There isn’t a single skateboard deck which could be considered the best for street skateboarding. It all depends on your preference. What you should consider is the shape and your preferred brand. In general you could consider a deck with a steeper concave which works well for technical tricks
A good street skateboard deck is made of quality 7-ply North American maple wood. You need a responsive board, so look for a medium or steep concave shape. This will help you to do more technical tricks. As for width, it’s recommended to go with anything between 7.75″ and 8.25″.
So let’s go into what makes a great street deck, different brands, and what they have to offer. By the way, this post is getting an overhaul soon!
- What Is the Best Skateboard for Street Skating?
- What Is a Street Skateboard Anyway?
- How to Pick the Right Street Deck
- Real Skateboards
- Powell-Peralta Flight Deck
- NHS (Santa Cruz and Creature Skateboards)
- Almost Skateboards
- Bamboo Skateboards
- Traditional Maple Wood Construction Decks
What Is the Best Skateboard for Street Skating?
Real, Powell Peralta, Creature, Santa Cruz and Almost, Lithe, all make decks with new construction materials to increase durability, minimize weight, help absorb impact, and to keep the pop longer. They have had coatings to help the decks slide better on rough ledges, and to help resist chipping.
Street skaters need a board that can take the punishment of rougher terrain, like back alleys, beat up ledges, and sticky rails. They need a board that can take a beating, and still perform like a new session after session. These boards will meet all of these requirements.
But in addition to these specially constructed decks, there are countless other 7 ply traditional wood construction decks made by countless other companies. T
Beyond the vast variety of graphics, and shapes, there are also a lot of options in board construction. Let’s dive deeper and take a closer look at some of the options skateboard companies provide.
What Is a Street Skateboard Anyway?
Basically any skateboard deck that’s suitable for street skating, so not that cheap plastic stuff, just single pressed decks . Without getting too much into detail, a street skateboard is a setup you see in parks and on the streets. A street skateboard will have both a nose and tail kick, and be “popsicle shaped”.
Popsicle shapes means that the skateboard looks like a popsicle stick where both ends are cut to a rounded shape. The deck will have a variety of concave options.
They are usually about 32” long with a wheelbase (the space between the trucks) between 13”-15”. The nose and tail are between 6” and 7” long from the truck bolts. They are available in width sizes from 7.75” to 8.75”. The size you need depends on your weight, foot size, and how technical the skating you are doing is.
How to Pick the Right Street Deck
Like always picking the right street deck depends entirely on your personal preference but there are some features you want to keep in mind depending on your style.
If you want a deck that flips faster, it’s generally recommended to go for a size between 7.75″ and 8.0″. If you have large feet or prefer a wider board, anything up to 8.25″ or even 8.5″ is fine.
If you’re just a beginner, check out my post about completes. I selected a few that are excellent for street skating without spending an arm and a leg.
Concave has to do with the shape and curvature of a skateboard deck. They come in low, medium, and high concave profiles. The more concave the more it will respond to your movement but it also offers less stability.
When looking at a dedicated street deck you probably want to go with a deck that has a lot of concave. The curved shape allows you to put more pressure on the edges and make it easier to flip your deck. A high concave profile offers less stability though, that’s why beginners should go for a medium or mellow concave.
Keep in mind that concave is not standardized, not all manufacturers press decks in the same shape so it really depends on the manufacturer which one is right for you. It’s not even about brands, many brands come from the same woodshop. It’s always a good idea to go to your local skate shop and try a board first. You are usually allowed to stand on it to feel how it responds, as long as you’re not damaging the graphics.
With the introduction of fiberglass and even carbon, there’s been a shift in quality and durability if you’re willing to pay the price. Still to this day, maple wood decks are the number one selling boards and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
North American maple wood is durable because of its slow growth if you’re looking for something that has less impact on the environment you could consider bamboo. I don’t have any experience with bamboo so I can’t really recommend much about it. Anyway, time to move on to a couple of brands that offer great street decks.
Real Skateboards offers 5 different constructions, in addition to their traditional wood construction. Each of which is designed to improve your street skating experience.
The Real Heavyweights decks are built to last longer without breaking. With larger, heavier riders in mind, these decks should be able to last you through your high roof drops, and 15 stairs set gaps without breaking.
The Heavyweights use an X-Band construction, where 2 of the inner wood plies are placed with the wood grain running at opposing 45-degree angles. This is as opposed to the more traditional construction where all the wood plies run linear along the length of the board.
Heavyweights are a bit heavier than traditional wood construction, but they are supposed to hold their pop and feel, longer than a traditional 7 plywood construction.
If you’re a heavier person you also might consider a wider deck. While wider decks usually perform better in skate parks, the width provides some extra support and stability.
Take the Heavy Weight Grey for example. The name ‘Heavy Weight’ is because these decks are usually a bit heavier and not so much because they’re only suitable for heavy riders.
This board will last much longer than your average street deck. It has a medium concave which means a perfectly balanced board. Not extremely responsive, but great stability and strength suitable for both park and street. It even has wheel wells to prevent wheel bite. It is a bit more expensive but it also comes with free grip tape.
- Heavyweight Grey 8.5″ Skateboard Deck from Real.
- 7-ply maple construction.
- Medium concave and wheel wells.
- Width: 8.5″.
- Length: 32.25″.
- Wheelbase: 14.5″.
The Real Full skateboards have a more full board with from the nose to tail. This means that if you had an 8” Full skateboard, it is 8” wide more up to the tail and the nose than a traditional popsicle shaped board. Traditional popsicle shaped boards taper into the nose at just past the furthest pair of front bolts.
The board also starts to taper down to the tail, around the front-most pair of back bolts. The Real Full boards taper an 1/8” later than traditional shapes. This gives you a fuller board width throughout the length of the skateboard.
Real Low Pro II
The Real Low Pro II is a board with a lower center of gravity. It is constructed with a slight rocker at the nose and tail, which means the nose and tail kicks are slightly lower to the ground than traditional wood construction.
This allows for quicker pop, because you have to push down less to get pop. The Low Pro II also has a tighter concave, which makes the board stronger and provides more control. This is definitely a deck geared toward technical street skating.
Real R1 Construction
Real Skateboards uses R1 Construction. They press the boards in press molds that apply equal pressure across the entire surface of each deck. They also use the 2 X-Bands plies to help the board maintain stiffness, strength and pop. It is still a 7 Plywood construction, but it is more stiff and durable than a traditional 7 ply maple board.
Real Slick Boards have a ribbed polymer coating on the bottom of the deck. Basically, there are thin plastic ribs on the bottom of the board, which means there is less surface area contacting the ledge or rail when sliding. With this coating, the bottom of the board feels slicker than a “non-slick” board. This will allow you to slide better on any surface, without needing to paint it with wax. Also, your graphic will hold up longer before wearing off, and the board stays stiffer longer.
Powell-Peralta Flight Deck
The flight deck construction adds a fiber layer into the wood plies. The decks are lighter, thinner and stronger than a traditional wood constructed deck. This fiber layer means the deck is stiffer, and has a higher pop because of a greater rebound, and snap. Flight decks have been dubbed unbreakable.
In theory, you should be able to ollie higher, and do your technical tricks easier on a Flight Deck, than on a traditionally constructed wood deck. The downside is they are quite a bit more expensive than a wooden deck. But if they last for far longer than a 7 ply, you won’t need to replace it as often, so you save money in the end.
NHS (Santa Cruz and Creature Skateboards)
NHS offers 3 constructions, in addition to their traditional 7 ply maple constructions, which are designed to perform during technical street skating, and built to take a beating.
Santa Cruz VX
Santa Cruz also offers reinforced decks with 5 plys of maple and 2 layers of fiberglass. These boards are a bit more flexy but you’ll have a hard time snapping them. VX is very much comparable to the Powell Flight decks though the epoxy resin to keep the plys together might be of a different formula. Super rad decks by the way!
Almost has 3 constructions, in addition to their traditional wood construction, which is built to take a beating on the streets, and stand up to big drops and gaps.
This impact construction offers 8ply maple construction, with 2 carbon fiber discs inset where your trucks attach. This gives added strength at these stress points, and provide extra pop. This board will hold up better for heavier riders, and riders doing big drops
The lightest board that Almost Impact offers. It features 7 ply maple construction, with a carbon fiber insert in the top layer. This provides a longer deck life, longer lasting pop, and added stiffness and strength.
This is the best of both the Support and Light worlds. An 8 ply Canadian maple construction, with the die-cut carbon fiber insert in the top layer, and the 2 carbon fiber discs in the truck spot on the bottom. This makes for a longer-lasting board, with longer-lasting pop and board feel. If you break a lot of boards, this might be the one for you.
Bamboo Skateboards are made from bamboo wood, as opposed to maple hardwood. Bamboo is naturally shock absorbent and it absorbs impact better than maple. You should be able to ollie off big drops and stair sets, with less of an impact than traditional wood construction.
Bamboo is also lighter and stronger than maple. You will get more pop than on a traditional wood board. As an added bonus, Bamboo is a fast-growing resource, so it is better for the environment.
Traditional Maple Wood Construction Decks
Most skaters ride a traditional wood construction deck and there are hundreds of companies that sell wood construction decks. A traditional wood construction deck is going to do everything that you want it to do.
They come in a variety of size, shape, and weight options so you will be able to find a deck that you like. They are usually made of 7 ply Canadian Maple hardwood.
Here are some reputable brands to look at when picking a traditional 7 Ply Maple street board:
- Plan B Skateboards: A brand founded by pro skaters, noted for its high-quality decks and a strong team of professional skateboarders.
- Girl Skateboards: Co-founded by Rick Howard and Mike Carroll, Girl is known for its influence in skate culture and distinctive deck designs.
- Zero Skateboards: Created by pro skater Jamie Thomas, Zero is renowned for its bold graphics and top-tier decks, appealing particularly to street skaters.
- Baker Skateboards: Founded by Andrew Reynolds, Baker has an edgy style and is well-respected in the street skating scene.
- Santa Cruz Skateboards: One of the oldest skateboard companies, Santa Cruz is celebrated for its iconic graphics and quality boards.
- Almost Skateboards: Recognized for innovation, Almost experiments with materials like carbon fiber and is known for its mix of technology and quality.
- Enjoi Skateboards: With a playful, humorous style and a distinctive panda logo, Enjoi stands out for its creative approach to skateboarding.
- Blind Skateboards: Mark Gonzales’ Blind Skateboards is notable for innovative designs and unique, often provocative, graphics.
- Real Skateboards: Known for durable decks and social engagement, Real Skateboards often tackles real-world issues and supports various causes.
- Chocolate Skateboards: A subsidiary of Girl Skateboards, Chocolate offers unique art designs and high-quality skateboard decks.
- Birdhouse Skateboards: Founded by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, Birdhouse is renowned for quality decks and a roster of top-tier skaters.
- Primitive Skateboarding: Co-founded by pro skater Paul Rodriguez, Primitive is recognized for sleek designs and quickly gained popularity in the skateboarding world.
- Toy Machine Skateboards: Ed Templeton’s Toy Machine is celebrated for its distinctive art and graphics, with a loyal following in the skate community.
Street skaters need a board that will perform in less than ideal conditions. Curbs, ledges, stair sets and drainage ditches are found outside of the pristine skatepark, and the spots can be in pretty rough shape. This takes a toll on your deck. Street skaters need a deck that will maintain its pop and board feel for a long time.
They also need a board that won’t break on big drops, gaps, and the times when they don’t land “bolts”. Street skaters also need a board that will slide easily on rough ledges and rails. The Real, Powell, Bamboo, Creature, Santa Cruise and Almost decks will hold up well skating the gnarliest of street spots.
We also showed many brands that offer quality Traditional 7 Ply Maple boards, each of which offers a variety of shapes and sizes. So, you should be able to find your perfect fit for street skating.