The art of skateboarding has been popular for generations now. The market of Skateboards has been flourishing for decades now. From Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen to Ryan Sheckler, this trendy sport never seems to lose its charm. Especially suited for the summertime, skateboarding is a great sport to consider trying out if you haven’t already.
For new skateboarders, or if you’re looking to buy a new deck, this review will help you make your decision.
Essentially, all of us are brand conscious one way or another. We all want the best product in the market and although finding the best may be daunting, let’s narrow down the list of hundreds of skateboard brands.
- Plan B
All of these names sound catchy but is everything about them as cool as their names? Let’ find out.
The Anatomy and Terminology of Skateboards
If you’re a newbie, the first thing you need to do is educate yourself of the rather ‘hip’ terminology used by skaters. A layman would think an average skateboard has a board or a deck with wheels on both the front and rear ends – pretty simple, right? But there’s a lot more than what meets the eye. The following are a few important words you need to know before you start skateboarding.
Board/Deck – The wooden part of the board where the boarder plants his feet.
Truck – An axle that connects the wheels on both ends to the deck.
Ball Bearings – These are small balls fitted inside the wheels to allow for a smoother ride.
Concave – A rather unconventional term that refers to the slight hollow at the center of the board. It could be mellow or steep.
Pop – It is a measure of how high the rear end of the board will go when the board strikes with the surface.
Rated number one in the top ten list of the best skateboards of 2016, Plan B remains one of the most sought after skateboard brand. Plan B has a long founding history with prominent skateboarders like Ryan Sheckler and Colin Mckay in the professional Plan B team. While some people would praise the brand name and quality, others have contradicting opinions.
Pros of Plan B
- Aesthetically, the designs are eye-catching
- Has an average concave, not too mellow, nor too steep. It is perfect for both more stable skateboarding and casual, freestyle cruising
- Has great, crisp pop
Cons of Plan B
- Relatively heavy
- Cracks easily
Again, one of the top-rated brands, Enjoi is another skateboard brand that is highly popular. With an adorable logo of a panda, Enjoi has been amassing buyers for many years.
Pros of Enjoi
- Good concave
- Crisp pop
Cons of Enjoi
- They are usually short in length and may not work for every skater out there
- The graphic chips and fades away after a while
Almost has been around for over a decade and has made it to the top ten lists plenty of times in the past few years. The brand was founded by Rodney Mullen himself and has been delivering some of the finest skateboards in the market.
Pros of Almost
- Exceptional pop
- Has great graphics and designs
- Light in weight
- Relatively promising concave
- Impact technology and lasts for a long time
Cons of Almost
- Pop disappears quickly
- Graphics are vulnerable to chipping and scratching
If you’re not new to skateboarding, you would know of the constant debate on whether this US-based brand is better than the top brand, Plan B, or not. Many new and professional skateboarders find the Element skateboards much more worth the buy than any other brands, while others might disagree.
Pros of Element
- Extremely durable and does not chip easily even after a lot of wear and tear
- Ranges from light (Fiberlight) to heavy (Thriftwood) decks
- Excellent pop that does not disappear too quickly
- Malleable and can bend more easily to perform more professional tricks
Cons of Element
- Average concavity and varies from product to product
- Some decks like The Helium snap easily
Inspiring many other brands such as Chocolate and Ruby Republic, the establishment of Girl has served as a major milestone in the history of skateboarding. It provided a platform for professional skateboarders to come together and secure their futures. The brand has been constantly hitting the top ten lists and has been the signature brand for pros like Rick Howard and Mike Carroll. Widely popular among both new and experienced skateboarders, Girl decks are something definitely worth considering when making the choice to buy a new skateboard.
Pros of Girl
- Durable and lasts for a long time
- Excellent pop that doesn’t fade too quickly
- Aesthetically, the graphics and designs are amazing
- Good concave with more stable riding
Cons of Girl
- More to the heavy side
This brand has been around for a while as well and has managed to stay as one of the best ones of its kind. Competing heavily with brands like Plan B and Element, Zero is the brand of choice of many professional skaters including Jamie Thomas and Tommy Sandowal.
Pros of Zero
- Durable and sturdy; lasts for a long time
- A variety of styles, shapes and sizes
- Amazing pop quality
- Good concave
Cons of Zero
- The graphics are usually black and white with skulls on them which may not be acceptable to some. Some of the skateboards also have religious themes printed on them which may be controversial.
So what will it be?
It’s clear that all of the best brands listed have made it in this review for a reason – they’re all amazing! But when you’re out to buy a skateboard for yourself, you need to make a choice.
While Plan B has some great specs, the fact that it isn’t as durable as its competitors puts it at a disadvantage. And while Almost, Enjoi and Zero are excellent brands, the clear winners for me are the Element and Girl.
If you prefer a more stable board, then Girl is the way to go with its exceptional durability and stability. On the other hand, Element has a wide variety of decks, each with its own specifications and technology. Their skateboard, Fiberlight which is built by fiberglass, in particular is an interesting choice for new skateboarders who need a light, smoother cruising experience.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. But don’t take too long making it, because right now is the best time to start skateboarding!