I’ve seen many misconceptions about skateboard size and often recommendations relate to your shoe size, your length, or age. In my opinion, these are the least important factors when choosing the right deck size.
Skateboard size doesn’t matter in most cases. It depends on your personal preference and the style you prefer. Shoe size, your height, or weight hardly have anything to do with the correct deck size, with a few exceptions. Go to your local skate shop and test a few boards yourself, it’s the best way to make the right call.
It really depends on the style of your choice. If you want to do lots of flip tricks a 9″ board would make it harder to rotate your deck. Riding a bowl on a 7.75″ will make carving and turning more difficult because it’s harder to keep your balance on a narrow board. Let’s have a look at when skateboard size actually matters
What Skateboard Size is a Safe Choice?
Let’s start with the popular sizes, as a beginner 8.0 to 8.25″ is a safe choice, the former may flip a bit faster and the latter is more stable (and still flips fine). No matter what size you can pick, you can always size up or down over time. You’ll notice further down this post that I often recommend this size, also make sure you pick the right size trucks!
If you’re planning on skating in parks, bowls/mini, and street 8.25 inches is the jack of all trades. Still easy to flip and enough stability when skating transition.
Over 20 years ago I started out on a 7.75″, wider seemed ridiculous. Nowadays I ride 8.5″ and I’m even thinking of going wider. Sure I’m more of a transition skater and 9″ might be a bit too much for street, but I just love the stability and confidence it gives me.
Does Shoe Size Relate to Skateboard Size?
Shoe size doesn’t matter, with a few exceptions. I know tall skaters with size 11 feet that skate 7.8″ decks and me, as a size 9-ish have no issues riding 8.5″ decks. It just depends on what you’re used to and what feels comfortable. If you have really large feet a wider deck might be more beneficial as you’ll have more room to place your feet.
People with small feet don’t have to worry about size, the standard deck sizes are just fine.
Tall Skaters Deck Size
Your height doesn’t matter. There are many famous tall skaters that skate a regular size deck. Just make sure you feel comfortable on your board, that’s all that matters. I have one friend who’s quite tall and still rides a 7.75″ deck, it’s just what he’s used to riding. Safest choice? A deck between 8.25″ and 8.5″.
Short Skaters Deck Size
You got less to worry about as you can pick any deck size you prefer. Safest choice? You guessed it, 8.0 to 8.25″.
Even these kid-sized skateboards are nonsense as the little ones compensate for the deck’s length by assuming a more crouch-like position. Sure a bit of a smaller a narrower board helps kids a little bit but it’s not a game-changer.
Heavy Skaters Deck Size
As a heavy rider, you need more stability since you’re more prone to injury. In this case, a wider deck is recommended, go for something between 8.25 and 8.5″. Not only that, you also need to pad up. A helmet and some knee pads are strongly recommended, you might even want to try wrist guards while you’re at it.
You also want to swap the stock bushings for harder ones or the trucks will feel very loose, 94A/96A bushings are recommended for big guys. If you are extremely obese, skateboarding might not be the best choice right now. Make sure to lose some weight first before you hurt yourself.
lastly, get a deck with a solid construction, Powell Peralta Flight Decks, Santa Cruz VX, Dwindle Impact, etc. They can take more abuse than your standard 7ply maple deck.
Recommended Deck Sizes in Different Circumstances
In my opinion deck size matters depending on the area you skate. Technical street skating is different from vert skating and requires a different size deck. Also, if you feel like you need more stability just size up a bit.
If you have a skate shop nearby, go there and try a few different sizes. Just standing on a board is way better than theorizing about shoe size, length, weight, etc.
Here are a couple of recommended sizes for different styles, remember this is a guideline, nothing is set in stone.
Street Skating Deck Size
Anything between 8.0 and 8.25 is a good size for street skating. Still, there are lots of skaters that love to shred the streets on an 8.5″ and are killing it (Ben Degros for example). I know I’m not making it easier for you but as long as you go for an 8.0, 8.125, or an 8.25″ you can’t go wrong. From there you can go wider or smaller.
Once you get better you learn what you like and don’t like, it will take a lot of time and when you find out you’re already a decent skateboarder.
Skatepark Deck Size
Same as street size though if you want to skate a lot of transition you might want to start at 8.25″. As aforementioned this size is great for both street and transition skateboarding and provides enough stability when riding bowls.
Bowl Deck size
If you’re planning to skate pools and bowls you’ll want something wider. You even see bowl skaters on these 10″ old school deck rocking it. 10″ isn’t ideal for flip tricks though, but for just carving bowls it’s great. A safe choice is anything between 8.5″ and 9″, these decks offer lots of stability and or more forgiving if your feet aren’t positioned properly.
Mini Ramp Deck Size
I personally ride an 8.5″ and skate mini ramps often. I went from an 8.0 to and 8.5″ and the difference is night and day. It takes some time to get used to a wider deck, but after some time you don’t ever want to go back.
Want something in the middle? Go for an 8.25, it’s a bit more responsive and still offers stability.
Vert Deck Size
I’m not much of a vert skater but one of my best buddies also rides and 8.5″, I’d say 8.5″ is the minimum width for vert. You want stability at those speeds and wider decks help you to maintain balance. Go for something between 8.5″ and 9.0″, but don’t go any smaller.
Back in the early 2000s, 7.75 was pretty much a standard size, nowadays it’s shifting towards 8.25 and 7.75″ is considered a kids size. In the early days, old school decks started at 10″ and these guys did some gnarly stuff. The only thing that matters is where you’re going to skate, park, bowl, vert, street have recommended sizes but it still depends on what you like to ride.
I would advice beginners against board smaller than 8.0″, it’s really hard to keep your balance and might be a frustrating experience for beginners. If possible, go to your local skate shop and try a few sizes yourself. Usually, you can just lay a deck on the ground and stand on it, try a few different sizes and choose what feels right.