quality.
There are cheaper skateboards out there but they are mass-produced using very cheap materials. They might be fine to use a couple of times but they will wear out or break quickly. Also, cheap skateboards, are a lot harder to learn on, which can be very frustrating and demotivating for beginners.
We recommend you go for a quality mid-range skateboard to start with, this will give them the best balance of quality and value for money. This way they can see if they like skateboarding on a good board without you investing loads of money, just in case they decide it's not for them after all!
Our completes range from £30+ We feel a board around this price and up is going to be skateable giving the rider that true feeling of skateboarding!
Brands like Venom and Enuff are very good quality starter boards.
I want to get back into skateboarding, what should I buy?
We love hearing from skaters that used to own a board in the past and now want to get back into skateboarding, welcome back, we've missed you!
A lot has changed over the years, deck sizes and brands have all changed but luckily we're still old enough to remember them and advise you on the right set up!
As you've already got some skate experience, you'll most likely be looking for a better quality setup. Modern Complete Skateboards are far superior to the ones available back in the day and should be still be considered.
You could, of course, build a custom complete skateboard with all the top-end brands and components that you wished you had as a kid. But you might be more suited to a Skateboard Complete Kit, this is where we have matched pro decks to the right components. This would be a great option if you want a quality board that is great value for money.
The most common deck widths are now 8.0" and 8.25", if you're looking for a more mellow ride for cruising around the skatepark then a wider deck with soft wheels is good option to go for.
Essential Skateboarding Protection
We highly recommend wearing protection when learning to skateboard. We know it might not look super cool and feels weird to begin with but the truth is, falling off a skateboard hurts and when you're learning, you're going to fall a lot! The more you can stop it hurting when you fall the better your chances of enjoying skating and sticking with it for longer.
We recommend wearing pads and a helmet for all ages, once you get much more experience and learn how to fall properly, you can decide to wear them or not.