Skateboarding is not just a mode of transportation; it’s a form of self-expression. If you’ve recently embarked on your skateboarding journey as a beginner, you might have realized that your skateboard, while perfect for learning the basics, can be customized and enhanced to better suit your style and skill level.
Beginner-friendly skateboard upgrades range from wheel and bearing upgrades to picking a deck that matches your style and goals, as well as personalizing your skateboard with grip tape and other add-ons. These enhancements can improve riding experience and overall performance to make your board uniquely yours.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various beginner-friendly skateboard upgrades and enhancements that can take your riding experience to the next level. From wheels to decks, we’ll cover everything you need to know to upgrade your ride and transform your skateboarding game.
1. Wheels and Bearings
Your skateboard’s wheels and bearings are fundamental components that have a significant impact on your ride. Stock wheels are often made of a softer material, which provides excellent grip but can slow you down. Upgrading to harder wheels can result in a smoother and faster ride. Additionally, high-quality bearings will reduce friction, allowing you to maintain speed effortlessly and achieve smoother and more controlled tricks.
Durometer refers to the hardness of the wheel which is typically measured on a scale. For street skating and tricks, harder wheels with a higher durometer rating (such as 99A) are preferable. Conversely, softer wheels with a lower durometer rating (such as 78A) are excellent for cruising and absorbing rough terrain. Ultimately, your style and goals as a skateboarder will help determine the type of wheels which are best for you.
2. Grip Tape
Grip tape is an often-overlooked but vital element of your skateboard. Over time, it can wear out and lose its grip, affecting your control and safety. Upgrading to a fresh piece of grip tape can drastically improve your board’s performance by giving you a secure footing and more control over your tricks. The beauty of grip tape is that it comes in various designs and colors which allows you to personalize your board and add a touch of style to your setup.
Trucks are the metal components that hold your wheels and allow you to turn. Upgrading to high-quality trucks can make a significant difference in your ride. As a beginner, you might find it beneficial to select trucks that are more responsive, which enables smoother turns and better navigation of obstacles. Responsive trucks are particularly helpful when you’re learning to balance and maneuver.
Bushings are the small rubbery components inside your trucks that affect your turning capabilities. Upgrading your bushings can fine-tune your board’s responsiveness. Softer bushings are great for carving and tight turns which offers a smoother, and more fluid ride. In contrast, harder bushings provide more stability, which is beneficial for cruising and maintaining control at high speeds.
Experimenting with different bushing combinations can help you find the perfect setup that caters to your individual riding style. This flexibility allows you to adapt your board to various terrains and skateboarding disciplines.
As you progress in your skateboarding journey, you may outgrow your beginner’s deck. Upgrading to a higher-quality deck can provide enhanced pop, durability, and overall performance. It’s important to choose a deck that suits your style and goals, whether you prefer street skating, vert skating, or cruising. Keep in mind that the shape and concave of the deck also play a significant role in how it performs, so choose accordingly.
6. Riser Pads
Riser pads are thin, hard plastic or rubber inserts that are placed between the trucks and the deck. They add height to your skateboard setup thus preventing wheel bite, which occurs when the wheels come into contact with the deck during tight turns. Riser pads are especially useful for beginners learning to carve and make sharp turns. They provide extra clearance for the wheels, reducing the risk of accidents and enhancing the overall riding experience.
Good hardware is often underestimated but plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of your skateboard. Low-quality bolts and nuts can strip easily, leaving your skateboard in poor condition. Investing in high-quality hardware ensures that your skateboard remains secure and in top shape. Be sure to choose the right length of hardware to accommodate your riser pads and trucks while preventing any protrusion that might interfere with your riding.
8. Tail and Nose Guards
For those who enjoy practicing tricks and frequently land on the tail and nose of the skateboard, tail and nose guards can be a valuable addition. These small plastic guards protect your deck’s ends from wear and tear, ensuring that it lasts longer. Tail and nose guards also add extra pop to your ollies by making it easier to execute tricks and land cleanly.
9. Shock Pads
Shock pads, which are essentially riser pads with a softer durometer, absorb impact and vibrations from rough terrains. These pads provide a more comfortable ride and reduce the stress on your joints. If you plan to embark on long-distance skateboarding or cruise on uneven surfaces then shock pads can make a significant difference in your comfort and overall ride quality.
Your skateboard is a reflection of your personality and style. Personalizing it with stickers, graphics, and colors that resonate with you not only makes your board unique but also adds a sense of ownership and pride to your skateboarding experience. Express yourself through your board, and let it become an extension of your identity as a skateboarder.
Skateboarding is all about pushing boundaries and discovering your unique style. As a beginner skateboarder, upgrading and enhancing your ride doesn’t have to be a daunting or expensive endeavor. The upgrades you choose should align with your skating style, goals, and personal preferences.
Whether you’re looking to cruise smoothly, perform advanced tricks, or simply savor the freedom of the open road, these beginner-friendly upgrades can make a world of difference in your skateboarding adventures. So, go ahead, upgrade your ride, and watch your skills soar to new heights.