Skateboard Buyer’s Guide – For Children
Skateboarding is a fantastic sport for your child to participate in. In terms of physical activity, skateboarding is second to none. It teaches perseverance and improves co-ordination. It also allows children to get outside, have fun and make new friends.
Buying a skateboard can be a confusing process so this guide is designed to try and make it as simple and straightforward as possible. If you have any questions or would like to order over the phone, please give us a call.
The chances are if your child has asked for a skateboard they mean a complete skateboard i.e. one that is ready to ride straight from the box. Complete skateboards come with deck, trucks and wheels pre-assembled.
Skateboards should be thought of as a piece of sporting equipment rather than a toy. Cheap skateboards will be made form cheap quality wood and held together with cheap glue – they will delaminate and break within a few weeks. They will have plastic bushings instead of urethane. The wheels are usually plastic not urethane meaning they will be slippy and slow. The bearings inside the wheels will be of poor quality and freeze up in no time. Even the most naturally talented skateboarder would soon give up trying to learn on one of these boards when he fails to be able to get his board to do things he sees others doing at the skate park.
For £25-40 you can get a board adequate for a beginner. The board will however be a bit heavier than a better quality board and difficult to do tricks like ollies and kick flips. The bearings may be of average quality meaning the wheels won’t go very fast. But a board of this price and quality should give your child an idea if he or she likes skateboarding and you can always upgrade later.
The next price range up are better quality boards that are lightweight and fast. Your child will be able to develop their skills and it should last a fair while. Basically there are selling points between the boards other than just graphics.
In regards to sizing if you are buying a skateboard for a young child say 4 or 5 you may think small child = small board.
We would advise against this because the wheels are closer together than a standard board which means the centre of gravity is higher making it harder to keep your balance. We would recommend getting a board at least 28 inches long and at no thinner than 7 inches wide. Boards such as the Mini Enuff Skateboards are designed for younger children and are slightly narrower, shorter and lighter than a full size board. These can be beneficial to children who are eager to start young and can give them a good first impression of skateboarding. However as they get older they will need to move off a mini onto a full size skateboard.
For a slightly older child you are better going for a full size board but selecting one that is 7.5 inches wide. These are the smallest of the full size boards and a 7.5 inch board will be slightly lighter and easier to manoeuvre for your child.
For older children and teenagers a 7.75 board is ideal and is the most popular size amongst skaters. There are sizes between 7.5-7.75 so if you like the look of a board between these sizes they would be fine for a young skater as well. The starting age for one of these really depends on the child, how big and how confident they are. If they can control a full it then we would recommend a full size board as they are only going to outgrow it otherwise.
The wheels on trick skateboards are usually 100A (A is the durometer to which hardness is measured in polyurethane). They need to be hard to do the tricks, it gives the right snap and ‘pop’ off the floor when the tail is pushed down to do the tricks. Most wheels range in size from 50mm-55mm. The larger the wheel the quicker it is and the smoother roll it gives getting over little bumps that bit easier. The smaller the wheel the lower the board is which makes it easier to flip.
Safety while skateboarding is very important and a helmet is an absolute must. Helmets are sized according to the circumference of your child’s head. A good choice is the Essentials helmet which comes in many colours and in sizes from XXS-XL. You can find our range here Pad sets are very useful and come with knee, elbow and wrist guards and are available here here
The most important thing to remember when taking care of your skateboard is to not leave it outside. The trucks will rust and the deck will delaminate in the rain!Bearings will take a bit of care as they can become bunged up with grease and dirt which slows the wheels down. To clean them take the bearings out of the wheels and put them into a jar of white spirit. Once clean dry them with paper towel and put them back into the wheels. Alternatively you can purchase specialist speed cream and bearing cleaner.
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