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Skateboards: Fit & Types

by
author image Daniel Bradley
Daniel Bradley is a health, fitness, sport and nutrition expert in Philadelphia, Pa. He began writing professionally in 2007 and has contributed to the Mid-Atlantic American College of Sports Medicine Chapter's Research Panel. Bradley is a certified ACSM Health Fitness Specialist and an outdoor fitness instructor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science with a physical therapy concentration from West Chester University.
Skateboards: Fit & Types
The right skateboard should be designed to your size and ability. Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Choosing the perfect skateboard -- whether for yourself or your child -- can be an arduous task. Skateboards are composed of a deck, trucks and wheels, and each of these components can be customized to your needs, so knowing what specific part measurements are appropriate for you should be taken into account before you begin modifying the layout of your skateboard.

Skateboard Type

There are essentially two different types of skateboards: the long board and the short board. The long board is designed to be a smooth riding board and is not really intended to be used for tricks due to its larger size. The long board coasts and turns easier compared to its short board counterpart. The short board skateboard is the board that is generally used for performing tricks off vertical jumps, rails and ramps. Tricks and jumps are easier to perform on a shorter board because it is lighter than a long board.

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Deck Shape

To fit yourself to the shape of the deck, consider the length, width and depth -- or how concave the deck is -- to find your perfect feel. Play It Again Sports reports that in terms of length, short boards are less than 33 inches and long boards are greater than 35 inches. Length should typically be correlated with your height, such that shorter individuals should pick shorter boards in both categories of deck types.

Deck widths range between 7.5 to 10.5 inches. A wider deck creates greater stability for the rider, but a deck under 8 inches makes it easier to learn tricks.

Deeper boards tend to cost more, are more apt to break if a trick is not performed correctly and enable you to perform more challenging precision-type tricks. Shallower boards are more durable, but are also less responsive to jumping. Long boards usually have no -- or a very slight -- deck depth.

Picking a Truck

Skateboard trucks help with board stability and ease of turning. Skate-Parts states that trucks vary from 4.75 to 5.5 inches in width. Wider trucks add more weight to the skateboard, but allow for more stability when landing and doing tighter turns. Wider trucks can make performing tricks more difficult, though. Wider trucks -- 5.5 to 7 inches -- are often used on long boards.

Wheels

Skateboard wheels are made from polyurethane. Short board wheels are typically between 52 to 60 mm. Wheels from 52 to 55 mm are good for street riding, skate parks and bowls, as they allow for tighter control. Wheels from 56 to 60 mm are good for street riding, skate parks, bowls and vertical ramps, and are better for bigger riders. Long board wheels can be greater than 60 mm, and can sustain greater speeds as well as rougher terrains.

The hardness of the wheels help dictate how high you can get your board off the ground, but with greater wheel hardness comes greater impact upon landing. Wheel hardness is measured is durometers -- abbreviated as "A" -- and anything over 90 A is considered "hard." Short boards are generally between 90 to 100 A, and long boards are less than 90 A to allow for a smoother ride.

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