(First published by Gnarlyfoot, website currently inactive)
When just breaking the barrier into the world of skateboarding, there’s a few things that you need prior to beginning your journey. A place to skate, safety equipment, and of course, your board. However, before you rush out to buy a new skateboard, you’re going to want to know which type of board will fulfill your needs, and what the different parts of the board consist of.
They are the most commonly seen skateboard around. These boards are rounded at each end of the deck and are designed to be lightweight so the user can get more air and perform tricks easier. If your goal is to obtain a board for street or park skating, then this is the board for you. Shortboards are top mounted, meaning that the trucks are screwed into the bottom of the deck. For all new users: trucks are the metal piece that connects the wheels to the deck of the board.
Exactly the opposite of the shortboard, is the longboard. Instead of being lightweight and used for tricks, longboards are strictly for transportation, riding leisurely and sometimes downhill racing. Longboards in themselves are a category with a few different types of boards under it.
This type of longboard takes on a symmetrical shape that thins out at both ends of the board to form wheel cutouts. Wheel cutouts are mainly an option on these types of boards so that skaters can exchange their original wheels with much larger ones to gain more speed when racing downhill.
In addition to the wheel cutouts, another feature that these boards have are the ability to use drop-through trucks. The advantage of drop-through trucks are to gain more stability with your board when traveling at higher speeds.
The deck of this board will have the nose and tail at equal heights, with a slight decline at both ends of the board and then level out again to complete the rest of the deck. This “drop down” effect of the board increases the rider’s stability and makes long distance transportation easier. Drop down boards and cutout boards are usually paired under the same general category because of the wheel clearance needed between the board and the ground are similar.
The pintail board is very much a surfboard inspired design. These boards are designed to be good cruisers, so if your goal is just to get from place to place, this may be the board for you. The wide deck that is tapered at the end allows for ample foot space and is carved deeper, preventing wheelbite (the wheels coming into contact with the board during riding).
These boards are built for maximum stability at high speeds; for this reason, speedboards are very stiff, and have the ability to accommodate larger style wheels for racing (this ability is called having wheelwells).
Cruisers: (Fishtail, Mini, and Twin)
Our last section of boards to are cruisers. These are your traditional, street riding mode of transportation as far as skateboards are concerned. Kicking off the cruisers is the fishtail type board.
Fishtail: The fishtail boards mimic the split tail surfboard style. Although this style is similar to that of the pintail, it is of a much shorter length, but still best used for getting from place to place instead of hitting up the parks. On this style of board, a kicktail is also common in order to help a rider turn sharp corners with ease and keep their footing.
Mini Cruiser: This type of board is meant to be easy for transportation whether it’s rolling on the ground or in your backpack. In this aspect, it is similar to that of a penny board. Even though the two boards sound one in the same, they are far from actually being the same.
Twin: Introduced in the 90s, the twin board is the traditional trick skateboard but had its original uses in multidirectional street skating. Although this board can be considered to be a shortboard, it can also be used for longboarding. When used for the longboarding style, the decks of these types of boards tend to be wider to increase stability.
Now that we’ve gone over the main types of skateboards, and even gotten a little in depth; it’s time for you to make the decision. Which is your style? What is your purpose?