I remember buying a new deck and breaking it in an hour. Now this skateboard deck probably wasn’t the strongest, but I landed right in the middle with both feet and it snapped in half. I felt sad because I didn’t have the money to get a new deck. Those days are gone, but only if you have the budget.
The strongest skateboard deck is the Lithe Slate 2 Deck. It consists of 2 layers of carbon fiber combined with maple wood. The tail and nose are reinforced with a hybrid polymer, making it very unlikely to chip or razor tail. Even a truck can’t snap it in half.
This is an expensive deck, almost four times the price of a regular deck. it may be worth the money if you snap your skateboard deck regularly and to be fair, it isn’t in mass production. It’s surprisingly light and has everlasting pop. Most of us don’t have that kind of budget so there are some other options available, some more affordable than others.
The Most Durable Skateboard Decks
You have a couple of options here but the Lithe Slate 2 is really unmatched in performance and strength. A close second is the Powell-Peralta Flight deck at less than half the price. The decks mentioned use different technologies to increase strength while stilling keeping the weight low.
Many brands claim they have longer-lasting decks but most of them can’t cope with you landing in the middle of the deck. In fact, the Flight deck and Lithe Slate 2 are probably the only ones that can take that kind of beating but it literally comes at a price.
Lib Tech and Emillion are the more affordable options but still offer decks that won’t snap as easily as a regular 7-ply maple wood deck.
The Ultimate Skateboard Deck – the Lithe Slate 2
So let’s start with the king of durability. Crowdfunded on Indiegogo and now available to the public in limited quantity. Lithe describes these decks as lasting up to 8 times longer, and the tail up to 15 times compared to regular 7-ply wooden decks. That’s a bold statement, but so far tests only confirm their claims. Goodbye razor tail!
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20× Razor Tail resistant!?!? 🔬 Test taken with 3 deck constructions. Slate 2, 7-ply Maple, and Flight. 1.25" wide pucks were cut from each deck. Mounted at a 19.5° angle. Ran against a 50-grit sanding belt running at 7.5mph. Weight equivalent to a Manuel tail drag. Slate 2 | 59:03 Maple | 2:57 Flight | 2:37 Slate 2 was first to use the sanding belt giving it the lowest advantage. No unfair advantages are believed to be given to the Slate 2. All puck ends were milled flat to ensure greater accuracy of the test. Tests were taken in a controlled environment and believed to be accurate representations. Individual results may vary. Temperature, moisture, ground roughness, weight, speed can slightly affect your experience. 🎶🎬@gregrosolowski 💻@markrosolowski #skateboard #skateboarding #lithe #litheskateboards #skatecrunch
Because of its unique construction, Lithe decks not only last longer, they also maintain responsiveness, pop, and strength. All shapes are pressed individually meaning they all have the exact same shape. The tail and nose are reinforced using a hybrid polymer, so say goodbye to razor tails, splinters, and chipped noses.
The sidewall is also partially covered with a hybrid polymer to prevent chips and cracks. It also looks fantastic, I really like the carbon fiber on top which gives it a futuristic look. If Back to the Future 4 ever gets made, this should feature as the new hoverboard.
The top of the deck has an inlay carbon fiber structure making this deck virtually unbreakable. One other nice feature is the embedding of the graphics. Lithe uses a specialized fusion printer deeply embedding the prints. You’ll be able to enjoy the graphic a lot longer compared to regular decks.
The street variant length is 32″ and widths go from 7.75″ to 8.5″. Vert, bowl. and mini ramp size is 32.63″ and the available widths go from 8.25″ to 9.0″.
Brute Force Tests
Braille did some brute force testing and the deck held up to its promise. Even launching the nose at maximum speed against a sharp-cornered wall only left a minor dent. A regular deck would have been destroyed instantly. This is the ultimate next-gen skateboard deck and would probably survive the apocalypse. Here’s a video of a truck attempting to snap the deck in half, I’m not making this up.
I really want to get my hands on one but I can’t justify the price at this moment, it goes for 199 bucks. They probably can’t mass produce the deck yet which would significantly drop the price. I love they’ve taken tech to the next level and I like to support new tech. It’s a tough market out there for skateboard manufacturers and I hope they succeed.
We have high initial pricing but because of the durability they save in the long run. They don’t chip and the razor tail resistance is about 15X longer! – Team Lithe
Usually, I like to see decks in a shop and try it out before I buy. It’s quite an investment and what if I don’t like the shape? Still durability wise I’ll give it a 10 out of 10. If you break decks regularly and you have the budget go for it and make your friends jealous. I’m still tempted though, this deck gets me that need to buy feeling which is very hard to resist. One day I’ll walk out of the pub feeling all confident and I’ll just buy it. My wife won’t be amused.
Powell Peralta Flight Deck
This is one of the stronger boards, according to Powell it lasts up to 10 times longer than a regular deck. It’s almost impossible to break in half, and many have tried. This deck has two 19oz triaxial fiberglass layers with black epoxy combined with 5 maple wood layers that make this deck ultra strong. The deck is surprisingly light and has a lot of flex. The flexibility makes sense because of the materials used which prevent it from snapping.
The downside is that the fiberglass composite causes splinters. This can cause itch and irritation just from holding it. I had several people hold the board and they all said it caused their skin to itch. I personally got a few splinters before I even tested this board so that is a pretty big issue.
It has great pops and doesn’t lose its snap or pop after extensive use. It will develop razor tail and these fiber splinters can be nasty. But if you just want something that doesn’t snap, it’s an option.
Other than that, there really aren’t any more cons about this deck except the price of course. This board is perfect for heavy skaters and those of us who break decks occasionally. Even though the deck is about $80 you’ll earn that money back in no time. It comes with a delamination warranty for its useful life. Leaving it out in the rain would void that of course.
Emillion Fibertech Decks
Another winner, this fiberglass enhanced deck is probably one of the strongest decks available. Now I haven’t been able to test this one out myself but the (real skateboarder) reviews are promising. It has a medium concave deck and might feel a bit stiff at the beginning, but this will go away once you break it in after a few hours. Like the other decks mentioned it has great prolonged pop, after a month of intense use it still performs at peak efficiency according to the reviews.
The biggest pro of this deck is its price, it’s about $50, which is way cheaper than the previously mentioned decks. Its tail and nose don’t chip as much as other decks, still, it can’t beat the Lithe slate 2 or the flight deck in durability.
Lib Tech Skateboard Decks
These boards have been around for a while. Lib Tech started as a snowboarding company and used their knowledge to create very durable decks. They offer decks with a mix of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and laminated wood. That’s guaranteed longevity, ideal for heavy skaters and deck breakers.
The boards feature epoxy pickled maple, the sidewalls consist of birch and the tail has anti-razor birch end grain. The core is vertically laminated and is reinforced by fiberglass. They go for around $70 which is a good deal if your break decks occasionally.
Skateboard Technologies That Increase Deck Durability
In the last decade or so, new technologies have increased the strength of skateboard decks. I remember the introduction of Slicks for example which is a plastic-like material added to the bottom of a skateboard. It helps to slide on rough surfaces but also started peel off after a while. Nowadays different brands developed new technologies to makes skateboard decks more durable.
Some of them are similar and many of them are pure marketing. In the end, you just need to make sure to land near your bolts. Here are a couple of technologies that claim or actually make decks more durable:
Powell-Peralta Flight Deck Construction
Already mentioned this obviously but The Powell-Peralta flight deck is unmatched. It consists of 5 layers of ply and 2 carbon layers making it ultra-thin and light-weight. It’s epoxy infused which means a significant improvement in quality and performance. The carbon fiber makes it a challenge to break this deck. You might need to get used to the flex a bit.
- A very thin deck
- Light compared to other 7-ply decks
- Tail is about twice as strong
- Last up to 10 times longer
- Slow wear and tear
- Great rebound and snap
- No need to break it in
P2 reinforced decks are made of 6-ply maple wood and one Kevlar fiber on top. The Kevlar fiber makes these decks much stronger than plain Maple wooden decks. They claim it’s 100 times stronger compared to regular decks.
They have a decent pop (not spectacular) and flip really well. The downside of this deck is that the nose is a bit awkwardly shaped, probably a personal preference but worth mentioning. Despite the Kevlar fiber, the tail is still likely to chip. It doesn’t live up to their claims from what I’ve seen so I would take it with a grain of salt.
Plan B Black Ice
The successor of slick or a gimmick? The decks are very lightweight and stiffer compared to other boards and have great pop. They certainly slide better and longer keeping your decks bottom intact a bit longer. I’m curious about what will happen once you go through the Black ice layer. I’ll let you know when I’ve managed to do that. Only Plan B offer Black Ice, maybe other brands will develop their own tech in time.
The one I own has the Stranger Things graphics and I just adore that show. Once I came across this deck I just HAD had to buy it. I was pretty excited and checked the delivery status twice a day. I was under the impression that the graphic would hold up because of the Blckice Tech but this proved to be incorrect. If you look closely at the center of the image you’ll see some scratches from just gently rubbing it on my floor. Probably some sand that caused it, I should vacuum more often I guess.
Anyway, this deck is great for sliding. I really had to reduce speed when board sliding the mini ramp because I was used to going in hard. The first time I nearly hit the coping with my head because it decided to slide on without me. After I got used to the deck, it was like sliding on old-school rails. The image above is the 8.5″ version I use for transition skateboarding.
It isn’t as strong as the Flight Deck or the Slate, and I don’t think the Black Ice layer increases its strength. I don’t use this one for street skateboarding but it’s the perfect mini ramp/bowl/vert deck that will last you for a very long time.
- Ridiculous long slides, even rough surfaces
- 7-ply deck
- Stiffer than regular decks
- Less wear on your graphic
Dwindle Impact, Impact light, Impact plus
Interesting technology developed by Dwindle, these decks are certainly harder to break. The greater longevity has to do with the carbon discs that are located at the bolts on the bottom of the deck. The carbon fiber absorbs most of the impacts leaving the wood intact. The plus variant has an extra layer of carbon fiber on top.
Regular impact consists of 8-ply North American maple wood and 2 carbon fiber laminate discs placed at the truck-mount which is the main stress zone. The extra maple wood layer makes this deck a bit heavier but provides longer life.
Impact light consists of 7-plies of Canadian Maple wood held together by Epoxy Resin glue. On top of the deck is a die-cut carbon fiber laminate inserted. This one is the lightest of the three.
Impact plus features 8-ply of North American Maple and 2 carbon fiber discs at the bottom. The plus has to do with the extra Die-cut carbon fiber laminate inlay top of the deck. Dwindle decks are totally worth it if you’re a deck breaker.
- Longer lasting
- 7 – or 8-plies of maple wood
- Reinforced with carbon fiber
- Impact light is the lightest, impact plus the heaviest
- Longer lasting pop
- Less flex and stiff pop
Brands that use this tech:
You thought the Lithe was expensive? Check out IXO, they make 100% carbon fiber decks or do they? Now, before I mention the price make sure you didn’t just take a sip of coffee because it will be all over your screen. Ready? These babies come at 1100 EURO, but hey, you get complimentary high-grade titanium bolts for free! /s
IXO is a carbon fiber company, they don’t mention the size of the decks at all so I wonder who in their right mind would buy something like this. I wonder if this is even legit tbh. Hey IXO! Send me a review copy, for science!
- 100% carbon fiber deck
- FREE high-grade titanium bolts
- Food stamps and possible home eviction
Resin-7 Epoxid (R7)
Maybe a bit of an overrated technology but nonetheless RESIN-7 claims to make skateboard decks lighter and stronger. The name comes from the type of glue used called epoxy resin glue, a non-water-based glue which makes skateboard decks more rigid. A couple of brands use this glue but the names may vary like Resin Hardrock, Thoughcats etc. The construction of the decks consists of a classic 7 ply of maple glued together with R7. In theory, this should make the boards somewhat stronger but you’ll still break them when you don’t land your feet on your bolts.
- Standard 7-ply construction
- Resin 7 non-water-based glue.
- Increased durability.
- Lighter decks.
Resin Hybrid Maple
Hybrid maple means they used regular maple wood and stronger Hard Rock Maple. Every layer is a special mix of either of the maple wood held together by epoxy resin glue. These decks are built to last longer than your average deck. The decks are individually pressed meaning all decks have identical shapes and concave. I’m sure this makes the decks more durable but they’ll still snap when you put too much weight on the wrong spot.
- Stronger than industry standard 7-ply.
- Each deck has an identical shape and concave
Brands that use this tech:
How to Prevent Your Skateboard from Breaking
Most of the prevention has to do with landing your tricks correctly. Always try to land on the bolts. When you land in the middle with one or both feet there’s a big chance your skateboard will break. Also, when you put too much pressure on your tail or nose they tend to snap.
Taking good care of your board also reduces the chances of breaking the wood. If your deck starts to delaminate, for example, it might have become waterlogged and it loses its integrity. The epoxy glue between the layers starts to lose its cohesion causing weak spots. Don’t go out in the rain or leave your skateboard outside.
Buy quality skateboard decks. and make sure to pick a brand with a solid reputation. Also, remember that many decks come from the same factory before they get branded. I recently wrote a post that lists skateboard manufacturers and brands. Surprisingly many of the big brands aren’t even made in the USA!
If you’re wondering on how to protect your skateboard graphic, try to apply some epoxy resin. It will make your graphic last longer. Here’s a cool video on how to keep your graphic last longer.