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A skateboard consists of a multiple ply wooden deck which can vary in length and width according to the type of skateboard. The deck is mounted on two axle mechanisms called trucks. Attached to both sides of each truck is a wheel that is generally made of polyurethane and varies in size and texture. Inside of each wheel is two bearings which are crucial to the mobility of the skateboard. The skateboarding community began to flourish between the 1940s and the 1970s when surfers began to look for ways to surf when the waves did not permit their hobby of choice. Early skateboard-like devices were created by dismantling roller blade wheels and attaching them to wooden planks. These wooden planks with wheels would later develop into different types of skateboards.
Cruiser boards are a type of skateboard that generally range between 10-30 inches in length. Boards of this length typically need medium-larger components in order to perform properly. Compared to standard "trick boards," cruiser boards have generally larger and softer wheels, looser trucks, and have different board shapes with only a tail-fin. Compared to longboards, they cannot handle as high of speeds but have more maneuverability. Typically, riders use Cruiser Boards for transportation and can handle small-medium size hills.
Longboards are a type of skateboard that generally range 35-55 inches in length. These boards generally have similar components to the cruiser boards and their components are generally on the larger side of the spectrum. The length of these boards allows them to maintain their momentum, coast more easily, and reduce the loss of control at high speeds. However, in certain cases, this length can compromise their maneuverability. Riders generally use longboards for transportation and handling medium-large sized hills.
Trick boards are typically 30-35 inches in length. These boards are popular for their basic shape which is optimum for performing creative maneuvers. The components for these boards will typically be on the smaller side of the spectrum making them lighter and easier to perform tricks on. The wheels are generally smaller and harder reducing bulkiness. There is a relatively standard shape that has been developed for these boards as well. Riders will regularly use these for transportation, but these boards are mainly known for their recreational use.
If you are having any problems with your skateboard, consult the Skateboard Troubleshooting page.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to apply grip tape?
Begin by stripping any plastic or stickers from your skateboard deck to ensure the new grip tape will stick effectively. Peel off the paper backing from the sheet of grip tape, then center the sheet of grip tape evenly over the top of the skateboard deck. Starting from the middle of the skateboard deck and moving outward, firmly press down on the grip tape while smoothing out any air bubbles that form. Then, use a screwdriver to scrape along the edges of the skateboard to remove some of the grips around the edges, making the trimming process easier. Use a utility knife to cut around the edge of your skateboard to remove excess grip tape. Angle the knife towards the inside of the skateboard to make cutting the straight lines easier, and be sure to always keep the knife pointed away from yourself and others. Remove all of the excess grip tape scraps and use it to sand the edges of the cut tape. If air bubbles remain, gently use a utility knife to poke a small hole in the grip tape at the center of the bubble and press out the air.
What do I do if skateboard bearings get wet?
If skateboard bearings become wet, they can lose lubrication, slowing down the skateboard and causing the bearings to deteriorate from the inside out. Over time, wet bearings will rust, causing the skateboard to not ride as fast and smooth. If the skateboard only spent a few minutes in the sprinkling rain, it can most likely simply be dried in the sun. If the skateboard sat out in a storm for a few hours, there may be damage to the deck and hardware. Remove the hardware to disconnect the trucks from the deck, and use an old rag to dry off the board, grip tape, hardware, and trucks. Remove the wheels and use a Q-tip to dry the inside and outside of the bearings. Rotate the wheels and spray some WD-40 or other lubricant in the bearings (this should be done within a day of the bearings getting wet).
Why is my skateboard turning sideways by itself? How to repair it?
If a skateboard is turning sideways by itself, it is most likely because the plastic rings (bushings) in the trucks are crushed, which can be caused by tightening your trucks too far. Loosen your bushings a little bit to see if the problem still occurs. Your trucks might also be slightly crooked, so loosening them from the deck and re-fastening them could fix the problem. Another possibility is a bent kingpin, which is the vertical pin in the trucks that rests in a divot, allowing you to steer your board. If this is the case, you may need to replace your trucks. It’s possible that one of your wheels might be worn down more than the others, which may require a replacement wheel. Also, lubricating your bearings could help all the wheels spin at the same rate. If the problems persist, it is probably time to replace the hanger of your skateboard.
Which tools do I need for skateboard repair?
Depending on your repair, you will need basic tools to repair your skateboard. To replace the grip tape, you will need a utility knife and a Philips #1 screwdriver. To repair a chipped skateboard, you will need a Philips #2 screwdriver, 3/8 socket or wrench, a utility knife, cleaner, tweezers, a putty knife, wood putty, a block sanding sponge, and latex or nitrile gloves. To replace skateboard trucks, you will need a Philips #1 screwdriver, a hex key or Allen wrench, and a 3/8-inch wrench. To replace your skateboard’s hanger, you will need a stake T-tool. To replace the wheels, you will need a 13 mm wrench.
How to keep my skateboard deck in a good condition?
To keep your skateboard in good condition, you need to consider every component of your skateboard. Be sure to check all the parts after riding it a few times to make sure parts do not come undone while you are riding it. Avoid rain and wet conditions and store your skateboard in a dry place. Also, do not throw your skateboard around. Be careful when tightening your trucks, as the bushings can be crushed if the trucks are too tight. Clear your bearings around every three months, as dirt and dust tend to find its way into small crevices, impacting your skateboard’s performance. The best way to keep your skateboard deck in good condition is to avoid stepping on it with wet shoes or otherwise exposing it to wet conditions.
Skateboard Maintenance Tutorial
What is the best way to get faster skateboard bearings?
One way to get faster skateboard bearings includes replacing the bearings with a ratchet tool. Bearings are rated with an ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) code since different bearing sizes are designed for different purposes. The higher the rating, the faster the skateboard will be. An ABEC of seven is the best for a fast skateboard. Also, check your trucks to make sure they are not unreasonably old and worn. Also, replacing small wheels with larger wheels will make the skateboard faster. Be sure to lubricate all moving parts of the skateboard; WD-40 is always a good bet for a skateboard lubricant.
How to Make Bearings Spin Faster/Freely
If you are looking to purchase equipment or tools for your skateboard you may visit the following sources.
CCS Skateboards is known for carrying a variety of skateboard equipment and accessories.
Zumiez Skateboards has a limited selection of skateboarding equipment.
Skate Warehouse has a very wide variety of skateboarding equipment and accessories at a very reasonable price.