Many SkateMD parents tell us that they want their children to keep up their skateboarding in between clinics but that they aren't sure what kind of skateboard to buy or where to buy one. Here are some helpful tips for buying a skateboard!
Do not buy cheap skateboards at Wal-Mart, Target, or sporting goods stores. Although they are cheaper and you may think they will be better for "beginners," buying a cheap skateboard, which is more of a "toy," can actually make your child's experience worse and may have negative effects. Since the cheaper designs and products often do not roll or turn well, your child will not have the same experience as they have had on the boards provided at the SkateMD clinics.
Also, small boards such as the trendy "Penny Boards" are not recommended for children learning to skateboard because they are too small for stability. And, longboards are fun too but they are more for downhill racing and cruising.
The best thing to do is to go to your local skateboard shop for good service and to seek help from knowledgeable skateboarders. Local to the Sacramento region, you can try Boulevard or Lines skate shops (Sacramento), Hangtown (Placerville), or Goodtimes (Grass Valley). These are core shops in the area and they are friends to SkateMD! Shopping online is not such a hot idea if you do not know exactly what you are looking for in your first skateboard purchase.
You will need to decide if you want to piece together a skateboard for your child (purchase separate parts including the deck, trucks, wheels, grip tape, and bearings) or buy a "complete" (an already assembled skateboard). For a beginner, you may be okay to buy a "complete" rather than being specific about parts. You can expect to pay $90-$150 for a good skateboard.
The reps at the skate shop will help you with size. For the teeny shredders, they will probably recommend mini size decks (like 7.25 or 7.5) and up from there for our older participants. Size is also personal preference. Bigger boards can serve to provide more stability but they can be harder to maneuver. This is why it is also best to shop in person at the skate shop.
Most of the trucks come with relatively hard "bushings." You may want to ask about that and replace them with soft bushings which will make for easier turning for the little ones because they are so lightweight.
Wheels do not have to be so specific for beginners but if your child will be skateboarding rough surfaces mostly, a softer wheel may provide a smoother ride.
If you are still confused, you could also have your child try different SkateMD set-ups and sizes at the next clinic and see what your child is most comfortable riding before purchasing.
The local skate shops can also help you with your helmet and pads purchases while you are there!
Contributors are SkateMD Board Members Andrea Bibelheimer, Erik Nielsen, Melanie Tillotson, Heather Barclay, and Pat Guild. We are all part of the skateboard community and consider ourselves kindness advocates!
"My face hurts from smiling. This experience is one of the ONLY times that I felt my eight year old kid fit in, was safe and supported, and I could step back and watch the awesome. Thank you!" - Mary Hoberg, Mother of Elsa