Learning to skateboard takes dedication. If you want to learn fast, it helps if you have an order and a strategy. Many new skateboarders try to learn to Ollie or learn to kickfliip before they are ready. They will try to Ollie before they can effectively push their skateboard or even do a kickturn. This often leads to frustration and even giving up. So, for you parents and Noobs out there, here is an outline of some of the very first things you should learn to do on a skateboard.
We’re assuming if you’re trying to learn how to do an ollie, you’re probably pretty new to skateboarding. You may already know whether you’re goofy or regular footed, but if not, try taking a quick hop onto your board with the intention of rolling forward (you might want to try on carpet first so you don’t slip backwards). If you’re left foot naturally ends up towards the front of your board, you’re regular-footed. If you ended up putting your right foot first, you’re goofy-footed.
The wheels of a skateboard are usually made of polyurethane, and come in many different sizes and shapes to suit different types of skating. Larger diameters (55–85 mm) roll faster, and move more easily over cracks in pavement and are better for transition skateboarding. Smaller diameters (48–54 mm) keep the board closer to the ground, require less force to accelerate and produce a lower center of gravity which allows for a better response time, but also make for a slower top speed and are better for street skateboarding. Wheels also are available in a variety of hardnesses usually measured on the Shore durometer "A" scale. Again like car tires, wheels range from the very soft (about Shore A 75) to the very hard (about Shore A 101). As the A scale stops at 100, any wheels labeled 101A or higher are harder, but do not use the appropriate durometer scale. Some wheel manufacturers now use the "B" or "D" scales, which have a larger and more accurate range of hardness. Modern street skaters prefer medium-sized wheels (usually 51–54 mm), as small wheels with lighter trucks can make tricks like kickflips and other flip tricks easier by keeping the center of gravity of the skateboard closer to the deck, thus making the deck easier to spin. Street wheels are harder (A 100/A 101). Vertical ramp or "vert" skating requires larger wheels (usually 55–65 mm), as it involves higher speeds. Vert wheels are also usually slightly softer (A 98/ A 99), allowing them to maintain high speed on ramps without sliding. Slalom skating requires even larger wheels (60–75 mm) to sustain the highest speeds possible. They also need to be soft and have better grip to make the tight and frequent turns in slalom racing. Even larger wheels are used in longboarding and downhill skateboarding. Sizes range from 65 mm to 100 mm. These extreme sizes of wheels almost always have cores of hard plastic that can be made thinner and lighter than a solid polyurethane wheel. They are often used by skateboard videographers as well, as the large soft wheels allow for smooth and easy movement over any terrain.
The top part of the truck is screwed to the deck and is called the baseplate, and beneath it is the hanger. The axle runs through the hanger. Between the baseplate and the hanger are bushings, also rubbers or grommets, that provide the cushion mechanism for turning the skateboard. The bushings cushion the truck when it turns. The stiffer the bushings, the more resistant the skateboard is to turning. The softer the bushings, the easier it is to turn. Bushings come in varying shapes and urethane formulas as well as durometers, which may affect turning, rebound and durability. A bolt called a kingpin holds these parts together and fits inside the bushings. Thus by tightening or loosening the kingpin nut, the trucks can be adjusted loosely for better turning and tighter for more stability (useful when landing tricks). Standard kingpin nut size is 3/8" - 24tpi. The position of the hanger respect to the baseplate is also determined by the pivot, a rod that slots into the corresponding seat in the baseplate. The pivot stops the hanger from rotating around the kingpin. The pivot must allow some movement around the bushings and therefore is not a perfect fit. The space between the pivot and its seat in the baseplate is filled by a pivot cup, a plastic part that will take most of the wear and tear of the pivot and assist in centering the hanger needs to be lubricated every so often.
In general an axle width should be chosen that is close to the width of the deck it will be used with. For example, a 7.75" wide deck will usually be fitted with trucks that have axles between 7.5" wide and 8.0" wide. (Standard truck axle nut size is 5/16"-24tpi UNF, and the thinner "jam" style with an optional nylon lock.) Trucks that are too wide can make doing tricks difficult and can cause the wheels to get in the way when the skateboard is being ridden. Trucks that are too small can be hard to maintain stability and can cause wheel bite to occur when turning.
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