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The Best Skateboard Decks Don’t Exist | Here’s Why

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I’ve probably snapped at least 150 skateboard decks during my unimpressive skating career. Some have lasted months, even a year, while some barely made it one full session before giving in.

What I learned over the years is that there’s no such thing as the best skateboard deck. It’s about preference and your style.

Ask any skateboarder this question, even professionals, they will all tell you that it’s about personal preference. The right skateboard deck for you should be about the right size, shape, wheelbase, concave, and the brand you want to support.

What Makes A Good Skateboard Deck?

Skateboard decks do differ in quality. There are a couple of ways to see if a skateboard deck is decent. Mostly comes down to the quality of the wood which varies each year depending on the quality of the trees that are brought into the factories.

  • You need a 7-ply hard rock maple deck with quality epoxy resin (glue).
  • Avoid unknown brands, and avoid birch decks, they don’t pop like maple wood.
  • Make sure it comes from a reputable wood shop like PS Stix, BBS, or Watson.
  • Brand reputation is not always a guarantee of getting a quality deck.
  • Check the wheelbase, a shorter wheelbase makes a board responsive.
  • Check the skateboard deck concave, make sure it fits your style.
  • Graphics get you stoked, so pick a graphic you love.

What Are Some Good Skateboard Deck Brands?

There are no skateboard brands that are better than others, it’s about the brand you prefer. Find out which brands have their boards made by, for example, PS Stix, a very reputable wood shop owned by Paul Schmitt (AKA The Professor).

The truth is that even the most known brands offer high and low quality decks. Powell Peralta and Santa Cruz use birch wood for their complete skateboards to cut costs.

Element offers cheaper decks that snap more often, and Baker asks ridiculous prices for a simple 7-ply deck.

How Much Does A Skateboard Deck Cost?

Skateboard decks cost between $20 USD and $120 USD. A blank skateboard deck is often cheaper and decks with fiberglass are more expensive.

  • Blank Decks $20 – $50: These are typically off-brand or generic decks, which might not be as durable or have the same performance as name brands. They’re often suitable for beginners or casual skaters. These are decks without graphics, often cheaper because there’s no branding or design costs involved. Sometimes they are pressed in bulk which can cause deformations.
  • Shop Boards $30 – $60: Many local skate shops have their line of decks, often at a more affordable price than name brands but with comparable quality. Buying these supports local businesses.
  • Mid-Range Decks $50 – $80: Many established skateboard brands fall into this category. These decks are of good quality, suitable for most skaters, and come with various designs and graphics.
  • High-End Decks $80 – $120: These decks come from premium skateboard brands or have special technologies, limited edition graphics, or collaborations with artists. They’re designed for performance and might offer more durability or specific features that justify the higher price.

Choosing The Right Size

different skateboard shapes and sizes

Usually, the first thing you want to look for when buying a deck is size. The width of your deck will depend on your age, gender, and preference; but also the style of skating you want to do.

Here are a few baselines to give you a direction. Take these as indications, don’t regard it as the truth.

Like many things in skateboarding, skateboard deck size will ultimately come down to preference. Don’t be afraid to test different widths, it will help to figure out what works best for you.

This table gives you an idea of the average most popular sizes across both disciplines. Take these as indications, not imperative rules to follow.

HeightRecommended Street Skateboard Deck SizeRecommended Transition Skateboard Deck Size
3.6ft (Less than 110cm_6.5” – 7”7.5” and under
3.6ft-4.2ft (110cm-130cm )7” – 7.2”7. 75” – 8.1”
4.2ft-5.2ft (130cm-160cm )7.3” – 7.75”8.2” – 8.5”
5.2ft (160cm) or taller7.8” to 8.5”8.5” and higher

When you buy a skateboard, skateboard length is hardly ever mentioned. In general a longer deck has a bigger turning radius which is more noticeable when you skate transition or bowl. 99% of street decks have a length between 28” and 32”.

The variation comes from the shape and steepness of the nose and tail. For skateboard size, we’re talking about the width, not the length.

If for some weird reason you want to measure deck length, make sure you put the ruler on the top of the nose and tail and press it against the grip-tape.

Deck Size and Truck Size

Don’t forget to make sure you trucks match the width of you deck and vice versa. They don’t have to line up exactly but don’t put (‘ wide trucks on an 8.0″ skateboaRD deck if you’re planning to do more technical tricks.

Here’s a general skateboard truck size chart

Deck width (Inches)< 7.5″7.5″ – 7.99″8.0″ – 8.49″8.5″ – 8.99″
Independent109129139, 144149, 159
Thunder143145147, 148149, 151
Tensor5.05.35, 5.55.75


You might want to select the appropriate wheelbase depending on the type of street skating you do.

If you are tackling more ledges and manual pads, maybe a shorter wheelbase will work best for you, but if you are looking for stability for jumping gaps or to get the pinch when grinding rails, a longer wheelbase may suit your style better.

For those interested, here’s more about skateboard wheelbase.

Longer wheelbase means more responsive turning, but not as sharp of a turn, as a short wheelbase. It may also be harder to balance manuals with a wide wheelbase, but it can feel more stable for landing.

Keep in mind that the type of trucks also change your wheelbase. Thunder Trucks make for a wide wheelbase, while Independent and Royal Trucks make for a shorter wheelbase because of the angle of the trucks hangar.


Skateboards have a sideways curve called ‘concave’. There are three main types: low, medium, and high. Some rare boards have a super-high curve.

New to skating? Avoid extreme curves. Flat or super-high curves aren’t versatile and can make learning harder.

For example, flip tricks are difficult with flat boards, and riding bowls with super-high curves can be uncomfortable.

If you want to mostly ride transitions, choose a low curve. If you’re aiming for kickflips, pick a steeper curve. For general use, a medium curve is safest and most versatile.

Even though concave type is usually directly specified on the board, that doesn’t mean all decks have the same low, medium or high concave.

To see how concave a particular deck is in a skate-shop, I do two things. I start by simply grabbing the board by the middle and look from tail to nose on the grip side.

You can’t miss the curvature of the edges. Then I put the deck on the floor (ask first) and step on it to see how it feels.

Skateboard Deck Recommendations

Skateboard decks on a table

Instead of listing a bunch of decks, we’ll list a couple styles, brands some decks with certain characteristics.

Then we’ll kindly ask you to visit your local skate shop to buy a deck. So here’s a couple of categories you might be looking for

  • Strong skateboard decks for those that often break decks
  • Budget decks and brands if you are on a tight budget
  • Deck brands with awesome graphics
  • Decks for bowl, street, flatground, and general transition skating

Durable Skateboard Decks

Santa Cruz VX skateboard deck

A couple of brands offer durable skateboard decks.

  • Santa Cruz: VX
  • Powell Peralta: Flight Deck
  • Almost: Impact decks (recommended)
  • Real: R1
  • Lithe: Slate 3 and Nex

There are more brands that offer stronger deck, but this should give you a good direction in what to look for when you want a skateboard deck that lasts for a long time.

We tested all of the decks mentioned, and we liked Almost impact decks most because it’s affordable and keeps its pop for a long time.

The carbon fiber isn’t as prominent as in the VX and Flight decks. It’s subtle and it doesn’t affect pop much.

Almost impact skateboard deck

Almost Impact decks don’t have the issues the VX and Flight decks have. The fibers on the VX and Flight decks cause skin irritation and the decks just don’t pop as much.

In time VX and Flight decks also develop tears and cracks which affects the responsiveness and stiffness, even while the board was still in tact.

powell peralta flight deck

As for Lithe, awesome decks as they don’t chip or razor tail ! The Nex is a good deck but is heavier, and the Lithe Slate 3 is just too expensive ($200 USD) for your average skateboarder.

Want an affordable skateboard deck that has good pop and lasts longer? Definitely check out Almost Impact decks (sponsored link to Amazon).

Cheap Skateboard Decks

If you’re looking for a cheap skateboard deck that doesn’t snap on day one, you might want to take a look at the following brands.

  • CCS
  • Mini Logo
  • Bamboo Skateboard decks
CCS complete skateboard

CCS offers cheap decks that are very durable. While not everyone will like the shape, it’s a decent starter deck while you’re exploring you preferences.

We skated two CCS decks and there isn’t really anything to complain about. I personally don’t like the concave but that’s personal preferece.Mini

Mini Logo actually belongs to Powell-Peralta and offers decent blank decks for cheap. Pretty on par with the CCS from what I heard, haven’t skated one tbh.

Bamboo is also an option. While many skateboarders aren’t a fan of bamboo, it isn’t bad at all. The top and bottom layers consist of bamboo, the center features 5 maple plies.

Bamboo decks have a bit of a different pop compared to 7ply maple decks. A bit like a thud instead of a crispy pop. It doesn’t matter, they skate fine, last for a long time, and are cheap.

Skateboard Decks For Street Skateboarding

You can pick decks from Almost to Zoo York. All brands offer street decks so your job is to figure out which size you prefer, the wheelbase, and how you like your concave.

street skateboard setup

In general technical street skateboarders like to ride decks between 8.0 and 8.25 with medium to high concave.

Some prefer a shorter wheelbase for more responsiveness and higher concave to make flip tricks easier.

Pick a brand with a pro team you prefer, check if you’re not overpaying (like Baker) and make a choice.

Visit your local skate shop, this will allow you to stand on a board and feel the concave. While you can’t go out and shred, it should give you more direction than just comparing decks online.

Skateboard Decks For Transition Skateboarding

Transition skateboarders skate wider decks in general than street skateboarders. Many ride 8.25″ decks that gives a bit more stability when skating objects in a skatepark. Some choose for a lower concave.

Low concave decks offer a better board of feeling and stability. It’s a comfortable concave that suit transition skaters the best.

It also can be a brilliant choice for gaps and impact skating as you have a broader surface to land on.

However, be aware that you must flick harder to flip tricks with a low concave. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do tre-flips, though.

If you’re a bowl or mini ramp kind of skateboarder, a wider skateboard deck really works wonders. 8.5″ decks are great for mini ramps and bowls.

Nowadays you also see a trend of the boards getting wider. 8.75″ and 9.0″ is great for dedicated bowl riders.

All Around Skateboard Decks

If you want to skate a bit of street, do a bit of transition skateboarding, and don’t mind skating flatground a deck with medium concave is a good choice.

Decks with medium concave make for a great all around set-up. It’s a great compromise if you want to ride street and transition without committing to a specific one.

You won’t feel as comfortable as you would with a flatter deck, but you will have an easier time landing those kickflips.

Skateboard Decks For Flatground Tricks

Steep concave decks are the go-to for most tech skaters. It allows you to effortlessly do flip tricks and can help learning more advanced tricks that require a lot of flicks.

However, some might find boards with high concave more inconvenient to cruise with. They’re also more injury prone, especially sprained ankle.

A flatter deck provides a more stable surface to land on.

Decks for Heavy Riders

A wider board doesn’t mean more resistance. I’d start by picking a normal deck for your size, maybe a bit wider.

If you break it fast without taking too much impact, switch to reinforced decks like mentioned above (Flight decks, Impact, VX, R1).

Lithe Slate 3 skateboard deck

Whether you choose carbon plies technology like the Powell-Peralta Flight deck, bamboo skateboards or reinforced 8-ply deck, it increase the average lifespan of your board.

Check out my article about skateboard setups for heavy riders, it’s not just the deck that makes a difference.

Decks For Large Feet

The obvious answer is to take larger boards. But how much? The best way to know for sure is to head out to the skate-shop and try different sizes by standing on them.

It’s normal for your heel and toes to stick out. Besides that, most of your sole should cover the deck, if that’s not the case, go wider.

I have a friend 6 foot 3 and wear size 13 US size shoes. Even though he mostly does street skating, he currently rides a 9” deck because he hates having his feet come out too much of the board.

To still do flip tricks somewhat easily, the secret is to take high concave decks.


For most skaters, having clothes your hyped on will boost your self-confidence and by that matter, your skating. The same thing goes with the graphics of your skateboard.

Having a design that appeals to you should be a deciding factor when choosing a deck. You need to be hyped to go skate and show off this sweet piece of art you found.

Old school skateboard decks

Personally, I don’t consider graphics as a priority when I select a deck. Still, I wouldn’t ride a skateboard, I dislike the art.

It’s definitely a big plus if the graphic is something I’m hyped on, but I’d rather have the perfect size, concave and shape combo over a breath-taking art and having to compromise.

However, I totally understand skaters that are passionate of graphics and always want the cleanest and coolest design. For those riders, selecting a deck with a protected graphic would make sense.


Did you know that some decks came with warranty? It’s something I don’t see being discussed enough, while it can be a deciding factor in choosing a deck.

For instance, the two Almost reinforced decks have a warranty. The Impact Support has a 30 days come with 30 days and the Double Impact with 45 days.

All Real Skateboard decks are manufacturer’s defect guaranteed, meaning you can send it back and get a new one if you see some nods or you break it quickly than normal.

Even if the deck you’ve bought didn’t mention having a guarantee, it doesn’t hurt to try.

A few years ago, I broke a fresh Nomad deck right in the middle of my first session riding, not even doing impact stuff, flat-ground tricks.

I went back to the shop to explain my situation, and they sent back my deck to the manufacturer and let me pick a new one.

Supporting Your Favorite Skateboard Brands

In skateboarding people attach to brands. By displaying their preferred brands, riders support their favorite pro-skaters while contributing to the growth of the company.

But riders don’t support just to support. You will trust a brand solely based on your previous experience riding their boards.

If you want to expand your brands’ horizon without having to take a gamble, you could select decks from different brands that still have the same shape, because they come from the same wood shop.

Skateboard Deck Manufacturers Overview 2023

Just to give you a perspective, here’s a short overview of brands and where their decks are made. Note that some brands have contracts with multiple wood shops and switch frequently.

ManufacturerSkateboard Brands
PennswoodAmerican Nomad, Buzzbomb, Clubhouse, Cockfight, Junkadelic, Lost Soul, Lotus Skateboards, Lovenskate, Mortuary Skateboards
PS Stix917* -2020, Brand-X, Circle – A, Disorder, Dogtown, Element* (EU), Lifeblood, Meow, New Deal, Strangelove
WoodchuckBLVD, Death, Losers ATX, Finesse
WatsonAlva (specials), Black Label (specials), Blockhead, Dogtown* (specials), G&S (specials), Imperfects
BBSAlien Workshop, Almost, Antihero, Baker, Birdhouse, Blind, Chocolate, Creature, Darkstar, Deathwish, Element, Enjoi, Girl, Zero, Welcome, Powell Peralta
Clutch[Brands associated with Clutch]
DwindleAlmost, Blind, Darkstar, Dusters, Enjoi, Madness, Santa Cruz, Superior, Tensor, Zero
South Central5boro, Bacon, Heritage,

Final Thoughts

Always check the quality of the deck before riding. Look out for wood nods, check the plies of your board and make sure they all are in good shape.

If not return it or otherwise you have to replace your skateboard deck sooner than later.

If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t bug too much on choosing your first deck. Even though it’s a pretty big step and doesn’t come that cheap.

Chances are, if you really like skateboarding, you will eventually try different ones until you find your favorite(s).

If you’re experienced, and you think you already know what is your perfect set-up, I would still keep an open mind to try new things.

For instance, carbon decks are the answer if you’re tired of snapping decks left and right, while old school decks can bring you new feels riding pools.

I hope this article helped you know what you need to look for when choosing a deck, and which brands will fit the most of your riding style.

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