Ideal for the athletic minimalist, skateboarding stands as one of the least gear-heavy sports this side of barefoot running. Once you have the basics, you are ready to go. This list includes everything you will need to get started in the sport.
Made of formed laminated wood, skate decks come in a variety of forms, from a half-foot to over four feet, with kicktails, flat noses, and concave shapes, just to name a few of the available options. Depending on whether you intend to cruise, do tricks in a skate park, or shred the sidewalks of your local main street, you will want to select the right board for your needs. Talk to your local skate shop to find out what options they have and which type of deck will work best for you.
Trucks form the foundation of the machinery of your skateboard. This part includes the axle, bushings (for shock absorption), the hangar with pivot cup (for turning), and base plate, which attaches the truck to your board. You can also get risers to get more clearance to make room for larger wheels.
When it comes to wheels, you can select for size, shape, and hardness. Smaller, harder wheels will provide more maneuverability and speed, since they reduce drag, but they will also catch on small objects more easily. Larger, softer wheels are better for cruising, for example, on a longboard, and will help you get over small objects.
Unless you like pushing hard and losing speed fast, you want to invest in good set of bearings. Don’t worry, they are cheap…even the good ones. These bad boys are responsible for reducing drag and keeping your wheels in motion, so the energy you expend propelling yourself forward isn’t lost in drag within your rig.
Helmets are important in any sport that involves speed and terra firma. Yeah, you may look like a dork, but at least skate helmets aren’t as cheesy as bike helmets, so just get one, especially if you are planning on doing trick skating. Trust me, wearing a helmet not as uncool as putting yourself in a coma or causing brain damage. Just do it.
This is often the trickiest part of skateboarding. Finding a safe place where skating is allowed is nigh on impossible these days. Fortunately for trick skaters, many towns have skate parks (maintained or unmaintained), and a lot of cities consider skateboarders to be pedestrians, so as long as you don’t bump into anyone or scare any little old ladies or grumpy dogs, you should be good to cruise on any sidewalk. Finding sidewalks not covered in hazards in another matter altogether, but I’m sure you’ll quickly find the suitable locations in your area.
Technically this is the seventh item on the list, but we figured it’s worth mentioning. Once you get all of the essentials to actually get out there, you need something to do it in style, right? Pick up something like a Big Turtle Shell and plop it down in your newfound skateboarding spot and enjoy blasting some music to get you going.
You can optionally get protection, such as elbow, knee, and wrist pads, but breaking bones is ubiquitous in skating, so you may as well get used to it.