Professional skateboarders know that for optimum performance, aside from their skill level, the type of skateboard they use makes all the difference. For amateurs, all boards may appear to be created equal, but there are a few different options to choose from. They basically differ in their various lengths and concave depths.
There are two main types of skateboard: long and short. Each length is available in different shapes as well. For expert tricks, the board must be concave, which refers to the curve of the board in relation to the raised nose and tail. A concave board is especially important for performing difficult tricks, such as an ollie. An ollie is a jump that begins by tapping the tail of the skateboard and sliding the foot to the front of the board in the air.
Skateboards consist of three main parts: the deck, which is the part that a person stands on, and the wheels and the truck, which are located on the underside of the deck. The two most common models, called the traditional and the longboard, differ in the length of the deck. Traditional skateboards, the most common type used for tricks, are generally shorter than 33 inches (84 cm). Longboards are usually over 35 inches (89 cm) and are mainly used for cruising only.
The concavity of various boards ranges from shallow to deep. Certain longboards designed only for cruising may not have any significant concavity. The depth of the curve is important for mastering tricks and ramps, and a deeper curve allows for more precision tricks. Beginners should always start out with shallower models for safety reasons and ease of learning. Deeply concave skateboards tend to be more expensive, harder to master and more easily damaged.
A less important difference between skateboards is the materials that they are made from. Wood is the most common material, but also the most easily damaged. Most experienced skateboarders prefer their boards be made of wood because of the responsiveness that it offers. Less expensive models may be made of plastic, fiberglass or aluminum.