Skateboards are classified according to shape, form, function, and style. Would you believe that there are different types of skateboards for every type of terrain? Learning the different kinds of skateboard will help you decide which one fits your needs.
Why so many types?
The main reason for having so many kinds of skateboards is flexibility. In riding a skateboard, you want to be as flexible as you can be. You and your equipment should work together. If you don’t have a skateboard that’s flexible, you can’t be effective and this will affect your performance and your safety.
The different types of skateboard vary in size, length, the type of trucks, the size of the wheel and the design of the board.
A freestyle skateboard is probably the first board that anyone could ever own. This is for beginners because this allows you to learn how to balance well and how to perform some easy tricks. Freestyling is the oldest style and it focuses on performing technical skills on flat ground. Freestyle longboards are best on flat and smooth surfaces so that the board slides well and you can move easily to perfect basic routines.
To choose freestyle skateboards, pick one with a comfortable size. A large board is perfect for beginners but as you try out flipping the board around, a narrower and shorter one is the best size. If footwork is your area of focus, select a wide longboard.
You might be tempted at using small boards which are the easiest to control but these may lack the stability that first-timers need. Meanwhile, longboards are stable but are a bit difficult to use.
Slalom skateboarding is known as a type of downhill skateboard race which became popular in the 1960s to the 1970s but died out. Those who remained true to the sport revived it in the 2000s and along with the revival are skateboards dedicated to slalom racing.
Slalom racing is more than just seeing who’s the first to reach the finish line. The course is marked with neon-colored plastic cones and the racer with the least number of cones knocked down with the fastest time wins. Each cone represents a time penalty and this will be deducted from your total runtime.
To be able to win this kind of race, you need a skateboard made for slalom racing. This kind of skateboard is built to run fast and increase your traction and versatility when turning. Slalom skateboards have larger and softer wheels compared to an average skateboard. The boards are also stronger and more responsive to foam plus carbon-fiber cores.
Already a sport, downhill skateboard racing requires a special kind of board known as a downhill-oriented skateboard. This gives you faster speeds while maintaining precision and skill. Skateboards and longboards used for downhill skateboarding come with top mount, drop-through and drop-platform designs.
The decks of downhill skateboards are very stiff and come with a wheelbase with sizes 29 to 32 inches. Another unique feature of downhill skateboards is a concave portion on the deck to keep your feet from slipping backward or forwards. Experts say that the best downhill skateboard is the kind that you can move straight even when you’re moving too fast.
Street skateboards let you move more efficiently through the street. Aside from being a better form of commute, this kind of skateboard will let you perform stunts on different obstacles and structures found on streets that are not built for skateboarding like benches, speed bumps, planter boxes, handrails, and trash bins. If you love to stand out and perform on the street then a street skateboard is for you.
Street skateboards are used mainly in urban areas such as plazas, parking lots and streets. This type has wheels that are as big as 48 to 55mm and a narrower deck. These stats will let you make slips and turns quickly and easily. You can perform tricks without having to carry a lot of weight. Street skateboards should be made out of polyurethane so that these are very hard. You need light but hardboard because it’s likely you’ll be banging it on the streets as you move about.
Another thing to consider is boards with smaller wheels to reduce weight. Lighter wheels are easy to take anywhere and ensures that inertia takes control quicker, therefore, performing different tricks will be much easier. Street skateboards look pretty much like freestyle boards but are narrower and have a symmetrical shape.
Another very popular professional skateboarding sport is vertical skateboarding. As the name implies, it is riding your skateboard on vertical surfaces like walls, pools, and slides. It also involves riding on-ramps and other types of incline. This sport requires versatility and of course, the right equipment for the best performance.
The best type of skateboard for vertical skateboarding is a vert skateboard. This type of skateboard allows you to transition from a horizontal to a vertical position. It has a wider deck so you can position your feet comfortable as you perform vertical tricks.
Vert skateboards have wheels that are around 55mm large. Larger wheels and decks also provide more stability. And aside from your equipment, make sure to master techniques such as pushing, carving and cruising. You need to perfect these skills before you can start trying out vertical stunts.
Basically, park skateboards are boards used at a skateboard park. Take note that skateboard parks are not just your average community park but it comes with skateboarding equipment and components that are adapted for skateboarding.
Skateboarding parks have half pipes, quarter pipes, and walls for vertical skateboarding. There are also street structures like stairs, rails, and benches. All these crazy elements make skateboarding more challenging and a lot more fun. Usually, this is where special events and competitions are held and where pros meet.
You need a special kind of park skateboard which is perfect for your height. If you stand below 5’4” then you need a board with a length that’s 29” and below. If you are taller then you need a board with a length of 32”.
Some park skateboarders prefer a larger board because this is more stable. It also has more room for your feet to position and land safely. When it comes to wheels, park skateboards have 51 to 55mm. Smaller wheels can help you create different tricks easily and quickly. Wheels that roll fast lets you enhance your air and speed so you can successfully perform tricks and stunts.
Pool skateboards let you ride on bowls, pools and vertical ramps safely and effectively. The skateboard for this sport is wider because you must have a lot of room for your feet to hold on to and to give you more stability and control.
Wider boards are better when it comes to pool skateboarding because you can enhance the lifespan of your board. Take note that you’ll be landing very hard on the ground during stunts so you need a board that can handle your weight and the pressure of your stunts.
Use very durable boards made of strong material like carbon. The wheelbase must be between 15 to 18” while the shape of the board is similar to a vertical skateboard.
Off-road skateboarding is the exact opposite of street skateboarding as it needs a special kind of board with unique wheels and components. This is a heavy-duty kind of board which can resist moving on sand, dirt, and gravel.
Usually, off-road skateboarders modify their street skateboards to endure off-road environments. They take an ordinary skateboard and replace the wheels with larger rubber ones so that the board can glide over rough roads and grass.
And possibly the most important component of an off-road skateboard is the brake. This is not common in regular skateboards. Off-road skateboards are important because you might need to stop quickly to avoid dangerous terrain conditions. For instance, you’re riding on a rough forest terrain and you suddenly came across a large root. You can immediately hit the brakes so you won’t hit this large obstruction.
Cruising is moving through streets or urban areas without stopping. A cruising skateboard lets you travel as fast as you can without doing any trick or touching the ground. This is a style between skateboarding and longboarding and requires a special kind of skateboard.
Cruising skateboards are ideal for moving quickly and must have durable rubber wheels. This type of wheel lets you move on rough surfaces. This type of skateboard is not for performing tricks and stunts and is mainly for general purposes only.
A very popular skateboard type nowadays is an electric skateboard. This skateboard comes with an electric motor, battery pack and improved trucks to carry its electrical components. Electric boards are basically used for urban commute and for efficiently moving through urban areas. You don’t need to move your feet and drive because it can move you through the streets and even uphill depending on the board’s motor power.
Electric skateboards are not made for performing tricks and stunts but you’ll be the envy of all once they see how efficient your skateboard is on the road.
There are two setups for electric skateboards. The first one is set up with moderate battery power, therefore, it is lighter and more efficient. This is for moving on flat ground and for people who are lighter. The other setup is for moving uphill at 20 to 30% incline and also for heavier people. This type has a larger motor, larger battery capacity, and stronger trucks and components.
Electric skateboard users must carry with them spare battery packs so they won’t run out of power in the streets. These days, electric skateboards are more efficient and will allow users to ride faster so they can get to their destinations quicker.
Safe skateboard riding
You may have known by now that skateboarding is not just any kind of sport. It has now evolved into different styles and forms. But no matter what type of skateboard you prefer and what style you are in to, it’s always best to consider safety above all. Here are some important safety tips:
Proper and regular board maintenance
The more you use your board, the more you need to maintain it on a regular basis. Most expert riders clean and maintain their boards the minute they come home. They start with the grip tape and next would move on to the wheels and the bearings.
Proper maintenance includes inspection of possible flaws like a dented board, tight axle or a missing ball bearing. Use your best decision to whether you can repair a component or replace it.
For instance, you would be better off replacing your bearings with a new set instead of repairing an old one. A grip tape that’s missing a lot of rough surfaces should be replaced instead of losing control. A part of being a good professional skateboarder is to use the best and the most efficiently-maintained equipment.
And if you don’t have time to maintain your board, let a professional do it. For just a small fee, you can ask an expert from a skate shop to give you a hand.
Use safety accessories
Don’t be to overwhelmed with what you see on television and sports channels. Always wear safety equipment no matter what type of skateboard and skateboarding sport you wish to try out. Helmets should have a chin pad and must be fully adjustable. You must wear wrist guards to protect the wrists during a fall. Knee pads and elbow pads are also a necessity.
The best kind of footwear is closed shoes which have non-slip soles. You must also wear goggles or shatterproof eyewear to protect your eyes. If you skate on the road in the dark, wear reflectorized gear or use an LED lighting/lamp that blinks to warn drivers and commuters that you are on the road.
1. WORLD CHAMPION Freestyle Skateboarding?! – Braille Army (Youtube.com)
2. Skateboard Slalom – İbrahim Koş (Youtube.com)
3. Epic downhill longboarding on higest speed |Gravity Dogz| – people are awesome (Youtube.com)
4. Tony Hawk Skates First Downward Spiral Loop – BTS – RIDE Channel (Youtube.com)
5. Backyard Pool Skateboarding Video – Skatehub (Youtube.com)