As the saying goes 'nothing lasts forever'. While you may have much love for your deck, it's important to know when to let go.
This guide goes over what a skateboard deck is, tells you when it's time to let go, and also lets you know what the best skateboard decks on the market are. Without further ado, let's get to it.
[Should you buy a complete or custom skateboard?]
What Is A Skateboard Deck?
Perhaps the single most important part of a skateboard, a deck is the piece that keeps everything together. Your wheels go under the deck, and the deck itself is what supports your weight.
Grip tape will be placed on top of the deck, and there are millions of different designs and styles of skate decks available. Often skaters prefer decks with sick graphics, or ones that are aerodynamic (but still sturdy).
Many younger skaters will be familiar with skateboarding via Tony Hawk's Pro Skater video games - which offer hundreds of different skate decks to choose from. If you've ever seen Tony Hawk pull off the first-ever 900 - you can quickly see just how important a great deck is.
Side note: Tony will always be one of the greatest skateboarders ever - if not the single best. Plus, how many other skateboarders do you know, who also have a mega-successful video game franchise?
Choosing The Right Skateboard Deck
There are a wide variety of skateboard decks available. A longboard (sometimes called a cruiser) will be good for riding around, but a shortboard is what most skateboarders go with.
These shorter boards are more agile and lightweight - allowing you to more easily pull off tricks of all different kinds. Street riders will be doing heelflips, grinds, kickflips and other various tricks - while vert riders do huge spins, flips, and all sorts of superhuman maneuvers.
These types of tricks are generally not as easy to pull off with a longboard or cruiser - making a shortboard an absolute necessity for any serious skater. Generally speaking, unless you're a very advanced skateboarder, you shouldn't stress too much about what specific deck to go with - at least in the beginning.
There are lots of options to consider, however. Width, material, length, concave, and shape are all factors that can make a difference when riding.
Over time, your nose, tail, and sides will all start to show signs of wear - so it's important to look carefully at your board once you're skating regularly. If you're riding in a cold or wet area, board wear and tear may happen even faster.
What Size Skateboard Do I Need?
There are many factors that matter, when it comes to choosing the right size skateboard. However, width is actually the most important factor to consider.
That's because a board too wide will cause lots of problems - as will a board that's too narrow. Too wide, and you'll be exerting lots of power - too much power, in fact.
It will make tricks much harder to pull off, and make even normal riding a complete drag. Too narrow - and good luck keeping your balance, or riding comfortably.
Generally speaking, a width of 7.5" or greater is ideal for most adult and teenage riders. 8" or wider boards are generally considered more old school, and may be useful for vert rides.
Why Replacing A Skateboard Deck Is Important
In simplest terms - if you don't replace your deck, you could get seriously hurt. The overall durability gets compromised over time. If you don't replace your deck when it's time, it's much more likely that your deck will snap in half from pressure cracks that happen over time.
If you take a nasty fall from this, serious injury can occur. You can break your ankle, your arm - or worse.
Once you've outlasted your deck, chips, cracks, and edges will start to appear. You could also injure someone else, with an old and broken deck.
You are most likely to injure an ankle, shin, achilles tendon, or worse. Also, wheels and trucks will usually last much longer than a skate deck itself - so you don't need to change those nearly as frequently.
It may be surprising to learn, but many skaters go with blank decks. Not only are they cheaper, but you're likely to rub away those cool graphics if you're regularly doing tricks.
[See how to make your skate shoes last longer.]
How Often Should You Replace Your Skateboard Deck?
If you are skating every day, you may be surprised to learn that replacing your deck every 1-2 months will be necessary. Otherwise, your risk of serious injury greatly increases.
However, if you are a more casual skater, it may only be once every 4 months that you need to purchase a new skate deck. If you are just a casual cruiser, you may not need a new deck but once every few years.
Only riding half pipes or bowls? Then you probably don't need a new deck more than once every 6-12 months.
This is because these surfaces are smooth, and there will be less wear and tear on your board. You're also far less likely to break a board skating on one of these surfaces.
How Long Do Skateboard Decks Last?
It may be shocking to learn, but serious skaters may need to get a new deck every 2 weeks. On the other hand, cruisers have decks that will likely last a year or two - especially if they're just casually skating, on an infrequent basis.
The business has also evolved, as there are stronger decks available - be sure to see our list of the 10 best skateboard decks, further down in this article, to see some examples. These decks will have fiberglass or carbon - which increases the lifespan substantially.
However, the downside, is that these boards are almost always more expensive. Traditional maple boards have gotten very cheap, which makes replacing your skate deck less of a hassle.
Why Your Skateboard Loses Its Pop
Pop is a kind of indescribable term when it comes to skateboarding. It basically means how much air and snap you can get from a deck.
As you might imagine, a new board will have max pop - whereas old boards will be pretty much worn out. A good analogy is comparing a brand new tennis ball with a 6 month old one.
The usual wear and tear of skating is what causes a board to lose its pop. At a deeper level, the wood compresses and expands on a board - and after you've landed on it 5 million times - the pop will be gone.
How Long Does Pop Last On A Skateboard?
At about the same time that a deck needs to be replaced, you'll likely notice that the pop on the board is also all-but-gone. This is because both of these factors go with normal wear and tear.
2 weeks, to 2 years, is the wide range of how long pop can last on a board. Serious skaters on shortboards may only have 2 weeks - while casual longboard riders won't need a new board for 12-24 months, usually.
Do Skateboards Break Easily?
Yes, because even the most well-engineered board can only withstand so much. For example, with a 180 pound man landing directly on a board - the obvious physics will eventually win.
If you do a lot of tricks, boards will break even faster. Decks won't break if you just cruise along on a longboard, however.
[Check out this rad longboard wheel guide.]
How to Make Your Skateboard Last Longer
Generally speaking, the deck is the first thing to go. The simple way to make it last longer, is to buy a stronger deck.
Fiberglass or carbon skate decks, while not the cheapest way to go - will last substantially longer. We recommend one of these (see our list below) - if you care a lot about making your board last as long as possible.
Beyond that, rotate your wheels, keep your board dry, and replace your parts when needed. There is no magic formula to keeping a board forever, but these tips will allow you to significantly extend the lifespan of your favorite board.
10 Best Skateboard Decks
Want a fantastic skate deck, that has tons of great reviews? Well then look no further - this is the deck for you.
Did we mention it's also very affordable? This means you can get 20 of these, and not worry if you snap a couple. Highly recommended, and easily our top choice.
This maple deck has a killer design, comes in lots of colors, and is reasonably priced. It's also backed by lots of great reviews.
Reviewers have noted that this deck also comes with lots of pop, so be sure to give this thing your best (or worst). Another great pick, that could have easily been our top choice.
This classic Santa Cruz deck has one of our favorite designs. On top of that, it's also well constructed, and will stand up to any skating you can throw at it. Skateboard tricks? Check! High Speeds? Not so much.
While the awesome design makes it a little more expensive, we think the extra cost is definitely worth it. Reviewers have also noted this deck has great pop - so be sure to enjoy the ride!
This well-reviewed deck from Moose is a marvel of construction. It comes in 10 different sizes, and is made with premium 7-ply maple wood.
It's also very affordable, so if you split one, it's not very costly to replace it. A good choice for beginners and experts alike. Also, warping shouldn’t be a concern with this deck.
This bamboo decks touts itself as stronger and lighter than maple wood boards. With cool graphics, great reviews, and an eco-friendly design, it's another top pick.
Good for beginners, it's also not all that expensive. Some more advanced skaters may want a fiberglass or carbon hybrid though, as those boards often last even longer than those made of poor quality.
This hybrid deck made of bamboo and fiberglass is not only eye-catching - it will last forever. Stronger than just maple, it's a perfect way to get a deck that you won't have to replace after 2 weeks.
It should be noted that this deck does not come with grip tape, but it does have double kick tails. You can easily achieve some top speeds with this deck - all without worrying about whether or not it might break, in the process.
CCS has lots of great skate products - and this deck may just be one of their best. Affordable, and available in lots of colors, it's also backed by a ton of stellar reviews.
While the price is low, the quality is high. We have skated on lots of these decks over the years, and have never been let down. A perfect recommendation.
CCS has a lot to offer to skaters. They have everything from skateboard wheels, skateboard trucks, bushings, king pin replacements, ramps, skateboard bearings, softer wheels to eat up the road vibration and add grip, washers, and complete skateboard setups! So if you need a new skateboard, check it out.
This awesome deck not only looks cool - it performs great. Who doesn't love a great skull design, after all?
While it's not the cheapest option on our list, it will last a while. Backed by lots of perfect, 5 star reviews - we highly recommend this option for more serious skaters.
Need a great budget option? Grab this 28 inch deck - it costs barely more than a cup of coffee.
If your child is just starting to skate, this is a perfect beginner deck. Serious skaters may like it too, since it costs so little to replace. Definitely a solid choice of a cheap but quality skateboard.
This awesome longboard deck has a cool design, as well as great reviews. We love the colors, and it is likely to last an eternity.
While not the cheapest option on our list, it will likely last far longer than most decks. We highly recommend this one, especially if you prefer to cruise instead of performing tricks. Also great to learn power slides because the decks contruction has some give to allow learning slides easily.
The Bottom Line On Replacing Your Skateboard Deck
Bottom line is take care of your skateboard. If you're a serious skater - you may need to replace your deck as often as every 2 weeks for pressure cracks and warping if you got it wet. If you're a cruiser - maybe just once every 1-2 years.
It also depends on if you're skating and performing tricks, or just getting around. Serious skaters will obviously put much more wear and tear on their boards - meaning their decks need to be replaced much more often. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your wheels for flatspots! That happens often when your throwing your board sideways so a new set might be needed every couple months or so.