The type of skating the rider wants to do will inform the board choice, which sometimes involves skating a non-popsicle shaped board. But if you are just starting out, you can simply start with the traditional popsicle shaped deck that you probably recognize. As you skate more and get to know what shapes you like or what kind of skateboarding you enjoy best, your decisions will take into account for company, shape, width, and style of riding. Until then, choosing a board by its graphic is totally acceptable. For an overview on types of skateboard decks and riding styles, check out our Skateboard Decks Section in our Buyer’s Guide. Once you find a deck you like, you can simply select the default wheels, trucks, bearings and grip tape or you have the option to make it a complete.
Rails (or ribs), are narrow strips of plastic or metal that are attached under the deck lengthwise along the edges. They are used for additional grip for grabs, and to enhance sliding while protecting the deck's graphics at the same time. Rails also provide a more consistent feel for slides, as the slide of a regular skateboard will suffer from the wear of the paint or varnish on the bottom of the board. Although rarely used anymore, they are useful for experienced skaters that are capable of grabs.
Level out on the way down – Before you start to head back towards the safety of the earth, level your feet out as the board begins to fall. If you’re trying to jump a gap on your board, this will help you keep going straight and maintain your momentum. Alternatively, you can land on your nose or tail and perform a manual out of the jump, but those are pretty advanced moves. Might want to wait until those little pink training wheels are off your board first.
Cruiser - The name says it all. If you are looking to cruise around town then this is the right complete skateboard for you. These decks vary in length from between 20 inches all the way up to about 40 inches. The wheel diameters usually start at about 55 millimeters and use a much softer urethane than the previous Popsicle decks. These also come with all of the above but the decks do not always need grip tape. Some of the decks are plastic or composite material with grooves or gripping built directly into the deck mold.
This board is an excellent option for beginners because of its simplicity and durability. The lightly concave design allows for simple turns but doesn’t require the rider to be an excellent navigator. You can start off riding this deck down the street and use it as you learn ollies, kickflips and how to drop in to a half pipe. It will withstand it all and look good doing it.