Bolted onto the underside of the tail end of a skateboard, the tail guard (also known as a "skid plate") protected the tail end from skid stops and other maneuvers that would otherwise wear away the wood (commonly known as razor tail) and decrease the longevity of the tail. Typically made of plastic, these were widely popular in the '80s but their usage quickly diminished with the arrival of two-tail board designs, which became increasingly popular in the '90s.
Grip tape is a sheet of paper or fabric with adhesive on one side and a surface similar to fine sandpaper on the other. Grip tape is applied to the top surface of a board to allow the rider's feet to grip the surface and help the skater stay on the board while doing tricks. Grip tape is usually black, but is also available in many different colors such as pink, red, yellow, checkered, camo, and even clear. Often, they have designs die-cut to show the color of the board, or to display the board's company logo. Grip tape accumulates dirt and other substances that will inhibit grip, so use of a grip eraser or rubber eraser is necessary after riding through mud or with dirty shoes.
Almost every skate shop will have a wall of boards that is either organized by brand, size, or alphabetically. At our CCS skate shop, we have multiple walls of boards that we try and keep ordered alphabetically. A wall of skateboards, at first glance, can be overwhelming, but if you know what size and roughly what brands you like, it should be fairly easy for you to figure out what board you want. Now would be a good time to mention our CCS Skateboard Buyer’s Guide, specifically the Decks Guide. In the CCS Decks Guide, you’ll find all the information you need to gain a basic understanding of skateboard decks.
As you jump into the air, your front foot needs to roll slightly inward, and with the outside of your foot, you want to guide the skateboard as it flies into the air. Some people describe this as dragging the side of your front foot up the skateboard – that’s more or less what is happening, but what you are doing is using your shoe and the grip tape on the board to pull the skateboard higher into the air with you, and guiding the skateboard to where you want it.
It is mainly because those items are guaranteed to help you familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of using them. They are a big help in making you feel comfortable when you push off with your feet while also balancing on top of the board when riding. It is not good to go for a very technical product, so it’s best to choose the mentioned types first.