Upon a first or quick glance, a skateboard looks pretty simple and innocuous. In layman’s terms, a skateboard deck is just a piece of wood with some wheels attached to its bottom. However, as with just about anything in life, upon closer inspection, you’ll quickly discover that there’s much more to a skateboard than meets the eye. Skateboards are, in fact, at the same time, complicated and delicate – which allows skateboarders the freedom to move about in any environment with precision, speed, toughness, and, when required, the ability to defy gravity and grind down rails. At the same time, expert riders and enthusiasts are also capable of performing incredible leaps, jumps and other mind-boggling tricks.
That’s pretty impressive for something which, at its core, is just a piece of wood with wheels affixed to its underside. So, what makes a skateboard a skateboard? What goes into its construction and development which allows professional and high-level skateboarders the ability to propel, jump, turn, twist and do all those other super-cool things? And while a skateboard would be pretty much useless without someone activating and using it, the design of the actual deck, from its trucks to its grip tape and everything in between, also has something to do with it too.
With that being said, there are certain elements and aspects which are nothing but absolutely critical to a skateboard. Without these components, a skateboard would literally be – as has been mentioned previously – just a piece of wood with wheels stuck to it. However, certain modifications and additions transform that ordinary wheeled piece of wood into a rolling, flying, grinding machine that has caught on in popularity like wildfire. So, when trying to distinguish a world-class skateboard from a simple piece of wood with wheels, try to keep an eye out for some of these vital pieces:
This is the piece of wood that’s more than a piece of wood. Skateboard decks usually are rectangular or oval in shape, and feature raised back-ends (sometimes called kick tails) and sloped front ends. And while yes, sometimes skateboard decks are made of wood, they can also be made from other materials such as plastic, fiberglass and even kevlar. electric skateboard with remote control
Applied to the top surface of the skateboard deck like a sticker, grip tape is what keeps a skateboarder’s feet from slipping and sliding all over the place while they’re using the board. Grip tape has a tough, grinding feel to it, much like sandpaper does. While commonly seen in black, grip tape does indeed come in many different colors and styles.
Skateboard trucks are attached directly to the underside of the skateboard deck. Somewhat shaped like a capital letter T, the wheels of the skateboard are connected to either end of the truck. There are two trucks per skateboard, and each truck holds two wheels, thus giving the skateboard four wheels in total. When thinking of a skateboard truck, try to picture the axles of an automobile.
Without wheels, it would be very tricky, and very well near impossible, to actually move about on your skateboard deck. While skateboard wheels are commonly made from polyurethane, the actual size and diameter of the wheels can vary as well. There is no standard guidelines as to how big skateboard wheels can be, however, wheel sizes does depend on how you intend on using your skateboard.
Without wheel bearings, the wheels which are attached to the board wouldn’t turn much, if at all. Bearings for a skateboard usually are manufactured in the standard 608 bearing size and are usually made from steel. However, that being said, other compounds, like silicon nitrade, can also be found in skateboard wheel bearings.