The deck is the most important thing in your skateboard. It determines how you ride and what you are able to skate. Every other component of your skateboard is related to the deck itself. That is why we urge you to find the best skate deck for your needs and then look for other parts.

Modern decks have come along way from the old “fish” shaped boards from the past which were narrower and heavier and overall harder to use. Nearly all modern skate decks are made from 7-ply maple and they vary in width, concave and shape. Some board manufacturers have also started using carbon fiber in their decks as well.

Deck width

Picking up the right width for your skateboard is usually the most important thing that you do when choosing a new board. Decks usually range from 7.5 to 10 inches in width and sometimes choosing the right size might be difficult to do. Before buying, you have to consider what kind of skateboarding you do the most. Are you more of a transition skater or a street skater?

Transition skateboarding

Transition skating means riding up wave-like vertical walls or other obstacles and gather enough speed from one wall to another. As you progress, you can do more and more tricks on the edges or “lips” of the half-pipe and find new lines to skate. Sometimes the objective is to get enough speed to jump above the edges of the walls. This type of skateboarding is usually done in skateparks, pools, bowls and vert ramps. The best skate decks for this type of skateboarding are the ones with higher concave and more width.

As well as a wider deck, high speed transition skating also needs wider trucks for a more stable feel. So if you see yourself mostly skating transition (or just have bigger feet) a deck size of 8.38 inches will work the best.

Street skateboarding

Street skateboarding does not rely on skate parks, verts or pools. It is all about taking advantage of the architecture and urban landscape that you see around you. Handrails, benches, stairs, ledges, gaps… these are all things that you can take advantage of in your skating. Street skating leans more in the flat ground tricks than transition skating. This means that a quicker and smaller board should be better for more technical skating styles. The best skate deck size would usually be between 7.5 inches and 8.25 for this purpose.

A Jack-of-all-trades of decks is usually around 8.0 to 8.38 inches wide and it should work well in both Street and transition skating.

If you're just starting, get a board that is right in the middle. A width of 8.0 to 8.38 with a length of 32" is a great starting point.

Length and wheelbase of the deck

In addition to differences in width, decks also very in length. Nearly all decks are around 31 inches to 33 inches. However, decks that are longer than that are usually around 8.5 inches or even wider.

Wheelbase means the distance between your front and rear wheels. A shorter wheelbase will be less stable and will have a smaller turning radius, whereas a longer wheelbase will have better stability but at the expense of a sharper turn. Increased stability is beneficial for transitional skating due to how it behaves at high speeds.

Street skating usually does not rely on stability as much. This is why a shorter and lighter board might help you do a flat ground tricks more easily.

The skate deck for you is what you feel confident with - and the best way to find your own preference is to try different things and see what you like.

Shape of the deck

Skateboard decks come in many shapes but the most well-known and widely used shape is called the “popsicle” shape. These have a symmetrically rounded nose and tail while keeping the sides straight. The only asymmetrical part of a modern popsicle shape is the slightly longer nose for better control and pop during ollies and flip tricks. Popsicle boards have double-kicks which means that the tail and nose are curved. Basically, these make tricks and transition skating possible. Technical skating would be nearly impossible if the board does not have kicks on both nose and tail. For cruising a single kick board should be fine.

Concave of the deck

Concave means the curvature across the deck surface and edges. It determines how the deck feels under your feet. The higher the concave in the nose and tail, the better you know where your feet are. This can be especially beneficial if you are skating at high speed and you want to constantly see where you are going. This is why transition skaters sometimes opt for a deck with sharper concave.

Bigger concave does not mean that flip tricks are any easier. This is why street skaters sometimes prefer smaller concave for a better foot placement. Especially since street skating relies on doing a variety of flip tricks, you want to move your feet freely on the board to make a variety of tricks possible.

What is the best skate deck for me?

Even though these tips are a good starting point they are not exactly set in stone. Some street skaters might want a larger deck for their tricks whereas some transition skaters might enjoy a smaller board with a shallower concave. It’s all up to you!

Pro tip: 

If you break a board in a way that only a few layers of the 7-ply construction snaps, you might be able to get a refund. That usually indicates that the adhesive glue has dried before gluing them together. 

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