Skateboard decks are the top board part of the skateboard. They are the most important piece of the skateboard. The feel and type of board depends mostly on the type of deck you ride. They are made of layers pressed together with glue.
Most skateboard decks are made of hard rock maple. Maple is hard wood and allows the deck to be strong.
I find that the best decks are made with bamboo. They are stronger, lighter, and resist breaking. I have tried bamboo decks and I am convinced that are the best long lasting skateboard decks in skateboarding.
Decks are shaped a certain way for a reason. They are the lightest, strongest and most responsive shape that can be made at this point in time. Most decks are 32” long x 7½"-8½” wide x ½” thick.
There are different shapes of skateboards depending on the type of skateboarding you like to do.
Modern or New School
The almost symmetrical double kick or new school deck is by far the most common. It is the most versatile shape. You can basically do any type of skateboarding with one.
This style of skateboard became popular in the late seventies when skaters invented the ollie. The kick on the tail allowed you to pop the board and enter the air. Deck like this are wider so that they are more stable.
Once people realized that you can do tricks on the nose too, the board shapes got closer and closer to what you see today. The holes patterns for the trucks also changed because skaters were grinding through the bolts with the new nose and tail tricks.
The oldschool shape appeals to older and bowl skaters that don't do ollies much and prefer to carve and go fast.
Freestyle boards were used back in the early eighties to do a different type of skateboarding.
The tricks involved flips and poses done on flatland. The boards were more symmetrical and square to allow for these types of tricks.It was this type of skating combining with the old school street skating that made the modern skateboard shape.
For those who like to cruise or go really fast on a skateboard there are longboards. These boards come in many different shapes and are much longer that the modern deck. They are more stable at high speeds.The longboard culture is different from skateboarding culture. It is often confused by outsiders but we are very different.
There have been many attempts at using materials other than maple to make decks. Synthetics using fiber glass, glue resin and other materials are strong and light enough. They leave your hands covers in itchy fibers or weird powder. Not cool.
Aluminium decks are tough but feel weird and have no pop.
Some have tried using bamboo which is a more renewable material than maple. The use about 70% bamboo to 30% maple to keep the decks performance high. I have not tried out these decks yet but I would like to some time soon. I will be sure to give a review. Hopefully they work out.
Here is a great video showing how one company makes their decks:
You can get skateboard decks in lots of different sizes and shapes.
There are mini decks for younger skaters. Although I don’t recommend them, I know and have seen many skaters as young as 5 years olds skating circles around the older guys. They used the regular sized skateboard just fine.
If you like carving, vert and going fast instead of doing ollies and flip tricks. Then a larger shape my be more you style.
The graphic on you skateboard will scratch off pretty easily. Get used to it. That pretty skateboard will look like crap after only a few minutes of good skateboarding. Be ready to get your first skateboard deck scratched and beaten up pretty quickly. Getting a used skateboard might keep you skating between broken skateboards and new decks.
Having fresh paint on your board makes it slide oh so good. Enjoy new decks when you can they are the best!