Skateboard Deck Shapes: The Basics
If it’s your first time picking out a skateboard, the task can be a little daunting. With countless shapes, sizes and styles, how do you know what’s right for you? While size generally depends on the height and weight of the skater, shape is more determined by the type of skating you’re doing. Street, trick, pool — they all have different necessities when it comes to stability and maneuverability. To get you started, here are some of the basics on the four most common types of skateboard shapes.
The Popsicle shape is the most popular skateboard deck you’ll see at any skatepark. While the width and length can vary, all popsicle decks are characterized by a symmetrical shape in which the nose and tail are the same width. It also features a double kicktail, making it the perfect choice for performing tricks and riding regular or goofy.
Old School decks mimic the style of skateboards that were used in the golden age of skating. They’re asymmetrical with a wide, flat nose and a flat tail. While they can be used for trick skating, they don’t offer as much versatility as a popsicle board and the flat style makes it difficult to get air. They are, however, the perfect choice for pool or ramp skating.
Longboards focus more on transportation and speed than do popsicle or old school decks. They’re (obviously) much longer than your typical skateboard and feature a flat, symmetrical shape. This gives them extra stability, making them a great choice for downhill speed skating or just getting around town. One more thing worth noting: longboards always have bigger, softer wheels to absorb the shock on rougher terrain, so you can’t use your standard skateboard wheels on them interchangeably!
Cruisers are similar to longboards in function, although they’re not made for speed. They’re typically mid-length and are transportation-focused. Their name says it all — they’re made for cruising. Perfect for getting from class to class or riding around town, they come in lots of different sizes and materials. It all depends on what works best for your purpose and budget.
As you look into different deck shapes, keep in mind that there are no rules when it comes to choosing a skateboard. These are all recommendations based on how the board is designed to move. Doing tricks on an Old School board might be more difficult, but choosing a board is all about the way it feels under your own feet. If it doesn’t seem to be performing in the way you’d like, feel free to explore outside of the norm.
You’ll find that many professional skaters use boards that are not “standard” to their skate style, and they talk more on how the board feels under their feet than what it’s supposed to do. Skating is all about practice and creativity, so you should experiment with plenty of different sizes and shapes before you land on a favorite.