Types Of Skateboards

Complete Guide For 2020

Updated: November, 2020

Prologue

Skateboards come in all shapes and sizes. To an untrained eye, it might seem confusing. Some are very small with kicktails and some look like a straight-up surfboard with 4 wheels attached! 

The point is, there are different kinds of Skateboards built for different purposes. And in this article, we, together are going to explore the different types available in the market and understand why they are constructed in the way they are.

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Before jumping into the different kinds of a skateboard, let us look at the two purposes for which they are built:

  1. Cruising: going from point A to point B
  2. Skateboarding: basically doing tricks

The cruising kind might be more common in your neighborhood and in some places, skateboarding might be more of a popular thing. But usually, people will be interested in doing tricks and stunts more than cruising in the initial stage so why don’t we talk about that?

These are the ones you can spot in skateparks being used for performing tricks. Wanna do the infamous kickflip? Or what about the good ol’ ollie? You might want the traditional street skateboard for that. They are built for being used in a freestyle manner but at the expense of low speeds while cruising. 

Talking about cruising, let us talk about the skateboards built exactly for that! These boards are a smart way to get around town and are pretty nimble (most of the time), even though it varies as construction differs. Some offer extreme speed allowing you to gain momentum fast with only little effort. 


The different types

Now as we know what they are built for, let us look at the different types of skateboards that are available in the mainstream market at the moment.

Note: We will not talk about the OG skateboards that were popular back in the day. I won’t bore you with a history lesson. Information below is written keeping relevancy in mind!

Street / double-kick boards

These are the traditional skateboards that we love and admire. The double kick means the deck of the skateboard has an elevated nose (front portion) and tail (back portion) that allows the user to execute flips and all kinds of tricks. These are ideal to take to a skatepark and sharpen your skills or develop them if you’re a beginner.

Even though not the same, we can place freestyle skateboards in this category as they also are primarily used for tricks. But the key difference is that they are used on a flat surface and involve little to no movements. They also are constructed in a similar fashion but with little adjustments to suit the style.

Ideal specifications 

Around 30 inches long deck (medium)

50-55mm wheels size (small)

85A-95A wheels hardness (hard, less grip)

ABEC 7 rated bearings (fast)

Pros

All sorts of tricks

Street skating 

Grinding 


Cons

Cruising 

Speed 

Carve boards

As the name suggests, these are primarily used for carving. It’s shifting your body weight to the edge of your feet to create an “S” shape while you skate in order to produce speed. The most notable feature of these boards is the unique front trucks. They can pivot more than usual allowing the wheels to turn quickly and change direction in a rapid manner.

Carve skateboards can be thought of as surfing substitutes as the motion is pretty much the same. Shifting your weight in a way to create thrust to move forward and generate speed. So surfers usually own carve boards to not bore themselves out on a day when the waves are flat!

Ideal specifications 

30-35 inches long deck (large)

60-70mm wheels size (medium)

75A-85A wheels hardness (soft)

ABEC 7 rated bearings (fast)

Pros

Carving

Cruising

Simulation of surfing

Generating momentum


Cons

Performing Tricks 

Not apt for beginners

Longboards

The coolest looking skateboards there are, at least in my opinion! These have become so popular and distinct over the past few years to the point where they are recognized as a separate style and not just a kind of skateboard.

These boards have decks that are significantly longer than their counterparts and provide a great means for transportation. You can cover long distances with these boards comfortably and they are ideal for cruising.

They often come with flexible decks that allow them to by ‘pumped’ while skating to generate momentum. That is the main characteristic of these boards. Pair that with big soft wheels with great bearing and you got yourself a high speed run! 

These boards are built for speed.

To accommodate all kinds of movements to generate that speed, they come in a variety of shapes with different cutouts. The deck is cut around the wheels so they don’t interfere with each other (wheelbite) during high speed movements..

This results in a number of different shapes, three of which we will talk about here.

Twintip log boards: They have the most distinctive shape out of all skateboards in my opinion. They boast a deck designed in a way that causes no wheel bite whatsoever. They are also often symmetrically constructed and are bidirectional

Cruiser longboards: These are similarly shaped to the cruiser boards that we are going to talk about next. They have highly placed trucks to avoid the aforementioned problems. They are very stable at high speeds as well.

Pintail longboards: They basically look like surfboards, don’t they? Cool looking surfboards with wheels. This shape in a way solves the problem of wheel bite as the trucks are positioned at the tips so the overall width of the deck at those points are low enough 

Ideal specifications 

35-45 inches long deck (large)

65-75mm wheels size (large)

75A-85A wheels hardness (soft, more grip)

ABEC 9 rated bearings (very fast)

Pros

Long-distance cruising

High speeds
Superior stability for beginners

Downhill speedrun 


Cons 

Portability

Performing Tricks 

Executing quick turns

Cruiser boards

These are somewhat related to the longboards as they are almost primarily meant for transportation. Although long-distance commutes and downhill runs are not its forte, they are perfect for a small cruise across town. What I like about them is that they are very nimble and easy to maneuver

As I mentioned above, longboards are usually around 40 inches long but these cruiser boards are generally 30 inches in length, making them a compact alternative, plus they are easy to carry!

They are also very good at stability, much like its longer brother. And due to their shorter frame, unlike longboards, we can very easily turn on them making them a good option for zipping across traffic or pedestrians on the street. However, they are not ideal for tricks as the construction is aimed more towards cruising around downtown.

NOTE: For beginners, longboards are preferred over cruiser boards because of the extra stability the former offers and how much skill and expertise the latter requires.

Ideal specifications  

Around 30 inches long deck (medium)

60-65mm wheels size (slightly large)

75A-85A wheels hardness (soft, more grip)

ABEC 9 rated bearings (very fast)

Pros

Short distance cruising

Quick maneuverability

Tight turns

Portability


Cons 

Tricks

Extreme speed 

Stability (for beginners) 

Mini/penny boards

https://unsplash.com/photos/NG4684I8Bng

They can be called a hybrid of a street skateboard and a cruiser, but smaller in size. Looking somewhat like a shrunken cruiser board, they come in around 20-27 inches in length and are ideal for short commutes and doing basic tricks with. The elevated tail or the kicktails is the reason why this kind of board allows us to do tricks and to be honest, they are pretty fun to skate on.

With their plastic build and small frame, they may seem ideal for children, which they are coming to think of, but they can be used by adults as well. Experienced skaters might take some time off from their high-end premium longboards and skate on these OG penny ones just for the fun of it.

Personally, I would never own a mini-board as my primary go-to board but would definitely consider having it as my secondary. Plus they are super easy to carry around!

Ideal specifications  

22-27 inches long deck (small)

55-60mm wheels size (slightly small)

85A-95A wheels hardness (soft, more grip)

ABEC 7 rated bearings (fast)

Pros 

Being carried around

Tricks 

Quick maneuverability


Cons

Going fast

Stability (not much space to place feet on)

Durability

… And the different styles

As we now have a clear understanding of the different types, let us look at the various styles there are and which boards are used for what.

Slalom 

9A national slalom skateboarding in Morro Bay, CA

This style involves racing down a path and weaving between obstacles to ultimately cross the finish line before your opponents. 

This sport is pretty popular and competitive hence requires precise skills. The aforementioned obstacles come in a variety of shapes and sizes but they are usually cones that are scattered throughout the path. Hitting these cones comes with a time penalty and if you hit too many cones you can be disqualified.

Type of skateboard used: Slalom skateboards can be thought of as a modified version of the cruiser boards with big soft wheels but relatively compact deck for weaving through obstacles.

Downhill 

Extreme Downhill Road Skating Hoddevik

This is the style I would choose any day, hands down! Downhill skateboarding is exhilarating, to say the least. The sheer adrenaline you receive from this style is immeasurable. 

Basically skaters go down a not-so-steep (but a very long) slope at dangerous speeds to reach the finish line first. This requires a great amount of control over the board and involves the skater to stand and sit on the board to handle the speed. Did I mention safety gear is a must?

Type of skateboard used: Very expensive downhill longboards are used in this style. The decks on these boards should be sufficiently large enough for the skater to change the stances and positions while going down the hill fast.

Freestyle 

https://www.pexels.com/photo/action-adult-board-boy-442585/

One of the earliest and notable styles of skateboarding. We already discussed, briefly,  about freestyle boards in the initial section of this article. In this style, the skater performs a variety of tricks and stunts but only on a plain flat surface. No ramps, no vert pools – just the flat floor to exhibit your talents on. It usually includes music as well, synchronized of course.

Types of skateboard used: Freestyle skateboards are used in this style and they are usually medium-sized decks fitted with small hard wheels with average rated bearings.

Street 

https://unsplash.com/photos/MI2biy38Q0A

Arguably the most popular style these days and for a reason. Street skateboarding is plenty of fun and involves doing tricks on almost anything you can spot on the street including but not limited to handrails, benches, bins, ditches, and ramps. This style requires a lot of skills as it is not just riding through a straight line on a flat surface.

Type of skateboard used: Standard/ double-kick boards with very well built trucks to endure the trashing that is usual in this kind of style. The wheels would be small and pretty hard for sliding.

Vert 

https://unsplash.com/photos/nSJe3uLt_G4

Vertical skateboarding or simply Vert is yet another popular style and is not subtle with its methods. The skaters would skate down a humongous wooden ramp called ‘Half pipes” or maybe something more exciting – the vert pool. As they are very steep the initial momentum is extremely high that results in fun-filled adrenaline peaked experience.

Type of skateboard used:  Similar to the ones used in the street ones, these are sturdy and have strong construction, which is crucial while speed providing components are not since the gravity does that for us.

Cruising 

https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-black-and-white-long-sleeve-shirt-riding-a-skateboard-on-a-freeway-road-373289/

This style is something we have already talked about – cruising around downtime. A lot more relaxing than the other styles I should say. No tricks, no ramps, no dirt and absolutely no cones. Okay, maybe a few cones if the sidewalk is blocked but you get the idea. It is all about chilling, relaxing and getting yourself from point A to point B.

Type of skateboard used: The cruiser board listed and explained in this article. Big soft wheels for speed and grip. Small deck for easy maneuverability. Throw in some nice quality bearings and you are all set.

Off-Road

The name of the style is self-explanatory: action-packed skating down a dirt-filled track with tons of safety equipment on. It is also, naturally, called dirt boarding since there is a lot of dirt involved! The uneven ground can prove troublesome for the skaters so they usually have their feet securely strapped on the board, quite similar to snowboards. 

Type of skateboard used: Interesting variation of longboards but with straps on for our feet and even bigger wheels than usual to compensate for the even harsher surfaces

Conclusion: 

Skateboarding boasts a long history of a plethora of styles and each one is distinct and notable. What we choose to embrace and practice is our wish, from skating down a dirt track at dangerous speeds to calmly cruising down the streets listening to Drake.

But the intent behind this article was to make you informed about the main types and styles of skateboarding. I hope it was a good read for you. Thank you!

FAQ

What are the different types of skateboards?

Mainly there are 3 kinds: Street skateboards, longboards, cruiser boards. There are also variations of these like the carve board and penny board that is mentioned in detail in this article.

What are the best kinds of skateboards?

Longboards are the go-to option for travelling while mini cruisers are built for short commutes and easy storage. Mainly into tricks? The traditional street skateboards are the ones you need.

What is a normal skateboard called?

A street skateboard or the standard skateboard is the one you see in skateparks. They are the ones used for doing all the cool tricks like the ollies and pop shuvits.

What is the easiest skateboard to ride?

It largely depends on personal preference but longboards are relatively easy to ride primarily due to the stability and ease of ride they provide. Also the length gives ample room for our feet.

What are the two main kinds of skateboarding?

It would be the street or the ‘standard skateboard’ that is used for doing tricks and the cruiser/longboards that are used for transportation, getting from A to B.

What is the most popular skateboard size?

If we are talking about the width, 8-8.5 inch is ideal since it is not too wide that’ll hinder the flipping motion and not too narrow for restricted foot space. And length, somewhere around 32 inches.

What are those small skateboards called?

Mini cruisers, or their popular alternative “Penny boards” (which are basically a kind of mini cruisers) are the small skateboards available in the market today. Great for carrying around.

Why are skateboards wider?

Anything deck that is above 8.5 inches in width is usually considered to be wide –  and this comes with added benefits like overall added stability and foot space to switch stances.

What type of skateboard is best for cruising?

Although many would pick the standard cruiser, I’d suggest the longboard since the length plays a big role in elevating the cruising experience. Longer the wheelbase, the more stable it feels.. 

Which type of skateboard is best for beginners?

If you are looking for a skateboard to cruise on, then I’d suggest a decent longboard like the Retrospec Bamboo Longboard. If doing tricks is something you’re interested in, might I suggest the 8 Layers Double Kick Skate Board.

Which are the different types of skateboard decks

The most common type of decks are the double kick decks which come with the street skateboards. The elevated nose and tail allows you to perform tricks. Pintail & twintip are the decks seen in longboards.

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