Anatomy of a skateboard

Board Tricks, skateboard

From its origins as a modified shipping crate with wheels and a handlebar used by dock workers in California in the 40s through to its modern incarnation the skateboard has gone through a great many changes over the years. In this article we’ll be looking at all the various pieces that go into the making of a skateboard. As is the case with most people who become interested in skateboarding, at one point you may want to consider building your own and in order to do that, it’s wise that you should know about all a skateboards parts.

Starting from the ground up, let’s have a look at the skateboard wheels first. As these are the only part of the device that actually touch the ground it’s a vital piece of the board. Although some of the first wheels of skateboards were made from steel and clay, now almost all are made from polyurethane, and it’s almost impossible to find any purpose-built wheels out of any other material. Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle or driven a car or, of course, skateboarded will probably be able to tell you that the bigger the wheels, the faster the experience. Nowadays, that’s essentially all you need to know about skateboards. Big equals faster. This is relevant if you’re thinking about doing tricks or using it for transportation. Remember though that although bigger wheels are faster, they accelerate less quickly.

Before we get to the deck, you’ll need a skateboard truck. These are also sometimes know by the name used with cars, the axle, although that’s not entirely accurate as the axle rests inside the truck itself. The axle is a t-shaped bar that is secured to the deck of the skateboard and, vitally, secures the wheels to the deck. There’s not much of a difference between various truck heights, and mid is the most commonly used. However, lower trucks provide greater stability needed when performing flip tricks and higher trucks are preferred for craving, for cruising, and best complement larger wheels.

Perhaps the most immediately noticeable part of a skateboard is the deck. The deck is the platform on which one stands. There are two factors to consider: width and length. Width is determined by the the height of the skateboard user. For anyone over 5’3 (about 160cm) a full-sized deck is the most appropriate. Mid-, mini-, and micro-sized decks are needed for children, or younger or shorter skateboarders.

If you want to get some ideas and a bit of context about who uses want, take a look at the boards the pros are using in their competitions. While you may not be out there competing, it can be a good way to get some ideas about what you want to do when you’re building your next board.

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