A Parent’s Guide to Purchasing the Right Skateboard
Skateboarding is a fun and exciting activity that can provide many great benefits for children, including improving balance, coordination and social skills. It’s a great way for kids to connect with other children and make new friends, all while learning a new skill.
But before your child can start enjoying all the benefits of skateboarding, it’s important to make sure they have the right equipment to ensure their journey is a safe and enjoyable one. The right equipment can mean the difference between an experience that is fulfilling and enjoyable versus one that is limited, frustrating, or has the potential to turn your child off skateboarding altogether.
Safety First: Why Good Quality Equipment Matters
It’s important to be aware that the activity of skateboarding carries some inherent risks, even when riding good-quality equipment. However, using good-quality equipment definitely reduces the risk of injury and makes skateboarding a safer activity overall.
Where to Purchase a Skateboard
When it comes to purchasing a skateboard for your child, it can be tempting to opt for a cheap option from a department or sports store, especially if you’re on a tight budget or are unsure about your child’s interest level. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the quality of skateboards from these types of shops may be much lower than those from a dedicated skate shop or skate school.
Skateboards from department stores could possibly be made with lower-quality components and may not perform as well, which can affect your child’s experience and potentially increase the risk of injury. At times, these types of boards can be little more than non-functional novelty items.
Instead, consider purchasing a skateboard from a dedicated skate shop or school, where you can receive expert advice and guidance on selecting the right skateboard for your child. These shops carry higher-quality products and provide a more personalised and informed shopping experience.
Also, skate shops and schools support the local skateboarding community, hosting events and gatherings for skaters, which can be a great way to connect with other skaters and learn about new spots, competitions, and other opportunities.
If your child is enrolled in a lesson with us, they can use our boards free of charge and trial different types and sizes. Alternatively, Contact Us via email or phone and we can give expert advice on choosing suitable equipment for your child.
Price Range of Skateboards
The price of a skateboard can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the quality of materials and components used, the brand, and any additional features or accessories. Here are a few basic types of skateboards available today, along with their approximate price ranges:
Complete Skateboards: These are skateboards that come fully assembled and ready to ride. They typically include a deck (with griptape), trucks, wheels, bearings, and hardware. Complete skateboards are a good more affordable option for beginners or for those who are looking for a convenient and easy way to get rolling. They are also a popular choice for parents, and generally range between $100 – $180.
Custom Skateboards: These are skateboards that are built from individual components chosen by the rider. Custom Skateboards allow the rider to select specific brands and models of decks, trucks, wheels, and bearings separately, and to assemble them in a way that best meets their needs and preferences.
An example of a customization that would be helpful for a young child would be adding hollow or lightweight trucks such as Ace AF1 Hollows, to make their board lighter and easier for them to manage. Custom Skateboards are also a good option for more experienced skateboarders who want to fine-tune their setup or for those who want to create a unique and personalized Skateboard. Custom boards tend to be more expensive and generally range from $300 -$450.
However, Custom Skateboards can be an excellent option for avid, intermediate level and above skaters, who will appreciate and get maximum value from higher performance components. Parents of intermediate skaters may also find it more cost-effective to replace the deck when it gets worn out, as trucks and other components on custom skateboards tend to have greater longevity. As a child’s ability level increases and they learn more dynamic and technical tricks, it may become more fitting for them to use a premium board.
Both the complete and customs boards discussed above refer to standard board types used for the street and park disciplines of skateboarding, and are what we recommend beginners start off with. Other skateboard types include freestyle, longboard, cruiser, mini-cruiser, surf skate, e-skateboard and old-school boards. Each of these types of boards are designed for different riding styles and preferences, and may vary in price according to this and other factors.
Sizing is a crucial factor to consider when purchasing a skateboard for a child as it can greatly impact their comfort, safety, and skill development. However, it’s important to be aware that many sizing charts found online may not be entirely accurate or useful. These charts often don’t take into account the fact that modern skateboards tend to be larger than those used in the past, and that each skater has their own personal sizing preference.
Skateboard sizing is typically defined using three key measurements: board width, board length, and wheelbase.
Board width, which is the distance between the two side edges (rails) of the deck, is usually the defining measurement used by manufacturers and skate shops. A narrower board is more suitable for a smaller child or an advanced rider performing technical moves, while a wider board is better for a larger child, cruising, and stability. Board width is usually measured in inches and some common sizes include 7.75”, 8.0”, and 8.25”.
Board length, which is the distance between the end of the tail and tip of the nose on a deck, can vary slightly across different manufacturers. Wheelbase, which is the distance between the two inner sets of mounting holes for the trucks, is generally better for stability, although it’s not usually an important consideration for parents to factor in.
Another point to consider is that children are still growing, and sometimes parents see it as beneficial to get a slightly larger size board so it will have a longer period of usability. As a best practice, consider consulting with a reputable Skateboarding shop or school that can give you personalized advice based on your child’s specific needs and abilities. They can take into account factors such as skill level, riding style, and the type of terrain on which the board will be used, to recommend the best size and type of skateboard for your child.
When in doubt, it’s always best to reach out for expert advice, and don’t hesitate to ask for help in finding the perfect Skateboard for your child. With the right size and specifications, your child will be able to enjoy skateboarding to its fullest potential and develop their skills in a comfortable and safe way.
Appearance is another important aspect to consider when purchasing a skateboard for your child, for example, a board that has colours and designs that appeal to your child can impact their excitement and enthusiasm towards riding it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that while appearance is important, functionality, safety, and comfort should always be the top priorities when making your decision.
Skateboards come in a wide variety of colours and designs, and it’s common for children to be drawn to the more colourful and creative designs. Most boards will have a design on the underside of the deck called a ‘graphic’.
Sometimes a graphic that appeals to a child may not align with what a parent deems appropriate. For example, children might be attracted to designs with edgy imagery, such as skeleton figures, skulls or zombies. Other kids may prefer minimal graphics involving raw woodgrain, patterned designs or even blank or single coloured decks and wheels.
Extra aesthetic customisations are available for custom completes, for example griptape is now available in a wide range of colours and with different printed designs. Likewise, trucks, wheels and even small components such as bolts are now available in various colours.
It’s a good idea to involve your child in the selection process and help them understand that the most important things to consider when buying a skateboard are safety, comfort and suitability. This way you can ensure that your child is happy with their board over the long term and that their board is suitable and functional.
Some examples of different board graphics…
Soft bushings are a particularly important component on a skateboard for young, lightweight skaters because they allow the rider to have more control over their board’s turning mechanism.
Bushings are found inside the trucks, which are the metal axles that attach the wheels to the deck of a skateboard. Inside the truck, there are two bushings (usually made of urethane) that act as a cushion between the hanger (the metal part of the truck) and the baseplate (the part that attaches to the deck). The bushings are responsible for allowing the hanger to turn and pivot.
Soft bushings are typically made of a softer urethane, which means that they compress more easily when the skateboarder turns or leans. This benefits lightweight young skaters as it becomes easier for them to control and steer a skateboard. In contrast, harder bushings will not compress as easily and young, lightweight skaters may struggle to turn their boards effectively (or even at all) if their bushings aren’t soft enough.
It’s worth noting that bushings can be adjusted to some degree to fit the skater’s needs and preferences, but often manufacturers use a bushing durometer that isn’t soft enough for young lightweight skaters no matter how much adjusting is done. To resolve this issue, it is very easy and inexpensive to install aftermarket bushings that are softer and more suitable for children, which are also available on our online skate shop.
Parents should also note that adjusting bushings is easy and only requires a skate tool (also know as a T-tool), and depending on the current setting of your child’s board, can go a long way in improving the skateboard experience for a young ‘un.
Bushings and skate tools available online
In conclusion, purchasing the right skateboard for your child is essential for ensuring that they have a safe and enjoyable skateboarding experience. Remember to prioritize safety and seek expert advice when choosing a skateboard for your child, and consider factors such as size, appearance and suitability,
Check out complete skateboards on our online skate shop
Here’s links to some complete board company’s websites