I know it’s quite difficult for new skateboarders to pick a skateboard, especially when you don’t want to spend too much but still want a decent setup. If this is you, you’ve come to the right place.
Over the years I and my helpful local skateboarders have tested many setups to see what works and what doesn’t. This post is a bit different from what you’re used to, sure I’ll suggest a few standard easy to ride skateboards but I’ll also want to show you some awesome custom setups specifically for your needs.
Perhaps you only want to ride in your local skate park, others just want to cruise (and perhaps a few basic tricks). And there are people (me included) that love transition skateboarding, or bowl and mini ramp skating.
This article includes a guide to picking the right beginner skateboard, a number of pre-assembled skateboards that work for newbies, and custom setups to build your own.
Skip right to the recommended skateboards or keep reading to learn more about what you need as a beginner.
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- What Makes a Good Beginner Skateboard?
- Safety and Skateboarding
- How Much Does A Beginner Skateboard Cost?
- What Size Skateboard Do Beginners Need?
- What Type Of Wheels Do You Need?
- Skateboard Trucks For Beginners
- Do Skateboard Bearings Matter?
- Recommended Beginner Skateboards
- Custom Beginner Skateboard Setups
- Final Words
What Makes a Good Beginner Skateboard?
A good starter skateboard should be setup in a way that it works on the surface and environment you ride. The most important thing to consider for absolute beginners are the wheels and deck shape.
In my years of experience it’s easier to learn to ride on slightly softer wheels, but you want to move on to harder wheels when you start learning tricks.
You also need a medium concave deck for increased stability and pick a deck that offers enough room for your feet.
Beginner skateboard that we recommend:
- CCS Complete
- Birdhouse Complete
- Santa Cruz Skateboards (Dot series)
- SkateXS beginner (kids 6 to 12)
- Cruising: Arbor Oso
Safety and Skateboarding
Beginner skateboarder should wear at least a helmet. Knee pads and elbow pads are also recommended.
Wrist guards aren’t essential but do help prevent abrasions when you fall and slide on your knee pads.
So basically you slide on your knee pads, you’ll likely stick out your arms and the wrist guards will protect your palms.
Learning to fall is also important because you are going to fall a lot. Lastly I recommend getting skate shoes. They’ll help you control the board because the outsoles are grippy and increase stability.
How Much Does A Beginner Skateboard Cost?
A decent beginner skateboard costs between $70 USD and $150 USD. A cheap starter skateboard is great if you don’t have a lot to spend or build a custom beginner skateboard which is more expensive (but also lasts longer).
Skateboards between $20 USD and $50 USD are not great for beginners. The low quality components are often unsafe and break easily. It will make learning to skateboard harder, and you’re going to fall more often.
What Size Skateboard Do Beginners Need?
Choose your skateboard size based on your shoe size. If your shoe size is between 6-9, pick a board between 7.5″-8″. The common narrow board size is 7.75″, but smaller boards (7″-7.5″) are suitable for kids or those with smaller feet. If you wear shoes of size 9.5 or more, go for a board between 8″-8.5″. For those with size 12 shoes or bigger, an 8.5″-9″ board is best.
Once you get better at skateboarding you might want to get a wider sized skateboard or smaller. Over time you will learn what works for you. Picking the right skateboard size based on shoe size is a good start.
What Type Of Wheels Do You Need?
Depending on where you skate, you might need harder or softer wheels. For smooth surfaces, hard wheels are better, but for rough surfaces, softer, bigger wheels are recommended.
95A/54mm or 56mm wheels give you much more stability and grip when learning how to push a skateboard. Check out my full guide on skateboard wheels for beginners to learn more.
Once you know how to ride and want to move on to tricks, softer wheels will be a limiting factor. They bounce more than harder wheels making tricks more difficult. At this point you need to replace your skateboard wheels with harder and smaller wheels. 99A/53mm for more grip and less bounce, or 100A+ for the technical skateboarder.
- Technical street skateboarding: 51mm to 53mm 99A tot 104A
- Street and skate parks: 52mm to 54mm 99A tot 104A
- Transitions such as parks, bowl, mini ramps: 54 to 56mm, 58 mm for vert skaters, 56mm for dedicated mini ramp and bowl skateboarders
- Cruising and tricks: 58 to 60mm, 81A durometer for less bounce and 92A-96A for those who like to kickflip, ollie and have a comfy ride. Not ideal, it’s a trade-off.
- Cruising: At least 60mm and 78A durometer, pretty much the sweet spot. Not taking longboards into account.
Skateboard Trucks For Beginners
For beginners, skateboard trucks shouldn’t turn excessively, making it easier to balance and your ride more predictable. Brands like Ace trucks or Venture Lo’s are too loose for newcomers. Good premium trucks are Independent, Venture Hi’s, and Thunder.
Budget-friendly beginner options include Paris Trucks, Tensor Standard Trucks, Krux, and CCS. Trucks significantly influence skateboarding performance, so don’t skimp on quality. While there’s a noticeable difference between cheap and top brands, it usually doesn’t matter to beginners.
Bushings are important, but the right ones can vary based on a person’s weight. Light riders might find standard bushings too hard, making turning hard, while heavy riders might find them too soft. If you have issues with your bushings, try adjusting your trucks.
Do Skateboard Bearings Matter?
As a beginner you shouldn’t worry too much about bearings because you won’t be doing any high impact skateboarding for a while. Cheaper brands like Mini Logo or Spitfire (cheapshots) will work fine. A slight upgrade would be Bronson Bearings (G2), and Bones Bearings (Reds).
Ignore expensive (ceramic) bearings or anything over $20 USD. Bearings are all the same size and will fit any skateboard wheel, the best skateboard bearings are cheap.
Recommended Beginner Skateboards
I’ve tested several ready-to-use skateboards with local skaters. These boards are perfect for beginners or those not wanting to assemble their own. They’re affordable, which may mean some trade-offs in quality, but new skaters likely won’t notice. If you’re seeking something tailored, I have suggestions for various types of skaters at the bottom of this page.
Great for beginners because of the softer wheels. Recommended from age 12 and up.
A budget skateboard that’s great for skate parks but less for cruising.
Easiest Skateboard to Ride: Santa Cruz Skateboards
Santa Cruz is the world’s oldest brand, known for their quality complete skateboards. Their setups have subtle variations, particularly in bushing and wheel hardness. The wheels (95A/54mm) are beginner-friendly but can flat spot on aggressive power slides.
The deck is made of birch – cheaper with less pop – and has a mellow concave, ensuring stability and foot positioning. Birch isn’t the best wood for a deck, and won’t last more than one or two seasons. The shape is comfortable and allows for easy foot movement.
The Bullet Trucks come with soft 90A bushings, which might require some tightening for stability, especially for beginners. They’re not ideal for heavy riders.
The bearings are standard and reliable, nothing special. Choose your graphic and size: 8.0″ is universal, while 8.25″ suits taller riders.
- Wheels: 54 mm, 95A
- Deck: Birch, varying sizes, medium concave
- Trucks: Bullet Trucks
- Bearings: Standard
There are currently a couple of boards available on Amazon.
- Arbor Whiskey Series (softer 90A wheels)
- Globe G1 (harder 99A wheels)
High Quality Starter Skateboard: Birdhouse Complete
Birdhouse offers a great skateboard for a fair price. It’s one of my favorites because of its high quality components.
The trucks turn well and can handle abuse from grinding and high impacts. It takes some time before you break in the bushings so turning might feel a bit loose at the beginning. After one or two hours, the bushings will harden and function properly.
Depending on your weight you can adjust the trucks until you feel like they are just right. It comes with blank 100A wheels with a decent contact patch for extra grip and stability. Not ideal for cruising, but great for hitting the park and learning tricks.
Birdhouse offers in my opinion the best complete you can get for skate parks and street. Biggest con is that they aren’t always available. Check Amazon for availability.
- 7.75″ / 7.875″ / 8.0″ / 8.25″ / 8.5″ Canadian Maple 7-ply Deck
- Birdhouse trucks
- Decent Bearings
- 100A 53mm street wheels
- Standard Grip tape
Cheapest Beginner Skateboard: CCS Complete Blank
The CCS complete the cheapest decent quality skateboard you can get and a solid beginner skateboard. It’s designed for street skateboarding and transitioning to tricks. This means it performs well in skate parks but the harder wheels rule out a comfortable cruise.
Over a decade skateboarders have given it positive feedback. The board comes with CCS parts, including trucks, Mini Logo bearings, and wheels. The deck is durable, made of 7 layers of maple wood, and holds up well with regular use.
Trucks and bushings are sturdy, though bushings need some time to adjust. The wheels are decent but offer limited grip due to their size. Overall, it’s a reliable board for new skaters, good for both street and park use.
Great budget street setup, it also comes with a skate tool in case you want to tweak the trucks. Currently available on Amazon.
- Deck: Maple, width between 7.0″ and 8.5″
- Wheels: CCS 52mm 100A
- Trucks: CCS
- Bearings: Mini Logo
- Skate Tool
Beginner Kids (6 to 12): SkateXS Complete
SkateXS offers the highest quality skateboards for beginner kids, they are assembled with the best skateboard components you can get. I’m pretty impressed with this complete and think SkateXS did a great job at getting the right parts that kids need. The SkateXS entry complete is a street/skate park setup that comes with 53mm 90A wheels for a comfy ride.
This boards is great for gritty asphalt, parks and transition and the softer wheels deal well with cracks and pebbles. Super stable board and the soft wheels will help you to keep your balance.
The SkateXS trucks turn well because of the custom soft bushings but you might need to tweak them a bit. They are responsive can handle grinds and ollies.
Asphalt, pavements, concrete, won’t be a problem and at 90A you can even take it for a short cruise. Quality 7-ply maple/bamboo deck and a very decent setup for a great price (considering the parts you get). SkateXS is a reliable brand and I like their setups because they are safe and relaiable.
- Size: 7″ (Ages 5-7) | 7.25″ (Ages 8-10) | 7.4″ (Ages 11-12)
- Length: 28″ | 29″ | 30″
- Wheelbase: varies per size
- 7-ply maple deck
- SkateXS Trucks
- 90a 53mm wheels
- Shielded standard bearings
Easiest Skateboard to Learn: Arbor Oso
The Arbor Oso is a very wide cruiser which is great for those who just want to go from A to B. It’s a great cruiser for those that just want to ride comfortably without having to worry about falling too much.
This cruiser is also a great beginner board and heavy or tall riders will really appreciate the real estate. There is lots of room for your feet to move around and it’s very forgiving if you are slightly off stance. This is not a cheap cruiser, but a ton of fun to ride.
It’s very easy to correct your feet placement and doesn’t make any unexpected movements. The Oso bushings take some time to break in and felt really tight. This made turning a bit harder in the beginning but after breaking them in the seem fine. If not, replace the bushings.
The wide Paris Street trucks are amazing, super wide trucks that can take lots of abuse and offer the needed stability for beginners.
It has a huge kicktail for a more aggressive stance and plows through almost anything. The Arbor 61mm EasyRider wheels feel buttery smooth but I would have preferred slightly larger wheels.
Get this cruiser when you want something super stable but also like to ride a bit more aggressive. Great for heavier and tall people, but also for those who want a reliable well balanced cruising experience.
Might be available at Amazon.
- Wheels: 61 mm, 78A
- Deck: Maple, 10″ wide, medium concave
- Trucks: Paris Street Trucks
- Bearings: Standard bearings
Custom Beginner Skateboard Setups
To really get the best beginner skateboard you have to assemble one yourself. Keep in mind that this is more expensive than buying a complete, but they also last longer. I listed a couple of setups depending on your budget. You can get a decent skateboard setup that you can skate for years.
8.0″ wide street skateboards is one of the most popular setups. Great for both outdoor and indoor skate parks, perform well on the street, easier to pop and flip and great for those who want to get into technical skateboarding.
Remember you can swap components around and decide if you want to invest more in trucks or wheels, if there’s one thing I wouldn’t cheap out on its trucks. They will last for years and investing a bit more can make a huge difference in performance.
Budget 8.0″ Beginner Street/park Setup ($100-$120 USD):
- Blank Skateboard deck ($35)
- CCS ($30) or Mini Logo trucks ($39)
- Mini Logo wheels C-Cut 52mm 101A ($20)
- Mini Logo bearings ($10)
- Spacers ($1)
- Jessup griptape ($8)
- 7/8″ hardware ($4)
Street/park Skateboard Setup (8.25″)
For skatepark skateboarding you can consider and 8.25″ setup or an 8.0″ setup, even 8.5″ and 7.75″ will work. You can go either way, the choice is up to you. 8.0″ means faster flipping but your wheels and trucks also play a part.
Anyway let’s look at the setup that will work for you:
8.25″ Street and Skatepark Setup on a Budget
Let’s start off with a cheaper setup, but I’m not going to cheap out on the trucks. Those will last for a long time and are super important, again it’s indy’s or Thunders.
- Blank Skateboard deck ($35)
- Thunder Lo Polished 148 ($45) or Independent 145 Stage 11 ($53)
- Bones 100’s ($30) or Mini Logo C-cut 54mm 101A ($20)
- Bones reds standard ($20), Fireball Dragon Bearings ($16)
- Spacers ($1)
- Jessup griptape ($8)
- 7/8″ hardware ($4)
Skateboard Setups for Beginner Adults 8.5″
Just want to ride and hop curbs? This setup will work. The Indy trucks turn well and are indestructible, Ricta Cloud wheels are filmer wheels so they are a bit softer and provide a comfortable ride. The shock pads aren’t really needed, and Standard Bones Reds bearings are always a good choice.
- 8.5″ deck from a brand you prefer
- Independent Stage 149 Hollow trucks
- Ricta Clouds 54 or 56 mm wheels (92A)
- 7/8″ hardware
- Bones Reds bearings
- Jessup Grip tape
So I hope you learned a bit about what to look for in a beginner skateboard. And maybe you realize by now that there isn’t really such a thing. It all depends on what your preferences are, as a beginner this might be a bit too much to ask.
You’ll learn what you like once you progress in skateboarding. My advice would be to try out new stuff and setups until you find what really works for you. Assembling your own skateboard is the way to go, but many skateboarders learned to skate on a complete, nothing wrong with that.