Looking to build your first skateboard? Used to skate and looking for recommendations on the latest skateboard hardware? You came to the right place. The Point Skate Shop is a full service skateboard shop and this guide will give you everything you need to put together the perfect custom skateboard.
Want us to do the hard work for you? Buying a skateboard as a gift? No problem, check out our pre-built completes, here.
Alright, this is arguably the most important part of your new skateboard. Its what you stand on and can really influence the type of terrain you can skate, the kind of tricks you can do, and the overall aesthetic of your complete.
Sizing - Skateboards are measured width wise ranging from 7” all the way up to 10”+ wide. A common rule of thumb is to use your feet as a size guide. You want a board that you can comfortably stand on. Some people like to have a board a little narrower than their foot, with a little bit of their toes and heels hanging off. This is all just preference and there are no rules. Comfort is what matters most. It’s all preference. The best way to learn what you like is through experimentation. See how different widths affect flip tricks. Are you comfortable skating transition? Are your toes touching on every kick flip attempt? Maybe size up. Board feel slow and unresponsive? Size down.
For beginners: Start in the 7.75” - 8.5” range. If you have smaller feet, stay on the narrower side of that range, and if you have large feet, choose something closer to the 8.5” width.
A note on length and wheelbase: The length of your board, measured from nose to tail, is an important measurement, but when buying your first board, it is not as important as the width and most vary very little in this measurement. Same with the wheelbase, or the length between the truck mounting holes.
Shapes: Skateboard decks come in all sorts of shapes. The shape of skateboards has been a continuous evolution since its invention. For the past 20+ years, the standard shape has been what we call a popsicle shape. This shape is the most versatile and efficient shape for modern skateboarding. Other shapes may harken back to shapes from the past.
Trucks are a piece of metal hardware that act as an axle. They are how your board turns and fix your wheels to the skateboard.
Sizing - The width of your trucks, measured from axle nut to axle nut, should correspond to the width of your deck. You want them to be as close to the same width as possible. You don’t want your trucks wider than your board, or vice versa.
Height - Trucks come in a range of heights, high, mid, and low. High trucks have a wider turning range and can accommodate a larger wheel size. High trucks lend themselves to transition, or ramp skating. Mid and low trucks are more stable and commonly used for street skating.
Bushings - Bushings are small, urethane cylinders that wrap around the kingpin, allowing your trucks to turn. All trucks come with bushings, but you can adjust the feel of your turning by swapping them out for a wide range of bushing types.
Like the rest of skate hardware, wheels have changed over time. Now, most wheels are made of urethane, but come in a huge variety.
Sizing - Skateboard wheels are sized by measuring the diameter of the wheel and represented in millimeters. A general rule of thumb is smaller wheels for street skating and larger wheels for skating transitions, or ramps.
For beginners: Start in the 51mm-to 54mm range. These sizes offer a versatile wheel that will accommodate most kinds of riding.
Wheel durometer - Durometer is the measurement of how hard or soft a wheel is. Softer wheels absorb more and help riding on rougher surfaces like asphalt streets and rough sidewalks. Harder wheels provide more speed and are better suited for smooth surfaces like skateparks and ramps.
Bearings are a circular, metal devices that allow your wheels to roll around the truck accel. They will determine how fast your wheels spin.
Bearings come in a wide range of ratings, build materials, and quality. A general rule of thumb when buying bearings is “You get what you pay for.” Meaning, you can get a set of steel bearings for under 20 dollars that will work fine, and get you rolling, but springing for a higher priced set of ceramic bearings will markedly increase your speed and last longer.
Hardware and Griptape
Alright let’s get your new skateboard finished. Here are the final components you will need.
Hardware - These are the bolts that fix the trucks to the deck. Sets are sold with 8 nuts and 8 bolts. Hardware ranges from ¾” to 1 ½”. They are either philips head bolts or allen key.
Griptape - Griptape is a sticky sheet with coarse grit on top. The griptape is applied to the top of the deck.