The Essential Skateboarding Lexicon: Technical Terms You Need to Know

skate terms a glossary of skateboarding terms

Hey there, skaters! Whether you’re just starting out or have been shredding for years, mastering the language of skateboarding can make a world of difference in understanding and improving your skills. While slang terms are fun and part of the culture, today we’re diving into the more technical side of skateboarding lingo, specifically focusing on gear. These terms will help you get a grip (pun intended) on the intricacies of your equipment and enhance your conversations at the skate park. So, grab your board, and let’s roll into the world of skateboarding terminology!

Skateboarding isn’t just about doing tricks and mastering moves; it’s also about understanding the gear that makes it all possible. Knowing your gear inside and out can help you make informed decisions, whether you’re buying a new board, upgrading your current setup, or just tweaking things for a better ride. From the deck to the wheels, every component plays a crucial role in how your skateboard performs. In this guide, we’ll break down the essential gear-related terms that every skater should know. So, grab your board, and let’s dive into the technical side of skateboarding!

1. Deck: The flat board you stand on. Decks come in various sizes and shapes to suit different riding styles. We cover deck styles pretty extensively in this article!

  • Old School Deck: A deck shape that harkens back to the early days of skateboarding, typically featuring a wider, more squared-off tail and a distinct nose.
  • New School Deck: Modern deck designs that are generally slimmer and have a more symmetrical shape, with a more pronounced nose and tail.
  • Drop-Through Deck: A type of longboard deck where the trucks are mounted through cutouts in the deck. This lowers the ride height for better stability and easier pushing.
  • Top Mount Deck: A traditional longboard or skateboard deck where the trucks are mounted directly underneath the deck, offering a higher ride height and more leverage for carving and sliding.
  • Drop Deck: A deck design that lowers the standing platform closer to the ground by having drops where the trucks are mounted. This design provides better stability for downhill riding.
  • Double Kick: A skateboard deck that has kicktails at both ends, allowing for a wider range of tricks and stances.
  • Single Kick: A skateboard deck that only has a kicktail at one end, typically used for cruising and old-school tricks.
  • Freestyle Deck: A type of deck designed specifically for freestyle tricks, often with a symmetrical shape and kicktails at both ends.

2. Trucks: The T-shaped metal parts attached to the underside of the deck that hold the wheels and allow you to turn. Find out how to choose the right trucks for you.

  • Low Trucks: Trucks with a lower profile, bringing the board closer to the ground for better stability and easier flip tricks.
  • High Trucks: Trucks with a higher profile, allowing for larger wheels and a smoother ride over rough surfaces.

3. Wheels: Typically made of polyurethane, these are the round components attached to the trucks that allow your board to roll. Which kind should I buy?

4. Bearings: Small metal pieces fitted inside the wheels to help them spin smoothly. High-quality bearings can make a significant difference in speed and performance. Find out more about how bearings impact your board’s performance here.

5. Grip Tape: The rough, sandpaper-like material applied to the top of the deck to provide traction for your feet. Need to know how to apply new grip tape?

6. Nose: The front end of the skateboard, usually slightly upturned.

7. Tail: The rear end of the skateboard, also slightly upturned but often shorter than the nose.

8. Bushings: The rubbery rings inside the trucks that allow for smooth turning and pivoting. Different durometers (hardness levels) can affect the board’s responsiveness. Find out more about your bushings and when to upgrade them here.

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9. Risers/Riser Pads: Hard plastic pads placed between the deck and the trucks to increase the distance between the wheels and the deck, preventing wheel bite.

10. Hardware: The bolts and nuts used to attach the trucks to the deck. They come in various lengths to accommodate different setups.

11. Pivot Cup: The small plastic cup in the baseplate of the truck that holds the truck’s pivot point. It helps with smooth turning.

12. Axle: The metal rod running through the trucks where the wheels are mounted. It’s crucial for wheel alignment and stability.

13. Kingpin: The large bolt that holds the truck components together. Tightening or loosening the kingpin adjusts the truck’s tightness and turning ability.

14. Baseplate: The bottom part of the truck that attaches to the deck. It’s the foundation of the truck’s structure.

15. Hanger: The part of the truck that houses the axle and grinds against surfaces. It’s crucial for the truck’s durability and performance.

16. Shock Pads: Similar to risers, these are softer pads used to absorb impact and reduce vibrations for a smoother ride.

17. Deck Rails: Plastic strips attached to the bottom of the deck to protect it during slides and grinds. They also help with board control.

18. Lapper: An old-school accessory that prevents the truck from hanging up on coping during grinds and slides.

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19. Speed Rings: Small washers placed on either side of the bearings to reduce friction and increase wheel spin efficiency.

20. Skate Tool: A multi-functional tool used for assembling and adjusting your skateboard. It typically includes a socket wrench, screwdriver, and other useful components.

21. Wheelbase: The distance between the front and back trucks on the deck. A longer wheelbase provides stability at high speeds, while a shorter wheelbase allows for quicker turns and tricks.

22. Mounting Holes: The pre-drilled holes in the deck where the trucks are attached. These are crucial for aligning your trucks correctly.

23. Pro Model: A skateboard deck or complete setup endorsed by a professional skateboarder. These models are often designed to meet the specific preferences and style of the pro skater.

24. Hardness (Durometer): The measurement of the hardness of the wheels or bushings. Softer wheels (lower durometer) provide more grip and a smoother ride, while harder wheels (higher durometer) offer less grip but are better for slides and tricks.

25. Core: The inner part of the wheel, which can be made of plastic or other materials to provide structure and support for the urethane outer layer.

26. Cruiser Board: A skateboard designed for casual riding and transportation, usually featuring larger, softer wheels and a deck shape optimized for comfort and stability.

27. Slalom Board: A specialized skateboard designed for slalom racing, featuring a narrow deck and trucks set up for quick, sharp turns.

28. Rail Guards: Protective strips attached to the edges of the deck to prevent wear and tear during slides and grinds.

29. Shock Absorbers: Components placed between the deck and trucks to absorb impact and reduce vibrations, improving ride comfort.

There you have it, skaters – a rundown of essential gear terms in skateboarding. Understanding your equipment is crucial for both performance and safety, and knowing these terms will help you make informed decisions about your setup. Whether you’re tweaking your trucks or choosing new wheels, this knowledge will ensure you get the most out of your skateboarding experience. So, next time you hit the skate shop or the park, you’ll be well-versed in the language of skate gear. Keep practicing, keep learning, and most importantly, keep having fun out there!

Happy shredding!

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