I used to wait to replace my deck until it broke in half. My budget was tight and I still got the scars that remind me. When your tail decides to haunt you and picks your heel for lunch, it hurts. Skateboard decks don’t last forever. At some point, you have to admit to yourself that the relationship is over.
So when should you replace your skateboard deck? When chips and cracks and sharp edges start to appear, it will compromise safety. As soon as your nose or tail starts to chip it’s time to replace your deck. It also depends on how often you skate, even if there’s no damage at all at some point a skateboard deck loses its pop.
With time your deck wears out, often you don’t even notice when you struggle with your board too much. You’ll hardly notice your deck isn’t responding as well as before and this becomes obvious when you buy a new one. New decks respond much better and you pop your tricks effortless again. Sharp tails, chipped noses, and pressure cracks are signs you should replace your deck. If your budget is tight, consider repairing some of the damage.
How Often Should You Replace Your Skateboard Deck?
It depends on the frequency and type of skater you are. If you only skate mini ramp your deck lasts way longer than when you sold skate street. Here’s a rough estimate on how often to replace your deck. If you skate frequently, like a couple of hours a day on the street you need to replace your deck very often.
Every 1,5 to 2 months unless your board doesn’t show any wear and tear. Do you only skate a few times a week? Replace it every 4 months. Are you more of a cruiser? Your deck could probably last for a couple of years. If you break decks regularly, check out my post about the strongest boards available.
If you only skate mini ramps, chances of chipping are slim so replace your deck roughly every 6 to 12 months. Because a mini ramp has a smooth surface your deck won’t wear down as fast. Also, there is less impact in general, except when you’re at a level you can do some cool flips while landing on the coping. The only time I chip my nose when I skate mini ramps is when my deck flies out of the mini ramp and decides to land on its nose, it sucks.
So like I said, these are just estimates, if you do flips all day you will chip your board sooner. The quality of your board and bad luck really impact the lifespan of your deck. If your deck lasts longer you also could consider replacing your grip. Once your grip becomes slippery you lose eh… grip. Your feet will slide off your deck more often and usually at moments you aren’t prepared for it.
Why Replacing a Skateboard Deck Is Important
Mainly for safety reasons, there’s a bigger chance of snapping your deck when you land. When for example your tail breaks you can roll your ankle or take a nasty fall. Your deck loses its structural integrity over time so cracks, chips, and sharp edges will start to appear. You don’t replace a deck just for your own safety.
Consider your fellow skaters and bystanders, getting hit can have nasty consequences. It’s usually ankles, achilles heels, and shins that suffer. Now, if the rest of your skateboard is fine you only have to buy a new deck. Your trucks and wheels last way longer than a deck and if you’re on a tight budget consider buying a blank deck.
Blank decks may be a bit boring but they are cheap and just as good as any deck. besides those fancy graphics won’t last for long if you like to boardslide or tail/noseslides. Of course, it’s up to you if you want to replace your skateboard deck unless you broke it in half or lost your tail.
These are guidelines to prevent injuries and if your budget doesn’t allow it, keep on riding. There’s a couple of things you can do to expand the lifetime of your deck, at least that’s what I did when I was younger. Nowadays I make a random kid happy and giveaway my board.
How Long Do Skateboard Decks Last?
Depending on how often you skate and your style, skateboard decks can last between 2 weeks and 6 months. If you only skate mini ramp a deck can last for years, technical street skaters can destroy a deck within a week.
Nowadays there are stronger decks available like Lithe, Powell Peralta, Dwindle Impact, and Santa Cruz Vtech. These boards have a carbon or fiberglass layer to increase durability but are a bit more expensive compared to 7ply maple decks.
The Razor Tail Phenomenon
You know why they call it a razor tail? I guess you probably do or you’re going to find out one day. Razor tails can leave nasty cuts and often cause injuries. A minor impact on your ankle can mean your skating day is over. I still have scars on my sheens and achilles caused by sharp kicktails.
Not only can you hurt yourself, but you also don’t want to hit a bystander, especially small kids. Your tail expands and compresses when you put pressure on it, like any material. It basically acts like a spring because a deck consists of a couple of layers. You pop it against the ground and the wood compresses, once your release the wood expands. In time the material will lose its structural integrity and your tail will wear down and get sharp.
How to Fix the Razor Tail on a Skateboard
Your tail will suffer from wear and tear and once the edge of your tail becomes sharp you should do something about it. The longer you wait, the bigger the chance it will crack or chip. Your razor tail makes it prone to chipping because it weakens the wood. If you don’t have the budget to replace your deck you can try to fix your tail if you have the proper tools.
You can shave it off a little the get rid of the sharp edges. If there are cracks you can seal those by applying glue or sealer and put some clamps on it. This will help for a while but eventually, you’ll need to replace your deck. So here’s how you fix your skateboard tail step by step.
- Use a clamp to hold your deck in place.
- Shave off the sharp edges.
- Seal the chips and cracks with wood filler.
- Wait half a day to let the filler dry.
- Apply a clamp in case of delamination.
- Use sandpaper to get rid of the rough patches.
The downside is that if the damage is too severe you’ll lose some tail. This might impact your ability to pop, but this is only in extreme cases. Most of the time the amount you shave off is negligible. You probably have to get used to it a bit but it won’t impact your ability to pop shuvit just because your tail is a bit shorter.
I’ve seen people who almost completely lost their tails and were still wrecking the streets. Your board also loses stiffness in time which is a much bigger factor.
Chipped Skateboard Nose
Quite often your nose bounces off the ground and when this happens often, your nose will start chipping. Sometimes it’s a small chip which is no big deal but it will become worse. Chipped noses can also cause nasty cuts so it’s wise to replace or repair your deck if it gets worse. Like the tail you can also fix your nose, just shave off the edges, glue the chips and put on some clamps and leave it for a day.
If your skateboard deck is losing pop, meaning you can’t jump as high as before it’s time to get a new deck. Reduced pop makes it harder to perform tricks. It’s not always easy to notice this because your board loses pop gradually. Experienced skateboarders will notice reduced pop probably sooner than beginners.
When you finally get a new deck you’ll probably kick yourself for not replacing your deck sooner. I know of a few good decks with lots of pop so make sure to check them out.
Soft Decks Tend to Bend
This happens with poor quality skateboards or your when your deck is wet. Not taking care of your deck and leaving it out in the rain or moist environments can cause decks to become waterlogged. I don’t have any experience with this myself but heard others complain about soggy decks. If this is the case, your tape grip is probably destroyed as well.
Replacing Other Parts of Your Skateboard
Taking good care of your skateboard deck will make you and your skateboard last longer. Just like taking care of your deck you should also take care of other skateboard parts. Again for the sake of safety and to save you some money down the road. Wheels can come flying off, kingpins can break and broken bearings might bring you to a dead stop.
Apply Bones speed cream regularly to your bearings to make them last longer. It’s time to replace your bearings once the fall apart or break from a big impact. This may not always be obvious but once they start making noise and lube doesn’t help, replace them.
Check the bushings on your trucks and replace them if they start showing cracks or aren’t flexible anymore. Trucks usually can last between 2 and 4 years depending on the quality and how aggressive you skate.
Replace your skateboard wheels when they have flat spots, tears, and are irregular shaped. Rotating your wheels and swapping them around will make them last longer. You can usually tell it’s time to replace your wheels when they become smaller and roads feel bumpy.
I’d say replace them anywhere between 6 months and 2 years depending on how often you’re out there. Experienced skaters performing power slides regularly should replace them every 2 months.
Lastly, replace your deck’s tap grip when it loses its grip, and don’t forget to check the screw and bolts regularly! Check out my skateboard maintenance guide if you want more.