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Friday, December 19th




The following information is provided as a basic introduction to skateboards. Skateboarding is an extreme sport. If common sense is not followed, serious injury or death will occur.

DECK: Technical term for a skateboard. Decks break more than any other skateboard item. It's quite common for decks to break in less than a month. Improper landings are the #1 reason decks break. The skater's feet should be over the trucks during the landing. Skateboard decks are normally listed in width.
A 7.5 deck is 7.5 inches wide, an 8.0 deck is 8 inches wide, etc. The most common size deck for beginning skateboarders is 7.5. Mini decks are available for young skaters. They vary from 6 to 7.25 inches wide and are shorter than regular-size decks. Mini complete skateboards are also available.

TRUCKS: Trucks are mounted to the bottom of the deck with skateboard hardware. Cheap trucks will work if your child is just learning to skateboard. Assuming your child isn't into advanced tricks, the trucks are just holding the wheels on. For beginning skateboarders, $25 trucks will serve the same purpose as $50 trucks. Skateboard trucks have an axle, hanger, base plate and kingpin. The axle holds the wheels, the hanger is the space between the axle ends, and the kingpin holds the hanger onto the base plate. The base plate is mounted to bottom of the deck. Trucks are normally listed in hanger width. A 5.0 truck has a hanger that's 5 inches wide. Independent, Grind King, Thunder and Element are the most popular trucks. "Low" profile trucks are 2.25 inches high. "Mid" trucks are 2.5 inches high, and "hi" trucks are 2.75 inches high.

WHEELS: For beginning skaters, even the cheapest wheels will last months. Blank wheels, which have no graphics on the sides, will last just as long as the more expensive wheels. Skateboard wheels are normally quoted in diameter. 52mm wheels have a diameter of 52mm. As a general rule, larger wheels rotate slower than smaller wheels because they have more wheel surface and present more drag. If you're not sure which size wheels to buy, 52 to 53mm are the best widths for a beginning skateboarder. Wheels are often quoted in Durometers (Du) or Duro for short. The higher the number, the harder the wheel. Gel wheels are really soft, usually 60 to 80 Duro. Most normal skateboard wheels are 96 to 99 Duro.

BEARINGS: Bearings MUST BE KEPT CLEAN AND DRY. Even the best bearings will not last if they're not kept clean. Bearings need to be cleaned and relubricated on a regular basis. Many bearings are quoted in ABEC. The ABEC rating system was originally designed to rate the efficiency of bearings for electric motors, not skateboards. Not all skateboard bearings are ABEC rated. Rating is not mandatory. Most people believe a higher ABEC rating means the bearing will spin faster.

BEARING LUBE: This product is a must! If bearings aren't cleaned and relubricated on a regular basis, you'll be replacing them constantly.

DECK HARDWARE: This is used to hold the trucks onto the deck. Normal hardware is 1" long and consists of 8 bolts and nuts. Longer hardware is available for adding riser pads to the board. GRIP TAPE: The sandpaper texture provides secure footing so the skater doesn't slip off the board.

RISERS: Riser pads are placed between the trucks and the deck. Shock pads are soft riser pads that act as shock absorbers during landings. Most deck hardware is 1" long and will accommodate riser or shock pads up to 1/8" thick. Risers thicker than 1/8" require longer hardware.

SKATE TOOL: Used to remove and tighten deck hardware, truck nuts and kingpin. Some tools like the Fix Stix have a bearing puller to facilitate easy bearing removal and replacement. If you want to ensure that your tools don't mysteriously disappear, buy a skate tool as a precautionary measure.

COMMON SKATEBOARD TRICKS: The three most common skateboard tricks are the ollie, kickflip and grind. A common ollie is simply jumping over or jumping off something. If your kid says he wishes he could ollie the roof, he wants to skate off the roof and attempt to land on the board without breaking anything vital. A kickflip involves flipping the board and landing back on it, normally while on the ground. A grind is performed by sliding the skateboard across, up or down something. The slide can be made on the "nose" or the "tail" of the board, or on the trucks. If you notice your child suddenly developing an obsession with stairs, now you know why. Stairs present the perfect place to practice ollies, kickflips and many other air tricks. Every trick presents unique stress, wear and tear on the skateboard. Ollies, kickflips and other air tricks often result in a broken deck. Trucks will break during ollies and grinds, especially if the skater is just learning the tricks. Bearings will break during landings. Once the bearings are bad, the wheels will develop "flat spots". The only effective way to make a skateboard and its various components last forever is to not use it. Short of that, expect to be buying a lot of decks, wheels, bearings and trucks.


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