If you’re like me when I was just a beginner skateboarder I broke decks occasionally, it’s no bueno. I remember breaking a brand new deck on the first day and I was in shock.
Printed skateboard decks we’re expensive those days in my area but I blank decks already were a thing. So are blank skateboards any good?
It depends on where you buy and which manufacturer you buy decks from, the quantity and how manufactures produce blank skateboards. Many blank decks are pressed in bulk which causes inconsistent concaves.
There are great blank decks out there but you have to know what to look for. Not all are equal but you can get a great blank deck if you buy from the right brand.
What to Look for When Buying a Blank Skateboard
Dwindle is one of the only manufacturers that press quality boards. What many manufacturers do is press many boards at the same time which causes inconsistency in concaves. This means if you like a board you won’t be able to get it again because
Brands like mini logo and CCS have decent blanks that are pressed individually, they’re a bit more expensive than cheap blanks but you get a quality board! If you ask skaters which blanks are the best they usually mention these two brands.
Read the reviews but make sure to look for reviews of people who actually bought them. Some boards are bad but get a 5-star rating from grandparents without who gifted their grandkids a skateboard. Look for reviews of people that actually used them, check the lowest and ratings and see if there are complaints about the quality.
Also, check how customer support handles complaints. Look for comments that say they replaced missing or broken parts. If they aren’t supportive look somewhere else.
Sometimes boards just break due to a bad landing, it happens unless you get an expensive board that can’t break. These boards exist but you’ll pay a premium and should only be considered if you break decks every two or four weeks.
You should be careful when it comes to buying those cheap blank skateboards in bulk. Sometimes you can get 10 blank decks for only $150 which sounds like a steal right? The problem is that they aren’t pressed individually and you risk getting warped boards and inconsistent concaves which negatively impacts the boards’ performance and feel. It may sound like a good deal but you might end up with crappy boards.
Pros of Buying a Blank Skateboard Deck
Obviously, it saves you a lot of money and breaking one doesn’t really matter because they are cheap. When on a tight budget you could start out with a cheap blank and invest some money in decent trucks, bearings, and wheels.
Once you get better at skateboarding you can save up for a proper board. When you’re just starting out you won’t really notice the differences in the concave so buying a cheaper blank is probably a good way to get started.
Don’t feel embarrassed riding a blank, I never heard of anyone making fun of someone who owns a blank.
Blank Skateboards Hold Back Technology
One thing you need to be aware if is that blank skateboards are bad for skateboarding. You know that feeling when you buy a new board with that awesome print you can’t take your eyes off? You fall in love with your board and you hesitate about your first boardslide, the graphic is just so great you wish you got 2 of them. One to preserve for the sake of history and one to destroy.
The thing is, blank decks contribute nothing to the future of skateboarding. Skateboarding is in decline, scooter kids are all over the place on public parks and in some places, it’s rare to come across another skateboarder. Skateboarding is dying, it’s not like 10 or 20 years ago when the sport/art was booming.
In order to keep the industry alive, you really need to think about the industry. Those fancy graphics help to push skateboarding technology and we’ve come a long way since someone decided to slap wheels on some wood. The money is used for contests, flying the pros to give demos and develop better quality wheels, trucks and boards.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t afford a board with graphics, it’s just how the world works and someday you can make up for it. I didn’t care when I was younger, and I sure wasn’t aware of what buying a blank board actually means. There’s no money to go to contests or events and nothing that contributes to get skateboarding to the next level.
You Can Get Cheap Printed Decks
Every season mayor brands want to get rid of their boards, discounts between 25% and 50% if you’re lucky. You just got to be patient but here’s another problem. Your local skateboard shops often aren’t able to give these discounts because the staff needs to get paid. This isn’t unreasonable because the staff are often knowledgeable and can help you pick the perfect board and parts.
If you know what type of board you like or the brand you prefer, wait until Black Friday for example or use a site like Camelcamelcamel to check for price drops. Black Friday usually is a great day to buy a couple of boards at ridiculously low prices.
Your last option is to get a used one from a site like Craigslist. You can get a printed AAA Brand board for as low as $10. Just make sure it’s not a toy skateboard because they will break on your first ollie. Sometimes new skaters give up/ don’t have time or just don’t like the sport as much as they initially thought.
Make sure the seller has lots of photos and ask for more if you need to take a closer look. Ask them the following questions if it’s only a board.
- How did they store it? has is been outside (exposure to moisture)?
- Does it have chips or cracks?
- For how long do they own the board and has it been used often.
If you want to buy a complete second hand you want to see it in person or ask for videos. The wheels should spin properly and not stop after a few seconds. Also, check for flat spot on the wheels and try to find out if the bearings are clean. I see brand new skateboards at low prices regularly on second-hand sites and they often have top-quality components.
Recommended Blank Decks and Skateboards
I mentioned CCS and Mini Logo before and for good reasons. These are the most recommended blank skateboard which performs just like printed ones. If there’s one blank deck I have to pick it’s the Mini Logo.
The Mini Logo Chevron is pretty popular, and they come in all sorts of colors and sizes (Link to Amazon). They also sell completes and it doesn’t even cost that much more. I do advice you to assemble one yourself once you get some experience. Don’t forget to consider the CCS Logo complete (Amazon link), it is comparable to the mini logo complete but has better components.
If you’re on the fence or decided to just assemble one yourself you could check out my post about how to buy a skateboard. It guides you through the process of selecting the right parts, this can be confusing if you have no idea which parts to get.
Support Your Local Shop
This may seem trivial but the problem is real. Local shops are going out of business by franchises such as Zumiez. If you want to get a blank deck please visit your local skateboard shop, at least you’re supporting them and this means we still have a fighting chance.
Fortunately, when it comes to blank decks, your local shops also offer them. Some of them have their shops’ logo imprinted and some may even print their own graphics on them. So do yourself a favor and head over to your local skateboard shop. They often have quality blanks from local manufacturers which are way better than imported boards. Don’t be shy to ask them how and where these boards are pressed!