Skateboarding in the Rain – Or How to Ruin Your Board


skateboard on a wet surface after rain

Whether you ride a skateboard, a cruiser or a longboard. We all have to deal with bad weather and rain is about the number one enemy of any boarder on wheels. I recently went out with my kid to ride around a bit and told him to be careful because the streets were a bit wet. Turns out I should have warned myself as well as my board lost traction on a muddy patch and I didn’t even see it coming. 

It’s strongly advised not to ride a skateboard in the rain or when it’s wet outside.

  • The bearings will deteriorate from the inside,
  • The grip tape could peel off and lose grip,
  • The deck will lose its pop and becomes waterlogged or delaminate.
  • The wheels will lose their grip resulting in falling off your board and possible injury
  • Parts of your trucks can rust and break, same goes for the bolts and nuts.

I got lucky though, my hip was a bit bruised and I felt a bit sore the next day but I should have known better. Anyway, let’s take a look at why skateboarding in wet conditions is a problem, what to do when your skateboard gets wet and alternative places to skate when it’s pouring outside.

Why You Shouldn’t Ride a Skateboard When It’s Wet

I get it, it’s been raining for days and you might think that you’re able to handle wet conditions but the reality is that it’s out of your control. Not many skateboarders are able to compensate when your board starts to slide and it’s just really bad for almost all components that are attached to a skateboard

Sure there are wheels and bearings that can deal with wet conditions, but even wheels lose grip on slick surfaces. So let’s take a look at how rain and water affect your skateboard parts.

1. Your Bearings Will Suffer

rusty skateboard bearings damaged by water

You really don’t want to get your bearings wet. Even though they aren’t that expensive it’s just a waste. The inner workings of your bearings will start to oxidate and once that process starts, it’s hard to fix. I had a bearing once that just gave away after an ollie and my whole wheel came flying off.

It’s important to take care of your bearings if you want them to last longer. Decent Bones bearings can last over a decade if you clean them occasionally. What happens is that the lube inside your bearings will dissolve and your bearings will deteriorate from the inside. Cleaning them is easy though and doesn’t take long.

2. Your Deck Becomes Waterlogged

The number one reason why skateboarders recommend not to skate in wet conditions is that it’s detrimental to your board. A skateboard deck consists of several ply’s of maple wood (and sometimes bamboo) and are glued together with epoxy resin.

When water gets into these layers the glue will start to lose cohesion and the layers might come loose. This can result in a delaminated board rendering it useless. If it doesn’t delaminate, your board will become waterlogged. You can still ride it but the damage is already done. It’s not just the glue that gets affected. When water finds a way into your deck, the wooden fibers will expand. This can result in a warped or deformed deck

3. Your Wheels Lose Grip

Skateboard wheels are typically hard and have less grip compared to big soft longboard wheels. While some longboard wheels can handle wet conditions, skateboard wheels can’t. Even if they are soft, the small contact patch just can’t get enough grip and will start sliding when you make a sharp or even mellow turn. Once they slide, they are out of control. you don’t have any time to correct and you’ll land on your face

4. Your Grip Tape Becomes Slippery

Okay, grip tape is cheap but still, it’s annoying when it gets wet. Especially older grip tape that’s already sanded down will lose its grip and makes the surface of your deck more slippery. Not the end of the world but the water will be absorbed by your deck, now that’s a problem.  Once grip tape gets wet it might start to peel off and you probably need to replace it. 

5. Your Trucks Can Usually Handle It

Trucks are strong and can take a beating and they are the least of your worries. It doesn’t matter much if they get wet once or twice but eventually, they’ll start to rust.  Especially the kingpin and nut will suffer, the washers can rust and even the hangar and axles can get affected. Even though trucks are though it’s a good idea to dry them.

You can easily clean them and it won’t have any lasting effect but it will require you to disassemble them. Speaking off disassembling, let’s have a look at what you can do to fix your board when it gets wet.

What to Do When Your Skateboard Gets Wet

Skateboard components explosive view

Sometimes skateboards get wet, maybe from riding through a puddle or just wet shoes. If your board gets wet you can take all the parts off. I assume you know how to remove all the parts from your skateboard if you don’t check out this guide. It’s about how to assemble a skateboard but it’s the same principle. Now grab your skate tool and save your board.

Start with taking the bearing out and clean them properly. Use some nail remover to clean them, let them dry on a (paper) towel and relube them using silicone lube like Bones Speed Cream.

If you don’t they won’t last long, resulting in squeaky noise and the metals will start to oxidate. Make sure your wheels aren’t wet when you put them back in.

Take off the trucks and dry them with a towel, that should be enough. Trucks can deal with a bit of rain if you make sure to dry them afterward. You might also want to remove the kingpin nut and disassemble your truck completely. This way you can dry places that you normally can’t reach. Also, don’t forget to dry the hardware which attaches your trucks while you’re at it.

Lastly, your deck. You could leave it out in the sun but chances are it isn’t shining when you got back from a rainy skate session. Try to get the water of the surface by using a towel to prevent it from getting absorbed by the maple wood. It might help, but you won’t be able to get all the water out of your deck. Heating it will take away the bond to the wood so I don’t recommend to put it in an oven.

Alternative Places To Skate 

Obviously you can visit an indoor skatepark but not everyone is able to go there for different reasons and driving for hours might be too much of a hassle. Consider skating in places such as underground parking garages, abandoned warehouses, metro stations, or anything that provides cover from the rain.

You might run into a security guard but you should be able to outskate them. Just be polite and leave. Sure it sucks, but starting an argument won’t help anyway. 

A few more tips

Store your board in a dry place like a garage or inside your house and make sure nobody can step on it. Avoid puddles and wet spots when riding and avoid riding through grass or mud. 

Keep your shoes dry and try not to push a board when they are wet, it’s bad for your grip tape and the water will get sucked into your deck. If your board gets wet disassemble it as soon as you can and dry all the parts.

Lastly, don’t leave your skateboard outside overnight and never leave it in the snow. 

Conclusion

Skateboarding in wet conditions is not advised. It will ruin your skateboard and you’re likely to eat shit. Make sure to disassemble your skateboard and dry all the components before you put it back together again. See if you can find dry spots to skate or places that provide cover from the rain. If you decide to ride in the rain anyway, you might want to wear some protective gear.

Store your skateboard properly in a dry environment and don’t leave it outside. At night and early in the morning fog and moist will find a way into your skateboard which results in a bad performing skateboard.

One last thing I want to share. Every time I get a new setup it rains the next day, I gotta move to California.

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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