Skateboards have been around for quite a while. In the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, a group of surfers wanted to find a way to be able to “surf” when the ocean waves were too calm for any serious action and sidewalk surfing was born.
These days, skateboarding has evolved into a popular recreational activity and a fiercely competitive sport. With different types of competitions there became a need for different types of skateboards. Before you rush out to get yourself a skateboard, let’s look at the different types that are available and the best type of skateboarding to use them for.
If you’re a skateboarding novice or considering buying your first skateboard, a free-style skateboard is a great one to start with. Free-style skateboards are better suited to flat surfaces, yet you can still incorporate a lot of tricks and fancy footwork. You can still look like a pro on this basic skateboard, but it will require lots of practice and looks even more awesome when you can choreograph the moves to some great music.
Free-style skateboards come in long and short versions. The long ones offer stability but are hard to control, whereas the shorter ones are better at control but no so stable. Of course, you will also have to invest in a good pair of skateboard shoes.
If speed is your thing, then you know that with downhill skateboarding you can pick up a whole lot of speed in a short amount of time. The best types of skateboard for downhill are generally drop-platform, drop-throughs and top-mount. The decks on these boards are usually on the stiff side with small to medium-sized wheels. Another must-have feature of downhill skateboards is concave at the front and/or back to prevent feet from slipping too far forward or backward.
Skating on roads and pavement loses its fun factor pretty fast and many skaters love going off-road. Not surprisingly, off-road skateboards have been designed to accommodate these extreme skaters.
An off-road skateboard can handle going over rugged terrain as well as dirt tracks and grass. One of the main features that makes off-road skateboards different to other boards is that these ones have brakes. These brakes are a definite advantage if you need to stop suddenly to avoid injury on a rocky surface.
If you don’t feel like getting yet another skateboard, you can use an ordinary one and simply replace the wheels when you want to go off-road. These wheels are larger than standard ones and they are usually made from rubber.
Slalom skateboarding was really popular a few decades ago and it was a form of competitive skateboard racing where skaters would need to skate through a course, usually comprising of traffic cones. Such races could be on flat courses, with or without some downhill aspects. The idea is to skate through the course in the shortest possible time without knocking over the cones.
The wheels of slalom skateboards are softer and somewhat larger than those on regular skateboards which offer better grip and speed. This makes the board easier to control, without losing speed. These boards are usually made from carbon fiber and foam and they are usually longer than standard boards.
Skateboarders have become very creative at finding places to skate and an empty pool made way for skating competitions in pools. Wider boards are better for skating in pools as they give you more stability and ensure you get a smoother ride. The extra width also means the board should last longer which is necessary due to this type of skating being so punishing on the board. The hard landings can be exceptionally brutal to the board.
Vert is short for vertical which is quite appropriate considering you spend a lot of time skating up a vertical wall via ramps or similar inclines. This type of skating requires large wheels and decks which offer control and stability. This is possibly the most exciting form of skating to watch due to a lot of aerial acrobatics and other cool tricks that skaters love to do. However, it does take a lot of practice and you must learn the basic moves like pushing, cruising, carving and landing before you move on the really intricate moves.
Street skateboarding is loved by some, loathed by others. It involves a lot of tricks and transitioning and a center stage is usually a public place like shopping complexes, city streets and industrial areas. Street skaters also like to use handrails, picnic tables, stairs and garden walls.
Street skateboards usually have a narrower deck and smaller wheels. These give the skater the ability to spin the board and flip it faster, making perfuming tricks a lot easier. The wheels need to be made from a polyurethane material with a focus on extra hardness.
If all you want to do is get around town looking call, but don’t really have a need for performing tricks or hitting super high downhill speeds, an electric skateboard may be for you. This is a type of personal transporter than can hit speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. They are powered by a small motor, usually with a rechargeable battery, with weight sensor controls or a handheld throttle to control the speed. You can change the direction of the board by tilitng left or right as needed.
Electric skateboards are great for getting around the city, particularly as they are light in weight. This makes them ideal to get from the train station or parking garage to the office as you can easily carry it with you and store it when you arrive.
Whether you skate for fun or you love the thrill of competition, there is definitely a skateboard for you. They are easily accessible and affordable, and there is no age limit as to who can skate. As with all things we ride on that have wheels, remember to exercise a little caution and put on your safety gear. If you don’t want the whole collection of knee pads and elbow pads, at least put on a helmet and protect your head.