Are Penny boards good for beginners? Do’s and don’ts


Penny Boards are small, skateboards that are light weight, easy to carry, and available in every colour imaginable.  Today, we will look at Penny Boards to help you decide if they good for beginners.

Are Penny Boards good for beginners?  Yes and No.  Penny Boards are good for beginners looking to learn basic fundamentals of riding, but not for doing tricks. Because they are smaller it in general it may take a bit more effort to learn how to keep your balance.

Let’s dive deeper into the skateboarding ocean, and look closer at Penny Boards before a final decision can be made.

What is a Penny Board?

Penny Skateboards is an Australian-based company founded in 2010 by Ben Mackay.  They make skateboards in 3 sizes: Penny (22” long deck), Nickel (27” long deck), and the longboard (33” long deck).  There have been many companies that have made a plastic skateboard, so now, almost any plastic skateboard is referred to as a Penny Board, even though it may be a different brand.  We will be referring to the 22” Penny Board for our discussion.

green plastic penny board

A Penny Board is a small, light, moulded plastic deck skateboard, which are often sold as a complete setup (deck, wheels, and trucks preassembled) in skateshops, but you can also buy the components separately, and design your ideal setup.  They have wide (about 3” wide), soft (83a on the durometer scale), 59mm diameter polyurethane wheels with a plastic core.

Penny Boards also use a ABEC 7 bearing, which is a fast (ABEC doesn’t really matter) and a quality bearing. The truck hangars are 3” wide and designed for use with the Penny Board, to make it turn sharply and perform as intended.

The Penny Board shape is very classic, or “retro”. The shape is based off some of the original skateboards in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  They are quite narrow (about 6-7” at the widest), have a somewhat pointed nose, reaching its maximum width after the front truck bolts, and gradually narrows back down to the tail.  They have a kick tail, but there is no kick on the nose.  The front trucks are also set quite close up to the end of the nose.

Penny Boards are available in almost any colour imaginable (Amazon link).  They are also available with screened graphics their deck bottoms.  A Penny Board does not have griptape, instead it has a “waffle grip pattern” moulded to the top as part of the deck manufacturing process.

What are Penny Boards used for?

Penny Boards were designed as cruiser boards, and are quite good for commuting.  They are small and lightweight so they can easily fit in a backpack.  The wheels are larger and softer than most street/park skateboards, so they are able to tackle cracks, pebbles, and rougher terrain. Much easier than with a smaller and harder street wheel.

Usually street wheels have a hardness between 99a-104a, and a size of 50mm-56mm. The light size, big soft wheels, and bearings allow the rider to get some fast speeds on this board, with minimal pushing, and a nice smooth ride. The tail kick also allows the rider to lift up the front easily when going over curbs and big cracks.  They are perfect for cruising!

Is a Penny Board good for a beginner learning skateboarding from scratch?

This is a 2 part answer:

YES- for a small and young beginner, a Penny Board would be a great to learn fundamentals, like balance, and how to push, turn and cruise around.  Because the wheelbase is so small, and the wheels are fast, a Penny Board can almost turn on a dime (or better yet a penny!).

They are built for cruising, and cruise very well.  If you learn to cruise, and carve tight and fast on a Penny Board, you should have acquired the skills to ride almost any other board shape comfortably, with some adjustments to your stance.

NO- Because it is so small, and fast, the Penny Board is not very stable.  The trucks are adjustable, so you can tighten them to add stability, however, because it is only 22” long, your feet are placed close together, and you are not able to crouch as easily as you could with a longer board.

Having a wider, more crouched stance, makes the skater more stable than a narrow, more upright stance.  For an adult, or anyone with feet over size 9, the Penny Board will probably be too small to feel comfortable on, and will take more effort to be able to learn to ride with any stability.

Are Penny Boards good for learning tricks?

This is a 1 part answer:

NO- The Penny Boards are not a good option for beginners learning how to do tricks; they are built for cruising, not for performing advanced tricks.

On a Penny Board you can learn tricks like pushing, riding switch, kick turns, power-slides, manuals, layback carves (laying back/forward and carving hard with a hand on the ground), and rolling off of curbs.  Tricks where you don’t leave the ground, are probably about all you could learn to do, as a beginner.  There are video clips of people doing kick flips and Tre-flips on Penny Boards, but most likely those skaters didn’t learn to do those tricks on a Penny Board first.

Given the small size, soft wheels, no griptape, and only one kick, you will struggle to learn how to do technical tricks that require an ollie, or flipping the board, as the small Penny Board is hard to catch and land back onto.  Grind tricks would also be very difficult to learn because the board and trucks are very narrow, and the wheels are large, soft, and wide, so “locking in” to the grind will be very difficult.

Who would a Penny Board be good for?

A Penny Board is an excellent option for someone smaller that wants to learn how to ride a skateboard, but not learn advanced tricks.  For beginners, especially smaller people, the Penny is an excellent option for learning balance, pushing, turning, carving and basic fundamentals.

If you are looking to learn how to cruise, for commuting to work, the corner store or to school, with a smaller lighter board that will fit in your backpack, locker, or under your work desk, the Penny Board is a terrific option. If you are a kid with bigger feet or an adult, a larger Penny Nickel Board would be a better choice for you than the smaller Penny Board.

Are Penny Boards cheaper?

Not really. pennyskateboards has its complete models listed for about $90 – $119 USD.  A decent complete “popsicle shape” trick skateboard sells for about $60 – $70 USD for a blank complete, and a higher-end complete, with a graphic deck, and branded trucks and wheels for between $100 – $120 USD.  An official Penny Board is a branded complete, and the price is comparable to a branded complete from companies like Santa Cruz, or Birdhouse.

You can check out current prices at Amazon by clicking here.

Conclusion

If you are a beginner wanting to learn the basic fundamentals of riding a skateboard, the Penny Board is a decent option.  They are small and lightweight, and of similar cost to other skateboards.  They are designed for cruising, with their lightweight, larger and soft wheels, which they do very well.

If you are a beginner wanting to learn to skateboard with the intent of learning ollies, grinds, ramp riding and more advanced tricks, a Penny Board will not be a good choice for you.  The small size, shape, and components make learning tricks very difficult.  Pick a more stable, popsicle shaped complete if you want to learn tricks in the future.

Ruben Vee

I 'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can.

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